Dumping the Pumping

It has been a while, once you get in to this blog post, you will understand where I have been. I have decided when I was pregnant that I was going to go the route of breast feeding to feed the twins. I knew there were a ton of benefits to it and the more I got in to learning about it, the more I was amazed by the advances of it. I knew my twins had a high chance of coming in to the world early so I my breast milk was easily digested in their little bodies. Another factor that immediately sold me was that I would pass my immune system on to them, I have an extremely strong immune system so I was all about that. There is nothing more rough than two sick infants at one time ( pray for me as the teething stage approaches.) What I did not know originally was how many benefits there were for me. My uterus took half the time to shrink back to its original size, it helped with any postpartum hormones, and will decrease breast and ovarian cancer risk including diabetes.

Day one in the hospital my pressure was still to high to see my babies so I asked the nurse for a pump to get right in to getting my colostrum out. I could not be with my nuggets so the least I could do was get some strong protein and nutrient dense fluid. I had an awesome amount of colostrum and the nurses were very impressed. I pumped every three hours in the hospital to continue to bring up my milk flow. I continued this as we settled in home and was able to drop supplementing with formula from the hospital by the end of the week. I was producing like a milk machine. My body knew I had two kids to feed and we were flowing. In the beginning all the bambinos wanted to do was sleep so it was very easy to step away and pump it out. We would also do some latching for bonding and for another way to send signals to my body to produce for the babies.

Pumping was now my new job. I did not care who was over or what else was going on, I had the pumps on and the cover around me and continued with my day as is, this was a breeze! Another plus, you are forced to eat a lot of calories! Your body is burning calories while it is producing the milk and secreting it out. I love this because I am such a foodie and everyone was bringing over such delicious meals, it was not the time to diet. The best part of it all was how the babies were reacting to it. They were growing beautifully, burping on their own, hardly spitting up, and never constipated. The money I was saving was beautiful and not having to run to a store was key since I did not have the time to do much of that.

Three months later and my boys are now eating 7 ounces each every three hours. Yes, thats right .. that means I have to pump out 14 ounces every feeding! In order to do this , I have to have enough food in me, drink a lot of water, and be well rested. Well, forget it, now my twinnies are more alert and want to play. The last thing I wanted to do was either pump, sleep, eat, or drink while they were active, I wanted to play too! But guess what, too bad, this was the new schedule…. they eat, I pumped. They played a little, I pumped. Then they would snooze, and I would pump. Those three 20-30 minute sessions would get me the 14 ounces. Then they would eat and we would repeat. I found myself pumping while I drove, pumping in parking lots, pumping and forgetting to shower or eat. By the time 7pm hit, there was no such thing as well rested and I would sit to pump and my body would have nothing left for me. So now I would force myself to bed and set an alarm for 1am to pump again. This meant many nights of putting the babies down to sleep at 7 and having a minute with my husband only to have to give that up.

Some of you seasoned vets might now be wondering about my freezer supply. Good question. I had a ton of supply in the freezer and when I was not able to pump enough I started defrosting bags here and there to give myself a break. This was an excellent fall back plan because I was still super committed to breast milk. My kids were doing amazingly well and I was nervous to rock the boat. At some point this crazy schedule got to me and I had other outside stresses as a factor and my supply really started to diminish and I received my first clogged duct. This week I had to pull a ton of freezer bags while I worked on picking my supply back up. I was again pumping every two hours, eating lactation cookies, and taking sunflower lecithin supplements ( these supplements are great for milk supply, they also help thin your milk to break the clog and pass through the duct). All of that worked by the end of the week so therefore I was back on track but left with no back up stock in the freezer. At this point I was nervous to think this might happen again, and at the end of the day, my kids need to eat.

So we hit the three month mark and I decided it was time to start weaning the kiddos on to formula. I was a wreck hoping everything would go smoothly in their bellies. They could have had reflux, bad gas, allergic reactions, or many other things. I started them with Similac pro advance because that is what was given to them in the hospital and they sucked that bad boy down. I did not run in to one issue. I put the powder in the Brezza, pressed one button and one minute later the perfect bottle was made. Now I am aggravated all together with how much work was being put in to one bottle of breast milk. My pediatrician suggested I do one feeding of breast milk to one feeding of formula. I enjoyed this new method because it took a lot of pressure off of me. There were also many benefits to introducing them to formula at this point too. The formula filled my big boys up and had some extra vitamins like vitamin D that I used to have to add to my breast milk. Everything was going great until I scaled back on the pumping a little too much.. got a clog again … that turned in to the dreaded mastitis.

It was Sunday and me and my husband took the kids to Long Island to see their cousins. I was so happy to hang out and not pump and just enjoy my time. When I got back I was starting to feel nauseous and my boobs were deffinitely filled up. I figured I would just pump before bed and all would be good. When I woke up in the morning I could not even lift my head off of the pillow and my boob was so painful. Thank god I am still living at my moms house and she was able to step in and feed the babies while I pumped and went back to bed. When I woke up for their second feeding I could tell I had a fever. I called my doctor .. she basically told me I had Covid and prescribed me penicillin for my breast. Ladies, mastitis is an infection. To have a fever when your body is fighting an infection is super common. My doctor is basically on my shit list and will never be used again. When my fever spiked to 104, all I could hear was her and went in to a panic that I would have to quarantine from my kids. I also was running through everyone I came in contact with and was freaking out even more. My fear and emotion mixed with my run down body was not a good combination. As I continued with the penicillin over night and the continuous pumping to undo the clog, my fever finally broke. I woke up, still in some pain but I could have dealt with that. I was just so happy the fever was officially gone.

Here is where we are at. I have to continue to pump at every feeding even if it is a formula one and drop a pumping every fifth day. I am excited to get my life back and I also can not wait for my boobs to go back to normal size, as of now they are massively filled with milk. I do not even know where to put them. I have mixed feelings on breast feeding. I was happy to start my kids off with it because they were preemies. If I was able to foresee how it would take over my life I might have started to wean off sooner. I wish I knew that with having twins, my body would produce so much milk it would be so hard to cut back. I am fortunate I was able to be home this whole time and find the times to pump even if those were the times that I could have rested. At the end of the day, my kids are thriving that is really all that matters to me and as we transition they are also transitioning with grace. This was a lot of work, and there are some things I wish I knew so I could take better action. We are on the mend now and the supply is slowing down. Looking forward to introducing food one day, thats when the fun will really begin!

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