Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Four Hour Schedule

Thanks to everyone for their comments yesterday. This is all so emotional for me since breastfeeding/breastmilk is the one thing I can do for my kids before I go back to a crazy job and that is why it is so important to me. My goal has been mostly breastmilk feedings - preferably from me directly. I like the "efficiency" of having them at the breast but I'm not opposed to bottles - I just know that I can't 100% pump and get enough - I need to have them feeding off of me. But I also like the idea of structure and that is why we hired our Baby Nurse. It just seems like everyone says you can't have both. I will say that neither child - direct breastfed or bottle of breast milk wake up on their own except every 4 hours. I don't feel like either are hungry - and if they did wake up earlier I'd feed them. So for now we are doing the four hour schedule (except feed them at 6 pm and 9 pm, trying to keep them awake if possible between those feedings).

Right now I'm working on the latch because I do not have that down - I just can't seem to make it so it doesn't hurt all the time. Baby Nurse is trying to work with me on that while Husband feeds the other one a bottle. Penny is "tongue tied" and I don't think it is interfering with feeding because I'm also having problems getting Ned comfortably on the breast. Frankly, I think it is my breasts/nipples.

I'm planning on going to a breastfeeding support group next Wednesday and if this weekend goes poorly with feedings I'll call in a lactation consultant.

Husband and I had a difficult discussion last night about feeding. Penny was in tizzy and refused to eat off me - she seemed to have gas and eventually after working on it for about 40 mins we finally gave in and gave her a bottle of breast milk. Of course I was upset after. I can't believe the number of times I've already cried over feeding my kids. He thinks I am being unrealistic about wanting them both to feed off me right now and that we need to concentrate on getting them big and healthy. I agree with that so we will try another week on this program and maybe I'll take the kids for a weight check next week to see how things are going. I was clear though that if I felt this wasn't working I wanted him behind me in making changes.

These 4 hours increments are tougher on me although the kids seem to like the sleep. I feel like I should be doing more for them and that I am too well rested! After all, this is my job - I shouldn't have this much time to blog. I have a ton of supply (so far thank God) so I've been pumping a few mins before each feeding so baby on my breast has to work a bit harder, and I still manage to pump at least 3 ounces after each kid is done. When Baby Nurse feeds them the middle of the night formula feed I also pump. We even managed to freeze some breastmilk! If I notice my supply dropping we'll have to adjust as well, of course.

Personalities are emerging slowly - Ned likes to be awake after feedings for a while whereas Penny just wants to eat and then go back to sleep. No wonder she is so much bigger! And believe it or not but neither baby fits into their preemie clothes (especially Penny). I'll hang onto the onsies I have and see if my sisters will need them before giving them away.


Liz Jimenez said...

My Rebecca occasionally had those freak-out scream-fests at the breast. It was awful, and I have no idea why it happened, except to say that I've heard that it's not unheard of.

I hear you on the crying. Oh, the crying. The number of times I was hysterical over breastfeeding, I can't even tell you. It's an emotional issue, even when you're well-rested. Forget sleep-deprived and hormonal. There were oh so many times that I sobbed.

Good luck, good luck. And though I hated it when people used to say this to me, it's true: it really will get better. These newborn days feel so out of control. You'll get there, I promise.

Rebecca and I were thinking about you yesterday, let us know if you want a visit from people who remember all too well what those days were like with two little ones.

Anonymous said...

"It just seems like everyone says you can't have both." -- are you referring to switching back and forth from the bottle and breast? If so, you absolutely can have both. Neve gets a bottle of BM that I've pumped every night at 7pm before she goes to sleep to ensure she gets 5oz. with the hope she'll sleep a long time. She takes it no problem and then has no problem going back on the boob.

Oh, and as for the latch, my nipple kept coming out like a tube of lipstick...sound familiar? A fellow BF mom gave me the advice that you need to squish your boob so that your hand is making a "U" shape, not a "C" (if that makes sense). It made the world of difference in shoving more in Neve's mouth (sorry if TMI) and she latched good 75% of the time. Every once in a while I still need to take her off and relatch (though I'm sure I still don't have her latched perfectly everytime, it's just that my nipples are so tough now it doesn't matter -- her getting teeth with make me confront the latching issue again).

Oh, and very soon their mouths will get bigger and they will open their mouths wider so that you can get more in there ;)

If they don't fit into their preemie clothes you're doing something right :) Keep up the good work mommy!

Monica Marino said...

Good work, Mommy, you're able to post about it! I was in such a fog with pain, emotional disaster, and frustration, that I couldn't have posted if I had tried. And I only had one to feed. My advice- call a lactation consultant NOW. If you want to gain some sanity you will call her this minute. Seriously. I waited a month and it was the very worst, longest, most painful month of my life. Next time I will not leave the hospital without her cell phone number. I cried every single time I fed Fiona. It was horrible. Russ didn't understand at all... and then we'd end up arguing... making it worse.

I think your very brave and determined attitude is helpful here, in that you're sticking with something so difficult. But I did it too and I wish I had "caved" earlier- those lactation consultants are magic, and they know their stuff, and they're so helpful. You can even get a prescription from the pediatrician and your insurance will cover it.

Do not wait until group. You will drive yourself insane. Don't delay, call today!!

Email me if you want the number of the magical Elena who is the reason I was able to breastfeed for so long.

I'm thinking of you! I know how hard it can be. Please let me know if you need a phone call (I can't visit, but I have free international calling!) to cheer you up. I'm here to help if I can!

Anonymous said...

I had what the nurse called flat or maybe even inverted nipples. I was offered a nipple shield, but seemed to get the hang of things just before I used it, so I never tried it. Eventually, they were sucked into the proper shape and now I figure my second child will have an easier time bf'ing. So don't be too upset that's it's just your nipples that are the problem. It can be overcome.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and if it makes you feel better and reduces tension between you and husband, buy a baby scale. They're probably $40 at Target or the baby store. You can weigh them after they BF and be confident they're getting something. I never did this, but had a friend who did.

Rebecca said...

It DOES get easier!!

And we would be happy to come by---neither of our kids are old enough that we have forgotten those newborn days. We could bring snacks and it would be your very own, in-home COPE meeting! Hmm, maybe we should bring wine too?

LauraC said...

Oh poor thing. I too remember all the crying over feeding. Crying over everything, really. It is a tough tough phase and such an emotional time. But do not feel guilty about blogging. You can't make a happy baby happier! And you need rest, and time away, even if it is to blog.

You should be so proud of yourself for setting up such a great support network before the babies were born!

Husband said...

Goddess/Rebecca--I'll speak for Wife here, and say you guys are welcome any time. Especially with wine! (Though what Mommy Esq. really likes is single malt Scotch, especially from the Islay and Highlands distilleries.)

Anonymous said...

I think I emailed you that I cried through so many of those early feedings with Josh. It was so incredibly frustrating. I felt like a failure (not an easy thing for a Type A like me). I agree, call the lactation consultant, stat. It was the best thing I ever did, and I should have called sooner. {{{{{hugs}}}}} Hang in there, mama!!

Nancy said...

Hoping to hear how your day is going...and hoping things are looking up. :)

Thinking of you!!

Liz Jimenez said...

Mommy and Husband, we're coming over! Expect a twin mom ambush at 7-ish on Saturday night, we'll bring food. Feel free to leave out any laundry that needs folding. :-)