Transitioning from pumping to breast
I had twin girls three weeks ago and, up until this point, I've been pumping and giving them my milk via bottles. We had a rough start in the hospital - I had a c-section at 37.5 weeks and one of the pediatricians at the hospital was really not supportive. She kept calling them "preemies," (which they're not, since 37 weeks is full term and they were almost 38 weeks, anyway) and saying that they were "small" (which they weren't - one was 5 lbs 15 oz and the other was 6 lbs 8 oz - an oz bigger than I was when I was born!). On day two, it was their blood sugar and she insisted that I give them formula to "supplement." The lactation consultant at the hospital got me set up with a pump, but no one really explained how to use the pump to do what the babies were supposed to be doing. So I didn't pump very often, continuing to breastfeed and supplement. The doctor then asked me to stop breastfeeding because it would cause them to "work too hard" and lower their blood sugar. It sounded like bull to me, but whatever... so I pumped and gave it to them instead. Then, day three, she was worried about their weight loss - one of my girls had lost a little over 8% of her birth weight - so she wanted me to really push the formula to get their weights up. When my milk came in on day three, we had a different pediatrician who ok'd me to pump and give them my milk and move away from the supplementing. She wasn't really concerned about the weight loss (and, after researching it myself, I guess it's normal for babies to lose 7-10% of their birth weight. C-section babies also tend to be a little bloated from all the fluids they pump into the mother, so they tend to lose more than vaginal birth babies. So an 8% weight loss was nothing to worry about. Stupid doctor.) Day four, however, brought us the first pediatrician, who was NOT happy that I was pumping and transitioning off of the formula. She was worried about their billirubin levels and wanted me to forget about the breastfeeding and just focus on getting calories into them so they'd eliminate the billirubin. One baby had to go under lights on our last night, but they were both okay after that. At discharge, the pediatrician told me that she really wants me to continue with the supplementing and come back the next day to recheck their weights and billirubin levels. She also said that the only reason she's letting me take my babies home is because their weights had stabilized - otherwise, she'd keep them in the hospital. It totally sounded like a threat. So I just wanted to do whatever I needed to do to get them home. When I brought them back in the day after discharge, the pediatrician we saw was kind of baffled as to why we were there - he said their weights were fine, as were their billirubin levels. So, basically, it was a whole lot of fuss for nothing. Needless to say, I was FURIOUS about the whole thing! I also had a stunted milk supply. Since then, I've done my homework and spent my time playing catch-up with my milk supply.
I'm now making enough milk for all but one feeding, so I'm trying to transition them to the breast. My plan is to have them breastfeed exclusively during the day. At night, I'll breastfeed one while my husband feeds the other with a bottle of either my milk or formula. We've been doing "practice" nursing sessions the whole time, so they both latch fine. The problem is that they treat it like a snack and don't seem to understand that they need to eat a full meal at the breast. I pump after a feeding to make sure that I empty fully and my supply doesn't go down, but it's still frustrating! And one of my girls has been playing with her food, so to speak. She does it with bottles, too, but with bottles I can take it away until she decides "no, wait, I AM hungry!" With the breast, I end up leaking all over the place - my shirt, her face, it's awful! And by the evening, they're both starving and I can't keep up with them. Not to mention they're both screaming like banshees and refuse to settle down and go to bed. So I guess my question is - if I stick with it, will they learn to eat a full meal at the breast? Will my milk supply be damaged in the mean time? I've worked so hard to get it where it is! But, since it is supply and demand, I don't want to be playing catch up with the pump forever, either. Or is it too late for them to learn and I should just stick with exclusive pumping? Has anyone ever gone through this before? My patience is getting pretty thin! Any tips and encouragement would be helpful!
Re: Transitioning from pumping to breast
:headslap to that ped. Seriously bad advice there.
But some babes are snackers, and snacking is actually good for your supply too, as it's frequent stimulation.
Nurse at night. They are cluster feeding to increase your supply. Just park it and keep nursing over and over. You are also at the 3 week growth spurts, which is hard enough with one baby, would be very hard with two.
Please do NOT EP. It gets much harder with time.
We have plent of twin mamas who have successfully nursed. I think you will be one too.
Re: Transitioning from pumping to breast
Nursing vacation & lots of skin to skin time worked for me when I went from EP to nursing. Fore go the company and any well wishers. just hang out with your babies.