Breastfeeding- my wave of relief…

Folks have been emailing and asking me whether I’m still breastfeeding. The thing is I never quite started. Well, successfully that is.

The one thing I want more than anything in the world is to fully breastfeed the twins for as long as I possibly can. I am not oblivious to the wonderful benefits of breastmilk. But I have SERIOUS supply issues. I just cannot supply.

I have visited the lactation consultants several times. I’ve tried breastfeeding continously, I’ve tried feeding whatever i had then pumping, I’ve even tried the Supplemental Nursing System (SNS) to keep the twins on the breast long enough for me to produce more milk. But it has all been unsuccessful.

And yes, I also tried to eat/drink everything that was recommended. Someone said oatmeal helped her, so i ate oatmeal. I had green papaya, fish head, spinach. I drank mother’s milk tea. I even got my Gynae to prescribe me extra months of Domperidone which was supposed to double your milk production. You name it, I’ve tried it. Yet, my supply remained at 35-40ml everytime I pumped.

The end result was unhappy, hungry, crying babies and a desperately miserable me.

So i gave up.

What i do now is express twice a day. Each time I get about 40ml, and I give whatever I can produce to the twins. This didn’t help remove the total despair I felt for not being able to breastfeed. It was horrible. Although I stopped crying every evening when hubby came home, it took just the shortest article on breastfeeding in a magazine to set off the tears. It didn’t help that everyone, absolutely everyone I meet would ask if I was breastfeeding. I always struggled to explain why I’m not breastfeeding, always choking back the tears.

I’ve only recently got a grip of my situation. It took a trip to my Gynae office- my 3 months check up. When checking my uterus, Dr Tham told me that my ‘monthly visitor’ would not be coming back for some time as the uterine lining was still very thin. I exclaimed to him, ‘Its amazing how such miserable and miniscule breastfeeding can still keep the monthly visitor away huh?’

He replied, and I love him dearly for this, ‘ Just shows how hard your body is working to try and produce the milk. It probably was and is the stress of taking care of the twins that’s hindering the milk production.’

I could have crumbled into a pool of tears there and then. A wave of relief washed over me. I know I’ve been trying my best. That I know. I know it could have been stress that was stopping me from being able to breastfeed (after all, I stress over the littlest things), but to hear it from my doctor. It was just what I needed.

So it is what it is. I pump twice a day now. And even if I can squeeze out a mere 10ml of breastmilk I will do so. Because it is so precious to me. And it means everything that I can give even a tiny drop of milk to my babies.

You mummies out there who have a decent, not to mention an abundant supply, I hope you count your blessings every single day. I’d do anything to have had your luck and experience.

The day the milk came in

So i was stressing day and night about how I wasn’t yet able to totally breastfeed my babies and that my milk was slow coming in and that I was denying my twins a chance to have a healthy childhood because I wasn’t born a natural cow.

To be honest, it was difficult. I was teary a lot. I’d cry to my hubby, telling him how useless I felt, how I felt like I was failing my children. He listened and at first didn’t say anything much.

Until one night, he said,” You know Eveel, it’s ok if you can’t breastfeed them. I’m just worried about you and the possibility of you slipping into PND (postnatal depression).”

That night, I thought about what he said and the reality of me slipping into PND. Afterall, I did suffer from antenatal depression, and therefore at higher risk of PND. I already have a follow up counselling session scheduled in a few weeks so the psychiatrist can check up on me.

So it suddenly occured to me that:

1. I was formula fed and I turned out ok. If I can’t totally breastfeed my twins, I can be a great mother in other ways, and cook them super good food chockfull of antioxidents etc when their bigger, bring them to the park to get lots of exercise, pump them full of vitamins, etc.

2. Having a depressed non-functioning mother is much much worse than being bottle fed formula. I want my twins to enjoy me, the happy functioning full of joy Eveeleva that everyone knows and not the one who spends mornings crying in the shower depressed preggo Eveeleva.

So with a huge sigh, I told myself. SCREW it. I’ll do my best and that’s all anyone, including MYSELF, should expect of me.

Lo and behold, the next day, the milk came in. I guess I just had to stop stressing myself out about it.

I still don’t have quite enough to feed both twins, but I take turns to feed them breastmilk. Some breastmilk is better than none at all right?

OI, i’m doing the best that i can lah… =)

The day the milk came in

So i was stressing day and night about how I wasn’t yet able to totally breastfeed my babies and that my milk was slow coming in and that I was denying my twins a chance to have a healthy childhood because I wasn’t born a natural cow.

To be honest, it was difficult. I was teary a lot. I’d cry to my hubby, telling him how useless I felt, how I felt like I was failing my children. He listened and at first didn’t say anything much.

