I used to think I was pretty great at listening and giving advice,etc. I've had lots of friends over the years and logged several hours of helping with decisions, helping deal with couple issues, new baby issues, pregnancy issues, and just laughing until I cried because of helpless issues. I say proudly that I have been in 15 weddings as a bridesmaid. Each one I could name and write 15 blogs about the special relationship each one of us have. I used to have a brain that funcioned on other issues than breastfeeding. Now, I'm just a boring non-listener.
Yes, now I am the most boring person I know. All I can talk about these days is breastfeeding. I'm positive that the last four phone calls or emails I've received from friends I've reverted the conversation to breastfeeding.
Consider: At Walmart a lady friend spots us and comes over to goo over the babies. By the time we said goodbye I had said "nipple" way too many times, told her all about my low milk supply, and that I wanted to throw my breast pump into a blazing fire. She was a great sport, but why cant I help myself?!
I feel like my world has stopped and my very existence is to feed my twin boys. I'm never more than 2 hours from the next feeding and while they aren't taking a nap they look at me with those four little eyes like ticking time bombs. I'm always on call.
This routine consumes me. Even down to getting routine teeth cleanings and cavities filled or getting my hair cut. Every single appointment or wedding, or shower, or oil change I'm thinking of 'where can I feed them?' or 'will my breasts explode before i get done?'
Today a friend asked me what I liked best about being a mom of twins? She might as well have asked "What do you like best about Sumo Wrestling?". The thing is, I dont really consider myself as a mother. I think if myself as a breastfeeder.
One woman posted a twin forum: "Breastfeeding twins is just under Navy Seal training in terms of intensity."
Yes, I did deliver my twins. How could I forget, right? But I feel like I've done so little mothering. If anything my husband does more of the mothering. He has changed more diapers and made more babies smile than Angelina Jolie.
Even when I'm trying to capture a smiley photo of them and laughing with my older son, I m always thinking of when the next feeding will be. What can I get done before they are hungry again? I've read that mothers are programmed to be single minded when breastfeeding otherwise their baby would starve. I guess that makes sense.
I'm acutely aware that too many wrong moves-- a long dentist appointment, a day at the hair salon, stupid people changing my oil-- and my supply would dry up like a puddle in July in SE Oklahoma.
Before I was a breastfeeder I wouldn't have pegged myself as a type to blather on and on about nursing. I remember with fynn I didn't even know if I wanted to nurse him. My pregnancy with him was also just like being left-handed. I just was. That was it. But breastfeeding is different. Not only because it demands so much attention, but also that I have busted my you-know-what to keep up my supply.
I'm blessed that my boys were born at 38 weeks with NO NICU TIME! Yay! But here I was with 2 skinny boys that had no idea how to suck. When I offered my nips they may as well been sushi rolls. They weren't interested. When we figured out the latch they would just fall asleep. Not that I blame them. Its like a heated water bed down there. I was getting no stimulation therefore I was producing no milk.
I started pumping. I loath pumping my breasts. Especially after letting two uneducated sucklings knaw on my nips all day. When I would put those pump shields on I felt like they could extract milk from my deceased breastfeeding ancestors. Youch!
I did this, and mothers tea, and fenugreek, and even a drug not legal in the US for milk production. Still no milk.
It was an incredibly hard time. We used eye droppers and eventually bottles to feed the boys. My husband and I did everything imaginable for them to have breast milk. We even received donated milk from a wonderful mother. She will forever be my baby's Milk Angel. Finally all the hard work paid off.
I wanted to throw in the towel several times, but I just couldn't. Everyone knows breast is best and by Job I was going to give them the best!!!
After many calls to several different lactation consultants and many visits from my midwife for weight checks, one day they both started eating.
It was a Thursday.
I had been blabbing and almost cussing the twins one day to my wonderful friend Annette. Wednesday's were our day with Her. All morning she would clean and hand me babies. She would inspect the situation and let me just ramble on and on about their problems. Two babies. Two times the breastfeeding challenges. I will always be grateful for Annette. I will also know exactly how to help a friend with twins now. Feed them and fold their clothes! Oh and sweep their floors...see she is wonderful! They are 3 months and she is just now weaning me off coming every other Wednesday.
On that Thursday it was as if Graham had been listening to Annette and I. He latched on and ate with hard gulps! And then Graham went and told Nolan how wonderful it was and Nolan started eating right!
After 6 weeks of audacious effort, my milk was finally flowing. I could at this point handle all the guys solo.
It goes something like this:
Wake up at the sound of Nolan hungry. Change diaper.
Feed Nolan, make coffee somehow.
Fynn wakes and tells me what he dreamed about while getting some morning snuggle time.
All while Nolan gets breakfast.
Graham fussing. Nolan goes in bouncy seat. Graham diaper change. Fynn goes in chair. Oatmeal is prepared.
I grab oats (increases milk supply), hook Nolan on one side, Graham on the other.
Enjoy breakfast X4.
Happy babies long enough to get fynn down and playing puzzles or animals.
Babies nurse again one at a time according to fussiness.
Play time with fynn!!
I'm exhausted just typing all this so I will stop there.
My point is...
Breastfeeding is such a non-event that I can do it while reading, facebook ing, crocheting, or playing cars.
Early on I could never have imagined it would go this well. Easy at home, but something to see. Everyone who sees me tandem feed wants to take our picture because it is so crazy! I just ask them what in the world would you do with the picture and they snap out of it.
Tandem feeding is not something you do at Starbucks.
I see women slipping their baby under a cover and chatting away while sipping a smoothie.
There is no stylish cover that can shield from the public the specticle of two 3 month olds suckling down their lunch.
You would have to set up a tent.
These days when out and about I feed them in the car, or I feed them under cover one at a time.
At home I have a worn spot in the couch with my Boppy raring to go and a bouncy seat so close it is almost in my way. And boooooobs everywhere.
When they both get going it is something to see (just not at Starbucks). Graham has his own style. Grabbing his own personal jug with both arms. Clinching fists. With a glare that would intimidate any milk hungry baby. All babies but Nolan.
Nolan is so chill that he goes totally limp. He would fall right off the Boppy like those sleeping cat videos.
He drifts off into a euphoric state. Eyes crossed and lids at half mast. Slow, rhythmic pulls like clockwork.
Graham burping startles him to death. It is the sneezing panda video all day here.
It is so amazing how different they really are.
Oh and sometimes when they eat.......
See, I'm doing again. Being boring.
When I think about how my life is so revolved around breastfeeding I can't help but add up the hours spent.
Sometimes I nurse or 40 minutes, not including set up time. Multiply that times like 12 times in the day, plus pumping sessions and night feedings, all by seven and that's almost 80 something hours a week simply feeding my babies.
Breastfeeding is all I do therefore it is all I talk about. I know, I know, it's supposed to be an intimate, bonding time. Well, then I calculate it. I've almost spent as much time Breastfeeding in the past 3 months as some women spend n a year. I have to wonder:
How much more bonding can the three of us really have?
I'm already itching to quit. Or at least scale back. I'd like to have some of that time to be a mother rather than breastfeeder. I'd also like to be the one who gets to run to the store for diapers just so I can sneak a Coke! If I had just a few extra hours, then I could put an end to this crazy need to discuss my milk supply and stop being the most boring and annoying person in the world!
I know that time will come so soon. But right now it seems like light years away. So I will keep feeding and keep testing my friends patience. I promise I wont write another post about breastfeeding!!!!