Sleep-deprived mum needs help re. breast-feeding at night

(85 Posts)
Frenchfamille Tue 19-Feb-13 20:30:31

The twins are here - they are delightful but I am shattered. The good news is breast-feeding is going well. They are 4 weeks old today, and I know I shouldn't be expecting too much, but after a long delivery I feel as though I haven't slept since they arrived.

In the day they are not sleeping for long spells. I have put them together in a big old fashioned pram which is in the lounge - really for ease but perhaps I should be putting them in their cot(s) upstairs?

Day-time sleeping for me seems hard as one is awake, the other sleeps etc. I have 3 other children, at school mostly (not on wednesdays - we live in France).

At night-time they have been in the cot in our room, and I try to do a feed last thing with them both but neither then seem to settle brilliantly so we've ended up with latched on to me, the other being held by husband, in an attempt to get some kind of sleep.

Despite having done this 3 times before, I feel completely out my depth with the sleep thing. Any advice very welcome. At 4 weeks should I let them cry, perhaps put them in their room, and not be feeding what seems every other hour (or sometimes every hour if one then wakes up the other)? I am obviously snatching sleep as I wake up with one latched on, or off, so I've obviously nodded off.

Everyone in France is telling me to switch to bottles - honestly, it really is something that every health professional has suggested! But will this achieve anything - they still need to sleep! And I have established good breastfeeding so think this is not the option.

Sorry to waffle and sound negative about no sleep. We adore our girls (our eldest are all boys so it's quite different!) but I really do need to sleep soon....

rednellie Fri 22-Feb-13 15:45:40

Oh and on the health note - I take a breast feeding multi vitamin and swig a dose of fish oil every day. I have NO IDEA whether it helps, but at least it makes me feel I'm fending off the worst excess of illnesses that go around!

Frenchfamille Fri 22-Feb-13 17:41:32

thanks rednellie - ive been swapping each feed. You think its best to do this every 24 hours? Will go and buy multi vit for bf mums. Thank you. Still achey but surviving and just had 90 mins sleep which is a luxury....

rednellie Fri 22-Feb-13 18:07:22

I just found it useful swapping every 24hrs for two reasons:
- it was easier for my sleep deprived brain
- I had one very efficient feeder and one slower one so I felt if I swapped every time they might not get fair/equal amounts of fore and hind milk.

And just a warning: twin mums do tend to get more than their fair share of plugged ducts and mastitis. It's because you're producing such vast quantities it can sometimes overwhelm your system. Check out kellymom.com for their advice. My best tip was as soon as I got a sore patch I'd fill a disposable nappy with hot water then wrap it round my boob. I kid you not.

But it's amazing as it moulds to your body and is a damp heat which is what really helps.

Nancy54 Fri 22-Feb-13 18:51:22

Oh noooooo!!! Hope you're not feeling too bad! The only good thing is that the twins shouldn't get it cos you'll give them your antibodies. Hope you've managed to get some rest.

Nancy54 Fri 22-Feb-13 18:55:20

Oh yeah and I was originally swapping boobs after every feed and red Nellie advised me to do the 24 hour thing and I found it much better.

Some people actually have a permanently assigned boob for each twin. I haven't done this though.

rednellie Fri 22-Feb-13 20:34:40

Yeah, I'm not sure about that as I definitely have a boob everyone seems to prefer hmm so I thought at least if they swap every 24 hours it evens things out and also forces both boobs to be supplying the same amount.

butterflyexperience Sat 23-Feb-13 08:50:26

Fab bf info on this thread. Helps me get my head around it all for when mine arrive ...

temporary Sat 23-Feb-13 09:13:43

I went through various phases. I think in the v.v early days the midwife told me to swap them over mid-feed, which was extra hassle I didn't need. Then I swapped each feed, and every 24 hours too.

It was all a bit prone to error for my befuddled brain, so I went to a breast each from about 4 months. I think it's horses for courses.

When I got mastitis it meant I knew who had caused it!

Nancy54 Sat 23-Feb-13 09:36:21

i do sometimes forgot who's on which boob on a given day and / or realise they're on the wrong boob but i don't think it really matters that much.

rednellie Sat 23-Feb-13 10:00:49

Me too. It's actually getting harder to keep track as they only feed 4 times in 24 hours. Ish. Ah, it is lovely though. smile

ClairesTravellingCircus Sat 23-Feb-13 11:03:40

See the problems I missed having just one working boob! grin

Mandy21 Sat 23-Feb-13 11:06:22

As I said above, mine had a boob each right from the start - it worked for us but I needed anything and everything to simplify things!

