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Thread: Back at work, twins will only take bottle

  1. #1

    Default Exhausted and Being Encouraged to Quit Expressing

    My twins were born at 31w+1d, and were in the NICU for about two months, and have been home for one month. I have been expressing milk for them, so that they are now receiving only breast milk (after having supplemented diet at hospital), and I have some in the freezer that will last the both of them a couple more weeks.

    I'm at my wit's end, though. I am exhausted from the schedule of taking care of the twins plus pumping. If I could get the boys to breastfeed, my problems would be solved. They'll only take the bottle, though. When I try to get them to take milk from me, one of them fusses and pulls his head away, and the other sometimes does a weak latch for a few equally weak pulls, and he either sleeps (despite my touching his face, adjusting the breast, playing with his feet, trying to tickle him) or pulls the move his brother does.

    Consultants say it's just that the boys are used to the ease of a bottle, but when I pump until my milk is coming in streams, they still don't take from the breast. It also doesn't help when I manually squeeze the milk into their mouths.

    I'm about to give up. This is exhausting. At work, I can only pump for about 25 minutes at a time, twice a day (on my breaks, to take any more time would be to not get paid, and that I can't really afford). This had an impact on the amount I express, and now I struggle to get out 9 ounces a session. But even that is not enough for these guys, they're going through the milk faster than I can make it with the way my work schedule is.

    My husband and everyone around me is encouraging me to switch to formula, and so I haven't expressed in 24 hours, but I feel overwhelming guilt, and break down in tears as I feel I am not doing my best for the boys. I could probably get my supply back up if I tried to jump start it, but I don't know if my husband and I can deal with my emotional state when I'm so exhausted.

    Ugh, I thought this might be a good place to get some guidance, if this is the wrong way to go about it, I apologize. I'm just at a loss here.
    Last edited by @llli*dcgchb; October 30th, 2012 at 05:08 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    19,923

    Default Re: Back at work, twins will only take bottle

    Welcome to the forum!

    First of all, i have to say that you have gone through a LOT, and so it's no surprise that you're at the end of your tether with the whole breastfeeding thing. Most women in your shoes would have given up a long time ago!

    I think the most important thing to remember about breastfeeding is that it does not have to be all or nothing. If you're only able to pump 2x a day, and only able to provide for some of your kids' milk needs, that is OKAY. Some breastmilk is better than none. It's better for the babies to drink it, and better for your health to make it (lactation has a lot of health benefits including decreased incidence of breast cancer and heart disease and obesity).

    It sounds like you are trying to get the boys to nurse simultaneously, correct? For a lot of moms, simultaneous nursing is the master skill of breastfeeding. It's not necessarily something that any mom can master right off the bat, and that has to be even more true of a mom whose babies aren't yet that adept at nursing. I think in your shoes I would try to nurse one baby at a time, and have the other one be bottle-fed at the same time, so that the kids are on more or less the same routine. The next time I would switch- the one who got the bottle gets to try the breast instead, and the one who got the breast gets a bottle. If you have the strength, it might be helpful to have the bottle-fed baby finish feedings at the breast; even if he's only on the breast for "comfort" and not for nutrition, you're giving him a chance to retain his latching skills and his love of nursing.

    WRT your husband and everyone around you- well, don't bow to their pressure unless you decide that using formula is what YOU want to do. The decision to breastfeed is the most intimate, most personal decision in a woman's life, and IMO only the woman's opinion on nursing counts. It doesn't matter if everyone around her thinks she is going crazy pumping or nursing her heart out when babies do "just fine" on formula. What matters is how that mom will feel if she gives up. If she's going to struggle with a lifetime of guilt, then she needs to soldier on, and tell her critics that if they don't have anything nice or supportive to say, they should keep their mouths shut.

    This link may have some useful tips: http://kellymom.com/bf/concerns/child/back-to-breast/

    ETA: one last thought- if you haven't pumped in 24 hours, I would haul the machine out and pump now. When you wean, whether that's from the pump or from a nursing baby, you don't want to stop cold turkey. Stopping too quickly sets a mom up for problems with engorgement and discomfort, and potentially for even worse problems like plugged ducts and mastitis. If you're going to wean now, or a year from now, or 3 years from now, go slow. Drop one pumping or nursing session, wait a couple of days, and then drop another, wait a couple of days, etc.
    Last edited by @llli*mommal; October 30th, 2012 at 07:19 PM.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Victoria, BC, Canada
    Posts
    940

    Default Re: Back at work, twins will only take bottle

    You've got an awesome milk supply built up-be proud of that and all your hard work!

