I have been exclusively breastfeeding my five-week-old twins. It seemed like it was going really well. They managed to catch up on their weight gain after a slow start without any supplementing. But things are not making sense right now and it’s getting progressively worse. This morning’s experience is the perfect example:
They woke up hungry at the same time and I put them in the tandem feeding position. They latched on quickly and appeared to be eating (movement in the jaw and around the ear, audible swallowing). I waited for them to take themselves off the breast, about an hour later. They seemed happy, but a few minutes after being set down, they were crying and showing signs of hunger, so I put them both back on. They seemed to be eating again and stayed on the breast for about 30 minutes each. Once again, I let them decide when they were done and they seemed content, but a few minutes later were screaming and showing signs of hunger. At this point I gave them a bottle and they ate as though they hadn’t eaten in days. Six ounces vanished in minutes.
Is this a sign of low supply? Out of curiosity, I decided to try pumping right after their second feeding session this morning and got about 1/2 ounce out of each breast. When I pump in place of a feeding, I get between four and eight ounces, which seems like the right amount. Though they obviously take a lot of breaks, it looks as though they are eating for a decent portion of the time and they are always happy to be on the breast; they are clearly comforted by it.
I’d like to keep offering the breast first every time, but this routine leaves them (and me, obviously) so exhausted that they have a hard time winding down and getting to sleep even after they are full. I know that babies go through growth spurts at this time and are inefficient eaters, but this doesn’t seem normal. I’m happy to put them on the breast for two hours at a time if it seems like it’s doing anything, but they are never satisfied until they’ve been given a bottle. This has been going on for about two weeks and when it first started they were still satisfied from breastfeeding most of the time, doing this once a day or less. Now it is nearly all of the time.