Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The 24 Hour Kitchen

So this whole breastfeeding thing is 1,000 times harder than I thought it would be. Everyone talks about how great it is and how bonding it is, but few people mention just how difficult it is. Is just like the Secrets of C Sections. Is there some sort of unspoken motherhood pact to keep the hard parts on the down low?

Miss Avery breastfeeds just fine and takes a bottle great. She breastfeeds all day and at night, she switches to formula. Madeline bottle feeds on pumped breast milk by day and has formula for night feedings. Duirng the night, I pump to get enough milk for Madeline for the next day. No matter how much I pump (every two hours or so), I can only keep one feeding ahead for Miss Maddie. It is so frustrating. I had dreams of a freezer full of expressed milk. My ego is wrapped up in all of this too, which means I feel like a failure when I can’t get Maddie latched on or when Avery makes this horrified face when I try to (dare to) feed her a bottle at night (when the breast is oh so close). I feel like I am betraying both of them, like I am a failure.

I know my hormones are playing a part in this. But still. I had it in my head that I would breast feed for a year. I can adjust this if I have to, and that is fine. In the mean time, I am just going to keep on doing what I am doing and hoping my milk supply magically doubles or my energy levels allow me to pump more than every two hours. I am also trying every tip and trick that anyone has recommended.

What I need to do is eat and drink more. Today’s meals were yogurt, some carrots and French bread. Oh, and a granola bar. And that’s it. I know, that is awful and not enough. It is hard to find time to eat when there are two babies that need your constant attention. I’ve lost 40 pounds already. And that’s even with drinking a half gallon of chocolate milk a day. I really drank a half gallon in less than 24 hours.

Pictured above is Miss Maddie, during sponge bath time, and me with Miss Avery, who, as usual, has her little mouth open just in case a nip.ple comes close to it.


Jean said...

I totally understand where you are coming from. When my son was born by c-section, nobody warned me of the after effects, especially since I had been totally prepared for a home birth till 4 hrs before he was born, it was quite a shock. Then the whole breastfeeding afterwards, and not really being ready for that was hard. I was so glad for the lactation consultants. But I can honestly say that breastfeeding is hard work, but I have made it 22 months now, and I can also say it does get much easier. Just hang in there. Also you might want to either try some herbs to boost your milk supply or I highly recommend ordering some Domperidone from overseas. It is an amazing drug, with no side effects except being able to almost double your milk supply. If you need more info on it, let me know. You are doing great hang in there!

K J and the kids said...

Well sister I am right there with you. Ego and all. I suffered and tried EVERYTHING. I pumped....I took pills, I pumped, I drank tea crap, I pumped, I took herbs. I finally did take Don Peridone. Only some pharmacy's carry it in the US...your doctor should be able to tell you which ones. It worked AWESOME for me. And by awesome I mean...it let me breastfeed my boys while still supplementing them a bottle a day until 6 months (there was no doubling that some people talk about for me)....at which time I quit. The Don Peridone was almost as much as formula would have been. It's pretty pricey $$
Breastfeeding SUCKS. It's HARD. It's A LOT OF WORK. It can hurt. It takes a LOT of patience and time. I applaude you for doing what you are doing. Any effort you put forth for those babies is a wonderful gift.
I hope that you are able to get to the point a lot of women talk about...that magic moment when all of a sudden it gets easier and the milk just comes.
It's early for you still....they are still REALLY tiny. I think you have a great chance of that miracle moment :) Hang in there.

lagiulia said...

I fear I am one of the people that led you astray in thinking that c-secs and breastfeeding are easy. But the truth is that for me, they were, at least relatively speaking. And I am SO LUCKY for that. But keep in mind that all my healing and learning to breastfeed took place in the NICU, where we were stuck for a month. Nothing seemed as challenging as just getting through each night I had to be home while my babies were in the hospital. Seriously, it could be that the pain of the c-sec and breastfeeding just weren't felt because they were an aside to other more terrible stuff. It is quite possible.

In other words, don't go by me, or anyone else for that matter, when thinking of the norm for all this. YOU are doing an AMAZING job! I know you feel like you're short-changing both babies, but when I read your description of your current feeding system, I thought, "Wow, that sounds really effective and organized!" You know, it just sounds like both babies are getting what they need right now. If your supply goes up and you feel you want to pump or feed more, then great. But if not, try to remember that everything is *just fine* as it is. And though your goal for b-fing was a year, keep in mind that when you set that goal it was out of context... you'd never experienced b-fing at the time. Better to set goals now, perhaps, little by little.

