Archive | Breastfeeding RSS feed for this section

Wordless Wednesday – A Piano Duet

15 Jun

Linking up with Trish’s My Little Drummer Boys and Sarah’s Faith Hope and a whole lotta Love for Wordless Wednesday.

Head on over there to see other photos and to also join in the linky fun.

Happy Wednesday !

Breastfeeding Twins: Just Like Riding A Bike…Kinda…Not Really…

7 Jun

A fellow mummy blogger wrote a post last week that compelled me to write this one.  Sare from “Getting From Here To There” talked about her decision to breastfeed for as long as possible.  She felt that it should be the norm not the exception.

Speaking as a mum of twins, it’s not uncommon to breast feed for a maximum of 8 weeks.

It initially takes a lot of patience, persistence and help.

It’s a trickier business to continue.

The various positions for breast feeding twins...I stuck to postion one...

Midwives:

It was a mixed blessing that our 5 week premature twins had to stay in the NICU for two weeks.  It broke my heart to leave them behind when I was discharged.  But, that time gave me the opportunity to enter – as I like to call it – The Special School of Twin Breastfeeding.

Yes, I had icy cold hands constantly touching my once precious puppies.  But I will forever grateful to the NICU midwives.

At 35 weeks gestation, babies know how to suck.  They know how to swallow.  Both as separate functions.

So, babies who are born at this age need to learn how to co-ordinate the two.

To breastfeed successfully, took a concerted effort from mum, babies and outside help.  Nothing about it was a breeze.

One by one: First attempt by Little K...and no...that wasn't Hubby's hand...

Australian Breatfeeding Association:

We had their Helpline on speed dial – 1800 686 2 686 (1800 mum 2 mum)

When the boys were two months old, I found myself bowling over with shooting pains in my right breast.  I suspected nipple thrush.  I feared mastitis.

We called the ABA in the middle of the night for help.  For guidance.  For some moral support.

Suffering from nipple thrush for almost two months, not only were there regular trips to the GP, we also made dozens of calls to the ABA.

Sometimes I heard what they had to say (“You’re doing a great job…Hang in there !”).

Sometimes I wanted to throw the phone across the room (“I know it hurts, but you have to continue breast feeding !”).

Overall, they were there.  Listening.  Offering help.

Going Solo…

When Hubby went back to work, I was left with the daunting task of figuring out how to feed the boys on my own.

It took a couple of attempts.

At first, I had to feed them seperately.  Not only did it become time consuming, I constantly had a baby latched to a breast.  I wasn’t far off being a milking cow.

Then, the boys got a little bigger, with better head and neck control.

The feeding routine then went like this:

  • Scoop up Twin One from cot and carry with left arm.
  • Scoop up Twin Two from cot and carry with right arm.
  • Carry both bundles of joy to the lounge room and sit down at one end of the couch.
  • While holding Twin One, place Twin Two on a cushion on the right.

(Now for the tricky part)

  • With the twin breast feeding pillow at arm’s reach, strap the pillow on with my free hand, while making sure Twin Two didn’t roll off his cushion.
  • Place Twin One on the breast feeding pillow, then place Twin Two.

At last...two at a time...

Now tell me that sounds like riding a bike…

My boys were naturally weaned – three weeks shy of their first birthday.  Ironically, out of the entire experience, that probably felt the most natural.

Breast feeding in general is no easy feat.

Adding another baby to the boob can change the whole equation.

The bar is closing…

7 Jan

So, today was the day.  Cutting ties.  An end to an era.  A closing of a chapter.  Just 3 weeks shy of their first birthday, the boys and my working breasts have parted ways.  It has been a gradual progression.  I thought I would be sad.  Surprisingly, I’m not.  I will respect their decision: “Mama, I’m just not into your breast milk, anymore.”

My breastfeeding journey is filled with countless happy memories as well as interesting challenges.  Let’s start with the difficult stuff…

There is one incident that caused trauma and tears:  My terrible, agonizing bout of nipple thrush (Ahem, let me forewarn you that this post is not for the faint hearted…)

The boys were barely 4 weeks old when late one night, I started to feel a sharp shooting pain in my right breast.  The pain worsened as the night wore on.  Sitting on the couch, I howled and cried.  Hubby had no idea what to do with me.

With limited resources at midnight, we made a desperate phone call to the Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA).  Although the number we dialled was a “hot-line” I was certain that no one would be on the other end to pick up.  But thankfully, someone was.  After the midwife told me that my symptoms appeared to be nipple thrush, I was ordered to do 2 very important things:

1.  See a doctor first thing in the morning

2. At all costs, keep breastfeeding.

Keep breast feeding.

Are you friggin’ KIDDING me ???????

I felt like shouting down the phone.  I couldn’t believe what she was telling me.  Looking back, I know she was giving the standard advice that a midwife gave to all breast feeding mothers.  Yet, did she have ANY idea of the excruciating, toe-curling pain that I was going through ?  How could I tell her that the agony was so unbearable that each time I was breast feeding  it actually felt as though my babies had razor blades in their mouth – slicing into my nipple ?  (See, I told you reading this wasn’t for the weak).

