Sleep-deprived mum needs help re. breast-feeding at night

(85 Posts)
Frenchfamille Tue 19-Feb-13 20:30:31

The twins are here - they are delightful but I am shattered. The good news is breast-feeding is going well. They are 4 weeks old today, and I know I shouldn't be expecting too much, but after a long delivery I feel as though I haven't slept since they arrived.

In the day they are not sleeping for long spells. I have put them together in a big old fashioned pram which is in the lounge - really for ease but perhaps I should be putting them in their cot(s) upstairs?

Day-time sleeping for me seems hard as one is awake, the other sleeps etc. I have 3 other children, at school mostly (not on wednesdays - we live in France).

At night-time they have been in the cot in our room, and I try to do a feed last thing with them both but neither then seem to settle brilliantly so we've ended up with latched on to me, the other being held by husband, in an attempt to get some kind of sleep.

Despite having done this 3 times before, I feel completely out my depth with the sleep thing. Any advice very welcome. At 4 weeks should I let them cry, perhaps put them in their room, and not be feeding what seems every other hour (or sometimes every hour if one then wakes up the other)? I am obviously snatching sleep as I wake up with one latched on, or off, so I've obviously nodded off.

Everyone in France is telling me to switch to bottles - honestly, it really is something that every health professional has suggested! But will this achieve anything - they still need to sleep! And I have established good breastfeeding so think this is not the option.

Sorry to waffle and sound negative about no sleep. We adore our girls (our eldest are all boys so it's quite different!) but I really do need to sleep soon....

Frenchfamille Tue 19-Mar-13 20:20:21

Hi twinmumoffive - sounds like you have done really well. Our twins are 8 weeks now. All going OK but lots of flu things and infections making life a bit hard at times, to say the least. Nancy54 - left with a deaf ear which should resolve in 4 weeks (!) and a cold. My Dad came over to help when my husband was in UK on work and we couldn't have done it without him. All of us are not en forme after this virus but now I don't feel bad for still being in pjs at midday! Whilst it feels as though the girls have been here forever, it's still early days. I am glad I persevered with all the feeding and pumping, which has enabled me to continue with bf. One twin sleeps about 5 hours in her cot, the other ends up in bed with us.... but too tired to worry about that at the moment, just getting some sleep is good. Hope everyone OK out there.

Nancy54 Mon 18-Mar-13 18:52:19

How are things going french?

Twinmumoffive Fri 15-Mar-13 15:28:58

I am also a twin mum of 5! My two are 14 months and I'm still breastfeeding. It's was soooo hard in the early months and I nearly gave up several times, but it can be done! I now have one sleeping through and 1 who still demand feeds through the night, which is becoming problematic haha...I hope things have improved for you. My OH works abroad for 6-8 weeks at a time and home for 2, so I really relate to how hard it is to manage on your own. Good luck! X

Frenchfamille Fri 08-Mar-13 11:32:59

Let's hope that our flu virus counts as 5 at least then!

Bfeeding continuing pretty well by all accounts. Today's goal, to get out of pyjamas.....

rednellie Thu 07-Mar-13 22:57:03

Yey for you French, I think you've done amazingly well and here's hoping everyone gets better soon. This time of year sucks on the health front, especially with children. What did my mother tell me? Babies get 10 colds in the first year....

Frenchfamille Thu 07-Mar-13 19:46:42

Hi boo - nice to meet another 'frenchie'. And thanks rednellie for good wishes. I've been back to doctor 2 more times but apparently the infection is almost gone, but the perforation will take a good while to mend which is hard as it's like being under water permanently. However, the good news is (and there is good news!) no more antibiotics and I started refeeding having religiously pumped for 5 days and girls seem to have started back on OK. THey are a bit unsettled but could well be that they are a little underweather as now the whole family, all 5 of us minus twins have had the flu.

Big wobble today when husband had to go back to UK on work which was just not possible to miss but Dad come up out and lots of lovely friends doing a cooking rota for me which is lovely. Like posh meals on wheels.

So apart from being deaf, knackered and getting over all the illnesses, there is a dim light at the end of a tunnel!

