Monday, April 9, 2012

breastfeeding and weaning twins

SO I have started the process of weaning. My goal was always to get to 6 months and we are less than 30 days out so I have begun. As it turns out, weaning is not easy. In fact, this process has been a little hellish. First off, there isn't much info online. What you do find whenever you look up how to wean is "DON'T DO IT". Most people write about how you shouldn't wean unless absolutely necessary and let your kid wean when they are 2 years old and blah blah blah. Then they write about how emotional it is and so on.
Let me tell you - I don't need anyone helping me feel more guilt in this process. I already have enough. I wish resources online just said - people wean for a number of reasons. Good on ya for trying to breastfeed and here's how to wean. 1,2,3. bada bing bada boom.
Because here is my world right now sans how to wean info: I have ice on my breasts. I have ace bandages wrapped around my chest. I have cabbage leaves on my boobs. I am taking B6 and ibuprofen and will start some sort of anti-histamine at some point. I am pumping 2-3 times a day on the left boob and 4-6 on the right and trying to keep track of when I pumped last for either and how much and for how long so I can do less of both and wearing a sports bra everyday..
yeeeeeeeeeah. This sorta sucks.
I finally called a breastfeeding hotline number today and the lactaction consultant told me to get the lumps out with a warm pack and to pump till almost empty about twice a day. In between those two pumpings I should only pump if I need to relieve pressure.
I'm a smart woman but somehow this whole process has been beyond me. Doesn't that plan sound like I'll still be pumping for a long time? Am I going to be doing this for weeks and weeks?
We have enough in the freezer to last them for another few months. Somehow that helps me justify my decision to be done at 6 months. Why do I feel so guilty about this whole thing? Its ridiculous. My TWIN boys have been on breastmilk since they were born. Thats nearly 6 months with two babies. I literally haven't slept through the night in 6 months so that I could supply them with breastmilk. They've been sleeping through the night for 2 months. Thats crazy, right? They sleep and I don't. Does feeding two babies for six months convert to 1 baby for 1 year? It does, right?


Whitman - left, Charleston - right


Nat said...

Jo, I feel bad that I haven't been a good commenter on your blog of late. I read every post and always have so much to say but I haven't figured out how to do blog time with a baby yet (so please share your secret, because I would love to blog more but never seem to have the time, which means I'm not balancing my time right!) For example, I still have been meaning to offer all kinds of support to your plea for breastfeeding support. . .and that was a long time ago, and now you're weaning! I feel terrible. Just know that I think of you often and have been quietly rooting for you from the sidelines!

Soooo weaning. Please don't feel guilty. I don't know anyone else with twins that has been able to maintain exclusive breastmilk feeding the way you have for this long. It's simply. . .amazing. I spend hours every day nursing/pumping/etc and can't imagine doing it with twins!! I know that you're going to feel guilty no matter what (I'm in the same situation. . .enough in the freezer to last a long while but still feel guilty whenever I consider weaning) And you have enough for months? For twins?? How much frozen milk do you have??? I thought I had a lot but apparantly I'm just playing a child's game! :) And why 2-3 times on Lefty and 4-6 on Righty? Sorry, here's my unabashed curiousness coming through.

Um. . .I lost track of where this was going a long time ago. But just know that I am cheering for you and so amazed by what you do for your boys!

Amanda Duke said...

I wish I had some advice for you. Good job making it to 6 months. I pumped until the twins were 6 months too but they were also getting formula so it was a pretty easy transition. It just seemed I was only pumping once or twice a day so I just stopped. I wish I knew your secret to your babes sleeping through the night. Sarah is 13 months and still waking up at least once to nurse. She doesn't need to, but she wants to. And I have no idea how I am going to wean her. Good luck!

Rachel said...

This is part of what (I think) makes being a mother so hard . . . every decision you make (or try to make) involves half the world telling you you're doing it wrong, you'll ruin your kids' lives, you're ruin YOUR life . . . for pete's sake, it can be so frustrating. I think it's incredible that you made it to 6 months--truly incredible. I made it about 3-4 months nursing just one baby and I also felt very torn and guilty about "quitting." I remember crying the first time I gave Forrest formula, which seems ridiculous to me now . . . it's not like I was poisoning him. It's FOOD. Thousands of babies grow up on formula and turn out just dandy. In the end, it's not just a decision about YOU or a decision about THEM--it's a decision about what's best for your whole family, and it honestly sounds (to an outsider like me just peeking in through the blog) like the best choice for everyone is for you to cut yourself a break and wean those boys if that's what will make all your lives happier and easier. For us, even though I felt SO guilty about not breastfeeding, I realized REALLY quickly after I stopped that we had definitely made the right choice in switching to bottle feeding, not just for myself but for Jeff and Forrest, too. Everyone was happier and more well-rested, Forrest was gaining more weight and was noticeably more cheerful, sleeping longer, etc, trips out of the house that had been agonizingly difficult while he was nursing became easy and--dare I say it?--fun when prep was as simple as packing a bottle. Try not to beat yourself up--you've done an amazing job, and 20 years from now (heck, even ONE year from now), no one will ever know the difference. I have no advice for the actual weaning itself--my supply just slowly and steadily decreased almost from the minute he was born, so I didn't have any issues with discomfort, and he had always hated nursing so he didn't care about giving it up, either. I just hope you don't feel bad about it :-) Good luck!

