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Posts Tagged ‘nursing’

My son Haydon just turned 4 months old today! Yippy! I am finally out of the land of newborn-hood and on to baby land! Along with Haydon’s 4 month birthday, he also dropped his 4th nap. I knew it was time to adjust his schedule because his 3rd of 4th nap of the day were just brief catnaps and no longer than 45 minutes each.

From 9 weeks- 15 weeks, Haydon’s schedule looked like this:
7:00Nurse
8:20-10:00 Nap
1o:00 Nurse
11:30-1:00 Nap
1:00 Nurse
2:30-4:00 Nap***
4:00 Nurse
5:30-6:15 Catnap***
6:15 Nurse
7:30 Bottle of expressed milk, followed by bedtime

***However, from 15-16 weeks his 3rd nap of the day went from being 1.5 hours long to only 45 minutes long. I played around with his waketime, but that still did not fix the nap length. I also noticed that Haydon was not nursing as much every 3 hours so I thought it might be good to try and extend his schedule to eat every 3.5-4 hours, except in the evening when I cluster feed. Extending the schedule worked. It got rid of the 4th nap and he is nursing better. Also, by extending the scheduled feedings, Haydon started taking a longer nap!

Haydon’s new schedule at 4 months (17 weeks old)
7am Nurse
8:30-10:30 Nap
10:30 Nurse
12:15/20-2:15 Nap
2:15 Nurse
4:00-5:00 Nap
5:00 Nurse
7:00 Nurse +Bottle of Expressed milk, followed by bedtime

 

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I found that around 4 months of age, babies start to get very distracted while nursing. With my son, nursing was so difficult I almost stop nursing all together. He just was so fidgety and distractable. I made it to 10 months with my son before I weaned him, or should I say he weaned himself. Then with my twins, I was tandem breastfeeding them using the Best-friends Twin Plus Nursing Pillow. They did great nursing on the same pillow and did not bother each other. Actually, the girls use to hold hands and nurse together until the hit about 6 months of age. It was so sweet to see my two daughter holding hands. But then starting around 6 months, they started to swat, scratch, grab, and punch each other while nursing. OH, they even started to pull each others hair- OUCH! I thought I was going to have to give up nursing.

Around 6 months old, I gave them blankies to sleep with in their cribs. I started allowing the girls to hold the blankies while they nursed. Wouldn’t you know it, it made nursing so much easier. The twins stopped hitting, grabbing, pulling hair, and bothering each other while nursing. Instead, the girls played with their blankies. They would rub them, clutch them, and stroke them while they were nursing. I wish I would have thought to give my son a blankie while he nursed because I think it would have helped him to have some sort of distraction to help him stay still long enough to nurse. My twin girls are now 13 months old, we are only nursing in the morning and at bedtime now, but I still allow them to have blankies while they nurse and it is still working!

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If you have a newborn, I bet you are looking forward to getting a longer stretch at night, at least longer than 3 hours. I really wanted to get my twin girls to sleep through the night as soon as possible so I could get some sleep. I have a toddler, who was only 18 months old when my twins were born. Therefore, it was very important that I get some good sleep so I could be my best to take care of not only the twins during the day, but my toddler too.

Dreamfeed
A dreamfeed is a feeding that you give typically around 10/11pm. Your baby has already gone to sleep for the night and you wake your baby to give him a feeding and then put him right back to bed. Typically, this feeding you don’t turn on the lights. You don’t talk to you baby. You don’t make eye contact. You don’t change a diaper unless it is really wet or poopy. You try to keep your baby almost asleep through the feeding and then place your baby back down in his crib or bassinet for the night. The goal of dreamfeeding is hopefully fill your baby up so that he or she will sleep longer through the night. This means, you the parent gets to sleep longer.

Cluster Feeding
Cluster feeding is feeding in short intervals in the late afternoon or early evening. Many mothers who breastfeed do this because their milk supply is not as high in the late afternoons or evenings. This also keeps your baby from getting as fussy in the evenings, during the dreaded “Witching” hours. Clusterfeeding also acts like dreamfeeding, in that you are trying to “tank-up” your baby with lots of feedings/ milk in order that he would sleep longer at night.

My personal experience:
My kids have not done that great with dreamfeeds. I am not really sure why because I know so many moms who swear by the dreamfeed. The dreamfeed really helped their baby sleep longer through the night. I found that dreamfeeding actually made my kids wake up more frequently. I think they thought that if I put them to be at 7pm and woke them at 10pm that they should wake up and eat every 3 hours through the night. Yikes!!! I did not want that to happen. But I have use dreamfeeds when there have been points in my twins lives when they go to bed super early- 6pm and I want them to sleep until 7am. When they go to bed at 6pm, I know they will not make it to 7am without needing a feeding. I would much rather feed them before I go to bed than at 4/5am. You know what I mean.

Now with my son, I never cluster fed him. He never really seem to need it, but in hindsight, I wish I had done it with him when he was a small infant because I think it would have helped him to sleep though the night quicker. I did cluster feed my girls, and I did it for a long time. Once I started to clusterfeed them, it was like magic and they started to sleep longer stretches for me. I also breastfeed so my supply is lower in the late afternoon/ evening and I think the girls needed to cluster feed in order to get enough milk to hold them over through the night. Check out the schedules I kept with my twins to see examples of the clusterfeeding in the late afternoons/ evenings. http://blogginaboutbabies.wordpress.com/2010/09/14/infant-schedules-by-month-updated/

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My twin girls are now 3 months old and I have been pretty successful at exclusively breastfeeding them and not having to supplement with formula yet. I recently have had some issues trying to keep up my milk supply while feeding them both. I have not been getting enough sleep and eating well and thus my milk supply has suffered. I also believe that the girls hit a growth spurt which meant I needed to nurse more frequently to increase my milk supply.

I thought I would share some pointers to successful breastfeeding twins and maintaining your milk supply that I have recently learned and implemented (and they are working!!!):
1. You must feed at least 7-8 times a day. More frequent nursing helps to drain your breast and stimulate milk production.  My girls are sleeping though the night so this was hard to achieve so what I do is I feed every 3 hours during the day, then cluster feed in the late afternoons and evening, as well as pump right before bed. So here it the feeding schedule: 7am, 10am, 1pm, 4pm, 5:45pm, 7pm, 10pm (pump). This way I can squeeze in 7 nursing/ pumping session in during the day.

2. You must eat well, at least 3.000 calories a day and at least 110g of protein a day. If you are nursing two, you need to stop and take time to feed yourself properly. I know this is easier said then done because you are busy running around the house trying to take care of house hold chores, your twins, and perhaps other children that are still at home. It is important to fuel your body well so have enough nutrition to produce adequate milk for two infants. I have been making a protein shake to have in the later afternoon that has 60g of protein. I also went out and bought some healthy snacks that are high in protein to have on hand to much on throughout the day. Nuts are a really great source of protein and they are quick and easy! I also made sure to have some chicken cooked ahead of time to make sandwiches from lunch. Remember, you are feeding 3 so you need to take in more. If you find it hard to prepare a meal, try to do some precooking ahead of time so all you have to do is grab the meal and go!

3. Drink plenty of water! I make sure to fill up a very large water bottle and carry it around with me at all times. I found that if I did not carry around the water bottle, I did not drink nearly enough. I strive to drink at least 10oz of water after each nursing session and then sip on water in between.

4. Rest, Rest, Rest!!! If you can, makes sure you take some time in the afternoons to rest, even if it is only for 30 minutes. You body does not produce as much milk in the afternoons because of fatigue. If you take time to rest or nap in the afternoons, it will significantly help to boost your milk supply in the later afternoons and evenings. Try to get 8 hours of sleep a night. I know this is hard, but everything I read says that getting proper nighttime sleep is very important to creating a good milk supply.

