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Thinking about stopping bf'ing and ep'ing instead- insight please!

Sorry this is long, I really need some help with this decision....

I had my b/g twins 5 weeks ago, they were born at 34 weeks (so technically not even due yet). They were great breastfeeders from day 1- in the NICU they did a combo of the feeding tube, breast, and bottle. After 2 weeks they came home and have continued the combo of breast and bottle.

Our feeding routine is nurse, bottle, and then pump. I can pump about 8-10 oz in 10 minutes but it takes about 45 minutes to tandem nurse them (I think they are eating about 2 oz each)-  and then another 20 min to bottle.

Here are my dilemas-

1. After 3 weeks home, they still always need a bottle after nursing (sometimes, they won't nurse at all). They are nearly 7 lbs now and seem strong- If they won't EBF now, will they ever? The bottle is so much easier for them but I want to nurse and really like it....

2. I have an oversupply- my daughter eats slow so she is fine with it, but my son struggles- milk comes out his nose, he cries etc. I've tried everything for him- sometimes pumping a bit before I start so its not so strong for him. (see above, I pump about 2x more than they eat every feeding)

So my questions are- did you EP? If so, why & how long did you last? My goal is to give them breast milk until atleast 9 months but am afraid I"ll lose my supply if I EP- how can I be sure that wont happen? (I'm going back to work in 8 weeks). Or, that EP will be such a pain that I'll quit. I don't want to be shortsighted (it seems easier now but will be it be easier in 5 months?)

 Any other things I'm missing? What is the biggest pain of EPing? Any opinions or thoughts are much appreciated. I am really struggling and just want to do what is best for both me and my babies. 

 Thank you so much!

Re: Thinking about stopping bf'ing and ep'ing instead- insight please!

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    Your supply is amazing!

    I breastfeed and have to supplement with formula (6 oz a day for each).

    I just wanted to say that it does get easier. I almost gave up breastfeeding the twins altogether, but it got easier every week.  My girls were born at 36 weeks and they had a really hard time nursing.  I couldn't tandem feed until Week 6, so I was nursing one at a time, plus the bottle feed...it was so hard!

    My friend had twins and gave up breastfeeding after a month.  She pumped and supplemented with formula.  When I was going to give up she encouraged me to keep going and said she regretted giving up earlier.  That's kind of stuck with me, so when it gets hard I remember that.

    The more the babies nurse, the more they get the hang of it.  I thought I'd never get where I'm at.  At 3 weeks we were supplementing 8 oz/day.  Now they weigh twice as much and I supplement only 6 oz/day. 

    Ultimately do what's best for you- but just my experience as food for thought!

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     First off, I am jealous of your supply!! Be thankful for that! I am taking 9 Fenugreek pills three times a day and eating oatmeal every single day to keep up with my girls (and I still have to supplement 1/2 oz or so every feeding)!

    My girls were in the NICU for a month and I was only allowed to start trying to breastfeed them a few days before discharge. They were so used to the instant gratification and not having to work for the milk, they never got the hang of BF. I went to several LCs and spent a lot of time trying to BF.

    I was doing the same thing as you and was BF one at a time, then they still wanted a bottle, then I had to pump. So it was a constant cycle because they were eating every 2-3 hours and I wasn't able to do anything else but feed babies and pump. I now pump and give them breastmilk that way, and if they are still hungry, I will nurse them. They seem to be okay with nursing only in that circumstance!

    I guess the pains of EP is the setting up and cleanup. That, and when we were doing night feedings, I had to go pump for 30 minutes after I put the girls down, and all I wanted to do was sleep!

    My ultimate goal is 1 year, but 9 months might be more logical. I have pushed to give them breastmilk because they were 32 weekers and are doing so well, I have to think that is part of the reason. Good luck! EPing is hard work, but well worth it!

     

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    I EP and basically have for day one. My supply is just starting to catch up to what the girls are eating...I just hope that as they keep eating more that I continue to produce more. Right now each girl gets about 6 oz formula each day. One has to get 2 feedings of neosure a day per doctors orders anyway. At the beginning I was needing to pump every 2-3 hours which was really hard. Now I'm pumping every 3-4 hours and can go a bit longer if I need to be out. 

    At the beginning the hardest part was feeling chained to the pump. I couldn't leave the house for very long. But I was working to establish my supply so i was more than willing to make the tradeoff. There are still times that I wish I didn't have to pump - it's time away from my babies and my husband, and from family if I need to pump when they're over to visit. My girls were also born at 34w but have never nursed very well and my attempts at tandem nursing have been miserable failures. If I nurse them I have to nurse them for 30-45 minutes each, and they they both still need a bottle. I can feed them bottles and pump in less time. The bottle is just so much easier for them. One thing I like about pumping is that other people can feed them which allows me more time to take care of things around the house and sleep. 