I try to mix up which side they feed when they are tandem but I am still feeding them singly about 50% of the time so that evens things up as I switch/give two sides if needed then. Don't want to end up w uneven boobs! [vain]

rednellie Sat 23-Feb-13 12:46:37

Claire - you're such a show off bf twins with one boob! wink

Nancy54 Sat 23-Feb-13 13:12:16

Omg claire i cant believe you bfed them with one boob!!!! Wow!

Frenchfamille Sat 23-Feb-13 13:40:20

The great advice continues and I think I will try swapping every 24 hours. Today's hiccup is that I am in bed, with flu - but this is French flu which is probably not as bad! Seriously, last night I was a bit delirious and briefly thought I should go to hospital but I was just stressed about feeling rough. I did take myself (or rather was driven by dh) to doctors just incase there was something I could take but no, just rest etc.

However, I was always of the understanding you carry on bf through illness. He, however, gave me breast pump and told me to express off the 'flu milk' (although I was feeding last night) to help stop the twins getting it.

So with rather a fuzzy head I bought 2 bottles, gave them a bottle (or rather husband and boys did as i am in bed) and I am waiting for this super-duper pump to be delivered to me in the next hour from the pharmacy.

The twins took, in the end, the bottle but GP said when fever goes return to bf. WHen you feel so crap, you follow to the book what a doctor says, but really is this right? I do intend to use the pump in a minute, and perhaps keep using today and tonight and re-start bf tomorrow assuming I feel better. But infact, I feel really rough but I turned a corner and am definitely getting better.

The irony is that the twins both slept from 12.20am to 4.50am in their own cots, then husband latched them on when they needed next feeds from our bed so infact it was the best successful night to date!! If only I could feel the benefits today.... When Florence (she's the eldest and was born on different day to her sister!) saw me just now she gave me the most saddest cry and I had to hide upstairs as I was coughing and splattering and dh trying to do bottle, and I felt really crap.

Now I think I should just make the most of the rest this afternoon in attempt to get back on track next week.

But if you have views on whether I should say bollocks to gp here and continue especially if it is BETTER to continue now, tell me. I have various views on the french health system which will have to wait for another day !!
Don't get me wrong, lots of great preventative work being done here but sometimes some slightly askew advice.

Frenchfamille Sat 23-Feb-13 13:41:22

forgot to say, love the hot nappy advice XX

ClairesTravellingCircus Sat 23-Feb-13 14:35:43

I don't have much time bit I think the drs advice is bollocks! They might catch the flu from you not breastmilk, if anything b/m protects them!

Personally I'd keep feeding them and ignore drs wink

Nancy54 Sat 23-Feb-13 14:38:21

I'm not a doctor and have no medical knowledge but it seems rather odd advice.

Totally understand you having followed it though, I got some absolutely horrendous advice from french hcps and in my sleep deprived state I followed it.

Anyway, even if it is crap advice re 'flu milk', it was good that they slept longer and you got some rest so prob good to have done it because you must be on your knees.

Sending you hugs and get well vibes xx

Nancy54 Sat 23-Feb-13 14:42:51

Yes and breast feeding is supposed to give them antibodies

ClairesTravellingCircus Sat 23-Feb-13 15:36:36

Sorry that was a bit blunt, but I didnt want you to go unanswered!
I think that if someone else can do a couple of feeds so you can rest it is great, as having tge flu plus breasfeeding twins must be rubbish, and doesn't give you much time to recover.

Hope you feel better soon!

rednellie Sat 23-Feb-13 15:43:38

The doctor has no idea what he is talking about. Ffs what an idiot. You can feed babies even if you have HIV (obviously under very specific circs).

Anyway, of course express and use some bottles if you want a rest but if you want to feed them feed.

rednellie Sat 23-Feb-13 15:51:42

[[ http://kellymom.com/bf/can-i-breastfeed/meds/med-risks/ link]] to kellymom about taking medicine whilst bf. Just gives you an idea of how ill you can be and still feed!

rednellie Sat 23-Feb-13 15:52:17
ClairesTravellingCircus Sat 23-Feb-13 16:55:13

Nancy I didn not EBF both of them! (Only dtg as madam started refusing the bottle around 3 months hmm)

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