First off, thank you to everyone who commented with support and suggestions on my last breastfeeding post...very much appreciated. :)
So late last week, I went to see the lactation consultants with a list of questions, but mostly to see if I couldn't get some help with the painful latch on my left side. The consultant I worked with I had met in my breastfeeding class, but hadn't seen since. After saying to me, "You look exhausted," (which is what every health care professional says to me these days), she asked me a number of questions about what I was doing and how it was going. And then she suggested that I just pump and bottle feed, and at least for now let go of having the babies feed at breast.
"That way," she said, "you'll have more flexibility." (Because she wants me to pump 8 times/day, but it doesn't necessarily have to be tied to the feeding schedule.) "And you'll get more sleep. And you'll have some time to enjoy these babies, vs the drudgery of constant feeding. And," she said, "my guess is your milk supply is going to go WAY up, because you won't be so exhausted all the time."
I cried tears of relief when she said this to me. Because I try not to complain--I love, love, love these babies, and I signed up for this--but I AM exhausted...beyond exhausted. And with the painful latch on the left side, breastfeeding on that side is something I have to steel myself for...it hurts a lot. And while a big part of me wants to appreciate and enjoy--DOES appreciate and enjoy--every second of this newborn stage, another part of me has been wishing we could get past it, just so I don't have to deal with the pain of breastfeeding, and can finally get some sleep. But I don't want to wish for time to go faster. And what the lactation consultant was suggesting seemed so much more doable than the way things have been...a way for me to enjoy this time vs wishing it away.
So it's been several days on the new regimen, and I'm getting more sleep, and the pain of breastfeeding is gone. AND, my milk supply has already gone up...will be interesting to see what happens over the next week or two.
The lactation consultant also had a number of other suggestions, which I'm listing here in case they're helpful to someone else:
- Feeding should be "all business," should take about 20 minutes (cuddle and play after feeding) (we had been stretching out feedings, sometimes taking an hour or more)
- Good feed: 2–3 ounces; do a full feed every time you feed them...no snacks (we had been giving them small amounts of milk from a bottle between feedings)
- Burp after every ounce (we had been burping more often, so this will save time)
- Once a baby has touched formula or breast milk do not reuse (no one had told us this)
- Diaper change towards end (or after) feeding, not at beginning (we were changing at the beginning and end...so this will save us time, and money on diapers, besides)
- A pacifier is OK (we'd been advised not to use one for the first month)
- Wake and feed some during the day so babies will sleep better at night (our babies currently sleep better during the day than at night)
- Have one person do some of the feedings alone so the other person can sleep (we were both doing every feeding, so very little sleep for anyone)
Oh, and I can still breastfeed, but just when I want to and just on the right side (which doesn't hurt) if I want to.
All this is not my perfect scenario, but I'm learning to let it go. It's OK I'm not doing this perfectly (which in my mind is feeding both babies from the breast 100% of the time). My husband says that's all ego anyway, and I'm sure he's right.
Hope everyone has a lovely week!