Friday, April 22, 2011

Breastfeeding {Part 1} -what we do

Today my babies are 7 weeks old.
Several people have asked me about my experience with breastfeeding twins, and I feel the need to state that again: My babies are only 7 weeks old.
So I'm not exactly an expert.
I'm still just learning the ropes myself.

The boys eat 7 or 8 times in a 24 hour period, depending on whether they manage to wait 3 or 4 hours between each feeding.
They get bottles for half of those feedings, since they were so small when they were born that the doctors were giving them fortified breastmilk to help them gain weight.
They don't really need the fortified milk anymore, but because it has extra calories it would be hard for their systems to suddenly take the fortified breastmilk away.
And we don't mind, since the fatter these babies get the better.
I shared my schedule a few posts back when I complained about our lack of sleep (see that {here}), and that's pretty consistent.
My advice to women who want to breastfeed twins?
Pump. Pump like the wind.

About 10 hours after my sons were born (because before that I was pretty out of it - you can read the birth story {here}) I started pumping.  The hospital had a nice electric 2,500 dollar pump for me to use, and I pumped every three hours for 20 minutes.
No matter what.
And it was really, really hard.
I doesn't seem like it should be, since all I had to do was partially wake up and then just sit in bed for 20 minutes, and then go back to sleep.
For the first day I didn't really get anything. I would pump for 20 minutes and there would be three or four drops of milk in the bottle. But by the second morning I was getting maybe a teaspoon of milk each time.
I didn't have my babies with me, so I would watch footage that Travis had filmed of them crying and squirming right after being born, in the hopes that hearing their cries would increase my milk.
After the second day I was allowed to hold the babies while I pumped, and that helped  increase my milk too, since my body hadn't delivered the babies or really seen them - so maybe it didn't know I had twins?
Three days after they were born the nurses let me try to nurse for the first time, and just having them actually at the breast about tripled my milk. (You can read about that {here}).
Even after the boys could breastfeed all the time I was told to keep pumping after they had eaten to clean out my breasts, and thus trigger them to make even more milk the next time.
Now that I breastfeed for at least half their feedings (and realistically, more - since the boys don't like taking bottles lately... picky eaters.) I don't always pump afterwards.
My body has learned the difference between babies and the pump, and sometimes when I pump I only produce like 3 measly ounces (sometimes I produce like 8 ounces - if there's a crying baby in the vicinity) but when I breastfeed the boys always get enough milk, and even if they breastfeed for an hour and then want to eat a half hour later my breasts fill up again with aplenty o'milk.
I know that my breasts are making more than 3 ounces when I breastfeed too, since when the boys take a bottle they'll eat between 3 and 5 ounces each before they're full, and if they both eat the occasional 5 at the breast that's 10 ounces in one go!
But they rarely act hungry for at least three hours after they've breastfed, so they're getting plenty of food.
My only problem is, I decided that if they both breastfeed then I don't need to pump afterwards... so our freezer's milk supply has grown really low. (Since they're eating more than three times what I'm pumping at each feeding sometimes...)

But my goal is to have them exclusively breastfed within the month. No bottles unless I need to for convenience. Yesterday they really only each had two bottles, instead of the required four.

And this was a long post about my experience with beginning breastfeeding, but it's not over yet.
Because now I'm going to write a long post about how exactly we do things round here.
Maybe it will be posted later today.
Maybe it will be posted tomorrow.

I'll try to keep you guessing.


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6 comments:

Mama Mandolin said...

I'm so jealous! I know it's a lot of work but I wish I would have had the support and info from the nurses/hospital/etc. to have a good start. I think I would have been able to hang in there longer if I would have.

You're doing so good!

Kristi said...

WAY TO GO MAMA!!!! That rocks. . .so do you!

Brittany said...

What Mandey said. You're beyond awesome!

Anna Elena said...

This is awesome. Breastfeeding twins sounds like such a huge job, and you're clearly doing great with it. You must be wasting away though! Hope Travis feeds you well!

Hillary Brooke said...

KUDOS, kudos, kudos. Feeding one is hard enough, but two?! You're a supermom.

Love your blog, and those cuties? Ah-dorable!

xo,
hb

Cait said...

You are awesome!! One note to the above description: the first 3-5 days after birth, your body is only producing colostrum, which only comes out in drops. A baby's stomach is only the size of a marble at birth, so they don't need much to fill up. Sounds like on day 3 when you finally were able to breastfeed, your mature milk came in and that's why it seemed like you got so much more. That's totally normal!