04 March, 2016

My breastfeeding experience

Before I gave birth to the twins I had a plan for breastfeeding...

I was going to breastfeed and be amazing at it and that was that. 

I really didn't allow myself to think about it not working. I just knew in the depths of my heart and soul that I would be a breastfeeding goddess and it would be the most amazing experience of my life.

Well... that certainly didn't happen. 

I really, really tried hard to make it work and be that milky goddess, but was mentally devastated when my plan came crashing down around me.

When the boys were born it was an incredibly overwhelming experience to say the least. I birthed, Armor, vaginally and Ronin, came via emergency c-section. Both boys had low sugar and jaundice. We had a difficult time latching and staying on the boob, so I also pumped on top of my attempted nursing sessions... They were small, and we gave formula to help keep their sugars up and basically keep them from having to be taken to NICU... Armor was really having a lot of trouble with his sugar as well as the jaundice and spent a whole 24 hours under the lights, so he was not able to nurse during that time. It was so emotionally draining and so foreign at the same time.

When we got home I nursed as much as I could, and as often as I could, and was literally pumping every 2-3 hours on top or trying to nurse them... Even overnight *sigh*. This went on for about 2 1/2 months... I was only getting about an ounce of milk from each breast, if that, and pumping was so draining on top of already being exhausted from being a first time mom to twins and getting very little sleep. I never knew what pure exhaustion felt like until then.

I felt so depressed pumping so much and get so little in return. They boys were also pretty use to the bottle at this point, and would scream bloody murder when I did try and nurse them. I stopped nursing and just continued to pumped. I felt like I was wasting my time, but at the same time I was so happy to give them every drop of breast milk that I was able to produce. We had a few sweet moments in our nursing journey. I will never forget the moments when I got them both latched for a tandem nursing sessions, it was only a few times, but I felt so accomplished.  

Overall, breastfeeding very hard, in so many different ways... So I decided to throw in the towel... But not after mentally beating myself up and feeling like a complete failure as a woman and mom.

Lets be honest... I was in tears... I felt horrible, as if I wasn't woman enough to stick it through and I was just giving up too soon. 

But I was woman enough, dammit. I was amazing; I carried two babies in my body and birthed them into this world. 

That. is. amazing.

After a few weeks of formula feeding... I felt happy and relieved. I'd finally accepted that sometimes things don't always work out the way we plan, and that is okay. There was nothing wrong with creating a new plan. There should never be any shame in bottle feeding, formula feeding or breastfeeding... You just need to feed your baby and mentally survive.

The boys were thriving and getting full bellies. They were happy and just as healthy with formula. Our sleep was improving, meaning I was getting better sleep, too. It so so important for a new mother to get good sleep when she can. 

When I was pregnant with Olivia... I had very different thoughts about breastfeeding. I told myself I wanted to try again, and that we'd see how it went and I would not allow myself to feel bad if it didn't work out this time around.

I also remembered all the things I "felt" like I did wrong with the boys... The biggest thing, for me, I think, was not nursing them enough right after birth. Nursing every few hours, or on demand those first few days is crucial. I remembered all the tips about trying to get a good latch and what to keep doing if it hurt when the baby was latched... I had a list in my head of all the do's and don'ts and I was just going to go with the flow.

And you know what? 

This time around breastfeeding has been absolutely amazing!! Mentally I was way more prepared, I only had to nurse one baby (haha), and I just stuck with it. This time I was in it to win it ;)

The first few weeks were the hardest, but she and I got our groove down, and it has been an incredible experience. I never knew just how amazing it would be. Now, there are definitely pros and cons to both breastfeeding and bottle feeding, but over all I feel blessed and happy to have this type of bond with her. It makes me a little sad that it did not work with the boys, but at the same time... with the struggles with breastfeeding, and having two babies at once - I can't imagine not having switched over to formulas for all our sake and sanity. 

I feel so lucky to have had this experience this time around. Olivia is a very efficient nursling, I worked with her latch that first week, every single time she latched, and she learned for my guidance... It has been so wonderful sitting and staring at her sweet face, and all her sweet little milk coma smiles... She loves to smile in her sleep.

I returned to work the very last week of January and began to pump at work. So far it has been going well.. but I did get mastitis once returning. Boooo. that sucked. Now I pump twice a day and get about 8-10 ounces while I'm at work, and then I nurse once I get home and at night when she wakes up. She is a great sleeper and usually only wakes between 4:30-6:00 am to nurse.

The transition to using a bottle was a nightmare. My poor husband got screamed at by a baby for about a month. It was sad and hard, and no one tells you that part when they are promoting breastfeeding. I would tell every mother to prepare, especially if they are returning to work after. It was really hard, and we probably bought about 8 different bottles trying get her used to it. Josh is really a trooper and deserves every ounce of credit for getting her to finally accept the bottle... It got so bad he had to give her milk with a medicine dropper during the day, because she would literally not eat anything. Crazy girl, hehe. 

1 comment:

  1. What a beautiful picture of a Mommy and her baby :) Hugs Crystal! You are an Amazing Mom!


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