Sunday, July 25, 2010

Bits Are All I Have Time For

-Mom is gone, and I am profoundly sad about it. I've gotten so used to having her around. Despite our past disagreements, she was really great while here. Sniping comments were at an all-time low, and she really was here to do what she could to help me care for the boys. I have to admit: I'm terrified to do it on my own when H goes back to work on Monday. Of course, it's not just her extra hands to help with the babies that I'll miss. I generally don't mind being on my own throughout the day, as I've been pretty much spending my days by myself for the better part of two years now (with the exception of school for an hour or two a day during the first nine months of that), but it's been nice to have someone stop by during the day, just for the chance to chat. We spent most every day while she was here running errands or going for lunch, or planning dinner. It's kind of lonely now. Sigh.

Anyway, tomorrow is the true test, I think. H is technically only gone for a half-day, but that's still 4 hours on my own with babies that may or may not be screamy (but probably screamy).

--That's the sad thing. They are super-screamy, but most of the time (unless it's hunger or reflux) as long as you can pick them up and hold them, bounce them, etc., they calm down fairly easily. But when there's two, there's very little you can do to calm both at once, and so what starts as a little fussing or slight crying turns into screams and wails and full-on fits because I cannot get to them fast enough or hold them forever, etc. Twin mom guilt is a serious thing. I get the idea that either of these boys would actually be quite delightful babies if they were born separately.

--Speaking of hunger, good GOD, they eat a lot. I mean, like, they keep going through days where they eat every hour on the hour (meaning that I start feeding at 10:00, finish at 10:30-ish, burp them, change them, and then, they scream for 15 minutes until I relent and feed them again. They appear to be gaining weight, and they have plenty of poopy and wets, so I'm pretty sure they're getting enough, but I really hope this ends soon. I hear that it's not uncommon to have phases like this, but it's killing me. It's making me want to stop breast feeding, because my nipples are pink and burny-feeling (though after a single, blessed 3 hour break, they no longer feel like that, so I know it's the frequency, and not a poor latch or anything like that), and I'm tired, and it's clear that they are STARVING all the time, and I start to resent them, and I hate that. I actually slammed the door to the bathroom this morning after being awoken for the third hour *just* after managing to fall back asleep, because He.nry had awoken AGAIN, demanding to be fed, and I was just at my wit's end. I seriously don't know what to do in these circumstances. If they are eating until the breast is empty (usually takes about 20 minutes, but I nurse them for as long as they want, which is usually 30 minutes)), how on EARTH can they be hungry again just a few minutes later? And how can that pattern hold ALL FRICKIN' DAY?

After a day or two like that, they seem to fall back into the pattern of eating every 2-3 hours (but usually more like every 2 hrs), but sadly, they choose different days to be like this, and since I'm attempting to keep them on similar schedules, I end up with a half asleep baby trying to nurse while his brother screams his fool head off because I can't whip out the boob fast enough.

--Along those lines, how in the world does one manage to nurse lying down? Books and websites throw it out as some sort of easy-peasy solution (instructions: lay down. nurse.), but I guess my nipples don't point the right direction, because unless I want to suffocate my babies, then I cannot figure out how to get mouth and nipple lined up in such a way as to allow a boy to eat.

--um, yeah. Post ends as usual, with one-handed typing while both babies scream... yes, it is as pleasant as it sounds...


Rachel said...

It took us until 5 months to figure out breastfeeding lying down, but once we did it totally changed my life. If you are sure you can stay awake, what about propping a pillow under the baby to get them at the right angle to eat? Or can you put a pillow between your knees and use an elbow to get your torso up high enough to feed one of them? I wish I was closer so we could show you what we do (I only feed the fusspot lying down now unless we are in transit, but then again she has taken to kicking my bladder recently ...)

Anonymous said...

Oh, dude! First, let me say that you're my hero and I am so damn proud of you for doing so well with breastfeeding your boys. I've got a local friend who has twin boys just a month or so older than yours so I know a bit about how challenging it is. The time...the energy.... Sounds like you ate all doing so well, though, and I'm so happy for you.

