We’ve decided to turn the tables today and ask the readers to help out. Not because we have a lack of things to say on this topic, but because we know there is no one solution that works for every mom, so we thought we’d throw it out there.
Reader and new mom “Momma Miriam” is struggling with breastfeeding. Oh my, how we’ve all been there. While some people are blessed with strong nursers and an abundant supply, many of us were not. Breastfeeding, for many people, is not easy. Breastfeeding twins is not only harder, but in my opinion, even more difficult if you don’t get off to a good start. Some people are able to power through the difficulties and go on to breastfeed exclusively for a year or more. Some pump, some do a breastmilk/formula combo, and some elect to stop breastfeeding for their own sanity.
We here at HDYDI believe there is no one right way to feed your babies. Breastfeeding is wonderful, and the benefits for mom and babies are numerous. But that doesn’t mean it’s the only way to go, or the right thing for every family. We do believe that, sometimes, stopping is the right thing to do.
I’m going to paste Momma Miriam’s question in its entirety after the jump, and invite people to leave their advice in the comments (that includes us HDYDI moms). I know, this could potentially be stepping into a hornet’s nest, as breastfeeding (or not) can be a very heated and personal issue. We want everyone’s opinions to be respected, and we reserve the right to delete comments that are hurtful or in any way disrespectful. Disagreement is fine, insisting that your way is the only way is not. I’m sure comments will be long, varied, and thorough. Momma Miriam, and all other new moms, we hope it’s helpful. To those who have already blogged on this subject, feel free to leave links to earlier entries. You can also see the HDYDI archive on previous breastfeeding-related entries.
I am hoping that the collective mother of twins wisdom on this site will help me decide if I should persist with trying to exclusively (or mostly) breastfeed my twin boys or accept that I can’t and look for other options. I don’t want to face the heartbreak of giving up something so important to me without seeing if there is anything else I could be doing differently. But I don’t want to keep believing I will be able to do something that may not be possible and is hard on my family and my babies.
I am in my 10th week of trying to exclusively breastfeed my preemie twin boys, and I am wondering if I will ever be able to make enough milk for them. My babies were born at 5 lbs each at 34.5 weeks and spent 7 days in the NICU getting tube fed and bottles (with some breastmilk that I pumped in the hospital.) After working with a local LC, one baby has been bare breastfeeding (without nipple shields) for about 6 weeks and one for 3 weeks, but they are just getting stronger at nursing now.
I have been breastfeeding (initially with nipple shields for only a few minutes at a time), supplementing with bottles, and pumping after almost every feeding since we all got home from the hospital. But with bottle supplements (a mix of formula and breastmilk) and help from family visitors, it has been a challenge to even get 8 feedings in a day. Even now with 8 semi-scheduled feedings a day, we sometimes go longer than 3 hours more than once at night and sometimes during the day.
Over the past two weeks, I tried to reduce the bottle supplements during the day with the advice of a local LC, and the babies cried more and needed more soothing. But I thought it was just a matter of time before their nursing demand would bring in more milk. However, when I went to the pediatrician last week, she said they were “falling off the growth chart,” and I needed to supplement them more not less. They were close to 8 lbs at 10 weeks. The baby who had been nursing longer had grown 9 oz in two weeks and the other had only grown 5 oz.
I am now breastfeeding them 8 times a day and supplementing with 60 ml bottles afterwards 6 times a day. The LC has recommended skipping bottles twice a day, bringing more fussing, which I can hardly imagine continuing much longer. I am afraid that this much supplementation (still a mix of breast milk and formula) will make it even harder for me to exclusively or even mostly breastfeed them.
I have worked really hard to get the babies to nurse, but I have only had them on only breastmilk for a week here an there. But the LC and pediatrician have said that having babies who were bigger and stronger would help bring in more milk. I have pumped 6-8 times a day with a Symphony pump, but that has not brought in enough milk for two babies without the help of strong nursers. I am taking 10 ml domperidone 4x a day and herbal teas, which haven’t made a dramatic difference in supply so far.
I want to have realistic expectations about breastfeeding my babies, but I also don’t want to give up too soon. Does anyone know if you can still develop a full supply this late in the game? If so, what could I do differently while still feeding my babies enough?
Thanks for any shared advice or experience,