Breastfeeding :: Sextuplets!

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Now let’s not get any crazy ideas here.  Yes, I had a litter {they don’t call me Mama Cat for nothing!}, but I still only have two boobs.  And those boobs only produce so much milk.  As much as I would love to sit here and say that the lactation consultant’s plan of increasing my milk supply and doing 3 rounds of breastfeeding with the twin hold back to back was a success, I cannot.  I heard that plan and thought I. don’t. think. so.  Now I did humor her and attempt to breastfeed, and even do the twin hold a few times in the NICU, but that’s as far as that went.

Being pregnant with sextuplets, I knew my babies would be premature and would spend significant time in the NICU.  This knowledge allowed me to mentally prepare myself for that time.  I read books on preemies, NICU life, and consulted moms of NICU graduates.  One piece of knowledge that came up over and over again – breast milk is THE BEST thing for a premature baby.  Liquid Gold.  Nothing else aides in their growth, development, and ability to fight off infections like breast milk.  So I knew I had to try to give them as much as I could.  I just didn’t know how it would really work out with 2 boobs and 6 babies.  My original plan was to pump all I could and supplement with formula as needed.

My babies were born at 30 weeks.  Before the sucking reflex even develops.  So, my only option was to pump.  And despite the wonderful hospital grade breast pump I was able to use, my milk took awhile to come in.  The neonatalogists needed to start giving my itty bitty preemie babies’ nutrition and couldn’t wait on me.  That’s when the idea of using donor milk was introduced.  Texas Children’s Hospital’s Mother’s Milk Bank not only offers services to mothers of the patients, but also accepts breast milk donations.  All donated milk is thoroughly tested and pasteurized, so I felt completely safe giving permission for my babies to have donor milk.  For me, it was a relief.  All of my babies would receive breast milk while they were in the NICU.  My two tiniest babies would get what I produced and the four slightly bigger and healthier babies would get donor milk.  The donor milk the babies received was such a blessing,and I personally would like to thank all of the moms out there who have generously donated their breast milk to benefit other babies.  Sadly, the donor milk was only available while the babies were in the NICU.  Once they started coming home, they were switched to formula.

pumpingfeeding 2I continued to pump and save my breast milk for my sickest baby in the NICU. I managed to get on a pumping schedule that coincided with the babies’ bottle feeding schedule. I found it easiest to pump while I bottle fed one or two babies in my lap.  I pumped for 4 months.  At that point there was enough stored for the entirety of our NICU stay.   Personally, I was ready to give up pumping.  It was difficult to keep up with and the babies were getting too big to fit two in my lap.  All of my babies were on formula from the time they came home until they switched to whole milk.  It wasn’t all that simple though.  Between the 6 babies, I had 4 different formulas to mix every day!  But that whole process of formulas and bottle feedings and scheduling is another post entirely…or two.

Seriously though, whether you breastfeed, pump, use donor milk, formula, or all of the above like me – it’s all good for your baby!  Do what you can and what works for you and rest assured you’re being the best mom you can be.


Please Note :: We are so very thankful to have A Woman’s Work sponsoring our entire breastfeeding series! They believe that bearing and nurturing children is some of the most important work in the world, and we could not agree more.  If you are searching for products, services, and resources for birth, breastfeeding, and beyond – we urge you to check them out both online and in store!

A Woman’s Work

4101 Greenbriar Suite 210
Houston, TX 77098

713.524.3700

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4 Responses to Breastfeeding :: Sextuplets!

  1. Avatar
    Andrea S August 4, 2014 at 7:47 am #

    I love your non-stressed out attitude about making it work the best way you can!

  2. Avatar
    Lavonda M August 4, 2014 at 6:08 pm #

    You’re amazing Lauren!

  3. Avatar
    Jennifer August 4, 2016 at 12:31 am #

    Thank you for this! I have been pumping for the past 27 days for my twins who were born at 27 weeks. I have had to stop for medical reasons for myself and it’s been hard. This post makes me feel so much better about my decision.

  4. Avatar
    Teresa April 1, 2017 at 4:49 am #

    We’re hoping for septuplets for My Sister, (call us crazy but that’s our prayer) so this was very helpful to read. I had been wondering how breast feeding that many children with only 2 breasts would work, so thank you Lauren.You’re awesome!

    Goodluck with mummy duties.

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