I am one of those moms who is probably going to embarrass her kids until they graduate college. The fact that I am an advocate of breastfeeding just might be one of those ways. This post, Liquid Gold, is just one of my ways I am attempting to make breastfeeding normal and not something society finds embarassing. My kids? They have a right to find any post on this blog as TMI from their early days…not just the ones about breastfeeding. Since not all of society supports the most natural thing a mom can do second to giving birth, I will try to warn you ahead with disclaimers like this…but because it’s normal…I make no guarantee.
The twins and I have done “it”. We’ve hit a breastfeeding milestone, 1 month (+ a few days) of exclusively* breastfeeding. Exclusively drinking mom’s liquid gold despite odds of success.
In the past 30-ish days, my milk has been liquid gold because we have done the following to make this happen:
* Latched on from the minute I was allowed to hold them in the recovery room. Ava was the pro at this. Isla preferred sleep to anything in the first 24 hours, yet she did latch well ON HER TERMS AND TIME (capital necessary because that girl had ‘tude about being woken up).
* Learned how to nurse two babies at a time. I thought nursing one felt bad on a c section healing / to the back in the middle of the night. Try holding two squirmy divas and providing for them. (Spoiler, it is totally possible.)
* Been told they lost too much weight (8.5% and 9.5%) and that I had 6 hours to keep them under 10% or off to the NICU they were headed. This was after 18 hours had passed / Magee’s nurses and the pediatric doctor they sent my way that wasn’t from the practice I had begged for since ours doesn’t come to Magee told me repeatedly they were fine and in the 7% lost range. A lactation consultant had to deliver me this news and we asked my nurse to get me a pump immediately. I got it 7 hours later after they came to tell me my 6 hours straight of nursing wasn’t enough and the girls went to 10.3% and 10.5% lost and they say a completely different side of Mama. I put my foot down. The NICU doctor came to tell me I had no choice. I told them they failed me and were being unfair, told them they would NOT be taking my daughters anywhere. I got another 11 hours to bring them up and with NO sleep and totally showing my butt at the hospital, did it. It took all those hours to nurse and pump, rinse and repeat. We were all three discharged on the day we were supposed to be.
* Started a stash of extra milk in the freezer in prep for my return to work. There is over 30 ounces in there, but for reference, that is only 10 “light” feedings and there are two babies…so that’s five spare bottles per babe if they wouldn’t demand more than 3 ounces (but we are closer to needing 4 at a time). Each pumping session takes me about 40 minutes and then I am either feeding them bottles before or after or grabbing a few minutes’ sleep before the next round starts again. Sometimes I admit, I feel like a milk factory and it really sucks even though I know it is so worth it.
* Tried a few different methods of feeding and schedules. The girls are gaining, but not fast enough. Ava is 3 ounces above birth weight, Isla is 2 ounces below. They are both less than 5% and our pediatrician is concerned. I am sticking to my gut and heart on this one. They have their dad’s metabolism and my body is holding all the fat for them (usually a breastfeeding mom loses a lot of weight at the beginning…i hit a hard core plateau as my body does when I am trying to feed other humans). They are healthy and on a routine schedule. They are happy, oh so happy. And yes, they spit-up and Isla has some gross blow out movements, but neither exhibit sure signs of an allergy. Evan nursed like a champ and rarely gets sick. Ari had formula (due to her milk allergy and my lack of knowledge), she has weird allergies and gets sick easy. Sorry, I blame the formula.
* We have saved our family loads of money by my zombie nature and their willingness to nurse. This is glorious news when the primary income takes a decent cut.
* We have bonded nicely…almost too nicely. The girls definitely love mama time, and mama sometimes struggles to put them down / let them cry. I keep saying they won’t be like this for long…but then hours later wish I had the time back to sleep more / eat more / enjoy the big kids in a different way…but in the end, the bond means so much to me as a working mom who will trade documenting milestones for work meltdowns all too soon.
Princesses, Mama is super proud to have given you this liquid gold.
* Exclusively Breastfeeding (EBF) in my definition / based on my experience, means the girls have only had my milk. As you can see, I have pumped and they’ve drank from a bottle. They have used pacifiers. In some minds, this is not EBF, but simply having only my milk is how I define it.