Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Eight babies born at the same time? OMG!

You heard the news about the California woman who had eight babies, right? The babies are only the second set of octuplets on record to survive. Amazingly, they are all stable; doctors will be keeping a close eye on them for the next two months.

The most mind-boggling thing to me is that the mother is planning to breastfeed. I don't know how things went for you, but I had a hard time with it. Torturous, even. I was determined to give Max anything and everything I could, but getting him to latch on was tricky; a lot of that was due to muscle/sucking issues he had from the stroke. Feeding sessions often took an hour or more. Dave would leave for work and I'd be sitting on the couch with Max, trying to nurse him, with HGTV on. Dave would come home from work and I'd be sitting in the same place on the couch, trying to nurse Max, with HGTV on. It was the postpartum equivalent of Groundhog's Day.

Eventually I realized I was a very good pumper, and ended up doing that more often. I kept up the breastfeeding/pumpage till Max was 10 months old. With Sabrina, I lasted for six months or so. I had no problem giving the kids formula, I think it's made with pretty good stuff these days.

What have your breastfeeding experiences been, if any? And do you think it's insane to try breastfeeding eight babies?!


  1. Yep, that's a LOT of babies. And surely her nipples just won't survive ;-)??!

    Seriously though, I love breastfeeding. BC fed until he was 3.5 and the Little Bean is looking like he might be ready to wean when he hits junior high....sigh....

    I've been lucky that I have lots of milk and have had no real problems feeding. I will admit that a huge drawcard for me was NOT having to clean bottles, sterilise them, buy formula etc.

  2. I can't imagine. I actually had a pretty good milk supply given the fact Fletcher was born at 25 weeks and I more or less exclusively pumped for a year (with formula supplementation).

    My current dilemma in this regard is whether or not I will try to induce lactation and breastfeed my daughter who is currently 20 weeks gestation and being carried by my sister as a gestational carrier.

    I am so torn. I but SO MUCH effort into giving Fletcher breastmilk, but I would have to start pumping every three hours to build up what may never be a full supply for this new baby, and I really think I should be using these last few months where is the just the two of us to really focus on Fletcher, instead of being tied to the pump.

    Heck, she is not even born yet and I am worried about short-shifting one kid to benefit the other!

  3. I really, really wanted to breastfeed Connor for his first year, but he was unable to latch on at all. I had serious problems with my supply and ended up pumping until he was six months old, when my breasts rebelled and went on strike.

    The funny thing was that since I used an alarm clock to get up during the night to pump, I began letting down to the sound of the elevator beeping, trucks backing up, people's cell phones.... it was hilarious and really embarrasing all at the same time.

    But breastfeeding eight babies? EIGHT???? It's a noble sentiment, but If she fed two babies at a time for 20 minutes each and they ate every 3 hours, then she'd be able to get about an hour and 40 minutes break in between around the clock provided she could instantly switch out babies and didn't have to do any diaper changing, bathing, or spit up cleaning. That sounds like a totally workable schedule. Right.


  4. I couldn't breast feed at all. Both kids had issues with latching on and bad tongue ties which the Dr refused to 'snip' because current thinking was that they would grow out of it. Neither did and had to have them snipped when they were 10years old after dreadful teasing about lisps and not being able to lick an ice-cream for most of their childhoods.
    I put them on the bottle and they were fine. I cried my eyes out for the next three weeks everytime I was asked if I was breast feeding with my first son. Number 2 went on the bottle after a week of failed attempts. I was disappointed but not crushed.
    There is so much pressure to breastfeed!

  5. I breastfed Corey and everything went fine...(except the usual soreness etc.)...I'm really glad I did because I strongly believe that is why Corey has ALWAYS been so healthy.....he got my immune system.....I think it really made us close!

    But NO, No, No I CAN NOT even imagine trying to nurse E-I-G-H-T, Corey wore me out!

  6. Breast feeding my twins was pretty daunting but the most wonderful time to cuddle and watch them grow.
    I was not what they call a "big supplier" so thank goodness for formulas. I practiced by picking up 5 lb. bags of sugar before they arrived. Women are so strong. I wish her all the best and lots of milk!

    Thanks for stopping by - that Max of yours is one amazing boy and you a wonderful Mom.

