When I went into labor at 33 weeks, I was concerned because I knew premature babies don’t always have the capacity to suck, and therefore aren’t able to breastfeed.
But hours after I gave birth, I put both babies to my breasts in the NICU, and they both showed signs of trying to eat. It was an amazing feeling.
The next few days are a bit of a blur. But every time we went to visit Jackson and Campbell in the NICU I would put one of them to my breast. It was a lot of trial and some errors. I would hand express milk into their mouths in an effort to get them to feed. They might latch and suck, or they might just fall asleep in my arms and end up getting fed through their NG tube. Either way, the nurses and doctors were always supportive and helpful, giving me tips like how to hold them differently or simply offering words of encouragement.
In between feedings I was pumping so they could have my milk when I wasn’t there. I’m not going to sugar coat it – I was exhausted. Then one of the nurses suggested power pumping to increase my milk supply. It was one hour of pumping – 10 minutes on, 10 minutes off. It sounded horrible, but she suggested I put on a TV show and watch it while I pumped. I did it three days in a row and soon after I was surprised to hear I was producing enough milk to put some in the freezer!
Those first few days were tough, but sitting there, holding them close to me, made all the wires and tubes and beeping and alarms melt into the background and made it that much easier to handle.