World Breastfeeding Week Day 4
Welcome back for day 4 of World Breastfeeding Week! Today I am releasing two posts to finish out our week. This first post was photographed up at the NICU for two very special boys who came a bit earlier than anticipated. Mom sent me a heartfelt message of her experiences with breastfeeding.
“When we first learned that we were pregnant with twins after 3 years of many negative pregnancy tests, I wanted to do all that I could to have a healthy pregnancy. Similarly, I planned to breastfeed my beautiful baby boys due to all the reported benefits of breast milk. During my pregnancy I asked every willing mother I knew to share her breastfeeding story. I was overwhelmed with the number of women who stated they could not breastfeed because they did not produce enough milk or because of severe pain. Thus, I got all the tips I could from the women who were able to nurse. I also met with our local consultant who gave my husband and I a 2-hour personal class on nursing twins. I felt empowered.
My baby boys came a little earlier than expected at 35 weeks and were considered premature. Due to their need for breathing support and low birth weights of 4lbs8oz and 4lbs4oz, they were admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) for nine days. I started pumping immediately. My boys were breathing on their own in 12 hours and had their first meal (my pumped breast milk) in 15 hours. The nurses and doctors knew I wanted to breastfeed, so I attempted to nurse them at their next meal 3 hours later. Both boys latched on immediately and were full within 20 minutes. I was elated! Given that they were in the NICU, it was difficult for me to nurse them for each meal. They typically received my pumped breastmilk for those meals that I wasn’t present to nurse, but sometimes they were given formula when they had no stored breastmilk in the NICU. For the next 3 days, my boys breastfed like champions. I couldn’t understand why breastfeeding was so difficult for many women…until day 4.
On day 4 one of my boys nursed well after taking a few minutes to latch on. However, the other was hysterical. His piercing cry worried me, and we decided to give him formula after about 20 minutes. Later that same day, one of the nurses encouraged me to try nursing them simultaneously. Both boys were hysterical and would not latch, thus I gave them pumped breast milk instead. I felt defeated, but I promised myself and my boys I wouldn’t give up too easily. My lactation consultant reminded me that breastfeeding is not always linear; it is circular. Sometimes, especially with preemies, there may be setbacks with feeding in general. A few days later, once the boys were discharged home, I nursed them both again successfully. However, at this point, the boys were desiring more and more milk, the feedings were longer, and they just didn’t seem to get enough. After each feeding, I would give them bottled breast milk, and then pump. This was a 4-hour process. I was exhausted and frustrated. That was 4 days ago. Since then I’ve been giving them pumped breast milk only.
Well it’s World Breastfeeding Week and I’ve been reminded of the many benefits of breastfeeding and have been motivated by the many positive stories from other mothers. Fortunately, I’ve had good milk production and very little pain. Tomorrow is a new day. I will sit in a nice, quiet room and nurse my beautiful baby boys!”