Jennie Ellett said...

I'm saddened that in the 5 years since I had to wean that there isn't more information out there. I exclusively pumped for 5 months and quit cold turkey because I didn't really know how else to do it. (I also had no support from a LC or the Pediatrican on eping). When I went to buy cabbage the clerk said "oh are you making coleslaw" I replied quite frankly that I was stopping breast feeding and she snidely replied "and how old is your baby?" I said 5 months and she started rambling that I should go till 2. I snapped back that he had a milk allergy and she should mind her own business. And she replied that I could do lactose free. Uh dumbass he is allergic to milk protein not lactose. Ugh.
My suggestion is to drop a pump on each breast every 4-7 days. I did get a few suggestions after the fact and the one that hit home the most was to mimic how a child naturally weans hence dropping pumps slowly.
One thing I will warn you is it was like giving birth all over again with the emotions. So be patient with yourself. (And going cold turkey works but hurts like hell).

brenda and lorin said...

First off- good for you for eVen trying Nursing. The first couple of months were so hard an painful for me (things people don't tell you!) but I nursed Ollie for 9 months and just thought it was best to stop. We all have our reasons and no one should judge you on what you think is best for you and your child. I didn't nurse my first baby and he is just fine. Anyway, what I did was (which is different for you bc you have 2 and probably fed on both sides completely empty) I fed on one side completely empty and fed on the other until he was done. Then I skipped the next feeding all together and just have him a bottle ( we tried lots of bottles and he only liked one particular nipple) then next feeding I did the same thing starting with the one that he didn't drain. I pumped to relieve pressure and gave him that milk to supplement. I did this for a couple of days and then just fed from one side and supplemented milk. I skipped the next feeding and gave him a bottle. I gradually worked my way down Uby skipping 1-2 feedings and by the next couple of weeks I was feeding him solely in the mornings. It did hurt a lot because he nursed every 3 hrs and my body was used to producing a lot of milk. I took some ibuprofen for the pain and would even express some milk in the shower just to relieve some pressure. But I know people that did it in 3 days and just dealt with the pain ( and sometimes infection) i know there isn't much support out there but just know that you don't love your children any less by not nursing anymore. They will be normal and loving and will love you just the same. If you have any questions just call or email or whatever. Good luck!!

Tanya said...

I'm glad you're getting some thoughtful, kind comments on here. Because when you posted on Facebook and I read a couple of the "why are you weaning?" comments, I was getting PISSED. The ugly side of me wanted to say something to them, but that'd be immature and I know in reality those women are probably some good friends who mean well. I didn't breastfeed at all, and boy are there some opinionated breastfeeding moms in the world. It's a wonderful thing between mom and baby, but it is not an obligation. It's a choice, plain and simple. Anyway, sorry for your pain and I know you're looking forward to have your boobs back to normal. ;-)

jbroclayto said...

Thanks for sharing this with me on FB! I would love to feature your story and picture some time if you are willing.
I want to be the lactation consultant that ANYONE can come to. Regardless of what their needs are-I don't want to be the nipple nazi. I want to make it work for each individual, each family.
Also good on ya for going to 6 months! that is a feat. and even more so with twins. AND the fact that you had enough in the freezer to feed them for MONTHS after? Who are you wonderwoman!? I love it.

Anonymous said...

I just stumbled upon this while searching how to wean from exclusively pumping for twins. I've found great information on weaning from breastfeeding, but pumping for twins? Not a lot out there. They're 10 months and i pumped 10x a day for 6 months straight, TWICE overnight. I'm down to 5x a day and so much happier...but I hope to be down to 1 by the time they turn 1. I know this may not work out, but I can't wait to dump the pump. It's been a love/hate relationship since week 1. But I just wanted to say thanks for writing this. Pumping is not the easiest thing, and for anyone who reached their goal (a week, a month, a year) good on you! And for those who made the difficult decision to never breastfeed for whatever reason, don't let anyone tell you how to feed your baby. We're all doing the best we can.