Pump it UP!
The boys had a traumatic day yesterday, they went in for their two month check up and vaccines. I've never seen them cry so hard and get so red in the face, this was way worse than their circumcision. It took a long time to console them and all day long they had lots of emotions like crying spontaneously while eating or sleeping. Thankfully all are very healthy, Caleb and Thomas are in the 50th percentile and Eli in the 30th (this is age corrected since they were born premature). Thomas is already 10 pounds and the others are close by.
There has been much progress since my last two posts. In a nutshell the boys nursing really well now and my milk production is up as well. This is probably enough info for most readers but if you want the details read on.
I was really trying to brainstorm on what to do differently since what I was doing was not working. The first thing I tried was saying "no more bottle for Thomas today." It failed miserably, he wouldn't nurse for more than 5min, I kept the same feeding schedule and it caught up to him bad. By the end of the day he was cranky and starving. Poor baby must have lost some weight doing that. The next thing I tried was taking two boys and nursing them all night long as much as they wanted. And for whatever reason it worked! Don't ask me why but it worked. The next day we went in for a lactation appointment and Caleb took in 90cc's, Eli 116cc's, and Thomas 55cc's (he was last so there was not much left for him). This told me that they were all capable of taking in full feeds since they generally eat 80-110cc's. This was the BEST feeling ever, way bigger accomplishment than even graduating from college in my perspective. So what was the problem? Only thing I could come up with was that I wasn't letting them get hungry enough. We were waking them up before they got hungry just to "stay on schedule" and nursing was way too cozy for them to stay awake. Although this doesn't explain why my first experiment didn't work.
So I threw out the schedule and fed them on demand. I found out that they were sleeping anywhere from 3-5hours at a time and Eli surprised me and slept 6hrs one night! However the "non-schedule" wasn't working too well with pumping since I couldn't predict when they'd wake up. Also the boys again weren't nursing all that great either. Something still needed to be tweaked. Then someone made the simplest of suggestions that made a light turn on in my head. Why not strip them down to their diapers so they'd be cool enough to stay awake? And it dawned on me that they nursed so well at the lactation appointment because they were only in their diapers since that's the way they are weighed! WHY didn't anyone suggest this sooner! And WHY didn't I think of it on my own seeing as how logical this solution is.
So with advice from many and another mom of trips I have a new system and it's working pretty well. This is what works for us, during the day I nurse two boys and bottle feed the other and pump right after. I rotate one boy out to the bottle at each feeding so they all get equal turns at the breast. I don't keep a strict feeding schedule but I don't let anyone sleep more than 4hrs because it will slow down my milk production. I'm pumping 6 times a day now instead of 7 so as to keep stimulating my body to produce more milk and I'm getting very close to 100%. At night I take two boys and Phil takes one and we found out that we can both get more sleep! At night we let the boys sleep as long as they want and they have been semi regularly getting in 5 hour chunks of sleep.
I still struggle to keep the boys awake while nursing but I can almost always manage to get them full. This is still a work in progress though, but it's PROGRESS non the less. I'm so happy we are moving forward!
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Friday, December 10, 2010
Each boy nurses twice a day for about 10min, which 5 of those minutes they are fast asleep. Sometimes Phil hands me a boy to nurse and on his way to my arms I see his little eyes rolling back into his head ready for some deep sleep, aren't you hungry you little rascals!?! They can generally drink about half a feed. So for them to get enough to eat they would each have to nurse 16 times a day. Times three boys that's 48 ten minute nursing sessions a day! Most airplane crashes happen at take off and landing, it's most painful when the boys latch on and off. I think my nipples would fall off, so I need them to be more efficient. We don't have too much time for comfort nursing so "lets get with the program boys, it's a food source not a pillow."
I've come to accept or I maybe understand that my boys are perfectly normal. I've been trying to find something wrong with the way they nurse so I can fix it. But that is just it there is nothing wrong! They latch and suck like pro's. The thing that frustrates me is that they fall asleep after about 5min of active nursing but when I offer them a bottle they gulp it down like they haven't eaten in years. Why this is? I don't know. Research shows that it doesn't take any extra energy to nurse so the theories are a)it's a different skill set, c)they are only comfort sucking or c)who knows. But I'm sure they are acting like normal newborns, it's what my lactation nurse has been telling me all along but I've been stubborn to believe. If you have one newborn, he'll nurse a ton through out the day on demand. There is not enough time in the day to do that with triplets so I just have to wait till they mature enough and can stay awake for a full feeding. I learned in the NICU that you can't push a baby to do what it's not ready to do, you can only encourage them. They couldn't come home till they were taking all their feeds through a bottle and not through a feeding tube. They did this when they were good and ready and no amount of practice or pushing made this happen any sooner. So with breast feeding as well, I have to be patient.
I'm so close that I now think it's within the realm of possibility, I'm pumping 2/3rds of what the boys eat and that doesn't include whatever the boys take in while nursing (I would so rock twins). Increasing my milk supply is taking longer than I had hoped for but there is no secret recipe for this. I've tried everything, pumping more, eating more, drinking more(H2O that is), eating oatmeal everyday. I've taken Reglan and Domperidone, two drugs that are meant to treat GI issues but have the side effect of increasing breast milk in nursing women. I'm also taking 12 capsules of Fenugreek a day and a nice array of vitamins (prenatal, fish oil, vit D).
I had the idealistic goal of breastfeeding exclusively at one point but I now have to reassess my goals. I've gotten to 2/3rds breastfed and am satisfied with that. Anything better will just be icing on the cake.
Some think I'm crazy for even trying but I owe it to my boys to at least try. It's not their fault they were born triplets. Whether a singleton or triplets they deserve the best. I recognize that the breast is best, but do I think formula is the devil as many people think? No. Science has broken down breast milk to were they know all the components and formula now nourishes baby pretty well. Unfortunately formula does not offer immunity as breast milk does and it makes their poo really stinky.
I don't want to pump forever so if they don't learn to nurse efficiently within a reasonable amount of time I'm saying bye bye to my little contraption. I would go crazy pumping for a long time around the clock as I am now. And in reality pumping takes time and that's time I'd rather be spending with my babies. I don't think it will come to this though.
Let's think positive, when the boys learn to nurse efficiently I will throw out the schedule and feed on demand. Each boy will nurse once, twice and then get a bottle through out the day (if I can get to 100% then no bottle). I may just pump once or twice at night so Phil can wrestle the boys for a while and I can get some continuous sleep. Although the boys may be sleeping longer through the night by then.
Any moms of multiples out there? Any advice would be more than welcomed!
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Sorry about the baby laser eyes, the lighting was bad. These pictures were so hard to get, they are so wiggly now!
Time fly's when your life is on a 3hr schedule. I had such a hard time putting away the boy's preemie clothes and I made them wear them till I just couldn't squeeze them on. I miss my teeny tiny babies that would fall asleep so easily. They are definitely stronger, and more alert and awake. They hardly didn't have any strength in their legs and now they can stand up for a couple of seconds while holding them. Thomas surprised Phil and I when he did a push up and held it for several seconds. Gestationally they are only about 3weeks old but I think they are a little ahead of the curve (this is mom speaking so yes I'm very biased). They've all doubled their birth weight so all weigh about 8 pounds.
Saturday, December 4, 2010
Check this out, Caleb has his cow lick on the left and Thomas on the right. I think they may be mirror twins. If they are, one will be right handed and the other left handed. What's even crazier is that Eli has two cow licks. So will Eli be ambidextrous? I wonder if you could figure out who split off from who? My theory is that Eli was the original baby and both Caleb and Thomas split off from him.