  7. I was watching Oprah one day and this woman who had 6 babies breastfed for 6 months....she was pumping 90 bottles a day...90 BOTTLES A DAY (ouch)!!!!! I am still breastfeeding Rosemarie, and on a good day, I will pump three 6oz. bottles. She is a "super mom" to say the least. I really love breastfeeing...especially the midnight feedings, and maybe I would try to nurse 8 babies. I wish her luck!!!

  8. I don't know if it would be physically possible to nurse eight babies without supplimenting them some. I hope she can do it though.

    I have been lucky in the breastfeeding department. Nursed all five of my babies. Still nursing Sammy who is almost two. I keep waiting for him to self wean like my others did.....but no such luck!!!

  9. She will have a baby on the breast 24 hours a day! Even if she decides to pump, she'll have to pump around the clock to keep them all satisfied! Oy.

    I was amazed that Ethan latched on so well after his birth. He was only 4 lbs. and had a very traumatic experience with his stats and vitals dropping significantly in the midst of it all. But he latched on immediately and never had any trouble. It was such a blessing. He nursed until he was 22 months old. I had to give up tons of foods (dairy, red sauce, wine, choc., etc.) because he had such severe acid reflux. So the day he was done nursing I threw a big party and filled all of my cravings!

  10. That's a heck of a lot of babies to nurse!

    I LOVED nursing! Leah nursed until about a month ago (she was 15 months) and we really enjoyed it! I can not imagine having 8 nursing babies though! More power to her!

  11. Um, insanity doesn't even begin to describe it. I did not find it difficult. But I did have one little baby that was IUGR. And let me tell you that when he was born, he made up for lost time in the eating department. Every 2 hours, round the clock, for 45 minutes at a time. That gave me 75 minutes to gain my strength before the next feeding. Round the clock. I was exhausted, cranky, and finally came to the conclusion that I couldn't handle that alone. So he got one bottle feeding in the middle of the night, courtesy of The Man. That helped a lot.

    Yes, she is insane, or incredibly naive to think she can breastfeed *eight* babies!

  12. I heard about that, too! I can't imagine nursing eight babies - talk about brave.
    Fortunately, Daniel's stroke didn't really affect his oral motor skills, so he was a great eater who ate constantly. The downside was that... well, he ate constantly. I can definitely relate to the postpartum equivalent of Groundhog Day bit. I nursed Daniel for 15 months, and I felt like a walking milk bottle the entire time. Still, I was happy to nurse him. Like you, I wanted to give Daniel the best possible start. And really, isn't knowing that you and you alone are providing nourishment for your child a pretty amazing concept?
    I really commend you for pumping, especially with Max's feeding difficulties. Pumping was next to impossible for me - not to mention the fact that my pump looked like some sort of sexual/torture device!

  13. I have no comment about the 8 baby Mommy...except maybe, "Huh?"

    Gavin was never able to nurse because he was so hypotonic and just couldn't suck hard enough. I tried EVERYTHING...including nipple shields and a supplemental nursing system which if you haven't seen is pretty darn hilarious. You basically tape tubes to your breasts...oh, just google it if you want to see it.

    I exclusively pumped for Gavin, who was mostly tube fed, until he was about 5 or 6 months. I wish I could have gone longer. We spent a long 8 weeks at DuPont hospital together in a little hotel, er I mean hospital, room. I became an expert pumper, too. Knew just where to push to get more and knew just how to time it before the cleaning lady came in the room. LOL! It got very stressful during that hospitalization and I think that's what made my milk stop coming.

    The funniest thing I had...besides that breast tubie thing...was a nursing *bustier*. It looked like I got it from a S&M shop, I swear. But it was a necessity for a very tired Mommy who was double pumping. You have no idea how many times I woke up with a lap full of milk. LOL!!!! You have to see this...

