Maybe you’re pregnant with more than one baby. And you want to breastfeed. You tell everyone, “Yes, actually. I am planning to breastfeed.” And in the back of your mind you wonder how on earth you will be able to pull this off.
Maybe you’re lying in a hospital bed with several TOCO belts strapped to your stretched belly and wondering if you’ve done enough – gotten the right pump, talked to the right lactation consultants, found the right bottles that won’t mess with nursing.
Maybe your babies are already in front of you and you’re struggling to balance a messy pump with colic-y babies with a supply that just will not boost.
It’s Ok, I Understand
I’ve been there, mama. I have. I was confident and terrified. I was overwhelmed and exhausted. I had grand plans that threatened to jump out the window every.single.day.
Finally, I told my husband to not let me give up in the middle of a really rough day. I wanted to wait and give the cracked and sore nipples a chance to heal before throwing my pump in the garage. And I wanted to wait and give each baby another opportunity to take the breast on a day where discouragements didn’t loom quite so low.
And you know what? Each of those days rolled into another. And another. And another. Almost 1000 days of breastfeeding triplets!
The key is to set small goals. Reachable goals. Attainable goals that, when accomplished, allow you to celebrate and become re-envisioned for setting larger goals.
Setting Goals for Breastfeeding Multiples
If the thought of how everything will work – from supply to bottles to gavage tubes to sore nipples to reflux to extended breastfeeding – is overwhelming to you, start with day one.
Make your goal for your babies’ birthday to get a pump within the first 4-6 hours of delivery and to put them to the breast.
(…That didn’t all happen? Regroup and set a new goal. It’s ok! We’ve all been there!)
Focus on the smaller goals you want to set, rather than on the potential challenges. Some examples of smaller goals might be:
- I want to pump every 2 hours during the day, every 3 during the night.
- I want to breastfeed one baby at each feeding, then pump.
- I want to breastfeed all babies at least once each day.
- I want at least 1 (or 2, or 3, etc.) bottles (or syringe feedings, gavage tube feedings, etc.) to be breast milk.
- I want to enjoy any chance to put my babies to the breast, trying to forget about milliliters, weights and beeping machines.
- I want to focus on the fact that every milliliter that drips from my breasts is a milliliter of health, nutrients, immunities and love for my babies.
Setting small goals and focusing on these will help you to celebrate your victories. You won’t be so focused on the technicalities that you forget the joy and wonder of being able to provide (any amount of!) breast milk for your babies.
What are/were your goals for breastfeeding multiples? Share in the comments below!