In any case, I did see a doctor…and begrudgingly, I did continue to breast feed.  So, for almost 2 months, I endured numerous visits to the doctor’s, hours of “taking my gear off” to air out my precious puppies to give them some much needed Vitamin D (a.k.a sunshine), as well as continual usage and doses of anti-fungal creams, tablets and drops for the boys (The boys also needed to be treated otherwise mother and babies would just keep transferring the infection to each other.  Lovely).

Some would call me crazy, wondering why I didn’t give it all up.  I honestly don’t know the answer.  I don’t think I ever will.  Maybe it was just a mix of hazy after birth hormones clouding my ability to make rational decisions and the relentless, self-critical, blinding urge to be a good mum.  I know to stop breast feeding was an option.  I just made the personal choice to keep going.

To bring some yin and yang into this story and before me and my “personalities” completely shut shop, here is a list of some of my more gratifying breast feeding moments:

  • The boys’ tiny faces looking up at me, seeking eye contact, as if asking permission, before diving in for their meal of liquid gold.
  • The three of us falling asleep during a feed – waking up and all stretching simultaneously. Hubby thought it was hilarious.  I think he secretly wished he could’ve joined in.
  • The drunken, content look the boys had after a feast of boob juice.

    4 months old: The boys chillin' after a feed

  • Being able to breast feed them simultaneously in the “rugby hold” position.  It ended up being a popular party trick…

    The Early Days: Still learning how to get that "rugby hold' position just right

  • The interaction the boys would have with each other after a feed – the cooing, the giggling and the eye contact.

I will even happily admit that, albeit my run in with nipple thrush, breast feeding was “pleasurable”.  As far as learning curves go, it has been a motherhood experience that took me to the moon and back.  And no doubt, I will miss the bonding that breast feeding provided my boys and I.

These days, I’m getting to know the twins in other fun ways.  For instance, feeding them their bottles like little lambs is just as memorable and adorable.

Today

On another up-side, I can finally reclaim my beloved breasts as my own property.  (Yay !)  Although, Hubby is adamant that he’s got dibs.  He wishes.

So, my little munchkins, the bar is closing.  Last drinks have been served.  You have both been wonderful patrons.

Christmas Holiday Ramblings

3 Jan

Talk about ending the year with a bang !  Yet, if you think I have tales of fabulous NYE parties filled with champagne and canapés, you are sorely mistaken, my friend.

Having to sacrifice my front seat to an (almost) industrial-sized air cooler, awkwardly-shaped giant breast feeding pillow, Baby Bjorns and a huge plastic tub filled with baby bottles and feeding utensils, I’m squashed in the back seat of our family car, taking position next to my (finally) sleeping boys as I type into my iPad.  We’re driving back home to Sydney after a 10 day whirlwind tour of visiting family – both Hubby’s and mine.  As far as schedules go, this year was no different from any other:  Christmas with Hubby’s family then ringing in the New Year with mine at the “Big Roundabout” (also known as Canberra).  Nothing too riveting, but always guaranteed of little or no travel dramas.

Backseat View: Hubby befriending the air-cooler and giant breastfeeding pillow

This year of course though, there is a slight catch – there are two extra munchkins joining in the fun ride.  Two little people demanding a ton of attention and requiring a truck (or in our case, Falcon sedan) load of maintenance.  Who would’ve thought that just two teeny tiny humans could create such brouhaha ?

Are we there yet ? Are we there yet ?: Heading for the "Big Roundabout"

I’m going to sound like a broken record, but dear people, I am friggin’ exhausted !!!  I’m also feeling jipped off.  Like an irate shopper who missed out on the last pair of Nine West end of year discounted gladiator sandals, my gripe is: “What the heck happened to my Christmas holiday ???”

A combination of sticky hot summer weather, unfamiliar surroundings and a myriad of Christmas commotion have all contributed to the disorder, discomfort and inconveniences of our first family Christmas holiday.  Joy of joys.

Oh, I guess it didn’t help that Little N had a fever of 39 degrees after Christmas, prompting 2 trips to the doctor.  Then, of course, it’s inevitable when one twin gets sick, the other one soon surely follows.  Little K, making his early start to the calls of sibling rivalry, topped his older brother’s temperature one night at 39.5 degrees.  Hence, there was a week of restless, sleepless nights, mastering the tricky juggling act of settling two unhappy, wailing babies whilst administering them with doses of children’s panadol and anti-biotics.  Did I tell you how exhausted I am ?

My dear readers, you will be happy to know there were some positives. One especially, was the life-saving-breaking-the-mundane local swimming pool.  The smiles on the boys’ faces as they splashed and whirled around in the baby pool was priceless.  It was also at this very pool where we introduced the boys to two evils invented by this sinful world: chocolate and ice cream.