    Sometimes I regret not working harder at bfing. We're not going to have any more kids so I will never have that experience like I've always wanted to. But the most important thing to me is that their getting as much BM as possible, and we're accomplishing that goal through EPing. I'm working on short-term goals - first to Haloween, then to Christmas...and then we'll see. If I can do 6 months I'll be very pleased and will hopefully have no regrets. We'll just have to see how I do when I return back to work.

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    First, it makes me SO happy to read all these posts that sound just like me.  My boys were born at 34w too, and I didn't trust my nursing.  They just got tired before they got full.  I started pumping, and that's what we've been doing for a few weeks.  They are 6 weeks now, and I feel much better that I know exactly how much they get.  I too HATE the pump, but for me, it's worth it for the sense of control.
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    My babies were born at 35 weeks and they couldnt latch nor stay awake to drink.  I had to EP for the first 6 weeks and my supply wasnt an even match.  My goodness, did I want to quit sooooo badly.  But someone told me to "just keep trying".  At the time, I got pissed, but in hindsight it was the best advice I received.  At 6 weeks they latched but it took them forever to nurse...like you, around 45 minutes.  But it got better and better and now we're past a year and it takes the 3-5 minutes to nurse.  I am actually having the opposite problem now (attempting to wean).  So, I hate saying "just keep trying" but there isnt much else to say.  It does get better, they DO get faster. It's just weighing whether or not the stress is worth it to you.  Ultimately, being a great mother has nothing to do with breastfeeding.
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    I haven't BF twins, but I would give it a couple more weeks before deciding.  EPing is really time consuming, and you're still early on in BFing.  6 weeks seems to be a magical turning point for a lot of people, though it might take a couple more weeks with twins, I imagine.  They will definitely get better and more efficient with time, and just getting a little head control makes a huge difference.
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    mine couldn't latch well until they were one month old - basically until they hit their due date. and I couldn't do tandem feeding successfully until they were 2 months old. So I've done a lot of pumping. Pros - you know exactly how much they're eating, and other people can feed them. Cons - feeling chained to the pump, and the pump not removing milk efficiently. I've taken a 2 week break from bfing to try to clear up an epidemic of thrush in the house, and I can tell that the pump doesn't empty me as effectively and doesn't clear up plugged ducts the way bfing does. Plus I really miss bfing!

    pp's are right that they do get faster and more efficient at nursing. Now I don't have to give them a bottle after nursing like I used to - they actually get full and can then go 2-3 hours before the next feed!

    one trick I learned is to nurse first thing in the morning, when your supply is highest. that way they have a better chance of getting full.

    good luck with whatever you decide.

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    I started EPing when my girls were about a week old. It took me soo long at home and I was by myself parts of the day when DH went back to work. I EPed for 7 months and am now slowly weaning then onto formula. I'm now only pumping 2x day and feel like I have so much time lol.

    I never lost my supply, it actually increased until about 3 months then evened out and I then could start dropping pumping sessions. It is a pain, I'm not gonna lie, but like everything in "baby world" it becomes a routine and you just do it. 

    The hardest for me was the first couple months when they were still eating every 2.5-3.5 hours day and night. I felt like I was always trying to catch up.. like feeding them, cleaning bottles, pumping and trying to get rest/things done before the next feeding. It gets a lot easier when you are getting longer stretches at night, for sure.

    Overall, EPing really worked for me. DH helps with tons of feedings, as well of family and friends when they are around to help which feels like a vacation in those early days!  The car adapter was a huge help for me, just FYI if you decide to EP. Good luck with whatever you choose to do and either way they are getting wonderful breastmilk, good job momma :)

     

     

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    I have had different BFing issues than you (mastitis, really badly cracked nipple that took almost 3 months to heal, thrush etc.) but I had issues. I felt like quitting all the time, but I really didn't want to quit. I am so glad that I kept going. Now nursing is so much easier than pumping. I work part time so I have to pump some and for me it is a PITA. So my advice is just keep with it for now. Put them to breast instead of bottle as much as possible. If you can switch the bottle nipples that you use to the premie nipple so that it comes out slower. That way they're less likely to prefer the bottle over breast. Also, at first my babies took 45 minutes to nurse and I felt like I was nursing all the time. But that too gets better. Now they finish in 10-20 minutes or so. 

    Now is the hardest part when both you and the babies are figuring things out. If you can get through this, it will get so much better. 

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    My advice is to do whichever works for you;  doing both BF and EP is hard esp when you have 2.  I went right to EPing with both pregnancies.......6 months for DD and 3 with twins; I had to supplement with formula for the twins as I didn't have enough supply for both and didn't have the extra time to pump to build supply.  However, I had an overabundance with DD.......So if you have the time to pump you may be able to have enough supply....you shouldn't loose supply.

     I have heard that breastmilk is the most beneficial until 6 months; after that it's value trails off.............. 

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    I bf my daughter until she was 13 months and I bf/ep for my son until he was 10 months old. I had a great supply and it just worked. I would nurse them both then pump, then like 2 hours later I would have to pump again but they ate every 3 hours. It just worked for us. I had to keep my water intake high though...
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