Until one night, he said,” You know Eveel, it’s ok if you can’t breastfeed them. I’m just worried about you and the possibility of you slipping into PND (postnatal depression).”

That night, I thought about what he said and the reality of me slipping into PND. Afterall, I did suffer from antenatal depression, and therefore at higher risk of PND. I already have a follow up counselling session scheduled in a few weeks so the psychiatrist can check up on me.

So it suddenly occured to me that:

1. I was formula fed and I turned out ok. If I can’t totally breastfeed my twins, I can be a great mother in other ways, and cook them super good food chockfull of antioxidents etc when their bigger, bring them to the park to get lots of exercise, pump them full of vitamins, etc.

2. Having a depressed non-functioning mother is much much worse than being bottle fed formula. I want my twins to enjoy me, the happy functioning full of joy Eveeleva that everyone knows and not the one who spends mornings crying in the shower depressed preggo Eveeleva.

So with a huge sigh, I told myself. SCREW it. I’ll do my best and that’s all anyone, including MYSELF, should expect of me.

Lo and behold, the next day, the milk came in. I guess I just had to stop stressing myself out about it.

I still don’t have quite enough to feed both twins, but I take turns to feed them breastmilk. Some breastmilk is better than none at all right?

OI, i’m doing the best that i can lah… =)

A failure of a mother.

I previously blogged about my breastfeeding woes. There was much interest about it, and I received many encouraging emails, calls and messages that I thought I’d update everyone about it. I

After combing through all the messages, advice and resources you folks sent me, I decided that it was time for me to stop with the excuses and get down to building up my milk supply, which after some rest and sleep i understood was poor because the babies were away from me for some time in the early days, and by the time they came home, we were all reliant on supplementing them with formula that my own milk supply went down. Low demand therefore low supply. No need to take Econs to understand this. Which was good, cos I never read Econs.

So i decided that to build my milk supply, I needed to start feeding on demand. That is, feed as often and whenever the baby so demands this.

DAY 1

I decided to start with just Upin. I parked myself on the sofa in the morning after their bath, and started feeding. It went well. But Upin didn’t stop feeding, he just went on and on. Fed for short spells and slept on the breast. I managed to sneak a quick lunch.

BUT Upin got fussy about 3pm and started yelling his head off. I panicked and gave in to the bottle and bottle fed them the rest of the day.

 Result- FAILURE. 
I felt horrible for caving in with the bottle, and felt like an utter failure as a mother.
DAY 2

Decided that for this to work I had to tandem feed them. Both twins at one go. No excuses. Parked myself with my my Twin Breastfriend Feeding Pillow on the sofa and started again after their bath. Mom was such a darling, running around getting me drinks, and helping hold the babies when I needed a min to run to the loo for a pee break.

BUT Upin AND Ipin started getting fussy at 3pm. With both yelling their heads off, I panicked and caved into giving them the bottle and bottle fed them the rest of the day.

RESULT: FAILURE. 
Felt like an even greater failure of a mother. Couldn’t understand why they were fussing.
DAY 3

Realised that tandem feeding was overly ambitious and decided to just focus on one twin at a time. This time, I decided before hand that I would give Upin a bottle at the 3pm feeing juncture BEFORE he got a chance to get fussy.

When 3pm came and I saw the fussy signs coming, I gave him the bottle.

RESULT: SUCCESS. 

Well not in the sense that I was successfully demand feeding. But, i didn’t feel like a failure. That 3pm bottle was planned. I didn’t feel half as discouraged as on days 1 and 2. And i continued to breastfeed him after his 3pm feed.

Baby steps right?

A failure of a mother.

I previously blogged about my breastfeeding woes. There was much interest about it, and I received many encouraging emails, calls and messages that I thought I’d update everyone about it. I

After combing through all the messages, advice and resources you folks sent me, I decided that it was time for me to stop with the excuses and get down to building up my milk supply, which after some rest and sleep i understood was poor because the babies were away from me for some time in the early days, and by the time they came home, we were all reliant on supplementing them with formula that my own milk supply went down. Low demand therefore low supply. No need to take Econs to understand this. Which was good, cos I never read Econs.

So i decided that to build my milk supply, I needed to start feeding on demand. That is, feed as often and whenever the baby so demands this.

DAY 1

I decided to start with just Upin. I parked myself on the sofa in the morning after their bath, and started feeding. It went well. But Upin didn’t stop feeding, he just went on and on. Fed for short spells and slept on the breast. I managed to sneak a quick lunch.

BUT Upin got fussy about 3pm and started yelling his head off. I panicked and gave in to the bottle and bottle fed them the rest of the day.

