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Thread: Help with twins after NICU stay

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    2

    Default Help with twins after NICU stay

    I need some ideas/help with our twin girls. They were born 7 weeks early and spent 3 weeks in the NICU learning to eat. I did not get much bf support in the hospital, other than information about pumping. Once the girls came home we were told to only spend about 5 minutes every other feeding trying to get them to latch. Well, they are now 7 weeks old and they will latch on and suck some. We have weighed them before and after a feeding and they will each take .5 to 1 oz per feeding. After this they get tired and they do not suck any more. They will stay latched on but I cannot get them to suck. We have to be careful about wearing them out too much, so then we switch to a bottle for the remainder of the feeding, and at this feeding they get pumped breast milk. They were taking about 3 oz per feeding before they started latching on well. Our ped. encourages us to bf but he said to go ahead and supplement until they are taking more breast milk because they are so tiny and he wants them to continue on the growth path they are on now.

    My question is this, how can I get them to become more efficient nursers and not just fall asleep at the breast? I do try to wake them up, but nothing seems to work. Since they were preemies, is it just a developmental thing and they will get it soon? Any suggestions would be great! I exclusively nursed my other two girls and I really want to bf this time too.

    Kristin

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    422

    Default Re: Help with twins after NICU stay

    Quote Originally Posted by Baronwaser View Post
    I need some ideas/help with our twin girls. They were born 7 weeks early and spent 3 weeks in the NICU learning to eat. I did not get much bf support in the hospital, other than information about pumping. Once the girls came home we were told to only spend about 5 minutes every other feeding trying to get them to latch. Well, they are now 7 weeks old and they will latch on and suck some. We have weighed them before and after a feeding and they will each take .5 to 1 oz per feeding. After this they get tired and they do not suck any more. They will stay latched on but I cannot get them to suck. We have to be careful about wearing them out too much, so then we switch to a bottle for the remainder of the feeding, and at this feeding they get pumped breast milk. They were taking about 3 oz per feeding before they started latching on well. Our ped. encourages us to bf but he said to go ahead and supplement until they are taking more breast milk because they are so tiny and he wants them to continue on the growth path they are on now.

    My question is this, how can I get them to become more efficient nursers and not just fall asleep at the breast? I do try to wake them up, but nothing seems to work. Since they were preemies, is it just a developmental thing and they will get it soon? Any suggestions would be great! I exclusively nursed my other two girls and I really want to bf this time too.

    Kristin
    Kristin, congratulations on the birth of your daughters! Glad they are home and doing well. I hope you are celebrating the tremendous progress they have made at breast! How super that both are latching and suckling and transferring up to an ounce per feeding! (I'm assuming you're using a rented digital scale that is sensitive within 2 gm;1/16th oz when doing pre-/post-feeding weights, e.g. Medela BabyWeigh scale...) You and they already ARE breastfeeding this time -- and it will improve as they mature and get a bit older. BTW, keep pumping some until both are BF/transferring milk effectively and exclusively.

    It wasn't clear from your post what your girls' current gestational age is. Are they now at full term or is their "real" due date still not here? What each one's birth weight and what is each one's weight now?

    I'm wondering if it may be possible to cut back a bit on the post-breastfeeding top-off feed so they'll wake to BF/eat again sooner. You know from your older daughters that most newborns BF at least 8 (about every 3 hours) but up to 12 or more (every 1-2 hours/clusters) times per 24 hours. Actually, 3 oz is a hefty amount for most newborn stomachs. Research indicates that the exclusively BF baby does not take as much from the breast, although more milk is available in the breast for baby, as she will from a bottle -- baby chooses not to become overfull during breastfeeding. So babies apparently prefer more, smaller feedings. (This self-regulation is difficult during bottle-feeding both because of how it works "with" baby's suck reflex and because a parent tends to jiggle and encourage baby to take the entire amount even when baby tries to signal "full.")

    A lot of smaller feedings was also associated with higher weight gains in one study of exclusively BF newborns (1st month after term birth). This study did find most babies averaged between 8-12 BF/24 hours and, interestingly, they all averaged BF a total of about 140 minutes/24 hrs whether they BF 8, 10, 12x during those 24 hours. Yet in spite of spending about the same total amount of time BF/24 hours, those that BF 11-12x/24 hrs gained more weight than those averaging 7-8x!

    There are a number of mothers who've BF (former) preterm twins on the yahoo group AP Multiples. If interested in signing on to the group, go to my web site (listed below) and then to Links. A link to the group sign-up page is toward the top.

    Also, if you have the book Mothering Multiples, the chapter re: Making Up for a Poor Start may be of use now. (If you don't have it, get in touch via personal email and I'll forward to you.)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Help with twins after NICU stay

    The girls are at 5 days gestational age. I think I have that right. Their due date was October 19th. They were born at 3 pounds 9 oz and 3 pounds 12 oz. They are currently 6 pounds 14 oz and 7 pounds. I don't remember if I said this before, but they came home on pumped breast milk and Neosure formula power added to the milk to boost the calories. They came home taking about 2 oz each but after a week or two at home, they still were hungry so we upped them to 3 oz each and they finish it on a constant basis.

    I will check out the website you listed. I do not have the book you mentioned, so I will send you an email.

    Thanks,
    Kristin

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