Monday, October 22, 2007

food fights

I've been meaning to write something about this for a while, and I realized that I don't have the time or the mental energy to make it as coherent as it should be so i'll just give you what falls out of my head re: feeding starving little monsters.

I always intended to breast feed. When I found out I was having twins, it didn't even occur to me that it might be more difficult. I figured I have two babies, I have two boobs, seems even to me. And all the books and pamphlets they give you tell you it's the most natural healthy blah blah blah thing. I just figured it would be easy. A baby would cry, I would whip out a boob and all would be right with the world.

Then the girls showed up 6 weeks early with teeny tiny mouths and no suck reflex. They were on tube feedings for the first few days. The first time I tried to nurse in the NICU, Susan was there and I'm pretty sure I traumatized her. My boobs were enormous and the babies' mouths were miniature. They couldn't latch and they couldn't swallow. Not that it mattered, nothing came out anyway.

I rented the hospital grade pump and pumped religiously every 2 hours to make milk come in. I have a log book that I track all the feedings and diapers in and the first few weeks would make anyone cry. I was nursing each baby for however long they would stay on. Then we would supplement them with bottles of mostly breast milk (but sometimes with formula if I couldn't manage to pump enough) and then I would pump for another 15 minutes or so.

All I did was feed babies. Then they hit a few growth spurts. I was nursing them upwards of 10 times a day. each. and everytime I had to feed one, I had to find and clean a nipple shield since this was the only way they would latch on. They would also use the nipple shield (with me in it) as a chew toy.

I cried all the time. I felt totally useless and like I was doing something horribly wrong. I had consults with the lactation lady who tried to convince me that the girls had neurologic difficulties that were keeping them from effectively eating.

Around 6 weeks I decided that this was ridiculous and they were going to have to learn how to eat from boobs free from shields and without getting bottle supplements. Within a week they were nursing like babies. H gave them bottles in the middle of the night and I stopped waking up at that overnight feeding to pump. I would just wait until the morning.

They've gained 7lbs a piece since birth and they are down to 6 feedings a day with two long stretches at night. I still fight with them on a daily basis, especially C, to get them latched on and comfy to eat well and it still hurts when they decide they'd rather use me as a chew toy or pretend I am a giant bendy straw.

My point in posting all of this is not to say "poor me, my life is so bad" or to complain about how much more work it is with twins blah blah blah.. It's to point out that it's not easy. We're here at 4 months and we still don't look like the picture on a glossy brochure, but we are making it work, mostly through determination and stubborness (on all our parts). I wish I would have known that it would be this hard. I would still have worked just as hard to get it together, but I might have felt like less of a failure.

Now we just have the guilt of sending them to daycare twice a week to get over. I'm starting part-time work in November and I'm riddled with guilt over being the worst mother ever because they have to go to daycare twice a week for 6 or 7 hours. please someone slap me. I know how stupid I sound. But really, how could you leave these two?

Petey is jealous, so here's a shot of him too. On my new kitchen rug. which he has claimed for his own. even during bathtime. so helpful...


Eva said...

Okay, no slapping going on...

Congrats on getting to a great point in breastfeeding! Despite everything I went through, I completely think it's worth it. Some of the best moments for you are still ahead, when they're all interactive while nursing. And when they're more crawly/on the move, it's great to have those quiet cuddly moments. I totally agree that stubbornness is the best formula for successful B/Fing of twins. Though I know you've read my blog so the hard stuff of it shouldn't have been a total surprise. But I guess it's always different when you're living it.

On the daycare thing... I found it hard at first until S&J settled in and were clearly happy there (yesterday J cried when I went to pick him up to take him home... off the slide... great for the ego!). But I know they're happy with it, and I'm a better mom because I have my work as an outlet and that works for me. You will all do great with it.

Stacie said...

You have done, are doing, and will continue to do so well! They are gorgeous. they are growing and you have a handle on the breastfeeding. Think of all the hairpulling-shoving-your-twin-off-the-nipple-you-want fun that is in your future.

Honestly, I wish I could send the kids to some early childhood thing a few mornings a week. Adults need breaks and twins want to play with other kids much younger than singletons, at least in my non-scientific observations. The grass is always greener, but I'm not slapping you. Sorry.

The Anonymous Platypus said...

I have actually stopped tandem nursing unless absolutely neccessary due to twin interest. They are close enough to each other to really see the other one and chloe especially gets very excited to see her sister. then much giggling ensues and no one eats. good times.