When my twins were born 35 weeks ago today, at just about 35 weeks into my pregnancy, I told the lactation consultant that I wanted to breastfeed. I have always wanted to breastfeed. Honestly, it’s all a blur now but I know I pumped. I remember pumping in the hospital. I recall doing it in the middle of the night. But both babies were also automatically put on preemie formula as well, right away. I was so concerned with them being small, I didn’t care. And I still don’t.
I could never have counted on my hormone issues getting in the way of my milk production, or how exhausted I was that I did not pump around the clock like I was supposed to. I think I did – for a few weeks maybe, but I honestly cannot remember. When the babies were eating every few hours all night long – I don’t know if I pumped after that. I didn’t realize at the time that I wasn’t helping my milk supply out in the slightest. I think it would’ve been a battle anyway, as I never really got a normal supply. It never fully came.
Luckily, I had some milk. At its peak, I was able to provide the twins with about 1/3 of each meal in breastmilk and the rest in formula. I’m also very lucky that there wasn’t any nipple confusion – they both took to breast and bottle. C had some latch issues for a while, mostly related to sucking/swallowing. But she got the hang of it.
B has always been a great eater, and my trickle of milk wasn’t cutting it for him – he wanted lots of milk and he wanted it NOW. So at 6 months, after fighting with him at the beginning of every feed only for him to cry and turn away, I stopped breastfeeding him. I gave him my pumped milk, but that was not enough for much at all. I didn’t sweat it too much because he was growing at this rapid pace, and I still had C.
Well…C’s appetite has grown as well. I could always count on her to latch on, close her eyes and snuggle in – clearly comforted by me. THE BEST. I never got that with B, so I’m thankful to have experienced it with at least one baby. But the 1/3 of the meal turned into an ounce or two, which turned into me counting gulps (15-30), which turned into a few gulps, which turned into sips. The milk isn’t there, and C doesn’t need the comfort as often as she used to. She’s pulling away, smiling; nothing comes out.
As I’m the type of anal retentive person who likes to start new things on Mondays, or the 1st of the month, I like to end things on a rounded date too. So at 8 months old two days ago, I let breastfeeding C go. What I’ve done since is put her to breast if she’s calm, usually in the mornings, and give her the chance, just to hang out for a minute. But I’ve mentally let it go (I feel like I should be singing that “Frozen” song) -allowing myself to release the guilt if the rest of the day I don’t do it. If it seems like a good time, I will. But otherwise, we’re about done. It’s not even about the milk at this point, as she’s not getting any, but that experience that’s coming to an end.
So it’s sad. As someone who formula fed, who wanted to exclusively breastfeed, I’ve come to see that other side of things. People can be very critical of those who don’t breastfeed, but my babies are healthy. To date they’ve had one minor cold at 3 months (knocking on wood..). I keep them safe, comfortable, I show them new experiences, I throw dance parties and sing lullabies, I couldn’t possibly love them anymore than I do. But I didn’t breastfeed like I wanted to, and now I’m just sort of…trying to let that go.
Probably what is sadder isn’t that we’re done breastfeeding (though I’ll always miss that snuggle session) – but that C and B are at an age where this is even a discussion. They’re BIG. Those with toddlers would look at my babies and note how tiny they are. But to me, they are giant creatures to be picked up using your knees and not your back. They lose parts of infancy, but gain new things too. It’s part of life – it’s just sad, sometimes.
We went to a playgroup for the first time, the day after the library meltdown from B. This group was quiet, with only 3 other (older) kids. It was calm and relaxing. The babies had a GREAT time, and I did too.
But now I look back on these pictures and feel like these babies look like preschoolers. When did this all HAPPEN??
B has turned a few corners. He now sleeps on his stomach, and we’re officially done with the swing for naps. It was a tough transition into the pack n play (two babies both napping in the same room = disaster), but he’s got it down now. So cute!! If only he could remember how to roll BACK, that would be fabulous.
And just today I felt the tiniest little spike and saw a small, sharp white line on his bottom gums – boy’s getting his first tooth! So precious! There’s not a lot of drool yet or anything so I’m sure we have a ways to go. But once it’s in – there will never be another picture of him without teeth, ever. Better enjoy that toothless grin now.
He wants to crawl so bad. He reaches for toys very well well, and does a floppy “fish out of water” thing but doesn’t go anywhere. In his sleep though, he manages to scoot all around the crib at night. We put him down in the bottom corner, and he ends up in the top, crying because he’s stuck. He’s turning very serious, but so excited to jump and jump and jump.
C isn’t there yet with most of these physical milestones. She still hates tummy time for more than a few minutes and she doesn’t roll. She has rolled before onto her back, but never the other way around. She’s not physical like B is – she doesn’t want to jump or kick her legs like crazy. She really enjoys sitting. She is really good at picking things up, though. B’s hands still shake as he awkwardly grabs toys, but C uses individual fingers with careful precision. She’s great with smaller objects.
She is all smiles – such a very happy baby. Easy to make laugh, she’s constantly smiling and being so good-natured, which is funny, because it’s the exact opposite of how she was when she was a refluxy newborn. She’s social and good in new situations. And she’s FINALLY learned how to put the pacifier in her mouth by herself. Thank goodness.
At 5 months we transitioned out of the swaddle and into the magic sleepsuit, and now we’re transitioning out of that into a normal fleece sack. It’s still a work in progress.
It’s just crazy how quickly that newborn period passes – and some terrible things go away, like the lack of sleep, but some amazing things go away too, like breastfeeding.