I know what you mean about ego, I think. I felt like such a failure that my pregnancy went awry and my boys came early. But there are just some things that we don't completely control. How long we can carry our babies and what our milk supply will be are just two examples.

Big HUGS!!!! And yes, you DO need to eat much more. 3000 calories at least. This is your big chance to eat whatever you want and not gain! Can you have some food delivered some of the time? I used to feel dizzy when I wasn't eating enough while nursing two. It's hard to keep up, I know, but it's important. Watch out, if you don't shape up, I might just have to leave a roast on your doorstep...

Motel Manager said...

You are doing great! While my c-section recovery was good, my breastfeeding experience has been one trial after another, and I may be forced into weaning soon due to recurrent plugged ducts and crap supply. I ordered a ton of domperidone from overseas, so if you want it, it's yours - just email me at embryomotel@yahoo.com.

One lactation consultant told me that bottle feeding seems easier for the first five weeks, then breastfeeding is easier for most people. Hang in there!

Eva said...

Everyone's experience is really different, but most people I know struggled with BFing in the beginning. It's really hard! Especially with twins. You are doing great things for your baby. Try not to make any long term decisions about BFing while you are in the moment. People would ask me how long I wanted to do it and I would say, as long as it works for the 3 of us. So ask yourself, do I want to keep doing it today? For most people if you push through the first couple of months it becomes a lot more rewarding (I know that's not true for all, but for many).

I also had the stress of pumping session to pumping session, am I making enough? And counting the MLs in the fridge to see how many feedings we'd last.

I don't think you should try to pump more than every two hours. That sounds like way too much (that's what my LC said, too). If you have the time/energy and you don't already, I would suggest pumping during the day AFTER Avery nurses. That's what I always did. It will teach your body that what she's taking each session is not enough, it needs to make more. The trick I think is telling your body at each nursing session that it needs to make enough for both, so pumping in effect for what Maddie needs will help with that. My LC suggested pumping on the other side WHILE one was nursing but I was never comfortable enough with the latch for that.

You are right you need more food! I drank a lot of yogurt smoothies because they're fast. Treat yourself to lots of ice cream. Get some protein in you. If local friends ask what they can do to help, tell them to bring food. We had lots of friends bring food and it was a lifesaver. If a friend comes by with food, hand them a baby and scarf it down.

So, there's some unsolicited advice. Lots more where that came from if you have any other questions. It does get easier, I promise, though I know it's hard to see that at the moment.

Dee said...

First, let me say again, your girls are GORGEOUS!!! I so wish I could see them in person. They are just so beautiful.

As far as feeding, I'm not much help here. I see the pain Shelly is in with just one. One that won't latch so she's getting breast milk but from a bottle. Our friends from Twins & 2 Moms came by yesterday. She said the first three months were hell trying to breast feed the boys. And they wouldn't latch either. Finally by about three months she got them latching, everything going smoothly, and she breast fed until they were 18 months! So, I guess that means hang in there!

Anonymous said...

Yes, it's hard. Just do what you can do. It will get better.

I don't want to say hang in there. Don't hang in there if it's awful. You'll be a wonderful mother either way, Bottle or BF or a combo.

Hope things get better :)

Karen, a recent lurker in Toronto

nailgirl said...

Hi I was wondering if you tandem nurse?

kate said...

sounds to me like you are doing wonderfully!

i have to tell you that the emotions/hormones of breastfeeding are so difficult. I remember how difficult it was to establish breastfeeding my first baby, and there was just *one* of him. I am having many of the same issues this time with the twins, but it is totally different because the emotional aspect of 'OMG i am a failure as a mother i can't do this my kid will grow up to be stupid because i am going to have to feed him formula i wish i was dead' is simply not there. I now know it's just mechanics, it will work itself out in time, and as long as the babies get to eat *something*, it will be fine.

So yeah, i would say that there is not exactly an unspoken pact, but really what happens is that after things start going well, you kind of forget just how difficult it really was at the beginning...

kate said...

one last tip which i was given by another twin mom -- yes you need to eat! but when? LOL So stock up on stuff you can just quickly shove in your mouth, like those energy bars.

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