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.