5. Tandem Nurse. When you tandem nurse, nurse both babies at the same time, you are simulating both breasts. When you stimulate both breasts you actually produce more milk than breastfeeding one breast at time. I am using the Breastfriends Twin Plus nursing pillow to tandem nurse my girls and it is working out great. I love the pillow and highly recommend that you look into buying one if you want to successfully tandem breastfeed. To read more about My Bestfriend’s Twin Plus Nursing Pillow read this: http://blogginaboutbabies.wordpress.com/2010/06/19/my-best-friend-twins-plus-nursing-pillow/

6. Take a supplement with Fenugreek. The supplement that seems to be working really well for me is More Milk Plus by Mother Love. It contains fenugreek and it has been proven to help boost milk supply.

7. Make sure that your twins are taking full feedings. You want to make sure you twins take full feedings and drain your breast adequately after nursing. You will know they took a full feeding if your breast feel softer at the end of the nursing schedule. Make sure to burp your baby and re-latch her after her burping to see if she will nurse some more. The longer your twin nurses at the breast, the more stimulation your breast will receive to make more milk.

8. Feed more frequently during growth spurts. I know that a lot of twin moms feed on a schedule to keep things simple. I feed on a schedule, but if you do this during a growth spurt your babies will be fussy and also not get enough to eat. You also will not be stimulating your supply to increase if you keep to a strict feeding schedule. Growth spurts usually only last a few days or a week at most so it is best to just feed on demand during a growth spurt. Usually once the growth spurt is over, your babies will return to schedule feeding and naps again.

For more information on breastfeeding twins and multiples, read the book: Oh Yes You Can Breastfeed Twins and The Nursing Mothers Companion
If you are having supply issues, please read the following posts:
How To Increase Low Milk Supply
Milk Supply & Breastfeeding During Menstruation

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Here is what I did to give myself some sanity:

As far as nursing goes- I tired to makes sure that Cooper was occupied while I was nursing, especially because I am tandem nursing and it is really hard to watch him and nurse at the same time. The hardest time for me to nurse was the 4pm nursing because he was around. I made sure to have a snack, milk, and his favorite things on his blanket. Even if he was watching a DVD, I made sure he stayed on his mat/ blanket.
7am nursing, Cooper still in bed
10am nursing, Cooper in Independent Play Time
1pm nursing, Cooper was just put down for his nap
4pm nursing, Cooper has blanket time or DVD
6pm nursing, Cooper is with Daddy
8pm nursing, Cooper is getting his bath or getting ready for bed

As far as getting them down for naps- This was hard for me. It still continues to be a challenge, but it is getting better. The girls wake time at that time was about 40 minutes. After I was done nursing them, I would swaddle them and place them in their swings/ bouncers. I would watch them until their eyes got heavy and start to shut. I would them pick them up and place them in their cribs. I found that if I swaddled them after they started to get sleepy at that age, that they would wake up and fight going to sleep. Plus, I had Cooper running around begging for my attention. It was hard to bring them into to their rooms and spend time shush/ patting them when Cooper was following me or whining and waking them up. So the swing and bounce were my friend for a few weeks. I did not have to turn the vibrate on or the swing on all the time. It was just being swaddled and cradled in their swings/ bouncers that helped. I did buy a great bouncer seat that I swear by. It really helps my girls to relax and get ready to sleep. www.target.com/Bright-Starts-InGenu… Luckily Cooper was somewhat occupied while I was putting the girls down for their naps due to their short awake time. Here is what I did with Cooper while trying to get the girls down for their naps:
7:40 Cooper Still in Crib (he stays in crib from 7-8am)
10:40 Cooper still in Independent Play Time
1:40 Cooper still napping
4:40 I put Cooper in our game room that has a gate so that he cannot leave the room and follow me. I made sure he had on a DVD for the 5-10 minutes that I was gone. (Cooper’s TV hours was between 4-5 which is when I had to nurse and put my girls down for their nap while Cooper was awake, not occupied, and with me).
6:40 The girls napped in bouncers/ swings if they slept at all. So I did not worry about Cooper at that given nap time
8:40 Cooper was in bed for the night and it was the girls bedtime. My husband helped me put them to bed at this time.

