Hello! I have twin boys, born at 32 weeks (due to IUGR). After 6 weeks in the NICU, we just brought them home last week. During their NICU stay, I tried to breast feed each twin at least once a day. Both would latch and showed signs of continuous improvement, although my larger twin always would stay on longer with a stronger suck. The rest of their feedings they were fed via bottle (after they graduated from the tube). Now that we've been home for about 10 days, I am working so hard to transition both to mostly breast from mostly bottle (they need at least 2 bottles of fortified breast milk a day per my pediatrician). My larger twin is a champ - he will breastfeed for 30 min+... we rented a scale so I know he takes between 70-100 mL's at each feeding. My smaller twin, however, is struggling. My suspicion is that he has nipple confusion after being fed bottles for so long (he takes feedings from the bottle just fine). He will latch on fine, suck about 5-10 times, and then either push off, or purse his lips, as if he was sucking a bottle. After trying for about 10 minutes, he becomes very fussy and frustrated. Occasionally (maybe once a day), he will figure it out and continue sucking for about 10 minutes, but (because I've weighed him) the most he's taken via breast is 25 mL's. So I know he CAN do it.
Yesterday, I tried blocking off 6 hours to only offer the breast. It was incredibly frustrating for us both. He hardly stayed on for longer than 5 minutes any time. After 6 hours, my husband gave him a bottle. I am so nervous to deprive him of food since he is a preemie (5.5 lbs) although he has continues to gain weight every day. Should I stick with this "bootcamp" (not offer bottles & paci's) for a chunk of time every day, or continue to do it for 24 hours, like I've read elsewhere? (I'm so nervous!) Also, my main question, how long does it generally take for a baby to typically transition from bottle to breast after depriving the bottle for a chunk of time? I know all babies are different, but I'm just wondering how long it will generally take - a couple days? A few weeks? (This answer may help me mentally to get through it). I am so determined to get my smaller baby boy to breast, like his brother. I can tell his big brother loves it and is so relaxed during our breastfeeding sessions. I want the sam for him! Also, I can't deal with these night feedings: breastfeeding one baby, then trying to breast feed the other, bottle feed him, THEN pump in the middle of the night. That process takes 2.5 hours and is unsustainable. Also, just to note, I have plenty of milk.. I pump about 1.2 Liters each day. Also, I tried using a nipple shield in the hospital and he never latched at all using it - he latches much better on my bare nipple. Thanks for any advice!!!