Monday, July 29, 2013

Breastfeeding Triplets

After finding out I was pregnant with triplets, I went about breastfeeding with an open mind, knowing I may need to supplement with formula.  Since delivery, I've been astounded at how my body is capable of producing enough milk to feed all three. 
While in the recovery room the nurses immediately helped me tandem feed.  I was able to lie down and use receiving blankets to prop them up on each side in the football position.  Once I was able to use my abdominal muscles enough to sit up, I could use the amazing BreastFriend Twin pillow.  I LOVE feeding two at a time.  It's definitely the most time efficient.  My favorite aspect of tandem feeding is that I don't have to deal with let down or leaking from the opposite side, so no milk is wasted and I don't have to wear nursing pads.

After a few days home from the hospital, I was able to pump enough so that Jesse could bottle feed one baby while I breastfed the other two at the same time.  The best advice I was given was to feed all three at the same time, even if only one is awake and hungry.  Otherwise I could literally spend the entire day feeding babies.  We don't have any set rotation on who gets the bottle vs the breast, it's just whoever is alert and hungry first gets the breast.

Neither Jesse or I can truly complain about sleep.  While our sleep is definitely interrupted multiple times a night, we've got a pretty easy routine that normally takes 45 minutes or less.  We have both a recliner and glider in the nursery.  They are both so comfortable that we frequently doze off.  I tandem feed using my pillow in the recliner while Jesse bottle feeds another baby in the glider.  Here is where Jesse spends his nightly feedings:

Obviously I am in charge of nursing/pumping and Jesse is in charge of bottles.  Each night he divides the expressed milk into 2 ounce bottles, which is how much the babies are currently drinking.  We keep the bottles in a mini-fridge in the nursery.

More great advice I received was to use a crock-pot to warm up the milk rather than getting bottle warmers.  We keep the water turned on low heat and it only takes a minute to warm the milk.

Immediately after tandem nursing, I try to pump 2-3 times a day immediately after nursing.  I am normally able to pump twice during the day and once at night for exactly five minutes.  (After feeding the babies I don't have anything left after 5 minutes of pumping.)  Depending on what time of day it is and how much water I've consumed, I can pump anywhere from 4-8 ounces total per session.
While I prefer not to, I'm able to nurse two and bottle feed one all at the same time.  There have been several times where I've fed all three by myself, but I can normally rely on Jesse to take care of bottle feeds.  I realize I am spoiled in this area and dread having to do all feeds and diaper changes alone in a few weeks when Jesse goes back to work.
In regards to supplementing, our pediatrician gave us a 12 ounce can of Enfamil AR to try to help reduce spit up with Maddie and get her back to her birth weight.  She's had a few 2-oz bottles over the past week.  The Zantac eliminated most of the reflux so we've been able to offer all breastmilk.

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