August 9, 2014

FIAO 5.3 - Feeding The Twins - Pumping is the Pits!

Note: This is one of those TMI posts that should really only be read by people who want to pump or are looking for help with pumping! This is my detailed experience with exclusively pumping so far and I really don't think C and my dad need to know this stuff about me!


I have been pumping since the girls were about 4 hours old. I hate it. But I am doing it because it's what I need to do to give my girls what I think is best. It's been quite the experience since then and I'm only a week in. My supply is pretty darn good, I'm up to 4-6 oz./session, but it's been an adjustment period getting used to this new aspect of my lifestyle! I'm not sure how it will be once they're home but for now this gives me peace of mind knowing I am doing all I can for them until they're here.

I am attempting to establish my supply so I am pumping every 2-3.5 hours, trying desperately not to go over the 4 hour mark in between sessions. This has been by far the hardest part for me - keeping a consistent and frequent enough schedule. Not to mention I'm getting so little sleep (ha! they're not even home yet, I am so jinxing myself) that when I do sleep it's like the dead. So far, I have slept through/turned off my middle of the night alarm at least 3 times, allowing myself to go 5-6 hours between sessions. This is not fun, in fact it's effing painful, so now I'm to the point where I set 5 alarms, 2 minutes apart, all with a puzzle lock to wake myself up. It will probably be easier when there are actual crying babies waking me up, huh?  I will definitely be trying to breastfeed at home where it will be much more comfortable than the NICU for both me and the girls. The plan is for them to eat and then I will pump to build up my stash. Eventually I may exclusively nurse or exclusively pump, I haven't had a chance to figure out what works best for us yet.

My colostrum was ridiculously frustrating. It only dripped, the syringe and cups they gave me to catch it just squashed the drops and it transitioned relatively quickly to mature milk considering I had a c-section. Since then though my production has only fluctuated by .5-1 oz. for each breast and I haven't produced less than 2 oz./pump in over a week. Tonight I pumped over 6 oz. for the first time and I'm hoping it goes up from there but this was after two days of struggling with supply.

I'm not in pain but sometimes I massage too hard or use too high of suction as I'm getting used to it. I learned that rubbing colostrum and breastmilk on to your skin after finishing is one of the best healers and I have to attest that this works! I also use cooconut oil and Lansinoh Lanolin if absolutely necessary. My lactation consultant made sure I had a prescription for a hospital grade pump and after finally reading the directions I'm learning how to use the let-down function to my advantage! I highly recommend this for building a supply. I tried my Medela Pump in Style and it was nowhere near as efficient. It will be fine once my body knows what to make but definitely not yet.

As for nursing... the girls have each attempted to latch a handful of times but it's usually while I'm holding them both during skin to skin or when they're really hungry already so it's stressful for both of us. I can't wait to have them home where I can play around with positions and such. The LC also told me to come back anytime for more help, and a nurse got me in touch with a private LC too just in case. We will see how it goes! I am just loving the fact that I am nourishing my girls as much as I can and that I'm not too proud to accept supplemental formula. As much as I worry about the ingredients being gross, they're not going to kill my kids. Maybe some of those added ingredients are helping bulk them up which is only going to get them home faster.

Other than that it's going so well. I am so happy to be able to feed my girls and help them grow!

How was your experience with pumping or nursing?  Any tips to help me be successful at doing both?


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