Here's what helped me a lot with nursing lying down - most of my nursing is done this way, actually - bless my doula who got me sorted with it early on. I find I have to sort of lean away from my boy - like my top shoulder is leaning back. So to be able to relax I put a pillow or rolled blanket/towel behind my hips and back so I am supported. Then the bottom breast is sort of tilted up to the lad and the breast isn't falling all over his airway and suffocating him. It also makes a huge difference to pull his bum right in tight to my belly, so his head ends up at the right angle with his chin in to the breast and nose out. Does that make sense? If you ever had time to skype I could do a demo for you - for real!

Keep up the good work - my friend says that she's learned that growth spurts just take a bit longer with twins (she has an older boy too, and she's a LLL leader, so she knows whereof she speaks). Actually, I could connect you via email if you're interested. She's also a fellow stirrup queen and very cool. When babieS are this little, they are basically growth spurting all the damn time. It slows down, truly.


luxzia said...

My love - I know how hard this is. I've looked at my phone several times since the boys have been born and thought I should call, but I haven't mostly because I know you have your hands full of baby and not much time for such things.

But what I would have said... honestly bringing ONE baby into this world is an act of bravery. TWO is an act of intense selfishness and love. Two at the same time is... there are no words for how hard it is. You are amazing - this is your moment for the roughest hardest point in the road of life, but this is the moment that is so worth everything - this is point in life where everything is for the future rewards and the smiles you get between screams as the current tiny amount of love. This will pass - the boys will grow and learn to feed themselves and talk and tell you what's wrong. If that's easier or not, I don't know, but maybe less frustrating than what you have now.

But.. what you are doing now sounds like you are doing everything as right as you can. Yes, you are human and you are going to go nuts occasionally having two small babies needing you as their constant source of nourishment. But they are healthy and you and H love them. Love yourself and don't worry if there are the moments when you want to scream yourself. I suspect that any healthy normal person would feel that.

Call the lactician (is that what they are called?) and say that you need advice on how to feed the babies lying down so that your poor tired self can sleep while they nourish themselves. If health insurance is good for anything, it should be good for that. Post on fb - I'm sure one of the mama friends on there (as well as the advice on here) will give you advice and hopefully it will work out.

Much love and many hugs to all!

VA Blondie said...

It took me a couple months to figure out how to nurse lying down. I leaned back a bit, and I put a folded receiving blanket under baby's head to get it at the right height.

Babies do grow a lot the first few months. It seems like they are always in a growth spurt!

jenn said...

Wow- growth spurts are ~hard~- I had a chubby hungry baby who seemed to be spurting constantly- I can't imagine how hard two is! Go mama- you are doing awesome!
And I will add my cheer to the crowd that lying down is the way to go- it took us a little while, but once it clicked there was nothing better. I had to prop my back and opposite shoulder with pillows and tuck her little heiny in closer to me than her head & the angle was good. If I recall there was some sort of illustration on the LLL website- but calling a consultant may be the easiest & quickest solution for you. Especially with two!
Good luck today- This week will probably be the hardest- but it too will pass.

Tracy said...

Sorry you are sad about your mom. As far as being on your own with the babies, you will get into your own groove in no time.

Growth spurts ARE hard. I remember nursing and crying at the same time, shedding tears on my eating babies because I was just. So. Tired. It DOES get easier, I swear.

As far as sore nipples, I found the best thing to be be breast milk rubbed on them (what is IN that stuff?) and air. Of course that means going around topless, but I didn't care as long as I was alone.

Have I asked you this before? Do you have a bouncy seat? I got so I could hold one baby while the other rested in the bouncy and I would use my foot to bounce them just so to make them happy. Usually it was Rowan in the bouncy because she did best with the vigorous bounce whilst Evan enjoyed the more jiggly side-to-side.

Have you read/seen "The Happiest Baby on the Block?" The tips in that SHORT DVD saved our sanity in the early days.

Hang in there. You're doing great.

the Babychaser: said...

Still haven't figured out breastfeeding lying down. I always end up hurting my back.

As for frequency--I tried to do what you're doing (feeding exclusively on the breast) for a few weeks, and I was in hell. Of course, my babies had bad latch issues, but the time was also awful. My suggestion might not be something you're ready to hear, but when you're so desperate you're thinking about quitting BF-ing you might want to consider this instead: give them some formula and get some rest! My life made a dramatic change when I decided it was okay to let J handle one of the nightime feedings, and I was NOT going to get up to pump. Getting 4 or 5 hours straight of sleep is unbelievably helpful. I don't want to be down on what you're trying to do, but I just think you're asking too much of yourself. To breastfeed all night, then be alone with clingy babies all day--it's just too much. You won't have any room for yourself in the mix. Believe me, your babies will not care if they get a bottle of formula occasionally.

