I wish I could say that I had that euphoric bonding experience with my babies immediately after they were born by breastfeeding them, but instead I was requesting a breast pump about an hour after my unplanned Cesarean section at 31 weeks. I became a pumping Nazi. I would not allow the NICU nurses to give my twins anything but my milk, but they received the milk through a syringe and eventually a nipple. The twins were starting to learn the breastfeeding method right before they were discharged from the hospital, but definitely were not pros. Breastfeeding twins was very stressful and challenging at home. One of the twins ate so much he vomited after every feeding, and the other didn’t eat enough and cried all the time. We hired Cathy Clark to visit our house and bring her trusty scales to help us get over the hump. I was able to provide breast milk for the twins for approximately six months. I ended up weaning Robert at 5 months because he wasn’t getting enough milk (he was such a happier child) and Andrew nursed to six months. I must admit that I felt somewhat like a failure because the breastfeeding experience wasn’t what I had hoped it to be, but I am so glad that I experienced the good, the bad and the ugly.
My story doesn’t end with the twins. Our surprise baby Ryan arrived 17 months later. What a difference having a full term baby. He breastfed like a champion. I refused to pump because I had had enough of that with the twins. Everything was going splendidly or so I thought until his 6-month well-check appointment. Ryan was diagnosed as “failure to thrive”. He looked healthy to me, but he had only gained 4 ounces in two months. I was absolutely shocked that I had been starving my baby for two months and didn’t even know it. We immediately called Cathy again to help us. I rented a pump and started that fun all over again. My milk supply never did increase. I decided that stress caused my diminishing milk supply. I finally gave up and weaned my son. It took me a month because he absolutely refused the bottle. I had not given him any bottles along the way. He was not happy about being taken off the breast for a plastic nipple. I would definitely suggest offering bottles during breastfeeding to make the transition easier at weaning time. My experience with the twins negates the myth that offering bottles or pacifiers causes nipple confusion while breastfeeding.
Although my breastfeeding experiences were not textbook or mythical, I would do it all over again!