Sunday, September 7, 2008

Weekend Update; Breastfeeding Chronicles Continued

Now that I am on maternity leave my weekdays and weekends look pretty similar so not much to report other than both kids were up last night - but Baby Nurse was in charge (I only got up to pump) so Husband and I still got sleep.

Husband does go back to work on Monday. He is going to work from home 1 or 2 days to start the week and then back to the office. We may be butting heads about the breastfeeding but he has been an amazing dad to these little tykes - he has earned intermediate status in swaddling (I'm still at novice), changes clothes, and most importantly, plays with them - having Penny and Ned pull on his fingers and talking to them, etc. He's also been in charge of food and doing most of the interacting with Baby Nurse (she is a talker). I really wish he could have taken the full month we originally wanted - I think it would help me in the breastfeeding department since the first week was in the hospital floundering and this past week was at home trying to make Baby Nurse's system work. One of my friends told me that you fall in love with your husband all over again when you see him being a dad and I have to agree. I don't think it works the other way with the wives/moms being breastfeeding/crying wrecks who are stressed about feeding their kids.

I'm so drained with fighting up to an hour or more just to get a baby to feed some milk off me that I don't get much time to have any fun time - as soon as the breast baby is done it is time to pump to keep up the fridge supply for the bottlefed baby. I am not feeding any bottles myself so I don't get "tempted" by the ease of feeding them by bottle. It is already heartbreaking to see how easily they bottlefeed but refuse to nurse vigorously off me. I've left a message with a lactation consultant to go see one tomorrow and I've asked Baby Nurse to go with me. Husband and Baby Nurse think I am crazy for wanting a "no schedule" feeding (they think I'll go insane) but I want to talk to the LC about how to increase actually nursing time (Ned would stay at the breast all day if he could without doing much to eat) to be more efficient, as well as latching. If she can't see me on Monday we'll go on Tuesday. I know I could "give up" and my kids would be fine - but I want to keep trying. The way I think of it is that I'm being paid pretty well by my employer to feed my kids. It worried me that Baby Nurse said she's never had a twin mom she's worked with do exclusive breastmilk (I don't know if I could do every feeding myself) - her moms want to do things outside the kids and not be chained to a couch feeding all the time. I wish I had known this before we hired her. Originally we hired her because we liked the allure of a "schedule" but I don't know how you really put 2 week olds on a schedule unless they are formula fed (since formula is "heavier"). I figured that we'd go see the LC, come up with a new plan and ask Baby Nurse to help me implement it. If she can't then we can evaluate whether this relationship is working out. My only concern is that then I'd be left with no help - I'd have to find someone else who could come at least for part of the time.

I will say that since I am not working right now and breastfeeding/expressing milk is my "job" I am absolutely approaching it as I do my deal work - pulling in specialists, status checks on what is working, research, etc. I even put "faces" in the log we keep where I record how long each has nursed when it is his or her turn at the breast. There have been lots of frowns. If I had to go back to work after a month I bet I wouldn't be so focused on breastfeeding but rather just spending time with my kids. When I get up to pump at 2:30 am I remind myself that I am doing this for them - I want them to be as happy and healthy as possible and this is the one thing I can give them before I go back to a demanding job that will likely mean I am not home very often.

Goddess and Rebecca came over on Saturday night and brought a delicious meal and each held a baby (I can't believe I forgot to take a photo!). It was good to see them. Rebecca breastfed her twins for about year. While I know I can't do that (since I'm returning to work after 6 months) I hope to make it at least 4 months. Right now I'm just trying to make it 2 more weeks. They both promised me that in time I won't even remember this struggle very well - I hope that is true but I'll have this blog to remind me!


Jo Ellen said...

Helen's friend Jo-Ellen here, laughing out loud at the breast feeding chronicles although I know you aren't trying to be funny. My son is 9 and I managed to nurse for 3.5 months, pumping enough to keep him on breast-bottles once a day and the rest formula once I went back to work (couldn't imaging pumping in a supply closet while the students were at recess!) You hang in there. Trust yourself. The first two weeks were a killer for me- not only wouldn't he latch on, but I had extended family supplying me with every negative comment you can imagine. But after that-- I still remember the moment of nursing him, easily nursing him, and the contented sounds he made-- it went so well. Even the middle of the night, the feedings he threw-up in their entirety, the "hanging over" feeding in the back seat when we were stuck in traffic and I was terrified to take him out of the carseat-- it was terrific. Short-lived but terrific.
You have beautiful babies. Congratulations.

Anonymous said...

