Friday, December 10, 2010

Breast Milk Anyone?

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.

The Plan
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!


Sara said...

Janet, well I am still, and have always been impressed with your positive persistent efforts in nursing. 2/3 of their milk needs is fantastic! qI am not a mom of multiples (though I have nursed three babies) much easier than your schedule of pumping and feedings and bottles, etc. I think you should be very proud of your efforts to nurse three, for as long as you can handle doing so. I wonder...just a thought...if you didn't offer the babies a bottle after they nursed, if they would then be more wakeful, hungry, and nurse. (Though it may take a bit for them to make that association). At this point, nursing may be so much comfort, and the bottle has fed them well, that they are just drugged with the mommy touch. I really don't know if that would work, and after being there for a week, I can certainly see how critical it is that you have a schedule, verses the "demand feeding" that I could do with one at a time. Whatever happens, you are a wonderful mother, and have given your boys a wonderful safe, healthy home in the womb for 7 + months, and a loving home with good nutrition now. I bragged to everyone how much you pump and supply milk for your babies, it is truly impressive, I feel like a truly lazy mom just barely waking up, letting baby latch on and snoozing:)

Nicole said...

Ah ha! I found your blog! You post comments on mine and I have so many comments sometimes that I cant keep prople straight. First of all, CONGRA TS if I hadnt said it yet. Second, you are so close to me! Oregon? We should totally exchange numbers sometime. I dont have any suggestions for you since you seem to be doing everything GREAT! Keep up the good work mama!! Your boys are BEAUTIFUL!

Jonalyn said...

You're doing just awesome! If I had triplets, I wouldn't think formula was evil. I am amazed at how much you're able to provide for them. What must your fridge look like. :)

Brooke C. said...


I am a triplet myself and from listening to my mom and her stories of how her and my daddy raised us, she would congradulate you!! she couldn't breast feed due to the pain, but she knew it was the best way of feeding if she could have. me and my siblings were formula fed before we even left the hospital, and we are all as healthy as one can be!! we are now 21!!

other than that i will tell you what she tells other moms with multiples.. it isn't easy, but you will get through it. don't listen to anyone who thinks they can do a better job, because they simply do not understand what you & your husband are going through and sacrificing!! (and they really can't do a better job) and most importantly.. give yourself some me time when possible. she said little trips to the store, a walk outside around the house, or even shutting her door for a minute without being bothered by a baby or my older siblings was enough time to use for herself.

Good luck and many blessings to you and your husband!!

Brooke C.

Tati said...

I think it's great you've been able to breastfeed as much as you have! Cute baby photo :)

Amber said...

I know what you mean about the pumping and bottles. Doing breast via pump is very demanding and I only had one. Producing milk for two full babies is amazing. Considering the physical shock on the body after the c-section and recovery I think all your supplements are doing the trick.

And what wonderful comments from Brooke C.! Thank you from an auntie who totally agrees with you. You are doing an awesome job!!

Laura said...

I think you are doing such a great job!! It is so.. consuming for the first year! I have twins and one older child. I nursed my first for 14 months and assumed I could do the same with twins. For me, it was just too exhausting on top of everything else. I tried pumping for a few weeks to increase my milk supply and this did help but one of my twins always had trouble latching on and would swallow air and then be fussy. There came the point for me that I just had to accept that I could not do it any longer. Your boys are so cute and healthy. They need you both to stay healthy and it is hard to go with so little sleep and keep up for so many months. My two are 8 now and doing great. It was mentally hard at first to bottle feed, but the benefit of more time a little more rest was worthwhile for us and our twins. I think you have done so well keeping them on so much breast milk this long!
I love to see their photos and am happy you are sharing them!
Happy Holidays to all 5 of you!