Monday, January 31, 2011

Preguntas Part Dos-Feeding Frenzy

Ok. So the second part of this installment is about feeding twins! I think I just lost about all my younger readers because they are probably going to be bored to death with this topic. Oh, and if you are a male, you won't hurt my feelings if you just skip this one too! Ha!

But, before I talk about nursing two babies, can I just say one thing? I would never want any woman to feel like us breastfeeding mommies think less of those who choose formula. Your love for your child is not determined by how you feed him/her. (And let me help you if you are still feeling guilty...Ella was breastfed for 9 months...and she is always sick and even has asthma. So, see? I could argue that it didn't really help her stay well! )It is hands down the most perfect food for them...but, if it wasn't your cup of tea, you're still an amazing mom!

Lauren asked: I'm curious how breastfeeding is going! I have a 10.5 month old and he's never had a bottle in his life, and I hope to be able to breastfeed exclusively with all my kids (another reason I don't want twins next time around). So I wonder how that whole thing is going. 

Ok. So, I hope you weren't looking for a simple answer, because feeding these babies has been very complicated. But, before you read into all this, just know that YES!!!! can certainly nurse two babies!

First, I have to remind everyone that our twins were born at 28 weeks. That's about 3 months early. So, feeding at that stage was simply a tube going down into their belly. Because they were small (obviously), their feedings had to be fortified with extra calories. Basically there is a ratio of "formula" to breast milk that makes it higher calorie...this is called fortified breast milk. Are you following me so far? So, for the first 7 weeks or so, they were fed through a feeding tube. (This will all make sense in a minute).

After that, I would nurse them once a day. Obviously this was extremely hard because: 
1) we never had that initial establishment of nursing immediately after birth 
2) they were on oxygen and that would get in the way some
3) they would constantly have to be pulled off because their oxygen would, you can imagine the frustration of trying to teach a preemie to latch and constantly pulling them off once they finally did latch.
4) I was trying to do all of the above with TWO babies
5) I was only getting to nurse them once a day...not exactly ideal for establishing good latching and nursing sessions

Ok, so when the babies were discharged, I was originally told that both babies would continue to have to have half of their feeding fortified (which meant I had to continue to pump and feed bottles...WEW! That's a lot of work).

When we got home, Jacob was doing terrible trying to nurse and shortly thereafter got sick, so I decided to just pump for all his feedings and do bottles. When Audrey came home, she was nursing some, but she was not gaining, we were then told ALL her feedings had to be fortified. This meant, I was pumping and feeding and adding calories to every bottle of breast milk. To keep it simple, we did all the bottles for both babies this way.

So, I continued this pumping insanity and still continue to pump a couple times a day. I have gone back to nursing Audrey twice a day, because I feel like she is gaining weight fine by me doing it that way. The rest of her feedings are fortified breast milk.

My original goal was to make it to 6 months with the breastfeeding. I am very pro breastfeeding for at least one year, but I also have been through a lot more than the average person this past I'm trying to feed two by pumping. So, let's be real. I just can't keep doing this. So, in one more month, I will probably be totally done with pumping. I will try and continue to nurse Audrey some (and Jacob some on the off chance that he decides he will...every once in a while he will). But, no more pumping. And if it is all completely over in another month, I'm ok with that.  I gave them 6 months of me and I feel happy about that.

So, if you have two healthy "normal" twins, yes you can nurse both. It's hard, but it can certainly be done. I hope this helps!

Lauren asked: ...And how much sleep you get. And how the twins are sleeping.

I usually get 6 straight hours of sleep a night. Ella goes to preschool in the mornings on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, so I can sometimes sneak in a nap then. But, honestly, there is just always other things that need to be done, so I don't. But, I get more on the weekends. I'm definitely always tired, but I get enough sleep to not feel too bad.

The twins are finally sleeping really well. They eat about every 3.5 hours during the day. They "go to bed"...whatever that means...around 7pm. I then go in and feed them around 11pm and go to sleep after I finish feeding them...usually after midnight. They wake up around 3:30 or 4am and are both fed at the same time this time. They then will sleep until about 7:30am. Andrew goes to bed early and feeds them their 4am feeding. I stay up late and do the 11pm feeding.

Otherwise, they both take 3 naps a day. Audrey is my dream napper. She is a GREAT sleeper. Jacob likes to wake up after 45 minutes and scream for 15 minutes and then sleep off and on for another 30 minutes after that. Here is what a typical day looks like:
7am: Ella and I are up
7:30: feed babies
8:30 babies nap
10: Jacob wakes up
10:30: Audrey wakes up and both babies are fed
2: Babies wake up and are fed
5:00-wake up and feed
7pm: nurse both babies-then they go to sleep for the night
11am-wake them up to eat, then immediately they go back to sleep
3:30/4-both babies eat, then go back to sleep
7am-wake it all over again...drink lots of coffee!!!

This is just sort of guide for the day. It certainly isn't a schedule. We just follow an eat, play, sleep routine. It is VERY hard to keep both babies on the same routine through the day b/c Jacob is 13 lbs. 5 ounces and Audrey is 10 pounds 10 ounces. That's an almost 3 pounds difference! That's huge in terms of sleeping and eating. 

So, that is life in a nutshell here. Breastfeeding is such an amazing thing. It hurts and is hard at first, but then it becomes really sweet. I will feel sad to be done with it. But, I've done the best I can do. So, when it does end, I will give myself a little pat on the back and say "Good where's my teeny-tiny bras again??" Sigh.


Lauren said...

Hahaha! Your last comment made me laugh. After the first couple of weeks of BFing my boobs were back to a normal size (except overnight and in the morning when I'm really full, or if I go 3 hours between feeds which I almost never do). When I'm totally empty, they're actually smaller than they were pre-pregnancy!

I am extremely pro-breastfeeding for at least a year, which is why I am soooo hoping for just one baby next time around (of course if it's two I will be thankful for the blessing). I can imagine how incredibly difficult it would be to just NURSE two healthy babies at the same time. To have to do what you do with the pumping and then bottle feeding? That sounds so hard and time consuming! I don't think I'd be able to keep that up for a year, either! Good for you for making it as long as you have!

Amber said...

I will be having twins in May. Two of my sisters didn't really breastfeed more than a few weeks after birth. I want to breastfeed but I'm not sure which would be easier and less time consuming with twins. Pumping or BF?

Mrs. Mama said...

I loved reading this post. No, i do not have twins, but I feel pretty strongly about breastfeeding (even though I am not one of those people that looks down on those that don't), and it is amazing how well you have done with TWO! I can't imagine. I have always told myself that I wanted to breastfeed for at least 6 months, and will continue if able up to a year. Thank you for this post!

Mommy Belle said...

I totally agree with not judging those who cannot or chose not to breastfeed! With motherhood, you have to do what works for you or you may just lose your sanity.

I'm amazed that you're planning to breastfeed until 6 months with all the pumping you are having to do. I don't think I could do it if I had to pump even once, much less every day.

Just curious...can you nurse both babies at the same time? What would that be...the football hold?

It sounds like you are really loving life with three!

Ashley Beth said...

Congratulations on surviving this long on breastfeeding your twins! I'm in awe. I only have one and did it for a year. I also work full time so I pumped for a year too - hardest thing I've ever done. I can totally feel you with the pumping - I was so over it!

I wonder if it has helped you breastfeed/pump the twins since they weren't your first. You mentioned before that having the twins second has made the newborn phase easier because you know that it is short lived. Do you feel the same about the breastfeeding/pumping?

Congratulations again! Great job mom =)