This is a post about breastfeeding. There are pictures. I can’t think of anyone ‘in real life’ whom I would mind seeing me feed my babies but if the sight of my boobs – or Kirsty’s – might make you uncomfortable, I don’t mind if you want to press the ‘back’ button now and we’ll catch up with my next post.
Last week was National Breastfeeding Week so true to style, this week I’m sharing a fashionably late post about how feeding is going for us. You might already know that we had a difficult time establishing breastfeeding with the boys; Balthazar in particular was quite badly tongue-tied and both we and the hospital missed it when he was born. When he was four days old we were all readmitted to hospital for a while as he had lost 11% of his bodyweight and become rather unwell. My supply never really recovered and as he couldn’t latch effectively we ended up reliant on my Medela breastpump and bottles for his feeds and his brother’s as well. It meant that we were able to monitor how much they were taking in, but at the same time it was just miserable to have to rely on a breastpump to feed my babies.
This time I had promised myself that I wouldn’t stress about it. Either they would latch and feed easily or they wouldn’t and they would be primarily formula-fed babies with as much expressed milk on the side as I could provide without sacrificing time with them in order to give it. Either way, I will be returning to work when they are two weeks old and they won’t be coming with me, so there will have to be bottles in their lives. I promised myself that I would content myself with whatever felt easiest at the time, because a happy mother means happy babies regardless of how they are fed.
Nonetheless, I wanted to ensure that they got the vital colostrum during these first two weeks and so I was super excited when Medela’s PR folk got in touch to offer us the chance to be Medela Mums. Not only did they supply us with a Medela Freestyle but also a little Harmony handpump and lots of other goodies as well – you can see them all in my initial Medela Mums post. I started expressing colostrum at around thirty-seven weeks pregnant and by the time that the twins were born we already had lots of little freezer bags full of golden milk ready for them, and then much to my astonishment when they were born they latched easily and quickly and – just like that – we were feeding.
We’re not religious about it. They feed from my breast and sometimes I express and they drink breastmilk from a bottle and they’ve had formula, too. Knowing that I’m going back to work when they are just two weeks old has encouraged us to be pragmatic about what will and will not be do-able and we want them to be happy with all options before I go.
Excitingly, Kirsty has been able to ‘breastfeed’ using a supplemental nursing system. We use this one from Medela and they haven’t supplied it for us, we bought it with our own pennies. Kirsty hadn’t thought that she would want to physically nurse – she didn’t with the boys – but watching the girls feed from me, and seeing how they preferred that to the bottle, made her a little wistful not to be able to offer her the same thing. It’s quite simple really, just a container full of milk that hangs from the neck, and attached are two tiny tubes, which come down and are attached to the nipples. The babies have taken to it really well and are equally as keen to feed from either of us now.
So that is where we are! We’re happy with it. The girls are happy too and pudging up more every day, Kirsty is able to share in the breastfeeding experience without having to give up the frappuccinos – lucky duck – and I am enjoying the balance between nursing the little girls myself and having the time and space in my day to do other things too.
How did you feed your babies?