Monday, September 29, 2008

Breatfeeding Chronicles

We are changing our routine again. Husband and I had a long conversation over dinner on Saturday night - we went out while Baby Nurse watched the kids. Husband wants the feeding to be a joint decision which is totally fair. He doesn't want me sitting on the couch all day - and frankly I'm starting to go a little crazy - especially when they hit a growth spurt the end of last week and my milk hasn't been able to keep up. He also wants to be able to help and he feels pretty useless while I just have them on the breast all the time. The breast has become a soothing place for them which I love but it is stressful trying to stop them from routing all the time - feeling like maybe they didn't get enough from me, should I pull out a bottle, etc. I know they have been gaining weight and I take solace in that but the constant breastfeeding has been taking its toll on me.

I am going to feed both children at the breast for their first morning feeding - it is my favorite of the day. Thereafter one child will get the breast but for a limited time (limit to 45 mins instead of the 2+ hours I had been giving them) and the other will get breastmilk in a bottle until my supply runs out. I will pump after I breastfeed but I do not pump enough for the bottles (I get about 2 ounces after a feeding and we give them 4 in a bottle so it takes 2 pumpings to make one breastmilk bottle) so I suspect over the next couple of weeks we'll need to switch to formula for some of the bottles. Plus the pumping gets old and I don't think I can pump if they are fussy after they eat and I don't have Baby Nurse around to keep them occupied. Their bedtime and middle of the night feeding will be formula. One other nice thing is that other people can now feed a baby (which Husband and the grandparents enjoy) and it is easier for me to cover up and feed one child in the presence of company than it was when I was tandem feeding them. And once I have no help I can feed one on a boppy or bouncy chair on the floor while breastfeeding the other at the same time - I'll be practicing that today since Baby Nurse has another commitment.

I'd like to make it through October with the majority of their feedings being breastmilk but that may not happen (I have about a week supply of breastmilk in the freezer to supplement the pumpings). My biggest pumping volume (about 6-7 ounces) is middle of the night but I'll be dropping that once Baby Nurse leaves in a few weeks since I'll be feeding them formula at that feeding so I can get more sleep (they go about 5 hours after their middle of the night formula feeding). I also pump at/after their bedtime formula feeding but that is one of my lower Supply points of the day (as it is with most women). In case you are wondering I pretty much reek of Fenugreek all the time and drink gallons of Mother's Milk tea.

My stress level has reduced and although I feel like I've "given up" after only a month this is probably the right choice for my family. Husband is looking for some measure of stability with our schedule/routine and I don't really blame him. As much as I would like to martyr myself for my beautiful kids they probably want a mommy who feels like she can occasionally leave the house and be happy to see them when she returns. Plus this is giving me more patience to deal with their bouts of fussiness. I'm tired of worrying about Supply (Husband always sees this in his mind with a capital S). I wish I were like those women who can pump 8 ounces after feeding their babies but I'm not. I won't be giving up the breastfeeding entirely because a lot can change in the next month. Maybe my kids will be able to latch better and finish their feedings in 20 mins at some point and I can try to transition them back to the breast full time. But I don't think many women go back in that direction though once they start down the path I outlined above.

I'm sure my kids would be even better off with the 5 months of breastfeeding I originally planned but I think they have gotten quite a bit of benefits from my feeding them for as long as I have. Plus I hope that they will get more "fun" time with Mommy Esq before she goes back to work now that she is trying not to stress about the breastfeeding and her Supply. I only have to say a big kudos to the moms of multiples I know who were able to breastfeed their kids - Nancy and Rebecca in particular.

Obviously this is a hard post to write since I've been trying to be so adament about breastfeeding my kids. I have had to take a hard look at how I want the next few months I'm at home to go and frankly I want to be able to enjoy my kids and not always be stressing about how they are eating - and bottles and formula give you that peace of mind. I don't know if I would have made the same decision if I were going to stay at home with the kids but I know my job is so demanding that there will be plenty of nights Husband is handling bedtime without me so I want to be happy and upbeat for the time I am home for now.

I'll definitely keep you all updated since as you can tell from all my breastfeeding posts things change all the time.


Liz Jimenez said...

It's a hard decision, no matter which way you go. But you have to decide what is best for the whole family, and if this arrangement is it, then good for you!!

Rebecca said...

I'm glad you've found a solution that works for you and your husband. Enjoy those little cuties!!

LauraC said...

I think you should be REALLY REALLY proud of yourself for making it an entire month (plus some). And doing the right thing for your entire family is such a great parenting lesson to learn.

Anonymous said...

My twins are 12 weeks old...and they were exclusively breast fed up until this i had to travel without them for 1 week to India. All i want to say really does get easier around 8 weeks. I had that target for myself...I was close to giving up a couple of times...but if you want it to work...i think 8 weeks is the magic mark. I experienced the same with my singleton baby too...

Nancy said...

Thanks for the Kudos - but my kids were breastfed/formula fed pretty much the entire time. We did a mix :)

I *NEVER* made enough and you're blowing my mind that you're pumping at all! The only times I pumped were when the kids were in the NICU and then after 4 months when I started back at work. Other than that - they fed from me or formula from a bottle.

So - kudos right back at you for finding what works (at this point in time) for you and your family. And for working as hard as you have been :)

Oh, and you may want to let Husband know that once you think you've got a schedule set, it all gets blown out of the water with each developmental milestone they reach ;)

Anonymous said...

Yay for Mommy Esq. and Husband going out to dinner together alone!! I hope that felt awesome. Our "first date" was fantastic...we are looking forward to our second! And I'm so happy that you have worked out a plan that is going to be best for your family. Looking forward to the updates.

Stacey said...

I'm looking forward to feeding them for the first time in a couple of weeks! You need to give me lots of practice so I know what to expect when it's my turn...I'm impressed with your ability to breastfeed two for such a long time!