    I love your blog, Ellen. Max & Sabrina are SO lucky to not only have such a devoted Mom...but a Mom with a good sense of humor. I think that's such a good trait to have when your daily life has daily struggles! :-)


  14. I guess we all agree, as admirable as it may be to want to breastfed eight babies it's hard to imagine how her boobs are going to survive. That would be a good headline: WOMAN'S BREASTS FALL OFF FROM NURSING.
    * Erin: OK, I knew you were expecting, but somehow I missed the post about your secret and the link to the other blog. After reading your comment above, I went and checked out the other blog. I am amazed. And loved the story about your sister telling her boys. I've heard of moms who used surrogates and who successfully pumped, so keep the faith. You're right, it's way too early to start worrying!
    * Sue: I totally agree, there's so much pressure to breastfeed. It's strange how nursing goes in and out of style. When my mother had me, not that many moms were doing it. Now it's trendy.
    * Hetha: Loved that buy-bye, breastfeeding party you had! I SO craved sushi when I was pregnant, and Dave promised me he'd get me some after I had Sabrina. Then he decided, since I was nursing, that it wasn't a good idea. Even the veggie kind. I still hold that grudge.
    * Johanna and Kate: You're right, some of the breast-pump gear and garb vaguely resembles torture/S&M equipment. Kate, that bustier is priceless! Thanks for the laugh. Not quite like anything you'd ever see in Victoria's Secret, is it.

  15. I think that breastfeeding was the single most stressful thing I have ever done. I'm sure it's different when you bring the baby home and cuddle with them and feed them, but that's not how it was to me. I don't think my milk ever came in correctly, and I STRUGGLED to pump since Charlie wasn't allowed much in the way of oral feeding. The day I sat there pumping while my baby cried was the day I decided the whole thing was for the birds.

    I think maybe with baby number two, but I'm trying not to get too worked up about it. You don't want stress hormones in your milk!

  16. My oldest was nursed 2 months, middle 3 months and last 2 1/2 months. I did things wrong (in terms of keeping milk flowing); there wasn't enough time; we had too much to do. It is what it is.

    8 babies. Um. That's beyond a buffet. What would you ever have time to do?!?!?

  17. Okay, so you know I have been dying to post since I read this a few days ago! Darn TAB button! Mouse is here goes:

    Okay, so there is no way humanly possible that this woman can exclusively breastfeed 8 children. It is shocking, and that is just gets everyone talking. I commend her for wanting to pump so that these babies at least get some breastmilk, because some is better than none.

    Now I am a huge breastfeeding advocate. There was never an option for me but to breastfeed, as there was no way in hell my kids would recieve formula. I think the general public has misconceptions about formula (it isn't the same, or close to breastmilk...scientist have no clue how to simulate breastmilk, even though they have been trying for YEARS!) Now I am not trying to harp on those that chose formula, it is your choice. But it does drive me nuts to hear that formula is good. You have no clue what they put in there...

    Okay, I had a huge post, but I have erased it for fear of upsetting anyone or making a mother feel guilty. That is not my intention. Motherhood is hard enough, we don't need people harping on us for some choices that we made. I will say however that we need to be more educated about breastfeeding. Women are asked whether or not they will breast or bottle feed, and I truly think that most would breastfeed. But it is not a 'natural' thing to most women. It is learned, but we have no one to teach us. We are handed cans of formula before we leave the hospital...what is that message? "Here is some formula, because we know that you are going to fail..." is what it says to me. All L & D nurses should be IBCLE lactation consultants. Pediatricians should advocate for it more, and there should also be lactation consultants at pediatricians offices. Would it be expensive, yes. But would you rather pay a little extra to have help, or pay a lot for formula, and have guilt? Some mothers don't feel guilty about not breastfeeding, but I know there are plenty that do!
    And here is another many mothers and fathers let their teenage daughters out of the house with nasty sexual innuendos (the "mount and do me" shirts which is on a mountain dew can...that sort of thing) on their shirts, or worse, their arse...or the shortest skirts and shorts, with crop tops skimpy push up bras. And then there is the prime-time Victorias Secret fashion show...and we have problems with women breastfeeding in public?

    I could go on and on...but maybe I should do that on my own blog!

  18. Sarah, wow! I respectfully agree to disagree about formula. I think breastmilk is better, but I do not think formula is bad for our kids. As a working mom, I had no choice but to supplement. I'm with you on society's problems with women breastfeeding in public. It's a natural thing to do. You SHOULD do a post on this! Maybe a TV show! :)


Thanks for sharing!

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