Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Breastfeeding... This Too Shall Pass

One question I've searched on the Internet for and have not found any clear answers is how do you breastfeed two babies exclusively day after day?  Seems like every site I go on, every mom boasts of how wonderful of an experience it is to tandem feed their babies or how easy it is to just pull up the baby and have them latch on whenever.  Sure, it's a lot more convenient than filling up bottles of breast milk or formula and sterilizing all the equipment.  But when you're doing this every 2-3 hours every single day, it's exhausting!

I had no idea what to expect with breastfeeding.  No one ever told me that if I don't breastfeed or pump on a regular basis that I'll soon develop plugged milk ducts and eventually Mastitis.  Well, I found out the hard way and got Mastitis.  It was the worst feeling ever and I felt so sick and was in pain.  Then I went on antibiotics and gave the babies thrush (yeast infection in the mouth), and they gave it to me.  Thrush is terrible and stressed us all out with feeding since they cried all the time and never wanted to eat.  Plus, our babies were premature and didn't have the sucking reflex down like other babies do, so it took about a month and a half to really have them breastfeed without any trouble.  If I stop for a day or two and just pump, I still develop plugged ducts and get sick.

Besides all this, here's a typical day for me:
  • Breastfeed one baby
  • Change his diaper
  • Put him down to sleep or in the swing  
  • Breastfeed 2nd baby 
  • Change his diaper
  • Put him down
  • Breast pump (if babies don't completely empty the breast)
  • Store the milk
  • Wash the bottles
  • Hold whichever baby is crying (in our case, the babies like to be held all the time)
  • Have 1 hour (2 if we're lucky!!) to regain sanity till we start all over again

The good thing now is that they sleep through the night at least 6 hours.  Unfortunately, I get so excited after they go to sleep that I usually stay up 2 or 3 hours later (yikes!) watching a movie or doing stuff online.  I tell myself every morning that I'm going to go to bed with the babies, but it hasn't happened yet.  Does it get easier???  Many moms say, "this too shall pass," but I guess I need to enjoy each moment while it lasts, because they're only little once.  

The hospital staff was who pushed us so hard to breastfeed.  I'm glad they did, though.  But they told us to stay away from bottles and formula.  Well, when you have two crying babies and not enough milk, you need a 2nd option!  So it's FINE to supplement with bottles, whether it is filled with milk or formula.  As long as you're pumping and breastfeeding on a regular basis, you have to do what works for you.  Breastfeeding isn't for every mom, too.  And I think hospitals need to let new parents know that.  No mom should feel guilty.  If baby is happy, then keep doing what you're doing!

We even did formula a lot in the beginning while I was getting used to breastfeeding/pumping/TWINS.  I usually pump a lot before I go to bed and store it in the freezer for when I don't have enough milk.  From time to time, I'll use formula.  No biggie.  

Max passes out after breastfeeding... so precious!  He always would purse his lips too... don't know what that meant, but it was cute!!

Feeding Max during the 2nd week when my breast milk just came in!  He only fit into preemie clothes then :)

So, it can be stressful feeding two babies, especially if you're relying on breastfeeding exclusively.  

My husband and I always say, "Ugh, I can't wait till they're older and can feed themselves!"  Haha.  

Plus, they always want to be held right now when they're not eating, but soon enough (and too soon, I'm guessing), they'll be doing anything to get away from us and crawl around and explore the world.  

Then they'll be in school and always telling us "Mom, you're embarassing me!!" instead of "Mommy, I love you!"  

After that, they'll be teenagers... and I don't even want to think ahead that far.  That's a whole new chapter that I'll get to before I know it. 

So, as much as I complain and stress out about the hectic schedule that breastfeeding has put me in, I always smile at the end of the day when they're sleeping in the cribs and thank God for giving me two little miracles.  

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All who would win joy, must share it; happiness was born a twin. -Lord Byron