"Hmmm...what is this ?": Little N's introduction to chocolate and ice cream

Little K's first ice cream moustache

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, there you have it: Summer colds, unbearable heat, mixed in with some fun in the sun.  Just your typical Australian Christmas summer holiday…

At last, the M5 turn off is in view.  Homeward bound.  Sweet homeward bound.

The (breast) cup runneth over…

24 Oct

I never thought I would have such bittersweet feelings about it…but I am actually lamenting over the fact that my breastfeeding days are almost over.  It’s been a bit of a love/hate relationship, breastfeeding and me.  A roller coaster ride of experiences.  As this chapter of motherhood is coming to a close, I am here to reflect, share a few giggles and some insight.

It is at this point, I’m going to make it clear:  I’m not one of those mothers who harp on about how breastfeeding makes them feel “empowered” (they’re just breasts, not secret weapons).  Or worse yet, imitate Gisele Bundchen who recently, made ridiculous claims that: “There should be a worldwide law that mothers should breastfeed for six months” (Really, Gezza ??? Get a grip !!!).  A mother’s choice to (or not to) breastfeed can be varied.  Personal, medical, whatever.  Each to their own.

The hospital where my boys were born is well-renowned for being “Baby Friendly”.  As such, it is very much pro-breastfeeding. My charming husband would marvel in delight, “Check out all the boobie posters they have around here !”

The midwives were great advocates (dare I say, some were borderline Nazis) and encouraged all mothers to have their newborns in their rooms with them and to breastfeed as soon as physically possible.  For mamas of premmie pumpkins, our arrangement was slightly different.  We had to “learn” how to manually express our pre-term milk and transfer it to our bubs who were being looked after in the Newborn Care Centre ward, located downstairs.  There, the expressed milk was tube fed to our little ones.

In aid of getting my milk flowing, there were indeed some interesting moments where midwives were poking and prodding my once precious puppies.  One over-zealous nurse was so keen to have my 2 day old son started on breast feeding, that she grabbed a breast (yes, one of MINE) and started rubbing it against my little boy’s closed mouth, back and forth.

“Let’s try and get him used to it as soon as possible,” she said sternly.  My son’s mouth stayed shut tight.  Obviously, he wasn’t interested or ready.  I lost all sense of dignity.

Those midwives gave it to me plain and simple:  I had 2 mouths to feed and the best bet to ensure that happening was to start expressing diligently every 3 hours, around the clock.

“Right, ” I thought,  “Better get cracking.”  I was determined to tackle the task at hand with complete gusto.

So, there I am in my tiny hospital room.  With my two “udders” popping out of my granny nightie, I prop myself up on the bed.  Complete with snapshots of my newborn twins placed carefully in front of me, I began the tedious task of squeezing that “liquid gold” from my breasts into small plastic vials.  (Not the romantic scenario I’m sure that supermodel/earth mother Gisele Bundchen would be accustomed to).

Beside me, was my hubby encouraging me as my coach for a marathon, “That’s it, Lovey…keep the momentum going…squeeze, squeeze…just a few more drops.”

It was at that precise moment I ceased being my husband’s sexual goddess.  Instead, images of a milking cow would spring to mind.

As Ms Bundchen’s face is on the cover of millions of magazines and everyone is in awe over how quickly she has sprung back to the fashion world from giving birth, I actually question how realistic her breastfeeding or motherhood experiences have been so far.  (I bet she hasn’t been man-handled by some highly strung midwife).

Far from being a glamorous covergirl, this milking cow has many more boob juice stories to share.  Stay tuned.

The end to the Groundhog Days…

29 Sep

Right.  It’s time to make a serious commitment to this blog.

8 months into motherhood and I feel that the days are becoming a blur and there seems to be little productivity.  This is frustrating because being a stay-at-home mum is definitely the toughest job I have EVER done (and let me tell you Sales in IT is no walk in the park…). Yet, I ask myself, “Where are the achievements ?  Where is this all going ?”  Don’t get me wrong.  I love my twin boys with every living part of me, but bloody hell, they’re hard work !  I’m not used to putting this much effort and not really seeing the immediate return.  I have my husband constantly telling me the results are forming, that things will get easier and the boys will soon be more independent.  My reply is always (as lame and irrelevant as it is): “You’re not doing the breastfeeding…”

So, to try and put some clarity to each day, I am going to (ahem) commit to at least 30 minutes (yikes !) of typing into my blog every day (gulp !!!).  No matter how tired I am, or how much exhaustion and sleep deprivation is clouding my ability to think, I WILL log in and WRITE.

We seem to find wisdom from those we least expect.  A little while ago, unable to get an hair appointment at his regular barbershop, my husband went to an alternative place.  There, he striked up a conversation with the owner about raising children and how tough the early baby stages can be.  The barber quietly said, “Ah yes, the days seem to go by so slowly, but the years go by so quickly.”  I know we’re not there yet, but I’m sure there are truth to his words.

I guess this is another reason why I want to try to stick to this blog.  At some point, the stage of groundhog days will end but I will still want to have some record of what happened.  No matter how mundane or slow these days seem…

%d bloggers like this: