Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Bummers and Blessings

Dear babies, 

I'm so frustrated that I can't produce enough milk for each of you. I'm frustrated that I can't find the time to pump and I'm frustrated that we can't seem to find a quiet moment in the day where I can nurse each one of you in peace. It makes me sad. Last night I felt especially sad about it. 

Having each one of you is such an incredible, indescribable joy. Since the day that you were born, life has been oh so good, but also oh so busy. It's as if we stepped onto a treadmill that march 29th morning and haven't gotten off since. Some days finding time to pump is very hard. I'd rather be holding you, caring for you and playing next to you with your big brother.

That said, it was so important to me to be able nurse each of you. Not because of any external pressures to breastfeed or because I obsessively think breast is best! I know you'd be fine exclusively on formula. I just wanted to give you my milk and bond with each of you in that way. I'm not giving up, but bear with me because I'm doing the best I can. In order to stay sane, I'm going to have to be flexible with my own expectations and hopes for nursing each of you.

Every single doctor and nurse said, "You'll never produce enough milk!" which I still think is rude to assume. Back in the day wet nurses used to feed many more babies than three! But in my case, they were right. I just can't do it. Not because I don't think it's possible because I do think it's possible. But what it takes is time, probably a willingness to forgo a schedule, a willingness to forgo sleep, help during all feedings or a willingness to listen to other babies cry while waiting their turn. For us, every nursing session involves weighing the baby before and after feeding, to see how much milk they get so we know what to supplement after, helping them to latch (still at times tricky for two of them), and then still often giving a bottle and pumping after. Right now, I'm lucky if each of my babies gets to nurse once a day. Breast milk, once used for most of the feedings has slowly gotten less and less. I just can't keep up.

My hat goes off to women who somehow manage to find a way to nurse triplets, or even bottle feed breast milk exclusively. To my disappointment, I am not one of those women.

On days that seem especially hectic and I'm spread way too thin, I think about how much easier it would be to return the breast pump and switch entirely to formula. I'd rather cuddle a baby or play pretend with Colin than clean the parts and pump! However, once I do that I know there is no going back. You can't take a break from pumping and resume when things settle down.

I'm not ready to throw in the towel entirely.

I also try and remember that even if I have to give up certain hopes I had, there are still so many unique blessings that come with having multiples.

When I watch Colin lovingly bottle feed each of his brothers, it makes me smile and remember how close they will all be. Not being able to produce enough milk or get enough nursing time with each boy= Complete Bummer. The fact that each of my boys will grow up surrounded by brothers and listening to me tell stories like, "Colin used to feed you, burp you and put diaper cream on you!"= Total Blessing.

Colin and Finn

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