17 October 2006

Coping Mechanisms

Clearly, middle of the night waking and feedings are a major source of frustration for me lately. Since I have no idea when these interruptions are going to end, I think the most productive thing for me to do is to try to find a way to make them more palatable. Ideas so far:

• play soothing music while I'm nursing (luckily our radio has a remote, so if I just stash it by the couch, I can turn it on no problem)
• guided meditation while nursing
• comforting snack while nursing

Other ideas?

[For the record, GH talked to our pediatrician and she thinks that if the babies are getting up as much as they are to eat, they probably are not getting enough calories. She also thinks they sound ready to start experimenting with cereal. So we'll see. Today's pumping yield was awful, and we're burning through the frozen stores, so we're going to have to do something different soon.]


Anonymous said...

Learn to sleep while lying on your side so you can sleep, or at least half-sleep, through the feedings. It can be tricky at first. Having a LLL leader or a Lactation consultant over to observe you while you're doing it can be a big help.

Learning that has saved the sanity of many women I know. They keep the babe(s) either in bed or next to bed in easy reach.

It's just sort of supply and demand. They are not nursing during the day, so they are nursing more at night. But you need to get some sleep as well.

Good luck to you.


Leggy said...

Yeah- what Kate said. But can you do that with twins? Do you nurse one at a time or at the same time?

FYI, I could never keep up with my son's nursing demands and always gave him at least one bottle of formula a day. When I went back to work, that increased. But hell, at least he was getting something from me, so I considered that a success.

Emmie (Better Make It A Double) said...

Our ped - whom I otherwise love - was always doubtful I'd have enough milk. I think BFing twins makes them nervous, and most know nothing about lactation issues. How many times a baby gets up at night doesn't necessarily have a thing to do with calories - if your babies are growing and gaining well, they're fine. Lots of feedings are how they tell your breast to produce more, as much as it sucks, and it often happens right before a major growth spurt. Empty breasts (through frequent feedings) = faster milk production = increased supply. I'm not trying to tell you how to make it all work - I know it's hard - but getting up a lot during the night at this age is well within normal.

Im really sorry things are so hard right now, and I hope you get some relief soon. You're a great mom who'se doing her best, but I know that's little consolation when you're exhausted and stressed.

Emmie (Better Make It A Double) said...

That last bit was so TOTALLY not meant to rhyme. I'm not going all Hallmark on your ass, I promise. ;-)

Rev Dr Mom said...

Comfort snacking may be a good thing if you are worried about producing enough milk--you need lots of calories, so that might help in more ways than one!

And yes, if you could nurse even one of them in bed with you, maybe you'd feel a bit more rested.

Good luck!

Yankee, Transferred said...

So sorry. I cannot even imagine the exhaustion.

Anonymous said...

Sleep deprivation is the worst! If I ever had to tortue someone, that's how I'd do it. I have a 21 month old daughter. I can definitely relate to what you've been saying in these past couple of entries - these brought me right back to the early months. What an awesome and horrific time that was until she starting sleeping through the night! Having a baby - awesome! Having sleep deprivation - horrific! And, having a husband with cancer. Oh, I just can't imagine. I am so sorry. My husband was not there for me at all that first year (and we are suffering as a result; we start couples counseling next week). So, for a different reason, I can relate to feeling like it's all the mom's shoulders. So much work. And you have two! And you are working (I do, too, but from home).


What worked for me -
sleeping as much as I could. Some mornings I would just make husband get up so I could get a couple of hours uninterrupted sleep - not sure if that's possible with your schedule. But, basically, always choose sleep - whenver you can, sleep!

I also tried reverse psychology on myself. I would force myself to remember those moms out in her the blog world - who can't get pregnant; or who had a stillborn baby; or whose baby died hours after birth; or babies with severe health issues. I would say "she is here and alive and healthy, at least!". Sometimes that would work. Other times I would tell myself to F off.

I also liked the book Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth. It was confusing and contradicting in some parts, which annoyed me but I related to the overall message and it helped me get her on a schedule, which worked for us. I started a schedule with her around 4 months old but it didn't really take off until about 5 months old. I also found putting her to bed earlier helped her to sleep later (this is true even now). I can remember many a nights where she would be in bed for the night at 5:30pm! Then it was 6pm for the longest time. Only recently has it slipped until 8pm. For whatever reason, sleep begets sleeps in babies/toddlers. Overtired kids just don't sleep well. I did not let her cry herself to sleep until she was 8 months old (although I know moms that did it earlier and it worked for them). For me, I just couldn't bear the crying.

Anyway, those are my thoughts.

Take care!
I am rooting for you!

bg's Little Sis said...

Lot's of good ideas. I hope they all help and work to ease the stress you're having right now.

I'm visualizing you and the babies in a large comfy recliner like couch that fits you perfectly, they can nurse and you can sleep, there's serene music, wonderful aromatherapy, like floating on a cloud...I hope you get this soon, I know it's so hard to nap once you get back to work especially.

Thinking of you all!

snickollet said...

Thanks for all the good ideas, everyone, and the sympahty!

Emmie--you took the words out of my mouth re: what our pediatrician said about supplemting and the babies not getting enough calories. Maddie and Riley are75th percentile for height/weight--they are growing beautifully. I think they just need the frequent feedings to get enough to sustain that growth. I guess for me the question is whether or not I can sustain that schedule. I have concerns about starting solids this early . . . it's complicated, isn't it? In any case, I do not buy that my supply is not enough. But I do understand that I need to balance my sanity with my devotion to breastfeeding my kids.

soralis said...

I am sure the extra stress and lack of sleep isn't helping your supply. Good luck getting it all sorted out.

I actually would mix up some formula and add about an ounce to the breast milk so that the breast milk would go farther.

OTRgirl said...

Obviously, I have no helpful advice, but you have my sympathy!

Anonymous said...

They'll be fine, really, no matter what!! And yes, to the learning to nurse lying down (or to finding a way you can be propped up and sleep...). My singleton never slept more than 3 hours at a stretch until he was well over 18 months. And I too, began to realize why sleep deprivation works as torture!!

Somewhere I read that as the volume of breast milk decreases, the concentration of antibodies goes up, so that little or lot, the baby gets the same dose of "protective" stuff.

And yes, most MDs know little or nothing about breastfeeding. If you don't already have "The Nursing Mother's Guide" and the "The Nursing Mother's Guide to Weaning" (the last one paradoxically is more about how to keep breastfeeding even a bit in difficult situations) get them-- they are wonderful (my SIL, a pediatrician herself, found them to be the best resource).

Just remember, babies are durable, need to be loved, and anything else is icing on the cake.

Strength, my dear!