I’ll cover feeding at the hospital for now & catch yall up on feeding since we’ve been home soon.

I started pumping & hand expressing around 5p the Monday they were born. I’d put Z to breast just hours after L was born, but then I chose couple hours of sleep over immediately pumping. I knew that with tiny NICU babies, I’d be pumping like crazy from the start. So my mom had helped make sure a hospital Medela Symphony was in my room right after delivery. The NICU had pumps I kept between the babies beds. My aunt had picked up a Symphony for me to have once I got home {rented for three months from a local LC for cheaper than from hospital}. I’d read & soaked in all the feeding/pumping for NICU babies info I could & took advantage of the LCs at the hospital daily if not multiple times a day. I think we saw four different LCs & hear a few different tips from all. And I’ve used it all.

So Mon-Thurs that first week. I pumped every 3 hours for 15 minutes, getting pretty much nothing or just a drop. Then I’d hand massage/express & get a few more drops ~like a couple mLs total. Each precious one I’d refrigerate & bring to the NICU nourishment room the next morning. My worst moment: spilling those few drops that first Wed night on my nursing gown. Crying over spilled milk isn’t just a saying. But that Thurs I felt bigger by the afternoon & Fri I realized what ‘engorged’ was. Pumping was suddenly effective & I begin to start making snappy bottles half full to bring in. The babes had been getting donor breast milk from a local hospital bank {I chose donor over formula Mon morning}. Luckily my supply kicked in within the five day period when they stop giving donor milk. Seeing my milk being tubed into the babies warmed my heart. Making all those late night hours of expressing & pumping worth it.

The babies would go to breast as often as possible at the beginning. But there wasn’t anything there so they’d hang out while getting tubed. Once Z started sucking, we tried feeding some in his mouth while latched. He was doing better breastfeeding at first since he’d had a head start while Lucy had the bubble CPAP. The LCs were all impressed at how well both our 34 weekers were doing at the breast though {I was so proud}. At some point that first Saturday at the NICU, the weekend LC mentioned trying to tandem feed. I was a bit nervous but with her & Jason’s help, we got both latched {Lucy needed more help with that} & they ate together! I think that was the first time they’d been close together since in utero too.

By the time they’d moved into the feed/grow step down NICU, they had bottle feeding pretty much down & we were coming along pretty well with breastfeeding. I’d breastfeed one at a time or both while we were there for the day. It was because they were eating so well & gaining weight that they were able to come home sooner than we expected. They came home with literally bins full of bottled breast milk. I didn’t realize just how much I’d been making & dropping off til I was carrying out a bin of milk heavier than my baby from the hospital.