pump and pray.

Breast feeding is a big deal to me.

I exclusively breastfed Noah for 12 straight months and continued to breastfeed him a couple of months after that as he transitioned to regular milk.

There was no question to me whether I would breastfeed the twins or not, every time I was asked I would say yes with such a strong conviction.

When they were born my supply came in fast and furious. Over 150 ounces a day. I quickly filled up the twins freezers at the NICU.

I was so happy that amidst all the horrible things going on I was at least doing one thing right, I was producing milk and a lot of it.

Then Aiden got ill.

I stopped eating and sleeping for 3 days straight.

After that food and sleep were so hit and miss.

And not only that I stopped pumping. I couldn’t pull myself from Aiden.

In my head I knew Evan had two back up freezer supplies at the hospital he was at and Aiden wasn’t eating.

I couldn’t pump, it meant being away from Aiden.

Our lives were so hectic I couldn’t take time to pump. That and I was living on caffeine from the hospital cafeteria that people would bring me just to say awake.

I was so engorged. It hurt to walk. It hurt to have my shirt on.

Once things settled down after Evan was responding to his medication with his NEC diagnosis and Aiden seemed to be cautiously recovering I went back to my crazy pumping schedule…

This time barely anything was there.

I pumped for 30 mins or more and came away with 1oz.

In one pumping before I could easily get 30oz.

I was devastated and still am.

While I get more than 1oz now I am only getting enough to support one of them fully with milk and in order for Evan to come home they had to supplement him with donor milk and formula.

I still can breastfeed him but it breaks my heart I couldn’t do what I did for Noah for Aiden and Evan.

I have tried everything to bring back my supply to no avail.

I pump every two hours when home and don’t go more than 3 without pumping..I even have a manual pump for the car if we are out.

I drink 5 glasses of mother’s milk tea a day.

I take 12 pills of fenugreek a day. I seriously smell like maple syrup from how much fenugreek I am taking in..it is a side effect of taking it so much.

I even tried using fennel and basil oil to increase my supply. Which by the way I HATE licorice (aka FENNEL) so going to bed 5 days in a row slathered up in fennel oil makes me want to vomit. I slept with the blanket wrapped up to my chin to keep the smell away.

I was so excited because the first night it seemed to work, I had triple my normal pumping.

Then the next day barely anything. It didn’t seem to work after the first day.

I have been so overwhelmingly stressed about it too. Calls from the lactation team at the hospital asking me about formula and how many ounces I am getting each pumping all just making me feel more stressed out.

But last night I brought in a bag of milk to the hospital and my mother in law made a comment about how much there was and I told her it wasn’t enough.

Then the nurse that had the boys told me how amazed she was that I even had that much. That being away from them for 2 months and just now being able to even breastfeed one of them that she is amazed that I have any milk for them.

Then she said something that brought me to tears.

“you are doing a good job!”

I know it is stupid but I started crying.

I felt like I was failing, miserably at that.

Instead of measuring how many ounces were there she just focused on that was what I had and it was my very best.

I am trying to undo my formula is poison mentality and stop repeating ‘breast is best’ in my head every time I come up short with my pumping.

I just felt like I couldn’t keep them in as long as they needed that this was the one thing I could have given them.

I am not giving up. I hope that when Evan comes home feeding him, which is a lot different than pumping will bring my supply up. I don’t know if it will but like I said I hope it will.

I am, like most moms, my worst critic.

So while it doesn’t seem like a lot, just hearing you are doing a good job made a huge difference.

So I will continue to pump and pray all day, every day for my two beautiful boys.


11 thoughts on “pump and pray.

  1. you are doing wonderful, i pumped for,my twins while they were in the nicu but wasnt producing enough for both, the biggest but youngest baby had to be formula fed while the smallest but oldest baby got all the breastmilk since he needed it more than his brother! dont ever feel like you are failing you’re failing your precious babies, as you are doing an amazing job! sending lots of prayers your way and also praying for you’re miracles, good luck, keep your head held high!

  2. You are doing an amazing job! With my first (although she never nursed well)- I pumped a ton! So I knew that the 2nd time around supply wouldnt be my issue. I just needed #2 to nurse. Well #2 nurse (thankfully) and when I went back to work, despite pumping and pumping…my supply has been a fight every.single.day. I cried in the aisle at the store the first time I had to purchase formula for her to help supplement. Like you, I haven’t given up.

    With that mentality, sometimes I am producing alot (days ahead) then for whatever reason my supply will plummet and I will be 2 bottles behind. When that happens I do some “power pumping” (UGH ANNOYING) but seems to stimulate things some. I put for 5 mins on, 5 off for an hour. I try to do this a few hours a day a few days in a row. (The best I can) The other thing that is the hardest for me, but seems to make the most impact in my supply is rest. If I get a nap on the weekend (even an hour) I will wake up and pump and get a ton of milk when normally at that time of day I would barely get any. The better rest at night I get, the better my supply is the entire next day. It’s the hardest thing to get as a mother- especially in your situation.

