Monday, May 10, 2010
There are parts of breast feeding I love: that I can feed my babies any time, anywhere; that it gives me time with them, snuggled up against me. I love listening to the little noises that they make while they eat. Asher has a very sweet little moan that he makes, and when I hear it I feel like a big hero for making my baby so happy. And then I love afterward, when I put them up to my shoulder to burp and they fall asleep on me. I also like the fact that I don't have to buy formula. There are some things about which I am a cheapskate, and formula is one of them.
But there are parts of breastfeeding that I hate: The fact that I have to be constantly aware of how long it has been since someone nursed or I pumped; the fact that it means I have been away from my babies only once, for 30 minutes, since they were born. I could probably go out for a 2-3 hour interval, but around hour 2.5, my breasts become painful, and I often start to leak. I have been wearing breast pads in my bra, but they don't seem to work-- I have cotton ones that I leak right through. Even if the boys started sleeping through the night (which doesn't seem likely any time soon, unfortunately), I would have to wake up and pump in the middle of the night anyway. And then there is all the anxiety I have around it-- are they eating enough from breast feeding? Am I making enough milk? Am I keeping up with their needs? Sometimes we just give them big bottles at the end of the day to make sure they aren't still hungry.
There are days like today, where one or both babies seem like they can't get enough. Today, in the past 2.5 hours, Benjamin has nursed, taken 3 oz of formula from the bottle, and is currently on his 2nd 3 oz bottle. He has not rested or slept in between. I'm exhausted, and I am hoping he is, too, so that he will sleep all night! On days like today, I think to myself, "Maybe we should just do formula..." but I hate giving them formula so much, so I always back away from that idea. I'm trying to convey my sense of desperation on a day like today, but I'm not sure how I can. I am typing this while I pump, and this 15 minutes is the longest moment alone I have had all day.
There are rewards in this. Both babies are growing, and have probably gained over 3 pounds each since birth. That's at least 1/2 a pound a week! Each! From me! It is hard to believe that all of this weight gain basically came from my breasts, but it has.
Tomorrow I am meeting with a lactation consultant to learn how to tandem feed the babies. This way, when they are both hungry at the same time, which happens a lot, I will be able to breast feed them both at the same time, rather than breast feed one while reaching over to bottle feed the other one, who is propped up in a Boppy. Not comfortable, and not easy! I am also hoping that this will cut down on the amount of time I spend feeding the babies.
I'm not planning to give up breast feeding any time soon-- my goal is 6 months and we are almost 1/3 of the way there. There are enough good days to outweigh the bad ones, and I am hoping with tandem feeding and the babies getting bigger, those good days will continue to increase in number.
The picture at the top is the babies' 1 month picture (taken at 1 month and a couple of days). Ben is on the left, in green, and Asher is on the right in blue. Because Ben is in front, he looks the same size as Asher, but he is still smaller. And the picture absolutely doesn't do justice to how cute they are! I will make a picture post soon of all our activities.