 Result- FAILURE. 
I felt horrible for caving in with the bottle, and felt like an utter failure as a mother.
DAY 2

Decided that for this to work I had to tandem feed them. Both twins at one go. No excuses. Parked myself with my my Twin Breastfriend Feeding Pillow on the sofa and started again after their bath. Mom was such a darling, running around getting me drinks, and helping hold the babies when I needed a min to run to the loo for a pee break.

BUT Upin AND Ipin started getting fussy at 3pm. With both yelling their heads off, I panicked and caved into giving them the bottle and bottle fed them the rest of the day.

RESULT: FAILURE. 
Felt like an even greater failure of a mother. Couldn’t understand why they were fussing.
DAY 3

Realised that tandem feeding was overly ambitious and decided to just focus on one twin at a time. This time, I decided before hand that I would give Upin a bottle at the 3pm feeing juncture BEFORE he got a chance to get fussy.

When 3pm came and I saw the fussy signs coming, I gave him the bottle.

RESULT: SUCCESS. 

Well not in the sense that I was successfully demand feeding. But, i didn’t feel like a failure. That 3pm bottle was planned. I didn’t feel half as discouraged as on days 1 and 2. And i continued to breastfeed him after his 3pm feed.

Baby steps right?

Breast vs Cup vs Bottle

I know. Breast is best!

So when it was clear that my milk supply was slow in arrival and definitely insufficient for the 2 demanding babies, I had no choice but to give in to formula. But i made it very clear to the hospital, cup feeding only, please! I had heard enough about nipple confusion from breastfeeding nazis to know that it was cupfeeding and NO bottle!

That worked all well and good while the nurses were cupfeeding Upin and Ipin. And even though I was given lessons in cupfeeding, I later realised that it is an art that takes time, practice, patience and above all alertness. Cupfeeding is almost impossible when you’re continuously feeding 2 babies in a sleep deprived mode. I found that I was pouring more milk down my twin’s shirts than into their cute lil mouths!

Cupfeeding lil Upin at a decent hour was manageable most of the time.

Regardless of the challenges, i was determined to continue, even if it meant snapping at my hubby at wee hours of the morning, being short with the twins when they weren’t ‘cooperating’ and feeling increasingly exasperated at my inability to satisfy the appetites of my lil babies.

But when a follow up trip to the pediatrician revealed that the twins were losing weight rather than gaining weight, I had to listen to my husband who softly said, ‘We have to think about what is best for the boys, not what is ideal for ourselves’. I also had to listen to the pediatrician AND my obgyn who hinted that if cupfeeding wasn’t working, I should think about the bottle.

I caved the next day, when I split a whole cupfull of milk all over lil Ipin’s front. I took the bottle out, filled it with formula and gave it to him.

lil Ipin being bottle fed my grandma

I felt guilty for awhile. And fearful that they’ll reject my boobie after enjoying the fast flowing milk supply from a bottle. But thankfully, they still want my boobie. Yaay! And now, feeding times are much quicker, I am less stressed out at night and enjoying the mommy experience so much more.

So there.

Breast vs Cup vs Bottle

I know. Breast is best!

So when it was clear that my milk supply was slow in arrival and definitely insufficient for the 2 demanding babies, I had no choice but to give in to formula. But i made it very clear to the hospital, cup feeding only, please! I had heard enough about nipple confusion from breastfeeding nazis to know that it was cupfeeding and NO bottle!

That worked all well and good while the nurses were cupfeeding Upin and Ipin. And even though I was given lessons in cupfeeding, I later realised that it is an art that takes time, practice, patience and above all alertness. Cupfeeding is almost impossible when you’re continuously feeding 2 babies in a sleep deprived mode. I found that I was pouring more milk down my twin’s shirts than into their cute lil mouths!

Cupfeeding lil Upin at a decent hour was manageable most of the time.

Regardless of the challenges, i was determined to continue, even if it meant snapping at my hubby at wee hours of the morning, being short with the twins when they weren’t ‘cooperating’ and feeling increasingly exasperated at my inability to satisfy the appetites of my lil babies.

But when a follow up trip to the pediatrician revealed that the twins were losing weight rather than gaining weight, I had to listen to my husband who softly said, ‘We have to think about what is best for the boys, not what is ideal for ourselves’. I also had to listen to the pediatrician AND my obgyn who hinted that if cupfeeding wasn’t working, I should think about the bottle.

I caved the next day, when I split a whole cupfull of milk all over lil Ipin’s front. I took the bottle out, filled it with formula and gave it to him.

lil Ipin being bottle fed my grandma

I felt guilty for awhile. And fearful that they’ll reject my boobie after enjoying the fast flowing milk supply from a bottle. But thankfully, they still want my boobie. Yaay! And now, feeding times are much quicker, I am less stressed out at night and enjoying the mommy experience so much more.

So there.