It was not journey I had envisioned…
Late on 08/22/2022 or 08/23/2022, early morning – I tried to have Christopher breastfeed but due to his temps not regulating and being smaller, the nurses gave him to Joe for Skin to skin, fed a bottle. Michael and I did skin to skin, tried to breastfeed then bottle feed. When Christopher was taken it the nursery, we were so focused on him being able to regulate his body temperature so he was bottle fed. My milk still had not started to come in either. We were discharged 08/24/2022, so I tried to keep up with trying to feed Michael every 3 hours, pump every 3 hours, feed him a bottle when we knew he was still hungry, sleep in between his wakings and feedings, drive 25 minutes each way to see Christopher daily.
On 08/25/2022, I was able to bring colostrum, liquid gold, or to Christopher but he was still being bottle fed as well.
On 08/26/2022, I was able to bring more colostrum to Christopher.
Due to the Formula shortage – Joe had to drive to a few different places to find some cans of formula. At times he would find only 2 cans and would leave the other ones for other parents searching for the same formula.
We were advised to Fortify breast milk with formula for both boys. We were also giving these tips, Feed every three hours, pump every three hours to trick body to think has to make enough for 3 babies – I had alarms set and felt like failure when didn’t make enough or pump on time due to lack of sleep or the bebes beings fed.
On 08/31/2022, My husband had to pack up Michael and I and rush me to the ER. I was having shivers, couldn’t get warm and had a 103.9 fever. They ran tests on urine and blood but nothing back yet. I was givng antibiotics and Tylenol to help combat it. We later found out it something to do with infection of the breast just something happens with breastfeeding and no pumping enough – mastitis, I had symptoms of fever before that presented signs this afternoon.
On 09/04/2022; our little Christopher was discharged from the NICU. On 09/05/2022; Christopher breastfeed for 1st time and latched immediately which left my husband and I teary eyed as I was so worried he would not know me.
After trying to keep a schedule of when one Bebe would feed at night then the other Bebe would feed the next night. We had to switch to feeding to 6am and 12pm – one Bebe gets breast and one Bebe gets bottle of breastmilk.
In November of 2022, we were noticing they breast-feed for almost an hour each. We kept switching off with one Bebe would eat at night, then the next morning and would switch off the other bebe at night and then the next morning same Bebe would feed, It seemed to be the only way that we can make it work for our schedule and to make sure that they are getting enough food and not overly tired or overly hungry.
For a few months they would take over an hour to eat, then it dwindled to 10-30 mins and still need a bottle of formula. We had switched to Michael at 6am and Christopher at 12pm as it seemed Michael was more alert in the early morning and Christopher would eat whenever.
On 02/05/2023, I made the painstaking decision to pump exclusively and feed them bottles of breast milk due to they were not staying on more than 10-20 mins and we wanted to know exact amounts they were getting, I was going back to work full-time and may not have worked with work schedules and naps. Not to mention, you need an accommodation to request access to a wellness room at work, so if my schedule didn’t sync up I would miss a breastfeeding time. I do not have the luxury of just coming back to breastfeed when I wanted especially if we were not sure if they were getting enough as we would supplement formula after breastfeeding.
Mom guilt, Sadness, Relief, we have what seems like more time, we know exactly amount taking in of breast milk.
Will they miss it? I’m sure they may because at times they still try to feed when they are in my arms.
Will they know? I have no idea if they do but they are loved, healthy and growing little boys.
Will I miss it? Oh my do I ever. I miss watching them with sleepy eyes warm and snug and knowing I was providing them their nutrients.
Do I also feel relief that I am not breastfeeding? I do as I know the amounts they are receiving, not feeling like I can’t relax and know that they will finish their bottles in a set timeframe.
Am I ready to say goodbye to breastfeeding? I was not entirely ready nor do I feel like we could go back to it full time at least. I try to set aside the guilt, sadness and relax into ensuring I am pumping at least mostly one meal a day for them of breast milk.