    Then on a regular basis I try to eat oatmeal daily, a beer (or two) at night (If I can- but sometimes that cuts into my sleep time), fenugreek (12 a day), prenatals etc. Mother’s milk tea was nasty for me, but I found I could consume more quantity of it if I did it half and half with lemonade. (Arnold-Palmer Style)

    I don’t know what your nighttime sleeping situation is right now, but I had to for my own sake stop my night-time pumping. When I was pumping once or twice at night my supply was much higher. But a couple weeks ago I had to stop. I was just too tired and needed my rest to perform in the rest of my life. I’ve lost 8 ounces (2 of her feedings). Which for me is just enough to for me to be barely keeping up again and almost consistently giving one bottle of formula a day. I will be staying home with the girls soon and hope to nurse more…but my 6month old now fights the breast as she has gotten really used to the bottle from daycare. I’m going to keep putting her on in hopes she gets better. But if she doesn’t then when I am no longer working full time I will probably pick back up one of the pumpings in the middle of the night.

    But ultimately I’m coming to terms with the highs and lows of my supply in my current reality (working mom). I’m just doing my best each day and I am trying to be thankful for the milk I’ve provided so far.

    Wishing you lots of luck in the milk making department.

  3. Once the babies start suckling and you are able to relax a bit it will come in again. I have a disabled son. When ever he would go through growing spurts, I would allow him to nurse the entire night. I just kept switching sides over and over and the milk came in much quicker. Good luck!!!

  4. Have you tried pumping on one side while you are nursing your healthier twin on the other. Sometimes after a hugely stressful situation, your emotions interfere with your letdown. Also try keeping a blanket or something that your sicker infant has been wrapped in, around you, smell him, or try pumping while holding him or attempting to nurse him. I had the HARDEST time letting down for a pump but my babies always helped me out in that department.

    My good friend has struggled with milk supply with all 3 of her children, but with the help of Motherlove supplements she was eventually able to exclusively breastfeed her 3rd child. Here is a link for the product she recommends,


    You have to be good to yourself, and I know that is a tall order some days. I personally am of the opinion that donor milk is better than formula, but you do what you have to do. You are awesome. Hang in there!

    (PS I’m friends with Becky Townsend, and she sent me your way)

  5. Oh, sweetheart. I can tell you from personal experience that the more stressed I got about breastfeeding my daughter, the lower my milk supply was. And pumping helps keep it up some but her actually nursing does more… I hope Evan comes home soon for you. It’s easy to say don’t be upset, but I know it will be okay. In the meantime… I have to give my little girl formula sometimes, too – she’s just barely 3 months old. Keep praying and we will pray with you. ❤ and blessings!

  6. No matter how it ends up, you are *amazing*. I pumped exclusively for my preemie (I was very, very lucky to not have supply issues until she was 11 mos old, though I bet I would have had she been as ill as your little one or in the hospital as long as your boys… that stress would have killed my supply!), and to be honest… *hated* it! I would do it again if necessary, but I hated the whole thing… so, honestly, I think any mama that is able to exclusively pump *at all* is amazing. No matter what, you are amazing. You are working as hard as you possibly can to be everything for your little boys, and they are so very lucky to have you, whether or not your supply can keep up with them. Good luck mama!

  7. You are such an amazing mom! Every mom needs to hear that. Your mentality is acceptable, and I commend you! The boys have had breast milk, especially the colostrum, for almost 2 whole months. That is such a huge accomplishment given the boys’ situation. Be proud of what you have accomplished. God’s grace has provided for them this long. His grace is always enough. Two months is better than nothing, and you have given everything for your boys. Organic formula is available now, and its far healthier than conventional. There is also a milk bank that may be able to help you as well. Be strong and proud of what you have already done. The Bible promises “This too shall pass.”

  8. I stumbled on your blog a couple nights ago and have been following since. I exclusively pump for my now 11 month old. Breastfeeding was equally important to me. Unfortunately, at the 3 month mark I suffered a horrible GI bug and my milk supply tanked. I turned to Domperidone. It is used in the UK for milk induction for preemies and even adoptive mothers. It is not FDA approved in the US yet so I had to order it from Canda. It brought me from 12oz a day to 28oz a day. It has saved my supply and I am happy to be almost to the year milestone. I was able to stop the fenugreek, the teas, and my every 3 hour pumping schedule thanks to this miracle pill. I ordered the 10mg pills and I take 2 pills twice a day. Hope this information helps you. You are doing an AMAZING job. Be proud of this wonderful commitment you have made to your two boys. Such a blessing.

  9. I went through the same thing when my twins were in the NICU for 3 months, my supply was great at first then the last month it was just gone and I tried everything to get it back but nothing worked I would have loved to have continued with the breastfeeding but sadly couldn’t.i hope your supply comes back in full force!

  10. I can’t imagine doing what you do! I said the same thing with my twins. It worked for the first 3 months until I found out hey were lactose intolerant and it was my milk that was making them cry. They are formula babies now, but I tried to make up for it by making their baby food. You will find your own ways to make up for where you feel you fell short. Hang in there momma! You are amazing!!

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