Just taking hour by hour and got some help from ADMR (french social services) who sent a lovely nursery nurse to help for a few hours and is carrying on this weekly.

So if anyone else ever has to stop bf for a bit, I did 5 days and just pumped and pumped and it seems to have worked.

Now it's the 2nd week of school hols and just a big pile of DVDs to watch and boxes of cakes to eat that friends have made. A bit of sleep would be good but I'm not going to ask for too much at the moment!

rednellie Wed 06-Mar-13 01:16:12

Just rushing on to wish you good luck with re-starting feeding and hope you start feeling even better soon.

I always used the bfn website when working out if a drug's safe to use - my gp uses the same one!

But anyway sending all my best wishes.

Booboostoo Tue 05-Mar-13 22:33:51

Just read your thread, you've been having such a tough time of it! I Hope you are feeling a bit better.

I don't have any experience with twins, but I am also in France and can sympathise with a lot of the problems you are having. I put up with an awful doc for DD for the first 16 months and then gave up and found a different one - best thing I could have done. I have to drive 30 minutes to get to the good doc but having a supportive, knowledgeable doctor is really important. If you have any choice locally to you, just change doctors, don't put up with the rubbish.

Some French docs are supportive of bf, although they are few and far between. As far as I know many antibiotics are fine for bf, and a better informed doc may be able to help you more effectively in the future.

The only way I have survived DD's poor sleep is by co-sleeping. It allows you to get a lot more rest than getting up to pick the baby, bf and then replace in the cot, and it works for us although I appreciate it's not everyone's cup of tea.

Frenchfamille Tue 05-Mar-13 21:23:17

Thank you both of you.

thereistheball Tue 05-Mar-13 06:37:12

Hear hear. I hope the help works out and you start to feel better soon. Good luck with reprising bf.

Nancy54 Mon 04-Mar-13 18:56:50

Well I think you sound like super mum for just having get through it all!! Give the bf A go when you feel up to it but you'll just have to see how it goes
So true that having twins makes you compromise on a lot if things.

Tou definitely deserve to be totally spoilt for you 40rh! X

Frenchfamille Mon 04-Mar-13 12:12:33

thanks Nancy. Been back to get it checked out, it's still bad but apparently getting a bit better accord to doctor. Sadly I think its hit the same time as the 6 week growth spurt as both girls very hungry last 24 hours which is bang on 6 weeks so I may not have been able to pump enough to immitate that anyway. Crap timing. But finish antibiotics tomorrow and so will try to start again and let them go on demand and see what happens. Have to say that they have slept better with formula (saddens me to say it but I suppose I've needed the rest) and have had to deal with fact they take bottles better from husband and boys than me! But keeping open mind and perhaps can do bit of both. Got hold of ADMR people (france is good for giving support that way) and help coming in week as still in and out of bed with this thing and balance awful. Another pair of hands needed for sure. Will update later but thanks for all encouragement esp in support of the fact that I have tried to do what I can but sometimes you just have to realise you;re not supermum which is not easy when you have real ideals of what you would like to do but things in the way. I suppose having twins is that learning curve that sometimes its just about survival in early days and if you cant do it all you have to accept that. But due to dreadful last 2 weeks we are planning a few days away to celebrate my 40th soon. As soon as we are all back on track and then something nice to look forward to. By then I will need to get dressed though!

Nancy54 Sun 03-Mar-13 07:10:04

Oops...
Hunk = think
I = if

Nancy54 Sun 03-Mar-13 07:08:26

Yes if you can face it every thre hours to keep supply up but I hunk you would be totally justified I only doing it when uncomfortable and so switching permanently to mix or ff. you've had such a horrendous time of it!!

Bon courage. And get well soon!

Frenchfamille Sat 02-Mar-13 23:54:15

Thanks Claires.... I'm giving it a go at least but not feeding for 5 days is quite a lot of pumping! But thanks for advice. At least I will feel that I've done all I can. I feel, with this perforated ear drum, as though i am swimming underwater - very strange. I'm trying to continue really because I did quite a lot at the start to get going so it feels a bit unfair that just having got in the swing of things something outside of my control stops it. The girls in the end really took to bfeeding. Oh well, I can but try! Bonne weekend.