It's just a thought. But I know from experience how militant the pro-breastfeeding movement is, and I wanted to remind you that there are other ways. You can go back to exclusive breastfeeding when they go 3-4 hours between feedings, if you like.

By the way, email me if you don't have a copy of "happiest baby on the block." I'll send you mine. It will change your life. (Wish I'd done this earlier for you, sweetie.)

Marie said...

It seems like a put Connor on a boppy when we first started lying down to breastfeed. I also think putting him in the crook of my arm helped.

Oh another thing..Supplementing formula is SO ok. I found that if I didn't supplement, I would have givin up at 4 months. I didn't tho. I didn't pressure myself I just gave him some formula and it was fine. He is still breast feeding and I REALLY want to quit but I think we will probably make it to a year.

Seriously, as long as they will take a bottle occasionally then formula will not hurt them and you will get a break!

I always looked at breastfeeding as all or nothing and its not. Connor does breastmilk, formula, whole milk and seems fine with it. I am sure some babies are picky but if you have some samples laying around it doesn hurt to try.

Ellen K. said...

I remember being completely homesick for my mom for the first 6 weeks or so, and then again in bursts. And I also recall being scared to death when D. went back to work after paternity leave. It was really frightening, that first day by myself. But by the end of the week, I felt much better and rather proud of myself.

Regarding feeding, all I would say to anyone is: Whatever keeps you sane. Do what works for your family -- that means babies, dad, AND mom.

Anonymous said...

i also remember people saying how bf'ing lying down was so easy. i didn't get it until the babies were almost 6 months old. maybe they had to be a certain size? who knows. i don't use any pillows or anything else, just lay down. maybe they do most of the work?

i agree with everyone above: you're doing a great job. it's hard, especially in the beginning when everything is new. and it's okay to use formula or to switch totally. honestly, you have to do what works for you :)

Sue said...

Sorry - one baby alone is more than enough work - two is a heroic effort, and those growth spurts are just so hard. If supplementing with formula helps you keep your sanity, do yourself a favor and don't hesitate to use it.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like growth spurts to me. My son was in a constant one the first 10 weeks of his life. But it got MUCH easier after those first couple of months.

And someone else suggested formula, do it if you need some sleep. One or two bottles won't hurt, and 2-4 hours of rest feels like heaven at the point you are at.. trust me.

Also, laying down and nursing took me a while too. One, prop a pillow or rolled up blanket behind your back and lean back on it. Two, Turn the baby on his side and put a receiving blanket behind his back, so he's kind leaning the same way you are..Tuck his legs/butt to your tummy.

That's what worked for me. My boobs have grown huge, so that's what made it so uncomfortable.

Star said...

Um, not really sure why everyone is saying you should supplement when you didn't even ask about that, and you seem to be doing great with nursing. Most women who nurse get overwhelmed from time to time and have thoughts about quitting -- with my first I had those thoughts every day for the first four weeks and every week for the first four months. But I kept going, taking it day by day, and I am so glad I did.

Growth spurts are hard, and while they say in books that they occur at x weeks, x weeks and so forth, I found that it was not that predictable and much more often than the books said. The first year is such a short time in the grand scheme of your life. It can be a slog while you are doing it, but you'll look back on it fondly, I promise.

Side lying nursing is the greatest. I think you've gotten some great tips here -- it's probably different for every woman depending on shape, size, etc. what angle you should be. I find that I have to lie leaning somewhat forward or I am not comfortable... you will learn what works for you. It really, really helps with sleep.

The other thing is that as they get older (well, probably after 4 months, and maybe after 6 months, but you can look forward to it) they will nurse much faster and much less often. Anyway, the point is that you are doing a great job, and I applaud you!! Your babies are so lucky to have you.

addingtothepack said...

I have zero advice for the breastfeeding challenges, but wanted to let you know that I'm reading along (and finally getting a chance to comment) and that I think you are a rock star for trying to stick with BFing twins. Especially as you are heading into being on your own with them during the day!