Sunday, November 30, 2008

Breastfeeding - The Penultimate Chapter

I am proud that I made it to my three month goal of mostly breastmilk and mentally geared myself up for another goal of reaching four months.  But life has a way of slapping you around when you get cocky.  I'm sure my readers are bored silly of the trials and tribulations of breastfeeding twins - especially when it seems like moms out there can do it without all the whining I do.  But as I named this post it should be the penultimate installment - with the final chapter being no more breastfeeding.  

To recap - so far I've thrown out 250 ounces (please say a little prayer for the hours of work that went into that) of frozen breastmilk that smell and taste funny.  That is the equivalent of 41 bottles of 6 ounces (which is really only 6 days worth of bottles for 2 kids which is depressing in and of itself).  My kids had been only getting formula for their 7 pm and middle of the night bottles.  Recently I've added formula in their supplements so the kid who is breastfeed gets that after feeding.  I also BF on demand in the middle of the night after Husband sneaks them a few formula ounces at 11 pm.  But that means I pump once a day - not enough to keep the non-BF twin bottles filled up.  

Add to the mix the sleep.  I mean, the lack thereof.  For kids who only woke up once while Baby Nurse was here at 6 weeks I find myself up with Ned - at 2 am, at 2:30, at 3 and 15 increments thereafter until I feed him.  And him again at 5 am which means when he wakes at 7 am he isn't hungry.  Penny wakes once - around 4 am.  She eats fine in the morning.  I struggle trying to BF them both in the AM but I'm about to give up on that and those bottles will have to be formula.  Today I could NOT get out of bed.  I just didn't care and it was Sunday and so I had someone else who could do it (even though he is tired too).  I told Husband to give them formula and when I pumped around 8:30 am it was like nothing would come out.  He gave them precious refrigerator breastmilk but I'm just too tired to care.  I'm jealous of my commentators and friends who do the 11 pm "dream feed" (aka "sneak attack") so their kids will sleep until 7 am.  I do it so Ned isn't up at 1 am.  And this is the kid who weighs almost 13 lbs by now.  Sigh. 

Of course Ned wanted to go to sleep by 8 am again and nap for only 30 mins.  Penny was much more reasonable with her 9 am nap start time.  I cannot get Ned to sleep or nap well.  My dream schedule is Penny's - eat at 7/7:30 am, nap at 9, wake at 10:30ish, eat at 11 am, nap by 12:30/1 pm, up before 3 pm, eat at 3 pm, nap around 5 pm for an hour, bed at 7 pm.  Ideally they'd sleep until 7 am (or Husband can keep doing his sneak attacks so long as I get to sleep).  Ha, ha.  

Husband thought Ned was ready for a sleep sack - Penny has been using hers for a few weeks. Last night proves he is not.  I want him swaddled as tightly as possible.  One funny side note - Penny has been scratching her face even though we clip her nails regularly.  I think it is from rubbing her face when she wakes up in the middle of the night.  So we are putting the little sleeve flaps that come on every nightgown/pajamas.  It seems cruel to deny her the fingers/hands she just discovered!  We've also separated the two for daytime naps since Ned would wake Penny up with his crying.  She is downstairs in the pack n play and he is up in the crib.  She does okay at night with his crying.  

The short and the long of it is that I think each kid will get at least one BF per day and if I'm lucky one bottle of breastmilk but that formula is about to become the largest part of their diet.  I really wish I could have done it longer but with the stress of lack of sleep I just can't handle the stress of breastfeeding too.  Plus the kids haven't been eating as much as they used to which worries me and is easier to monitor when they are on the bottles.  [That might also explain why they are getting up more often during the night.]  The one thing I'll keep doing is BF in the middle of the night when they wake up hungry - so much easier than bottles.  I'm trying to shake the guilt and be proud of my three months but I really wanted to show Angelina Jolie up by going longer than she did.  It's also funny how most moms (who are back at work around 3 months) keep doing the morning and evening nursing and those are the two I won't be doing.  Husband and I discussed whether we could "fit in" another feeding but there is no natural way to do it (hence the 11 pm sneak attack).  My kids are generally fine on 4 hours and if they are hungry a little earlier we feed them a little earlier (but it is never more than 15 or 30 mins before).  I did try the 3 hour schedule for 2 days (anything to get them to sleep through the night) but I was a wreck trying to do it so often when they wouldn't eat and it was taking an hour still to feed them.  

Sleep is such a huge issue for me because I want the kids napping and sleeping well at night before I go back to work - and I only have a couple of months left.  Every day that ticks by I know is one closer to not being home with them and I want to enjoy fun time with them and not be an exhausted cranky mom who always feels like she is tending to one child or another that isn't eating well or sleeping well.  I want to be able to say to the Nanny: "Here is their feeding and sleep schedule" - and have it be as consistent as possible.  

Since this is another long, boring post I promise not to write about sleep for a few weeks.  I also want to say that I agree that small kids = small problems.  I may feel like the breasfeeding and sleep are huge but that is because I'm living it minute to minute and in no time at all this will be past.  It is just hard to intellectualize at 3 am.  

I have items to report realting to Big Law that deserve a post or two.  And of course I'll be posting lots of cute pictures!  


Anonymous said...

By the time Ned's a teenager he will sleep. Take it from one who knows.

A. said...

My (unsolicited, I know) advice is to feed Ned the first time he wakes up at night. Don't play the "can we get him to sleep longer by putting his paci back in his mouth?" game - at this age, when he doesn't know how to sooth himself back to sleep, it just means you are cursing yourself to getting up with him every 15 minutes. Giving him the boob or the bottle right away could at least give you a solid chunk of sleep until Penny (and maybe Ned, again) wakes up.

Lack of sleep sucks. You're doing great, don't beat yourself up!!

Andrew and Connor's Mom said...

Mommy Esq.,
I just want to send you kudos and lots of congratualtions. This is from a mommy who only made it 5 days BF and another week and a half pumping and I only had one child to on demand feed. You have done outstanding and should feel great about the great start you have given your two beautiful children.

Donna said...

I finally gave up last night and begged DH to get out of bed because I just could not deal with only 4 hours of sleep AGAIN. My DS2 wakes up every day at 4 am even though I dream feed him. The problem is I never know if he is going to sleep after the 4 am feed. It is frustrating and I am just beyond exhausted. DS1 was sleeping through the night without a problem by this time! I say, if you have to go with formula do it! I broke down and gave DS2 a bottle before bed at 8 pm last night because I was drained and we spent nearly an hour trying to get him to sleep. Just do it -- for your sanity!!!

Liz Jimenez said...

I don't really have advice, just a virtual pat on the back. It's a hard stage, and I think sleep and breastfeeding were by far the most difficult and consuming things about the first several months. There's no one right answer, we all just do our best. Good luck, and I hope it improves soon.

Eva said...

Sleeping and feeding in the first year are so all consuming. Sometimes I look back on that year and don't know how my husband and I survived. Everyone does what they can given the situation they have. I was able to last BFing the first year because my kids were in a daycare in my building and I was technically on sabbatical so had reduced hours. If I had been back to work full time far from them I doubt I would have lasted, especially with the extreme sleep deprivation. You've done great things so far, and your children will thrive whether or not you continue breastfeeding regularly.

One (more?) piece of unsolicited advice. if you don't have it, Sleeping Through the Night was my favorite sleep book. Facts and suggestions that aren't necessarily targeted to twins, but actually make sense with twins.

Nancy said...

You're doing just fine, btw. And formula won't kill 'em, so if that's what works - do it! :)

*hug* It'll all work out. Promise :)