Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Liveblogging Christmas Day breastfeeding

I spend about ten hours a day at my Breastfeeding Station, which has taken over the couch in the loungeroom. This consists of:
  • two fat suede cushions to prop behind my back so I sit up straight;
  • two large Indian cushions, one to each side of me, to support the breastfeeding mat;
  • one cotton blanket, folded several times across my knees, to raise the mat the precisely the right height ('so baby's nose is in line with your nipple,' as the lactation consultant instructed);
  • one large firm foam breastfeeding mat whcih fits around my body, creating a kind of soft tray, upon which I lie (lay?) the babes, so I can feed two at once, a la this entry;
  • and a small tray to hand with all the supplies I might need for a session of breastfeeding (which can take up to an hour: my mobile, the landline, the babies' feeding record, a book, a notepad and pen, the TV remote and a bottle of water.
So when a baby squawks I get myself arranged inside this structure and Lovergirl hands me first one then the other baby. I sit inside this tower of foam and babies, sweating and spurting milk. I haven't figured out how to twin feed on my own yet.

So here is my Christmas Day.

1a.m - Feed them both together. We try to start as we mean to go on. It's hard to keep my eyes open. Often I fall asleep during these midnight feeds - is that dangerous?...
(Fell asleep, awoke at 2.30 a.m with babies tucked under my arms, sleeping soundly, and L over in the single chair, also sleeping soundly. We all go to bed.)

2.50a.m. Lucky won't settle. It's probably been around an hour and a half since her last feed, despite her lying there with my nipple in her mouth for the last hour and a half. I get up and feed her again. The babies are now out of sync, damn.

Lucky continues to grumble quietly until 3.30 when Junior wakes us all up. Back to the BF station and the weird feeling of a baby sucking on each nipple. Lucky's happy to eat again - she's not always, and shakes her head vigorously with her mouth clamped shut - so we're back in sync. It's nearly 4a.m. which is good - it starts to feel like the next day, not the middle of the bloody night.I don't mind being up at 4a.m - it's more like I've gotten up early. Summer in Brisbane it's getting light by 4a.m.

6.15a.m - Hooray! Two solid hours sleep since the last feed. It felt like forever, so luxurious. I comment on how good this is to Lovergirl, who says, 'Yes, I've been sitting up with Junior since 5 a.m while he squalled.' I didn't hear a thing.

After this feed do we try for another couple of hours or are we up now? Mornings are good. The babies are drowsy and calm, and it's not so shattering to...(fell asleep again)

8a.m. Lucky's been feeding for the past half an hour while Junior is asleep with one arm slung in proprietal fashion around my breast. Lovergirl is opening presents for us. For some reason I hadn't pictured my gift unwrapping taking place behind the barrier of the BF station - I don't know why as I spend most of my waking hourse here.

8.45am Here we are agin. After both feel asleep we put them down carefully and L snuck off to have a shower - big mistake as they immediately started howling. There I was at the bathroom door, holding one screaming baby and clalling out to the other, 'It's okay, I'm right here' and enquiring anxiously of L whether she was planning a long indulgent shower or something more on the swift and refreshing side. Now they are contentedly sucking away like angels while L clears away the devastation of wrapping paper. If you want lots of presents, have children - everyone has sent a rattle or a toy that giggles when you turn it upside down.

9.20am - They're still going. I start to get a bit fed up after about half an hour. Apperently they get more efficient as they get older, but at the moment they feed every two hours for at least half an hour and up to an hour and a half. I start to feel like I am becoming the couch.

10.10 - I got off briefly to have a shower but am back due to public demand. If they would stop we could go for a walk. The attachment parenting stuff says to feed whenever they want for the first six weeks so they can learn they are valued human beings whose needs will always be met where possible - but the twins never want to be off the nipple! They just hang on for ages after they have finished feeding.

11.30am - Back from the walk and back on. With so much time at the station, I have plenty of time for reading, so I'm making a start on one of my Christmas presents, 'Women's Weekly Good Food for Babies and Toddlers' from a grandma, who else?

12.50pm - I've had about twenty minutes off from the BF station in which time I managed to shove the turkey in the oven. No stuffing - not ime for that - although I did rub it with garlic and shove a lemon up its clacker. Lovergirl will have to manage the salad, and we have a Dav1d J0nes plum pud and packet custard so no eschewing tradition in this house on the spurious excuse of newborn twins! We have banned all visitors today - no family, despite their pleas - Christmas is just too laden with expectations.

I find it hard to be stuck behind the station all day. I keep thinking of things to do but I can't. Sometimes I ask Lovergirl to do them for me but I forcibly restrain myself from barking out a long series of requests, as she is busy putting on washing stacking the dishwasher, mopping up milk leaks that splatter the floorboards all through the house, cooking meals and generally clearing about the constantly accumulating mess.

1pm - Lucky, after insisting she was starving, howling the house down to be put on, has nodded off to sleep on the mat. They love just sleeping on the mat next to my exposed breast - they will lie there quite still for hours. Try and put them in the cot and it all goes terribly wrong.