ClairesTravellingCircus Sat 02-Mar-13 14:47:12

Hello French

So so sorry you have this as well. I have had a ear infection and the pain is horrible! Really feel for you and admire your determination to keep the feeding up!

I think the advice is to pump every 3 hours just like they would if they fed straight from you.

Best of luck, hope things get better soon!

Frenchfamille Sat 02-Mar-13 14:39:14

Dear twins mums - aware this is sounding like a comedy sketch now with all my families ailments/flu but I have got a very bad ear infection and apparently perforated my ear drum which explains why I was rolling around thursday night in pain (even found myself I'd rather give birth to twins again)...... so french doctor given antibiotics which can't breastfeed with ( i have checked on net too) and the old electronic pump comes out again.

The question is - how often do I need to pump? Just when it feels uncomfy or as many feeds as they are having? I am so peed off as they are almost 6 weeks so was expecting the 6 week surge of feeding to get the milk supply up - I finish the tablets in 3/4 days so hope I can continue then. I've given it everything to bf and am so cross all these things keep happening to stop it but I carry on and hope they will continue when tablets finished. Florence is guzzling a bottle, Lily-Rose is playing with it! I have to look for some good - perhaps it's that my dh has had chance to bond as I have been in bed 48 hours. Very strange walking downstairs to see him and eldest feeding the twins! Other plus? Everything's quiet in my world - it's like being underwater with the sound!

Nancy54 Thu 28-Feb-13 09:37:53

oh no re dh and eldest!!! i suppose it was inevitable......god, roll on spring and an end to bloody illness!

what lovely names!! my little girl is ella rose, it was a close call between ella rose and lily rose. it's funny, mine were totally unaware of each other until tuesday!! (well,i'm sure they were aware of a presence but they never acknowledged each other). dtg would sometimes look at dtb, but he would never look at her back. Men!!

Frenchfamille Wed 27-Feb-13 18:55:14

Yes to speaking french but not in same league as boys. Enough to teach music here and have friends here but have lost some of my fluidity for sure since birth of twins and flu as my poor tired head wants to take the easiest option.

I think we just have to recognise the lucky situation the children are in being bilingual, knowing 2 cultures, having choices etc. and my boys would chain themselves to the furniture if I ever suggested leaving here. It works here for us on the whole, France has much to offer. The recent realisation that the health professionals re. babies are a bit different to what I'm used it, is just what I need to get used to and I think you're right about just listening, nodding and then getting on with what you'd do anyway!

The girls, Florence and Lily-Rose are not identical. They look similar and seem to know already that the other is there, looking for each other, happier when together. They won't get out of sleepsuits this week for sure as husband and eldest now have virus...... and it keeps lingering as I can't shake it. But next week or at least by April let's say, these girls are going to be in some of their lovely dresses!

Nancy54 Wed 27-Feb-13 17:09:38

lucky you having no french mil. lol

wow that's a great story about moving out here, just shows that sometimes you should really follow your dreams!! Do you speak french? must be weird that the kids are losing their english!!!

re the culture thing, yes i agree, i'm just learning to nod and smile a lot and then do it my way anyway. is difficult being in between two cultures though. I too think there are many great things about france and don't want to 'france bash' but it's always gonna be difficult living in a foreign country out of your comfort zone etc. having said that, i have lived here for eight years so you'd have thought i'd be used to it now!

anyway, it sounds like you are doing really amazingly with your girls and i'm sorry no one's been telling you so!

are they id?

i've only just started dressing mine recently (they're 5 months). for the first three months they just stayed in their sleepsuits. lots of lovely outfits got wasted here too!

Frenchfamille Tue 26-Feb-13 19:19:10

He's English, Nancy. We've lived here full-time for 3.5 years now. Had a holiday house here and every time we used to go home we were sad, until our eldest suddenly declared one day "we should just live in France" and fortunately as our work was home-based it was possible. So here we are. 3 boys all bi-lingual now, infact forgetting English at times. So I don't have a french m.i.l.

