7 wk old Twins - 2oz of Milk a Day
Hi, I'm new around here, but looking for some desperately needed advice and support. I gave birth to identical twin girls on Nov. 3rd. They were 30weeks, 3 days and it was a very difficult pregnancy with the last month ending in hospital bed rest. My girls spent 6 weeks in the NICU and are finally home. While in the hospital, I began pumping and had a really healthy milk supply for a few weeks (32 oz a day). Then when my twins were transferred to a hospital closer to me, I had to return the hospital pump and my health insurance co. sent me a Medela PIS.
Long story short, I foolishly decreased my pumping sessions because I was running out of places to store the milk. I also simultaneously suffered through many clogged ducts before I realized the PIS just wasn't going to cut it and went back to hospital grade. It took at least another 10 days before I finally got a good pump, but by that time, my milk supply had SEVERLY decreased and I have spent ever since trying to rebuild it with mixed results. It dropped to about 8oz a day, and I started taking Reglan Yogi tea, and marshmallow root which brought it to 12-16oz. I have since then, discontinued the Reglan, as I felt that it was adding to my depression.
Now that the girls are home with me however, I just don't have the time to pump anymore. My supply has dropped to about 2oz a DAY and I'm really depressed. I have 3 other kids, all 3 of which happily nursed for a year with no issues and I was looking forward to doing the same with my twins, but things are just not looking good. The thought of nursing around the clock to increase my supply makes me want to cry more than I already have since I get so little sleep and peace and quiet as it is.
I am feeling really discouraged and not sure that I can do this anymore, but I also can't face the guilt that I know I will have by not continuing to try. :cry
ETA: I have recently began nursing them again over the last few days (in lieu of pumping). I have been putting them to breast before giving them a bottle of formula (they depleted my stash). They have bad reflux and the NICU started putting oatmeal in their bottles and I felt discouraged to continue nursing them, so I stopped completely for two weeks and began again after a lot of encouragement from DH. They suck much better than they used to, but are still learning. One has a poor latch and my right breast is suffering from a cracked scabby nipple to add to it all. They eat about every 3.5 hours, close to 3oz, and I still add the cereal.
Re: 7 wk old Twins - 2oz of Milk a Day
Welcome and congratulations on your frustrating new babies! I'm sorry things have been so hard for you. Bedrest and a long NICU stay and breastfeeding difficulties and 3 other kids... You must be just about at the end of your rope. I know I would be. :yikes
Putting the babies to the breast is a terrific avenue to pursue. If you can get the babies to nurse effectively, then I'm willing to bet that you can eventually phase out the bottles and pumping and supplementing. I wouldn't focus on the idea of "round the clock" nursing, because obviously that's panic-inducing, and also I don't think you have to go that route. That might be the fastest way to get your milk supply up to speed, but it is possible to phase out the supplements at a slower pace (see this link for a how-to: http://www.kellymom.com/bf/supply/decrease-formula.html).
I can totally understand not having time to pump. But, as I'm sure you know, getting going with the pump is the best way to an improved supply. Supplements and medications are nice, but in my experience they are not a replacement for frequent milk removal via pump or baby. Here are a few things that may help you find more time:
- Instead of washing the pump parts every time you pump, leave the pump screwed onto the bottle of milk and pop the whole assemblage in the fridge. When it's time to pump again, just reuse the same set-up. My LC said it was safe to do this once before washing everything again.
- Set up a large basin of soapy water next to the sink, and throw used bottles and pump parts in as necessary. I found it helpful to do one or two large washing-ups per day instead of a zillion little ones.
- If your other kids are young, make a special basket of toys/books/games that comes out only when it's time to pump. That may keep them out of your hair!
- Get help around the house, if possible. A babysitter, a grandma, a mother's helper...
Regarding the depression, is this normal exhaustion and baby blues, or do you feel like this could be PPD? If so, I encourage you to seek treatment. There are antidepressants that are compatible with breastfeeding.
Finally, don't beat yourself up over things not going right just yet. Having 1 baby is hard. Having 1 baby and problems with nursing is REALLY hard. Having nursing issues and premature twins... Gosh, that's gotta be a thousand times more difficult. We're all rooting for you, Mama! Those 2 oz/day are an amazing gift that you're giving your babies, and we'll do whatever we can to help you get them more. :gvibes
Re: 7 wk old Twins - 2oz of Milk a Day
Thanks for your advice and encouragement. This isn't easy. I've never had any true breastfeeding difficulties, save for my son who was a biter (I suffered through months of cracked bloody nipples, but successfully nursed him for over a year).
The biggest problem is the lack of help. DH and I both lost our mother's to cancer in 2000 and 2006, so there is not much in the way of support. My Aunt has been here since October, but she's leaving in Jan and I honestly don't know how I'm going to manage without her. Things are easier when DH gets home and he can help me juggle the twins. He also feeds me, which helps a LOT.
My depression comes and goes. It's more of a baby blues thing. I don't have the feeling that I want to hurt myself or anyone else, but get very weepy and cry a lot when it comes on. I just feel like I am overwhelmed sometimes and have to work very hard to snap out of it and keep a positive attitude. Trying to rebuild a milk supply is tough. I still have yet to pump today and baby #1 hasn't nursed but a couple of time for only a few mins before she fell asleep (I have the Breastfeeding Mother's Guide to Making More Milk, and followed the suggestion where she says to finish feedings at the breast).