I have a real love/hate relationship with breastfeeding. More the latter than the former. It just really takes a lot out of me. My immune system cannot handle much while I’m breastfeeding. With Olivia I was coming down with a fever every two weeks. I was really prone to mastitis which I would get just about every month. Since then I’ve learned how to take care of myself better and I’ve figured out tricks to help myself stay healthy but it is still really hard on me.
When the twins were born, they were too premature to suck well so they couldn’t breastfeed. The nurses had me pumping every 3 hours around the clock to make sure my milk came in and was plentiful for when they did start nursing. I literally pumped buckets during those 11 days in the NICU. When they took all my milk out of the NICU fridge/freezer, they actually brought it to us in a bucket there was so much. And they had to make more than one trip. We were sent home with instructions to keep pumping and feeding them bottles for two more weeks then start transitioning them to the breast.
Exclusively pumping and giving the babies bottles is really hard because you never get a chance to sleep. Pumping takes about 40 minutes between setting up, pumping for 20 minutes, then cleaning up. Then you have to feed the babies, burp them, and try to get them back to sleep. In three hours you’d have to start all over. It was so exhausting on top of having two babies to figure out. My point is, I could not wait to stop pumping. So I grabbed a dry erase marker and wrote 1 2 3 4 on my bathroom mirror. It was a countdown to when I would throw my breastpump out of the window.
Then when I started actually nursing the babies I started to have all my regular breastfeeding problems and I wanted so bad to give up. I wanted so bad to just give them formula. Every day I decided to. And of course that would have been fine if that was my decision but I kept reminding myself how expensive that would be, how good it would be for preemies to get the benefits that come with breastmilk. So I kept going. And I added to that countdown on my mirror. I wrote the numbers all the way to 52 that basically framed my mirror. And everytime I wanted to give up, I would just make it my goal to get to Saturday when I could tick off the next number.
This is the picture of the last of the countdown. We made it. I’m still nursing them. We just went to the pediatrician today and he said I could start them on whole milk. Thank the good, sweet Lord.