Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Moving beyond the breast

The babies turn one in just over a month (OH. MY. GOD.) and more and more I'm getting people who quietly ask me "are you going to stop nursing when they're one?"

It's interesting because a flood of questions come racing through my mind when people ask this.

Are you asking because you think it's weird to nurse past a year?
Are you asking because a lot of people stop at a year and so you're curious?
Are you asking because you're hoping I'll go beyond a year?
Are you asking because you think it's somehow time for me to stop?

A lot of people are asking just out of curiosity, I know that, but it's made me think about my feelings about nursing. I was nursed until I was over 2 and so my attitude towards nursing is that it lasts for quite a long time.

With Kiernan, my goal was to make it to a year if I could. He self-weaned at 11 months as we pushed him to take bottles more often in preparation for me going back to work. This time I didn't have a specific goal in mind other than to try to nurse twins. I didn't want to think past achieving the goal of being able to nurse TWO babies. And I did it! I needed to top up a bit in the beginning but by 3 months old they were exclusively breastfed. And we stopped giving them bottles and formula. Because nursing was just easier most of the time, and they never really liked the nasty formula that they have to drink because of their soy and milk protein intolerances.

But now, they are almost a year old. They nurse to sleep, or at least to calm down enough to go to sleep, and they don't drink anything that can replace my milk. And pumping isn't an option. I pump for an hour and get 3 oz. That's not going to cut it for twins. So I need to do something different.

A few people have suggested that we introduce formula in a cup. In theory I think that's a good idea, except I have to admit that I'm a big fan of the milk to sleep thing. Kiernan outgrew it on his own, so maybe my views of how easy it will be to get them off this method eventually is skewed, but wouldn't it be easier to switch to bottles, even though they're already a year old?

What I also wish is that there was a better alternative than the formula. I can't imagine that almond or rice milk would be good enough, right? Or would it be fine for me to go out for the day? Would it be fine for me to go to BlogHer for 3 days?

So many questions and I'm struggling with deciding what makes the most sense and how to implement it all. I'm also being lazy... it's so much easier to stick with the status quo.

What do you think? Any tips or ideas?


nonlineargirl said...

Is the milk protein thing a forever issue, or was it related to their tummies being not fully developed? I know you aren't supposed to give cow milk until 1 year (counting the days over here - even organic milk is half the price of the cheapest formula). If they can't do cow milk, could they do goat maybe?

I think bottles are okay. My two have just been given sippy cups, but they are definitely not entirely clear how to make them work (with no stopper, the flow is too strong, with the stopper they aren't clear that they have to suck like with a nipple).

If you are going to go to blogher (or go away for the day) I think it is worth introducing the bottle a little, so that they don't fall off a breast cliff when you are gone for more than a couple of hours. You should keep nursing as long as you/they want (I nursed ada until 18 months, when I went away for a few days, which ended it) but having a way for you to leave the house without them is nice too!

I think a lot of people are just amazed that a parent of twins nursed at all (or past 3 months, 6 months...). I get a lot of questions about whether I am still nursing, and people seem pretty impressed that I do it. One of my bosses (a guy with 2 kids) told me how impressed he was that I was pumping for the twins, that it was so great and such a commitment. (Typed out it sounds creepy, but when he said it, it came out genuine and kind.)

@WannabeMomErin said...

I guess you don't have much choice vis-a-vis sticking with the status quo if you do plan to attend Blogher.
I'm not sure it would be a brilliant idea to introduce a bottle; just because you might end up with issues later trying to wean them off it. That's just where I am coming from, and is easy for me to say since I am not in the thick of it at all...
You could do a trial now, where you give them a cup of the yucky tasting formula and sing and rock them to sleep. If it didn't work out, at least you'd have the boobs handy. I still give Rhen (2 years old next week) a cup of warm milk about half an hour before "bedtime" to sort of trigger her sleepy reflex.

Jenn said...

Almond or rice milk are no good, not enough nutrients - I've been told that goats milk is the best - it's the easiest to digest for little tummies, and the closest in composition to breast milk. As for bottle vs cup, I'd say go with whatever works for them.

Good for you for nursing twins for close to a year (and hopefully more!)

Christy said...

I have no experience with nursing past a year but all I have to say is CONGRATS for nursing twins exclusively for almost a year. That's absolutely amazing!!!

Capital Mom said...

Yup, I am pretty impressed with you nursing twins. For however long you do it!

The girl transitioned to a bottle with milk after weaning around 13 months. The boy won't take a bottle at all, but then he uses cups and still wants to nurse.

They may just give it up on their own. Or like mine, keep asking for it.

He will be almost two when we go to BlogHer. I feel like he will be old enough to deal with not nursing at night/ naps. And sometimes his dad puts him down anyway. We may just start doing more of that.

Some kind of Wondermom said...

COuld you try them on a bottle/sippy combination cup for a nap or two and see how they do? Maybe have husband put them down for a nap on the weekend that way to try it out?

Maybe ask some other twin moms what they did?

Stephanie said...

You can have your cake and eat it too! I went back to work when my DS was 11 months, I was worried about weaning/breastfeeding/etc. Turned out it was no big deal at all... he learned right away that he gets mommy milk at home and water at daycare (we introduced a sippy cup with water at 10 months, it took him about 2 weeks to master it). Other moms have told me they experienced the same transition. He still BFd twice in the morning and 3 times after daycare. He's now 29 months and still BFing, now it's just once or twice a day. We introduced cow's milk around 13 months, and he still only drinks about 1/2 a cup a day, he's not a big fan, so we find those missing nutrients in other foods (veggies, cheese, olive oil, etc).

Good luck, you've done a GREAT job!!!!

Julie said...

i'm curious, what is your aversion to formula?

awesome that you were able to breast feed the twins and for so long. if you are planning to go to blogher, i guess something is going to have to give. perhaps trying the with sippy cups or bottles once a day like the other women have suggested will help them transition.

Lara said...

Thanks for all the great comments guys!!

@nonlineargirl - it's an intolerance because their tummies aren't fully developed. It took K until he was 2 to outgrow it though. When we saw an allergist for him he told us to skip the goat's milk route because it's too similar to cow's milk to make much of a difference...

@julie I don't have any aversion to formula, I just worry they won't drink it because the kind they have to drink is so gross. And even that one seemed to hurt Q's tummy when he was really little. Hopefully he's outgrown that.

Yesterday my mother in law gave them both a bottle when she had them for a few hours. J drank 3.5 oz (not bad) and Q played with the nipple and eventually got 1 oz down. I think next time we'll try sippy cups and see how that goes. It'll just be a trial and error process.

I don't want to stop nursing, but I don't want to keep nursing 6 times a day (x2) which is pretty much where we're at right now. I'm sure it'll work itself out in time :)

angela auclair said...

hi:) - i'm new here!

i was going to make a comment about goat's milk not being an alternative for milk protein allergic kiddos - but you are on it:).

my little guy is 19 months now ( breastfed till 14 months when he self weaned...sob...). the only option we have, in order to meet his nutritional needs with his allergies, is nutramigen formula. he still has a bottle for his formula but a sippy cup for water and juices. what formula are you offering them? they would not be able to tolerate soy formula either, right? i think introducing the bottle for them, so you can have a wonderful 3 days at blogher is a terrific, well earned idea:).

i was a mother's helper to a breastfeeding mom of twins when i was 20:) - it is quite a balancing act:) - good for you!!