Now that the girls are 9 weeks old, I don’t put them in their swings and bouncers that often anymore before their naps to get them drowsy. It seems that they have just figured out how to go to sleep on their own. I watch for their sleepy cues. As soon as I see them, I swaddle them, and lay them in their cribs. But from the time they got home from the hospital until they were 7/8 weeks old, they always were allowed to get drowsy in their swings/ bouncers (whether they were on or off). But just remember, I swaddled them first, then put them in their swings/ bouncers. If I swaddled them after they got drowsy, they would fully wake up and then I would have a hard time getting them down for their naps.


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UPDATE: I am still using this pillow and my twin girls are 12 months old. We are still going strong on nursing and I am still tandem nursing them. Without this pillow I would have given up nursing a long time ago. I LOVE THIS PILLOW. I can nurse both girls in under 15 minutes now. They both still fit on the pillow just fine and I could not be happier!
I have been nursing my twins for 10 weeks now. I am tandem nursing them, which means I am nursing them at the same time. I bought my first twin nursing pillow which was the EZ-2-Nurse Twin Nursing Pillow from Double Blessings. It worked pretty well. I was able to tandem feed, but I found it difficult. There is not a very good back rest. The pillow is not very wide, not giving the twins a lot of room to lay on the pillow as they get bigger. My twin girls also seemed to roll inward on the pillow and I was also having to reposition them so they did not totally fall off the pillow. I got frustrated with the pillow so I decided to break down and buy the Best Friend Twin Plus Nursing Pillow. I am so glad that I did!

Here are all the benefits of the Best Friend Twin Nursing Pillow:
1. It is wider, giving my girls more room to lay comfortably.
2. It has a better back support, making it more comfortable for mommy to breastfeed.
3. The pillow is ticker, raising the twins up higher to my breast which means I don’t have to lean over (and that keep my back from aching).
4. The velcro closure is a lot easier to secure the pillow around our body with. It also has a clasp that is easy to release and secure the pillow with.
5. The pillow is firmer. This keeps my twins from rolling inward.  This allows me to keep my hands free because I do not have to hold onto the girls to keep them from rolling off the pillow.

This is a must buy if you want to tandem nurse!

http://www.mybrestfriend.com/twins

For more information about breastfeeding twins and multiples read my post:
Breastfeeding Twins: http://blogginaboutbabies.wordpress.com/2010/07/21/nursing-twins/

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My son is now 9 months old. I had contemplated switching to formula full time for a while now because of concerns of my milk supply. Between my son’s distractability and teething, he became very uninterested in nursing. Then to top things off every month my milk supply dips right before my period while I am PMSing. Then my family moved cross country from Maryland to Texas and I think the stress that I was experiencing caused my already low milk supply to start dipping. My son became very fussy at my breast and would suck hard, but I would not have any milk. After talking to my son’s pediatrician, she recommended that I start supplementing with formula. So I have done that (thankfully he’ll drink it now), but it is causing my milk supply to dip to a sever low. I don’t want to quit breastfeeding. I would like to breastfeed him until he is a year old. So I have decided to really try everything I know to get my milk supply up. Here is my plan:

  1. Nurse/ Pump every 1.5- 2 hours and every 3 hours at night
  2. Drink lots of water
  3. Take More Milk Plus Special Blend
  4. Take Goat Rue
  5. Drink Mother’s Milk Tea
  6. Eat a diet high in protein/ carbs
  7. Rest, Rest, Rest

I am hoping that the combination of these things will help to bring my milk supply up. I will let you know my plan was successful or not.

References:

http://breastfeeding.hypermart.net/supply.html

http://www.kellymom.com/bf/supply/low-supply.html

http://www.llli.org/FAQ/increase.html

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