Ups and Downs
Jemma and Zoe are almost three weeks and both are up to a little over six pounds. They are starting to show us their little personalities and are definitely more lively than they were even a week ago. People have told us that babies change up the routine at about two weeks and almost like clockwork, ours did. They are no longer sleeping the predictable three to three and a half hours and they are taking more and more breast milk and formula. We’ve almost graduated from the small two ounce bottles they had given us at the hospital.
So far the girls have had two doctors visits, had a newborn photo session, gone on their first walk in the stroller and have continued to melt our hearts.
This past Sunday we booked a photographer to come to our house to do a newborn photo session. Stephanie recommended feeding the girls before her arrival to ensure that the girls were full and sleepy. We finished feeding the girls about 10 minutes before her arrival, but didn’t have time to get them swaddled and back to sleep. Needless to say, Stephanie got some amazing images despite the girls being wide awake, flailing their little arms and legs and not being very “posable”.
Jemma (left) and Zoe (right)
Zoe (left) and Jemma (right)
Having twins is so wonderful but is also much more challenging that I had anticipated. I love these girls beyond words, but I’ve had my moments of frustration and tears. I think sleep deprivation plus hormonal changes equals an emotional roller coaster. Much of my stress has come with breastfeeding. Right now we are doing a combination of giving the girls pumped breast milk (I make enough for one baby but not enough for two), formula and alternating breastfeeding with each baby during the day. Zoe was doing great with breastfeeding at the hospital, Jemma only had about a day or two of breastfeeding at the hospital since she was in the NICU and I wasn’t able to get out of bed for about four days but seemed to do pretty well also. Both girls were doing pretty well when we first got home but now both of them scream, cry, push off my breast and have a hard time latching. Jemma has had more difficulty, so earlier this week we saw another lactation consultant (we had been visited by about four different lactation consultants in the hospital) to get some help with her. We changed my position, pillow (goodbye Twin Brest Friend for now) and baby’s position. Jemma did well at the appointment and managed to take in about 20 ccs during a relatively short feeding. However, she is back to getting extremely upset when I try to latch her onto my breast and screams and pushes away. It just breaks my heart to see her so upset that I have to give her a bottle to settle her.
I have a follow-up appointment with the lactation consultant in about a week and a half but I’m going to try to move my appointment up to see her sooner. I’m having such a tough time deciding what is best for myself and the babies. I envisioned breastfeeding until I go back to work in September, but I’m not sure if my babies and I are doing what’s best when everyone gets so upset and stressed. We have to bottle feed, (I’m not making enough milk for both girls), I would be able to do little else with my day if I tried to breastfeed both girls as much as possible each day, and I want the girls to accept a bottle since I will be going back to work after Labor Day.
Here are my dilemmas:
-Do I continue to pump, giving the girls breast milk at every feeding via a bottle and feel content knowing that the are getting breast milk (my main goal)? I would love to give the girls breast milk for at least 6 months.
-Do I continue to try to breast feed and feel upset and sad when the girls are having such difficulty?
-Do I take away some of the bottle feeding, but then spend almost my whole day trying to breastfeed? And again, potentially feel stressed.
I would love to hear your thoughts, especially if you are the parent of multiples. Please do not write comments saying that “breast is best” and that it is the “easiest thing in the world”. For some of you this may be the case, but I know for myself and many other mothers, breastfeeding is very challenging. I want very badly to be able to breastfeed, but I also want to enjoy the bonding time I have with Jemma and Zoe and I don’t want anyone to dread feeding times.
Hubby goes back to work on Monday and that is something else that is weighing on me. We are a great team and have really worked well together to feed the girls, I’ll be taking on the second overnight feeding by myself so that he can get a good night of sleep, hoping and praying that it’ll go as smoothly as possible.