240ml is not a huge amount – it’s not even a bottle of beer! But it is the amount that my little boy is gulping down a day. This is a big step for him. He started on 1ml every 4 hours and has eventually increased to what is classified as ‘full feeds’ of 10mls every hour.
In order to fatten him up a little bit (and ultimately assist in strengthening his lungs so he can get off his CPAP machine and breath on his own), he was trialled on a calorie supplement. He didn’t take to this and vomited it back up, so this was ceased. He has since been upped to 11mls per hour of milk and I have no doubt this will continue to increase over the coming weeks.
At first, my boobs would leak, all the time, and I had no trouble expressing more than enough milk (to the point where I have an entire freezer draw full of my milk). However, I’m now struggling to get 50mls per express at home and 100mls per express at the hospital.
The nurses spoke to me and informed me that I was no longer expressing enough to fulfil my boys daily intake needs. This devastated me and then filled my mind with the fear that I may not be able to experience breastfeeding with him – if I’m already not fulfilling his requirements, how would I go when he is well enough to come home and needs me to feed him proper full feeds 24 hours a day?
I avoided it, however finally admitted defeat and a conversation with the lactation nurse ensued. She has recommended natural supplements, changing my expressing times, looking at photos, having his beanie with me, potential medication (I’ll be able to travel wherever if I do take it – it’s an anti-nausea medication for travel sickness!) and double pumping (like I’m expressing for twins).
Let me tell you this – if I thought expressing one breast at a time was weird, expressing both at the same time is just ridiculous! I had to suppress my laughter the first time at getting them both out, trying to hold on to the pumps with one hand while starting the pump with the other, then trying to start my watch, then stopping the pump and trying not to spill any of the precious milk! I was doing all this while other mum’s were flicking through magazines and making expressing look easy and a natural thing to do!
The second time however, I felt like much more of a pro and managed to do it all a little more smoothly, listening to music and even deciding what my latest blog entry would be about!
Hopefully the awkwardness of the double pumping will avail and I’ll be expressing more than adequate supplies soon, until then, I have his beanie and photos to help me through.