Thursday, August 6, 2015

Twins Sustained on Breastmilk Thanks to a Village of Support

By Somer Jennings, guest blogger

I have 14 month boy/girl twins that have been exclusively on breast milk since the day they were born at 33 weeks.  

I went into labor at 30 weeks for unknown reasons; thankfully they stopped it with meds and gave me steroids to help develop my babies' lungs.  At 33 weeks my baby girl decided to break my water; as you know, there is no going back at that point. My baby girl weighed 4lbs 1 oz and my baby boy weighed 4lbs 11oz. Of course they were both rushed to the NICU. At that point I had two tiny babies dependent on me to provide nourishment for their tiny bodies to grow.  

My breastfeeding journey started with an amazing friend bringing a huge bag of breast milk cookies and a kind smile to make sure I knew I had support.  Between NICU visits I started pumping, and right away I was producing! During our long 23 day NICU stay I was able to supply all the milk the babies needed and also store some up for our stash at home.  While in the NICU, only Keelan was able to nurse. Delaney wasn't big enough and they wanted to make sure she could come home with her brother, so we bottle fed her.

When we got home, I was nursing Keelan with a shield and pumping for Delaney. I was going through my stash pretty quickly because in the NICU they wanted the babies to have an enormous amount of milk at each sitting. I started getting worried at one point that I was going to have to supplement, so I reached out to my wonderful village. There were so many wonderful mommies that wanted to help out!  We had milk in our freezer and wet nurses when we were out and about.  We were so lucky to have all these wonderful women in our lives.  

In the mean time, I was pumping on a strict schedule, eating cookies, drinking tea, doing everything I could do to keep my supply up.  I also spent lots of time working with both babies trying to teach them to nurse. As it turns out, both babies had lip ties, though Keelan's was not as severe as Delaney's.  We went to the specialist and had hers corrected.  Eventually both babies went from bottle, to breast with shield, then to breast!  

We are still successfully nursing. We stopped accepting donor milk around 12 months because between table food and my milk, we were doing great!  My hopes with sharing my story is to let moms know, you can do it!! You are also NOT alone. I don't know what I would have done without my wonderful village.  The women that helped me are truly my heros.  

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