    You can try the baby-led mother-guided latch. Babies are born with the instinct to seek the breast on their own and latch on. You'll want to nurse 1 baby at a time at first.

    You can do it! Like mommal said, breastfeeding doesn't have to be all or nothing. Just do the best you can.

    http://www.biologicalnurturing.com/video/bn3clip.html (Nice video clip of laid back breastfeeding)

    http://breastcrawl.org/ (video of baby self-latching after birth)

    http://www.nbci.ca/index.php?option=...id=6&Itemid=13 (scroll down to get to the baby-led mother-guided videos)

    http://www.ameda.com/resources/video (Your baby knows how to latch)
    Last edited by @llli*monika.h; October 30th, 2012 at 08:48 PM.
    Canadian mom and breastmilk fan.
    We have 2 beautiful children: Luana who's 9 y/o, had breastmilk for 2 years and is smart as a whip. Lucas who came out kickin', is 4 y/o and continues to enjoy his milkies.

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    COUGARTOWN Baby! From here on in!
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    Default Re: Back at work, twins will only take bottle

    If you feel guilty then don't give up. Because ultimately you know that breastmilk is best for your kids. And if you have the ability to provide that for them, why wouldn't you? We are mammals. The desire to breastfeed our children is a Very very primal thing. One I don't think is ever healthy to ignore. Women who do generally have guilt and sadness about if for a long long time. Your babies are young. You really could get them back to the breast. But that will take work. For sure. But the amount of time invested in doing that will pay back in spades because as you said, you won't be doing double time with the pump. I agree with mommal that you should work in feeding one at a time while the other is bottle fed. Also get a car adapter. Add two sessions a day while driving 2 and from work. It's a ton of work Mama. There is no doubt about it. But it's not work you'll ever look back on and regret or think "well that was a waste of time". No way no how.
    You can do this. And I think you should. And no babies need or benefit from breastmilk MORE than preemie nicu babies. So as much as you can for as long as you can, you should.
    Last edited by @llli*djs.mom; October 31st, 2012 at 04:23 PM. Reason: MIssed a word!

    Way too lazy for formula

  5. #5

    Default Re: Back at work, twins will only take bottle

    Of course you are at your wits end! Your health fragile twins are less than a month old adjusted age, are not yet nursing at the breast, and have only been out of the hospital and home with you for a month, and you have to leave them every day to go off to work! The return to work is normally stressful for moms of full term, totally healthy, 100% nursing singletons. It is also normally stressful for moms of healthy, full term, 100 % formula fed babies! Of course it is terribly hard for you. Frankly I don’t know how anyone can expect you to do be working full time at this point, breastfeeding or not. And on top of that, you are not even able to take the needed pumping time at work.

    Errgh. Maybe ‘everyone around you’ who is encouraging you to switch to formula could instead take up a collection to pay for essentials so you can afford to at least take appropriate break time so you can pump enough times in a day to meet the needs of your premature infants. Or better yet, take a humane amount of time before returning to work at all.

    Anyway-Babies have been brought to the breast after months of never nursing. Adopted babies of several months old or older have been taught to nurse. But it's not easy and there are no guarantees. You will know if and when you have done all you can and it is time to stop trying. If you are not ready to stop trying yet, explain to your loved ones that you know they care about you and your health and happiness but right now you need their support in what you are trying to do.

    It takes time and patience to bring babies to the breast after long term bottle use and of course you have much less of both, probably, than you would if you were not back at work. A person can only do the best they can, given the situation. So you can either think very seriously about if there is any way to change your situation, or do the best you can in your current situation. Try to let go of the guilt, that does not help you or your babies.

    Ok here are some hopefully practical ideas:

    Have you tried an at the breast supplementer (SNS, Lact-aid, homemade?)

    Did your babies EVER latch and nurse at the breast? If not, then I would not say the problem is entirely due to them preferring the easy flow of bottles. I would say maybe it’s due to them needing to learn how to latch and suck effectively. Does that make sense? You could try suck training with the tube at the breast, or with the tube on a finger and then transferring to the breast? Dr. Jack Newman has a video on his website showing this I believe...certainly an IBCLC should be able to teach you how to do this. http://www.nbci.ca/index.php?option=...id=6&Itemid=13

    When bottles are given, is paced bottle feeding done? This helps when bottle feeding babies who are breastfeeding or one hopes to breastfeed, and certainly may be a good idea even if you do choose to wean and formula feed as it allows baby to control the feeding and be fed more ‘normally.’ here is info http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...astfedbaby.pdf

    And yes as mommal says, please do not try to wean off the pump cold turkey! Ouch.

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