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!