Monday, December 19, 2011

I'm a Little Busy

The babies are growing at a furious pace, which means I am doing everything possible to keep up with them when it comes to nursing/pumping. In three days, the babies went from eating 18 ounces daily to 35 ounces a piece in a 24 hour period. They nearly doubled their milk intake, which means I am producing more than 2 liters of milk a day! I will never look at a 2 liter bottle of soda the same way.

On Saturday, when the feeding frenzy began, I was feeling slightly defeated. I wasn't sure I could continue nursing and pumping hourly like I had been. There was no time to slow down and rest, even though my mother and Cheryl were both around to help.  I was exhausted and knew my body needed a break.  Later on that evening, I began reading "Mothering Multiples," a book specifically on breastfeeding twins/triplets (thanks Becky!). Although I had skimmed through the book prior to delivery, I reread the chapter on making a good start to breastfeeding with renewed interest. I then stumbled upon "Guidelines for Bottle Feeding the Breastfed Baby."

LIGHTBULB. AKA the answer to prayer.

Because we have been vigilantly recording all milk intake for Ezra and Elliott, the majority of the feedings are via bottle.
Here's a sneak peak of our daily schedule. Fun, fun!
The Playtex Drop-ins were our bottle of choice, but I was worried the boys were working too hard for their food (especially after the pediatrician told me about premature babies using too much energy to suck). We temporarily switched back to the Medela bottles and nipples, which were easier for Ezra and Elliott to get milk out of.  And inadvertently, we created a problem.

The "Mothering Multiples" book cautioned that bottle feedings should not be rushed. If the average newborn spends 10 to 30 minutes nursing, then they should also spent 10 to 30 minutes emptying a bottle. Essentially, the flow rate of the bottles was too high for Ezra and Elliott and the boys were accidentally overindulging in milk.

We immediately switched back to Playtex bottles and both boys are eating more normal amounts of milk (24 ounces or so). This, coupled with nursing, has greatly reduced my stress when it comes to making sure Ezra and Elliott are properly fed. Even so, the pumping and nursing has taken over my days and my nights are a blur of feedings and 30 minute cat naps.
Elliott and Ezra in a nursing induced coma.
Every time I wake up and see both babies (no matter what time it is), I feel an immense sense of gratitude that I am Ezra and Elliott's mother. I think about all of the sacrifices our family made to have these children, and I know we have been blessed continually these past few months. I also consider it a true miracle that I am not overwhelmed with emotions or the baby blues. Somehow, I have managed to keep things together and channel all of my energy into mothering.

That being said, I am ready for the feedings to slow down soon! Ezra and Elliott are three weeks old today. Perhaps I will sleep more than an hour at a time in a month or so? Until then, I'll just keep focusing on how precious these tiny faces are.




  1. Oh my goodness! Their cheeks look fuller to me. Not that they were gaunt before, and maybe I'm just imagining it because you're writing about them eating so much more, but I swear I can see a difference. They are too precious and I can't wait to see them when we get there. I'm so happy that they are healthy and strong and that you are doing so well emotionally. I'll say a little prayer that you get some relief from feedings because goodness knows you deserve it! Love you!

  2. I love all your breastfeeding posts :) You are exactly right, babies will overeat from bottles because it's different than how a breast works. Bottles deliver continuous milk, whereas a breast ebbs and flows throughout the feeding, they suck for a while not getting anything, you get a let-down, milk comes out, then they suck a little more and don't get anything then you have another let-down, etc. so they are on longer for the same amount of food. Your babies only need about 24 oz in a day, usually new babies will do 2 oz 12 times a day until they are a few months old. A lot of feeding, but breast milk digests fast and if you overfill them too much, they get used to that sensation and will continue to eat more to be satisfied (one reason formula feeding is linked to obesity because parents overfeed consistently).

    I love reading about these babies. I feel like I know them even though I've never met them. And they look SO AWESOME! And I see A LOT of preemies at work, and you can just tell from pictures these boys are thriving.

  3. Look at those chunky cheeks! They are looking so big! ( for teeny tiny newborns:) I relied on that book too-glad you have it. Keep it up!

  4. I have never had twins, so I don't have personal advice, BUT: my husband's sister had twin boys in May (7 weeks early). She wanted to breastfeed and obviously it worked much as it is for you. Not more than an hour of sleep at a time and nursing round the clock. Everything seemed fine, until the babies were 2 1/2 months old. My sister-in-law crashed. After 2 1/2 months of "cat naps" her body literally gave out on her. She developed anxiety and deep depression overnight (she was probably the strongest woman I know, physically and spiritually). She had to go on a medication that made her stop breastfeeding and she had to sleep through the night for months, so others came in and took care of her babies night feedings. She is doing much better now, but her advice would be this: prevent something like that from happening by making your body rest. I may not seem to take it's toll, but you never know when the breaking point will be. If you ever need fresh mother support from another mother with twins, I would love to hook you up. She lives in Pasco, and I'm sure would even love a phone chat. :)

    Hopefully I don't mortify you, I just want to help anything from happening to prevent you from being the mother you want to be at all times. You are doing an amazing job with your babies! I am so glad that they are growing so well!

  5. Oh my gosh, yes you sure are busy! Wow, that feeding schedule is intense. I cannot wait for the day for you guys when you can just nurse them, or just feed them without having to write it down. Ugh, so much work! But you're doing it! You're amazing!! We love you and can't wait to see you! You are so blessed with these two adorable boys!

  6. They look so much like you! At least I think so. I wish I could come and help too. They are precious!

  7. Cecilia! Props to you...those boys look healthy! You are amazing. I vividly remember how tired I was nursing Annabelle those first few weeks/months. I always wondered how my body could function with 1 1/2 hour naps. I can't imagine another baby and only 30 minutes for naps. Wow! Your hard work is paying off for those boys! Get some sleep!!!


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