I breastfed our triplets…

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think, after twisting my husband’s arm for a 3rd, I would fall pregnant with triplet boys.  I remember it like yesterday….  My 7 week scan, the shock, disbelieve and then the reality.  I didn’t want to look my husband in the eyes.

My pregnancy was a rollercoaster ride.  At 13 weeks we had a Downs Syndrome scare and I had to go for a CVS, one of the most painful things I’ve done in my life and here I thought giving birth naturally to our older son when I had my VBAC was sore.  Luckily tests came back negative, but there was a 6 week period of maybe having a miscarriage.  At 23 weeks I had a membrane rupture and almost lost our beautiful 3 boys, but a miracle happened and the membrane healed.  I managed to keep them in till 34 weeks, when I went into labour on a Thursday night over Easter weekend.  They were born at 21h46… Cameron our fraternal triplet weighed 2.265kg, Caden and Christian our identical twins that shared placenta, weighed 2.17kg and 1.86kg.

They were in NICU for 3 weeks.

The first time they latched, was the most amazing feeling.  Tandem feeding two and then the last on both breasts.  I kept record to make sure everyone got front and hindmilk.

I made up my mind about breastfeeding them for a year the day I found out I was expecting triplets.  I was also determined knowing that they would be born prem with a weaker immune system and needed all the help they could get from mommies body.  I also breastfed our daughter for a year and our older son for 15 months.

It came with its ups and downs….  Here are just a few.  Having to express every 3 hours while they were in NICU for 3 weeks and setting my alarm to go off every 3 hours at night too.  I knew I had to stimulate my milk production as much as I possibly could to have enough for 3 babies.  I got chickenpox when they were 4 months old.  Only Cameron got it, but he only had 4 blisters on him and it was over in 3 days.  Caden and Christian didn’t get it even though they were also exposed to it, because I went on breastfeeding.  Wish I could say I had it easy too, but one of the blisters created a hole in my nipple and I had to express my right breast for 6 days while they were still drinking on the left breast.  Every 2nd day I would try again on the right breast and then the hole would just open up again.  I managed to keep on breastfeeding by giving them expressed milk as a top up to all 3 after they fed on my left breast.  I had to go back to work when they were 12 weeks old, due to being on bedrest for 11 weeks.  When they were 6 months old I had to travel to Johannesburg for training as I started at a new company.  I expressed 6 times a day and organized with an agency to donate my milk, but they didn’t want it after hearing that I was drinking Eglynol.  I travelled back home with just over 10l frozen breastmilk that they almost wanted to check in at the airport, because it was 11kg.  I just said there is no way my milk will leave my sight!!!

My goal was a year, but after a year, they weren’t pushing me away and I still had enough milk.  I couldn’t stop, I wasn’t ready yet and I enjoyed bonding with our boys so much.  I decided to go on as long as I could and as long as they still needed me.

Pros…. Being able to give our 3 boys the best start at life.  Not just building their immunity, but also giving them the best nutrition to develop their brains.  Being able to give them a natural antibiotic (breastmilk) while they were sick or even being able to use breastmilk for anything from runny noses to an infected eye.  Saving money on lots of formula.  Bonding and relaxing after a long day at work.  Easier than making bottles during the night.  Being able to eat anything you want and as much as you want without gaining weight, but instead losing weight.  Because they were receiving their customized nutrition they started sleeping through from 7 months.  Breastmilk changes as your babies get older to give them what their bodies need.

Cons…. Daddy couldn’t help at night, because he doesn’t have breasts. Haha!!  Having to express twice a day while on the road, but it was still worth it.  At times I had to express in my car.  I always needed someone to help me with breastfeeding even if it was our 6 year old daughter.  Getting Mastitis every week, but that was due to me over stimulating in the beginning when I expressed an extra 300ml after every feed, except the night feeds.

Try to stay positive about breastfeeding, the mind is a powerful tool.  Give your all and try your best, the first 6 weeks is the hardest.  Remember the more you stimulate the more milk you produce.  Try and express after a few feeds.  Don’t let people bully you into stopping.  Visit your nearest breastfeeding clinic or get support from La Leche League.  YOU CAN DO IT!!!  I also started drinking 1x Eglynol in the mornings when they were 3 months old, due to work stress that affected my milk production.

Fast forward….  We are a big happy family and I wouldn’t want it any other way.  Our triplet boys turned 2 in April, our daughter is 7 and our older son 5.  Life is not without its challenges and also a lot of sleepless nights stressing about university fees, but with a good support structure it works and we take it one day at a time.  I work full time and need to be in theatre some mornings at 07h00.  I’m not only blessed with 5 beautiful kids, but an amazing husband too.  He is completely hands on.  Without mr. awesome, my incredible mother and nanny I would not have been able to survive.

Now if only we could win the lotto that I can have a 6th little love bundle.  Glad my husband can’t read this article.