That is what I have created. 3 of them.
You will remember a post ago, my pleading for some ideas. I got some (thanks!) and I had some floating around in my head. I decided to do the feed-on-demand thing and it failed. Miserably. By nightfall I was a wreck, as were the babies. They acted like they were starving. I felt like the worlds crappiest mom. That decision was the best one I have yet made.
Your probably thinking..WHAT?!? Really?!?!
Yes, really. That night made me look at two things. One: WHY were the babies still hungry? Two: WHY are they FINE, just FINE all day, until Daddy comes home at 6pm.
Want to know what I learned? First number 1. Thanks to Facebook and the awesome community of friends I have on there, that never seem to tire of listening to me whine endlessly about this breastfeeding issue, I somehow, through the grace of God, managed to get a woman named Helen on my list. This woman is a miracle worker. Through masses of messaging and posts, she was able to help me figure out what was wrong. Emilia and Gwendolen weren't eating. I thought they were. I heard sucking. I saw their little jaws moving. But they weren't drinking. They were nibbling, sucking, playing, you name it. Not drinking. She is studying to be a Lactation Consultant at the nbci Institute. (www.nbci.ca) She studies with Dr. Jack Newman. An amazing Dr. dedicated to breastfeeding. And she is on my friends list, again Thank GOD. She directed me to the videos on that site. After watching the videos and watching the girls eat, I figured out that they were not drinking. I emailed Helen and she told me to get an SNS. Its a way of feeding a baby via breast but they get the milk easier. It's a flask with a tube running out of it. You hang the flask from your neck (I know, it's pretty. Talk about feeling like a milk cow!) then you tape the tube on the nipple and latch the baby on. This way, the baby gets more instant gratification and still stimulates the breast. So the baby gets milk from the tube and the boob. lol. My doula, Amber, wanted to do this in the NICU but for some odd reason, the LC didn't. Oh, how I wish I would've listened to Amber on that one. She knew better. So, being the amazing friend and doula that she is, she went right out that day and bought the SNS system and taught us how to use it. I love her.
To backtrack just a bit, Gwendolen's issue was impatience. She loved the instant gratification that the bottle gave her. When I would try to nurse her, she would be fine through the let down, but the minute she had to work, she freaked out. Arched her back, screamed, kicked and refused to eat anymore. Which are all signs of slow flow. She wanted FAST. She wanted her bottle. And I gave it to her. Smart little girly. She learned that the breast was merely for comfort, not food. We had to retrain her. The SNS did just that. It gives her that rush of milk (she still has to suck to get it out, but it's just thatmuch faster than the breast) and I can control the flow. If she starts to fuss, I can give her a bit more to keep her interested. It worked. In a day. I'm not sure she even needs to use it anymore, but we will do it for a few more days to be sure.
Emilia had a different issue (wouldn't you know it, 3 different babies, 3 different issues). While Amber was here, watching Mia try to nurse, she noticed that every time I lifted my breast to adjust Mia, she started sucking furiously. If I let go, she stopped. Mia's problem was the weight of the breast tissue. Her little jaws were not strong enough to suck through it (See,big boobs aren't always good. lol) So we tried it, Lift, suck, drop, stop. Lift, suck, drop, stop. I never held it up for her before. So while I thought she was just taking her own sweet time to nurse (an hour or more!) she was. But not because she wanted to. Because she had to. By the time she got done, she was either hungry again or still hungry. Poor baby girl.
Rosalie has no issues. That girl is a perfect nurser. She is the shining example of that fact that babies are born to nurse. She will even try to breastfeed the bottle. Now that, if you've never seen it, is funny.
Issue number 2. The fussiness. It's because they are trying to cluster feed. You would think I would have figured that out after 6 kids huh? Well, because we feed on demand, I never thought about it. A babies natural instinct is to stock pile food for the night. Most babies don't make it through the night (mine sure never have) but they try. It's what they do. So they want to eat. All evening long. I literally spent from 4pm to 9pm tonight on the couch with a baby attached to both boobs. And rotated them through, boobs and bottle. I had no other choice. The other name for this "Cluster Feeding" is "The Arsenic Hour" I'll give you one guess as to why. It's stressful Very. Hence the reference to Arsenic. Makes you want to take some. Seriously. It's that bad. Times 3.
So, my plan. Your dying to know right? I have one but I don't. And those that know me, I'm just a bit on the OCD side, know that my being able to just "let it go" is HUGE.
During the day, we are feeding on demand. Just as I wanted and it feels right. Rosalie nurses always. Daytime, nighttime, no more bottles for her ( and at the time of my writing this, she's been bottle free for almost 36 hours!) Emilia and Gwendolen get nursed via the SNS during the day and bottles at night ( and at the time of my writing, Emilia has had just 5 bottles and Gwendolen 4 in 36 hours!) This is for my sanity. I need sleep. Since I do the babies alone all night, the bottles are a necessity. For now. Rosalie gets to nurse whenever she wants, all night long if her little heart desires. And I love it.
Ok, so now I know your thinking, but what if they all want to eat at the same time. Of course, I have a plan for that. Did you really think I wouldn't? If, during the day, they all want to eat, at the same time, I will tandem Gwendolen and Emilia. Rosalie would then get the bottle. Why? Because she knows what she is doing and won't get confused. Or, another option is to tandem Rosalie with another sister and, using the SNS, finger feed the 3rd baby. The finger feeding is still preferred over the bottle since she will still have to work just as hard to get the milk, plus the finger is skin, making it more like the boob.
At night, I don't do the on demand thing with Gwendolen and Emilia. They get fed at the same time. Rosalie, again, eats when she wants since I can hook her up and go back to sleep. It's awesome.
A few things I know your wondering about......
Are they getting enough? A "full feed". I think they are. They are still sleeping the usual 2.5-4 hours after nursing which tells me they are getting plenty of milk. Rosalie actually took a 4.5 hour nap today, nursed like crazy and slept another 3 hours. Matter of fact, they all ate tonight at 730pm (all on the breast) and they are all still asleep at 11pm! I'm not weighing them. No scales for me. I'm winging it and they are doing great! I'm trying to look at them like 3 single babies. I'm doing with them what I would do with a singleton and so far so good.
Are you pumping? I don't do it as much. Yay! It helps that I have an awesome friend pumping for me, but now, I only pump for every bottle I give. I'm no longer pumping to feed, I'm pumping to replace what they didn't take from me. Make sense? My fridge is not full of milk, and while I do have a hard time with that, it's OK. I have some frozen and they can all eat from me. If, for some reason, they are all hungry, and there is no milk in the fridge, I'll just get one happy, put another one to breast, get her happy and switch. It would take longer but it's do-able.
So, I did it. Finally. Got it figured out. The way I see it, this was half the battle. The girls are growing stronger and bigger so it will only get better. :)
Next on the triplet agenda? Getting them all to lay down while awake and fall asleep on their own without using the method of "Crying It Out".(CIO) Google it. It's not pretty.
Wish us luck.
2 months ago