Sounds like you have battled against the system with the bfeeding but you've done so well so pat yourself on the back! We have a lady through the ADMR who has just started helping out, just 3 hours a week, but she's lovely, and pro bf and tells me how well I am doing. First time anyone's said 'well done' to me and I almost hugged her today.

Who invented a 2 week half term holiday in the freezing month of feb?

It's a culture thing here though, I think. Lots of telling you how to do things, and not so much of asking you how you would like to do things. Lots of good things about France but have already realised that to survive with all these checkups for the twins I will have to develop a thicker skin and silently sing the English National Anthem in my head to avoid hearing ridiculous questions and advice. Plus I get my dh to attend these appointments with me which helps me bite my tongue at times - until I get outside of course!

Anyway, girls doing really well so that's the main thing.

And when flu goes completely (getting there but think it'll take this week to get back some energy) I'll be able to enjoy the girls a bit more. They've just started really looking around and responding to us, a few smiles and on the whole they are calm and happy. I've got about 250 new outfits they've been given to get through before they're 3 months old so I need to get them out of sleepsuits!!

Nancy54 Tue 26-Feb-13 18:21:53

Glad to hear things are getting better, baby twins plus flu is bloody hard!!

Lol re the paediat. As I said, I have found having babies here quite hard!! Luckily, I've got a really great paediatrition (sp?) who is lovely and v pro breast feeding. She goes on about how amazing it is every time I see her!! My horrendous experience was mainly in the hospital after birth and the midwife that came to the house. At the hospital, the DID NOT want me to breast feed, I really had to fight and then the midwife that came to the house told me to feed them no more than three hourly for ten mins and then put them back in their cots and not pick them up if they cried! She was in her late sixties though!! I then got in touch with a friends midwife who really helped me, so there has been good and bad.

One of the worst is my bloody mil though and I can't get away from her! Lol. Is your dh french or English?

Frenchfamille Tue 26-Feb-13 09:57:58

Nancy - we got some sleep last night, the babies start off next door to us and have about 3 hours then husband brings each in when they wake and at that point they stay in with us which is the best way it works at the moment. I think I can get them back in their cots when I have got over the flu which should make for a reasonable sleep at that point.

You and thereistheball will appreciate this .... we had to take the girls for their 1 month checkup with pueri. and paediatrician. They asked us the most BIZARRE questions and my husband said after it was like we were having a test. At one point they asked if they were making all the baby sounds, talking to us and my son said "they're advanced but they are not talking words to us!" Obsessed about if their bottoms were red, were they smiling etc (yes they are but they are only just 5 weeks so they're not smiling all day obviously) and I challenged them about the breast feeding when ill thing. Are they a little sick after a feed? Well only because one drinks so quickly. How much? How long has that spot been on her face? (it's a tiny milk spot for goodness sake) Then the doctor went to answer the phone for 10 minutes leaving them undressed waiting, and I picked one up and was told it was best to leave her there with her sleepsuit draped on her. Do you know what - at the end of a 40 minute grill about them, they admitted the girls were great but when they asked about how I was feeding them, having seen their good weight gain, there was no small 'well done' or 'you are doing well' to me which I thought was sad. I had no voice and it was obvious I had been pretty ill. We both came away feeling that if were in UK we would have had someone telling us that we were doing well.

There is sadly no kind of twin group or anything like that anywhere near us. So it's nice to have some connection with others in france even if only over net. I was really excited to have the twins here. And although the medical team during birth (primarily midwife) was superb, since then we have both felt ourselves talked at in disturbingly patronising way by the people we've since had to deal with. Hopefully as the girls get older and we have less to do with them we will calm down about this!

Re. flu - getting better every day but a really nasty virus and slow to mend so will go up to pharmacie and get those vitamins you recommend too.

thereistheball Tue 26-Feb-13 08:54:18

Hear hear.

French - vitamins aren't refunded by SS so you can just go and get them from the pharmacy. No prescription necessary.

Nancy54 Mon 25-Feb-13 19:28:30

Oops posted too soon...

I was saying I've found it harder than I thought I would having children in a foreign country. It's lovely to meet another twin mum in France, even if it is only over the Internet!

Hope you manage to get a little sleep tonight

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