2.30pm - That was a big break! Lovergirl and I each lay on a couch with a baby draped across our stomach, which lulled them into unconsciousness while we watched an episode of the L-W0rd (my Xmas present to Lovergirl - the 4th season - thanks Mel for organising!). should keep us occupied for a few days, then we might have to get hold of the next few seasons of Six Feet Under.

Lovergirl is just serving up the turkey. There was going to be baked pumpkin but there hasn't been a hands-free moment to chop up pumpkin and put it in the oven. To think that yesterday I was pondering stuffed zucchini flowers! (there are some promising candidates in the garden) Really, a recipe from another life.

4.30pm - I've discovered that the babies will sleep contentedly for quite a long time if we each lie still with one on our stomach. All is calm, all is quietIt's beautiful, except for the sligfht handicap of not being able to move (on top of not being able to move while behind the BF station) If you don't worry about that, it's really a very good way to bring up children. So they slep for an hour while we watched another L-W0rd, until Lucky woke with a great indignant howl when Lovergirl decided she needed a drink.

So - what crap Christmas presents did you score? Probably my worst was a stoking filler from Mum, a kids book called 'Twins' that I think she omitted to read before purchasing. The book is narrated by one twin and she talks about how much she hates the other twin. On the last page she says 'ha ha only joking', but it's not enough the redeem the preceding bile. I think we'll be losing that before the babies develop their linguistic capabilities.

6.30pm - We're back. I've finished reading toddler food and even the instruction manual for my new crockpot (another mum present - I requested this one on the presumption it might be perfect for mothers whose mornings are relatively calm but evenings are frantic.)

I love the way Junior collapses into sleep when he has finished feeding, arms tenderly wrapped around my breast. Lucky, on the other hand, kind of flops onto her back in exhausted ecstasy.

About this time of day I start to feel cranky at spending so much time behind the BF station. (here's Lovergirl bringing my turkey sandwich dinner - we're also just getting onto the plum pudding now)

7.20 - still the same feed - I've been here a while, the kids won't quit. I'm now watching the Queen's Christmas meesage. She's a trouper, isn't she? Do you think she breastfed?

8.15pm. It doesn't sound so bad, babies feeding once every two hours, unitl you realise that we count the two hours from the start of each feed, not the end of the previous one. A feed can take an hour and in the evenings seem to go for even longer - an hour and a half is not unusual, then half an hour later they're ready to go again as their two hours is up.

11.00pm - Lovergirl, Lucky, Junior and I all fall asleep breastfeeding and wake up at ten to one...

And so it goes on.


JahTeh said...

I believe breastfeeding is recommended for at least six months. Sorry couldn't resist that.

I see you didn't get to make Pav's trifle this year either. I'm thinking of a 'Christmas in July' making.

Debstar said...

It's all hard work at 3 weeks.
Have you noticed their voices have got louder?
Often by 3 weeks they have grown quickly and sometimes your supply hasn't quite kept up with the growth spurt, hence the non stop feeding frenzy.
Hang in there, it does get much, much better.

Oh and the long feeds. At the start of a feed the baby takes in milk that is high in water which is ideal for hot summer days. As the feed goes on the (good!!) fat content increases. The higher the fat content in the milk the more filling it is. So look on those long slow feeds as being extra nourishing. (so much for 10mins each side which was all the go 20 years ago. If anyone suggest that to you ignore them!.

I haven't been around for awhile so congratulations on your beautiful twins, what a wonderful pre-Xmas present.

Well done to the both of you for working hard on a Xmas lunch, sometimes just peeling an orange for lunch can seem an effort.

Kelly & Sam Pilgrim-Byrne said...

You're both doing a wonderful job! Seriously, twins... hard yakka, but you seem to be keeping your sense of humour which is VITAL in the beginning.

You're LEGENDS, the pair of you!!!

Renee and Janice said...


Elsewhere007 said...

Sorry, but what is a stoking filler? My mind is throwing up all sorts of interesting alternatives -- stocking filler, stroking filler, and so on.

Susoz said...

Oh I well remember that sense of being pinned down unable to move with a sleeping or feeding baby on me - and that was with just one. Do you have a boomerang-shaped pillow? That's all I needed to lie the baby on and bring him to nipple level.
You will get the hang of doing it on your own. And they will feed for less time as they get bigger - the first 12 weeks are the hardest.
You're a star for doing this!

JahTeh said...

I have to keep coming back to look at them, they're so tiny and gorgeous.

Susoz said...

Another thought: your relationship to them will develop through confronting obstacles - so when you get to the point where you can't handle lying down with them sleeping on you, you'll figure out some way to get them sleeping in a pram/crib/cot/sling.
And when they get bigger, you'll be able to b'feed while side lying in bed.
When L goes back to work, she'll need her sleep so you'll figure out how to b'feed in bed without waking her up - and that will give you and them more sleep too.
Do you have a nightlight? When they're a bit older, it's good to make it dark at night even when they're feeding, so that they get the message that night is sleeptime.