You can do it. Seriously. I never comment on blogs, but I am 4 months into exclusively breastfeeding my twins, and the trials of the first month -- babies wanting to sleep instead of eat, taking 10 minutes to latch, taking 1.5 hours to eat -- are still pretty fresh in my mind. It really gets better and easier. I think one thing that helped me was tossing the schedule at first, just feeding them when they wanted to be fed. This let me relax about times when they latched poorly -- after all, they might well just eat again in an hour -- and helped me maintain my milk supply. My guys only got to a 4 hour schedule after 2.5 months or so.

I could not have nursed this long without my EZ 2 Nurse special twins breastfeeding pillow -- it made tandem nursing possible, even when they were super small. I swear by tandem nursing, as it is the thing that gave me any kind of break in the early days.

Regardless, you go for even trying to breastfeed twins and for working so hard at it! Also, your babies are adorable!

Liz Jimenez said...

I'm so glad we got to come over and visit! I hope it wasn't too much of an intrusion.

Good luck with Janice. She really is great, and if you tell her what your goals are (i.e. exclusive bf-ing, or whatever YOU want), she will give you good suggestions on how to get there.

Yes, the lack of schedule may make you a little batty... at first. But just decide to go all zen about it, know that it's all about short-term difficulty for long-term benefit. If you put in the time now, it will be a million times easier later.

Just stand up for whatever option you want for yourself and for your kids. You may be new at this gig, but trust me. Mommy knows best. If you need reinforcements, just call me and Rebecca. We're good at getting all "mama bear" on people. :-)

However the feeding, nursing, Baby Nurse situation goes down in the end... you have two perfect babies, and they'll be great. I'm so glad I got to meet them, and can't wait to come by again sometime soon.

Anonymous said...

I am so proud of you for wanting to continue despite your difficulties! I'm glad you'll be going to see the LC... I think it will help a lot.

Newborns cannot be put on a schedule. You know I am the most Type A person around, and even I quickly found that it's an exercise in futility. Alex used to "cluster feed" every 45 minutes to an hour between 5-9 pm. I just gave in and realized that he was going to be attached to my boob almost constantly at that time of day. And then before I knew it, that phase was over and he was spacing out his feeds to every 3-3.5 hours. By around 12 weeks, they are finally starting to get the hang of this earthly life, you will start to see patterns in their sleeping and eating emerging. You'll be able to work with those patterns to create a routine that works for all of you.

I can't even touch the BabyNurse's comment about her moms' "wanting to do things outside the kids and not be chained to a couch feeding all the time." When their babies are barely 2 weeks old? I am horrified.

Rebecca said...

You have such little cuties!! I haven't held such a small baby in so long---Penny made my night. :) Liz & I will come back anytime and hold babies!

As for the lack of a schedule, yeah, it can be stressful at first (I'm a big schedule/routine person myself!). However, you end up falling into your own routine and it's just a different kind of schedule--for us, feeding them before they go to sleep and when the wake up, or before we went out somewhere. And, it does take some of the pressure off of you to get a "good feeding" each time---you know they can get a snack (and will demand it!) in an hour or two.

Good luck with Janice. I loved her---tell her I said hi if you get a chance. :)

Nancy said...

I totally hear you about falling in love with your husband again when the kids come. GO HUSBAND! :) Way to be a good daddy :)

Good luck with the LC!!

Anonymous said...

Hmmm...I've met Husband. He's not stony or cold. I would guess that he is very proud of you and has great respect for what you've accomplished in incubating two such perfect little beings and suffering through all of the BFing hassles and pain. That's part of loving you, right?

Cherie said...

I just came across your blog for the first time. Congrats on your sweet babies!

I read some of your older posts and was wondering if you are a triplet??

(I'm a mom to 2 year old triplet boys. )

Best to you!

Andrea said...

Good luck on breast feeding. I clicked over from "how do you do it". Hope the lactation consultant helps. I breast feed my twins for a year (and on demand when they were tiny... although if one ate, the other got fed too). I went back to work with a supportive employer so had no problems pumping. I could even pump in the car while driving with my awesome/great Medela pump w/ car charger! Good Luck and Take care!!!!
Andrea w/ 18 month old twins in mn!

Anonymous said...

First time reader and mom to 2 (3 and 7)...

Maybe you are focusing on this too much like its a job? I think everyone must appreciate your rigorousness but mom's have been doing this "thing" forever. If you don't breastfeed perfectly or even at all, your kids will still be fine. It's not like not "making partner" at a law firm... YOU ARE NOT A FAILURE IF THIS DOESN'T WORK.

Are you holding yourself up to an imaginary "perfect" standard?

Anonymous said...

I am a mom who breast fed four babies. I think you are doing a great job and admire your tenacity
I also really hope that you change to a "no schedule,schedule. Baby's this young need to be at the breast often. Mine all cluster fed for the first 2 months.
You have the time, so give it a shot so you don't regret it in the future.
Good luck!