Real Mum Story: Renee’s Story – Breastfeeding Triplets
1-7 August 2020 is World Breastfeeding Week and as every mum’s experience of breastfeeding is different, we’re sharing some real mum stories with you.
This is Renee’s story. Renee is Mum to Jayda-Tay (3) and triplets Sophia, Ellexia and Aurora (18 months)
When I had my first daughter, Jayda, my dream was to be able to breastfeed straight from the boob. However, I did a mix of breastfeeding and expressing, but I ended up exclusively expressing for her as she just HATED being on the boob, HATED it! I used to feed her and then pump, and it took soooo long, but I did it for a year.
When I had my triplets, Sophia, Ellexia and Aurora, I was determined to give my three baby girls the same start that I had given Jayda. Through my experiences with Jayda I knew that I needed to find a way that I could efficiently pump and manage feeding multiples, so I decided to get hands free pumping cups & bras, otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to do it!
My triplets were born at 32 weeks and were unable to feed directly, so I expressed milk for them to have through a feeding tube. While I was still in hospital, I remember sneaking into the “pump room” every 2-3 hours to pump. I say “sneak” because I had nurses tell me that I needed to rest while I could, and that my milk wouldn’t come in if I was waking up to pump every 3 hours. But I knew (from my previous breastfeeding journey) that in order to get that milk, I needed to pump, pump, pump! I continued to pump 3 hourly for 8 months!
I was told by countless people that I’d never be able to maintain supply for three babies by only expressing.
It was so hard! But my girls were up anyway, so that made it easier. I used to attach the pump and feed the girls their bottles at the same time. I used to pump for as long as their feeds would take – it was usually for an hour each time. So, by the time all three had finished their bottles, my pumping session would be done, and we’d all go back to sleep. Whenever my husband, Shaun, was home he would help out with the feeds also.
I had learnt so much with my first child that I was able to implement a great, time efficient system to use with the triplets – I think that’s why we were able to keep it going for so long. The way I had done it with Jayda had taken even longer than it did to feed and pump for triplets!
Eventually I was able to slowly decrease the number of pumps per day as their milk intake decreased. After 16 months we slowly finished off my frozen milk – I had done it! I exclusively breastfed my triplets, through pumping, for 16 months!
I was SOOOOO emotional when I weaned! It was just getting too hard to keep up my supply, by then the girls were only having 2-3 bottles a day, but I had to keep pumping at least 5-6 times a day to keep my supply. I tried to only pump when they had their 3 bottles, but my supply dropped A LOT. With 4 girls 4 and under, I just couldn’t find time for 6 pumping sessions anymore. I was SO emotional though and dragged it out for a long as I could!
I am really proud – I just never thought I’d be able to do it! I provided breastmilk for all three of my girls for over 16 months – an accomplishment that I had been told was impossible.
I spent around 5 hours connected to the pump every single day, and countless hours washing and preparing bottles. Breastfeeding triplets has probably been one of the hardest, and one of the most rewarding, challenges that I have ever tackled in my life. But it was all completely worth it, and I would do it all over again!
- Ever wondered what 25 Litres of frozen breastmilk looks like? My reason for it all right there in the middle. Between them they drink around 2.1-2.4L a day, and I only express around 2.5L. I am damn proud of this frozen stash that I was able to build while feeding the triplets. Shoutout to Shaun for washing a whole heap of pump parts and bottles every single day.
I was told by countless people that I’d never be able to maintain supply for three babies by only expressing. But here we are, and all of their chubby rolls are little reminders that it’s worth all the hard work and time (hours and hours and HOURS) that has gone into it. Breastfeeding triplets has probably been one of the hardest, and one of the most rewarding, challenges that I have ever tackled in my life. So, here are my little plumplings and their 50L stash of frozen milk.
This story was kindly shared by Renee – Mumma to Jayda-Tay (4) and triplets Sophia, Ellexia and Aurora (18 months)
Check out Renee’s Instagram: @triplets.and.a.baby