Nurslings

18 March 2015


As I write this its 1am and I'm deeply immersed in a baby sandwich. If you're not familiar, that's when you're in the middle with one baby to your right and the other to your left. Tonight's baby sandwich is equivalent to a PJ sandwich because both babies are asleep and getting out of bed would put me in a sticky situation. Thankfully my bladder is empty and I may get an hour or two of sleep before they wake to nurse. Being the only one to provide these babes with nourishment is a badge of honor I wear proudly. But I won't lie, it's been hard.

Our start was even harder. Chauncey didn't latch well for weeks and Oliver was in the NICU only taking bottles of expressed milk. Before my milk came in I was guilted into giving him formula which he spat up regularly. I don't regret my choice to make sure he ate but I do wish they hadn't pressured me to give him something he didn't need. We've recently discovered he has an issue with digesting soy which has left this vegan mama with worry on how to overhaul her diet sans soy. Once Oliver came home I secretly nursed him at night and gave him the bottle in the day time. I was afraid of having my family watch me try and fail. His preference for nursing became apparent as he gagged each time his Father or my Mother offered him a bottle. Finally feeling confident I told them, he wants to nurse. My little nursing champ refuses bottles and I'm not sure if that's a victory or something I'll cry about after while.

Since I had more than 1000 ounces of milk frozen in my freezer I was close to calling myself an "exclusive pumper" but my sanity was shot and I wasn't sure how long I could keep it up. With one babe jumping on the nursing wagon I decided to seek help for Chauncey's latch issues. Although it was suggested that he have his frenulum clipped my Mama Bear instinct told me he just needed more practice. So at home I asked that neither baby be given a bottle so they could become familiar with the breast. After a few weeks it was clear that Chauncey had all the practice he needed. Once he realized he was getting milk directly from the source he never looked back. He is a vigorous nurser and can empty and engorged breast without a single burp. Though he happily spits up afterward, having ate himself silly. Oliver on the other hand prefers to snack, while lying on his side cuddled with his Mommy. I have to say our time together is a favorite of mine too.

With each nursling being familiar to the breast I can confidently say we have been at this for 13 weeks and have met our first goal of three months. I would like to nurse these babes as long as they will let me but I consider each day as a victory for us. I am now feeding them on demand at least 8 times a day. I haven't pumped in a week and it feels great. Exclusively pumping was the most exhausting yet gratifying thing I have ever done. I loved watching my breast fill bottle after bottle with milk but I'm glad to have moved from spending more time with my pump to more time with my twins. I know many moms who exclusively pump with twins and they are much stronger than I. Im so grateful that this part of our journey is turning around. I love nursing and the freedom that comes with giving my babies the food made specifically for them.

Our next goal?! Three more months. The boys are getting more curious each day so I know this will be quite the adventure.
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