Thursday, 20 February 2014

All mums need support whatever their choice - The Booby Trap Project.

I was asked, by Anna Kaplan , to help bring awareness to Thee Booby Trap - an interactive documentary about breastfeeding choices and our evolving relationship with our most fundamental natural resource – human milk.

Anna asked bloggers to share their own story.

The Booby Trap is about sharing stories that inspire and empower families to make informed choices. It's also about exploring the impact our breastfeeding experiences have on our emotional health and self-esteem. And it's about shifting the focus onto the entrenched barriers that prevent so many women from meeting their own breastfeeding goals. Too many women who want to breastfeed are getting caught in The Booby Trap, and I think we are doing the next generation of mothers a disservice if we don’t share our stories – most of them are pretty extraordinary.

I wanted to say it again how thankful I was for the support I had to breastfeed my twin sons.Mostly my dear husband (and older son).

Firstly, I will never beat up any mum about her decision to breastfed or not, nor bash you with lactivist slogans.

Some of my dearest pro breastfeeding friends couldn't get it to happen with some of their babes , because things don't always happen the way we intend or desire. A multitude of reasons. One friend breastfeed singleton babies 1 & 2 for over 12 months and only got to 6wks with her 3rd daughter due to ongoing bouts of mastitis , stress and exhaustion.

I know other lovely women who just as soon didn't see breastfeeding as being for them.I didn't /don't judge.

I wanted to share my story on breastfeeding twins , as it is my wish that those who choose to breastfeed twins are well supported, able to understand the difficulties and remain hopeful for the future...especially if they have one twin or twins who won't/can't breastfeed.

(This is re-posted and editted).

My twins were born a month premature 35w4days or so , most babies under 36 weeks don't have a good sucking reflex.

Though many can start to breastfeed or bottle feed they also have nasogastric tubes (NGT) because sucking exhausts them easily.
So they space the NG tube feeds with a breast or bottle feed initially. I started hand expressing colostrum the same day - like 1-2 mls. Yes mls.

It was a few days before I my milk came in ... then I spent the next three weeks hooked up this pump 5- 6 times a day for 20-30 mins or more each session. I was so determined to breast feed.
S was having a bottle of expressed breast milk (EBM) about every 9 hrs and two tube EBM  feeds in between.He was very reluctant to suck the teat.

The midwives in the Nursery were not that keen for me to breastfeed, it seemed, and I had to fight to let him suck at the nipple at all while he was having a tube feed. He just wasn't interested in the teat/bottle. They kept saying he wouldn't suck. They said not to "tire him out".

J - took to the bottle with expressed breast milk very well and being so little at 2 kgs with a tiny mouth he was having problems attaching. *sigh* So we didn't try him as much but he was up to having a bottle of EBM every six hours, days before his brother, who 800gm heavier.

We were only in the nursery for them to gain weight and feed ...

Finally at 19 days old they let us go home. J - was only having EBM bottle feeds. S only got his NG tube out the day before we left. He was having breastfeeds with EBM bottle feed top up and bottle feeds overnight when I wasn't there (11pm-7am). He wasn't keen on top ups ... wasn't hungry obviously.

We left hospital with a long list of do's and don'ts. The main one was to overfeed and force top ups on S offer S extra top up feeds after a breastfeed and feed both at least every 3 -4 hrs.

S never had another bottle . Ever !

I knew my mother's intuition was he didn't want the top up and I knew he was pooping and peeing enough plus gaining weight. It wasn't that I didn't have the supply.

I was pumping milk for J round the clock. I knew that while I could I wanted to give them both breast milk.

I felt guilty I wasn't able to get J to attach to the nipple. I saw a lactation consultant but we had no luck. We tried shields - no luck. He just screamed and arched his back. He had a touch of reflux too so we added thickener Karicare .I knew it was upsetting him to push him any more. I let it go. I tried every him so often if he nuzzled me, when I was bare breasted feeding Sam.

Having a twin still breastfeeding
meant I was able to maintain a good supply for both. I know people expressing for just one baby have a lot of difficulty maintaining supply. A baby's sucking is the best method for making milk.

So for the next 4-5 months I expressed - sometimes 5-6 times a day. Sometimes with the tandem collection kit, sometimes whilst breastfeeding S on one side and sometimes while bottle feeding J . Sometimes, I did all at once. I juggled everything with the help of my dear husband. He enjoyed participating in feeding J his bottle too.

Then I mastered three times day expressing.I wish I had known about the pumping bra though ... I spilt a few precious bottles juggling my books or keyboard and holding bottles/pump kits.

One day J was screaming for his milk ...I had to warm the bottle from the fridge. I had just set up to express and thought I would try him.

He was also in a Pavlik harness for his hips (from 4-6 months) to make matters more complicated in trying to position him the right way to breastfeed.

But surprising he attached and I could feel him feeding, hungrily, properly for the first time. He did it again later that night.Over the next few days he was down to 1-2
EBM bottles at night (so I could sleep and Daddy could still help)

I continued to express one feed because he had been diagnosed also with the kidney reflux and I wanted to make sure he was getting a good drink to flush his kidneys out. Then one day at about 7 months I stopped expressing. Thankful indeed.

S & J continued to breastfeed till 4 years 3 months actually. Had I not stopped they would have happily continued.

Pretty controversial when I was feeding them even as toddlers - my brother and others disapproved - but so what , it was our journey. I am not suggesting it be someone elses.

People can support The Booby Trap Pozible campaign for as little as $10, reaping an array
of rewards ranging from a virtual bosomy hug to an Associate Producer credit, which enables
you to share your ideas over lunch with the creative team. 

Find out more about the Pozible campaign here:
Get involved and follow the project via
Twitter: @theboobytrapdoc
Facebook: theboobytrapdoc-

I'm truly thankful that I could BF my babies, after my daughter was stillborn and nobody told me my breasts would cry leak - I knew it was something immensely important for me to be able to do time.

 I'd love you to share your Breastfeeding story too, please add any old or new post about your breastfeeding experience or choices.

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Thankful Thursday with APL