3 Things That Have Made My Life as a Triple Feeding Mom SO Much Easier
So here's a confession: I have gone 11 years as a mom, through four kids, and 9 years as a parenting writer without realizing what “triple feeding” is.
Are you also wondering what triple feeding is? Allow me to enlighten you! Triple feeding is the type of feeding that occurs when a parent is feeding their baby in a three-step process, such as with an attempted breastfeeding session, then bottle feeding, then pumping, and in some cases, tube feeding.
I actually stumbled onto the term triple feeding completely on accident, while I was chatting with a friend online about my new baby. I was telling her how exhausting it was trying to feed her, because every feed consisted of me trying to nurse my daughter, then bottle feeding her previously pumped milk, then finishing up by pumping again.
“Oh, yeah,” she replied. “You're triple feeding. I totally get it.”
My mouth dropped open. There was a term for what I was doing? As in, other moms are doing it too? She was totally nonchalant about it and told me how she had done the same thing for her son, even doing a “quadruple feed” because he had to be tube-fed too. I was downright shocked–and then excited to know that there was a name for what I was experiencing.
Since that moment, I've embraced our unique journey with triple feeding, but here's the thing: it's incredibly, incredibly hard. It's time-consuming and frustrating and when your milk is letting down and you need to pump but you also have to bottle feed your baby and get the bottle ready and you're all alone, it can feel impossible. Here are just a few of the things I've found to make my life as a triple feeding mom go a little bit easier.
Elvie Double Breast Electric Pump
First things first: let's establish that this is NOT sponsored in any way, shape, or form, I've never been in touch with this company, and this is not an affiliate link. I paid full price for this pump straight from the Target website with my own money after struggling so much with trying to feed my baby and I had to share what a game-changer it is.
My baby is now one month old and I've been doing the triple feed since she was born 5 weeks early and spent her first week of life in the NICU. Our feeding sessions go like this: I try to nurse her, she munches for a bit, then takes a bottle of pumped milk, then I pump again. At night, when she's getting up every 2 hours, this was KILLING me, as the entire process takes a good hour. So I looked at all the hands-free pumps on the market and decided to get this one. I chose the Elvie because it has bottles (the Willow needs bags that you have to buy and they're pricey) and a little higher capacity to hold 5 ounces instead of 4.
The pump is expensive, but my insurance will cover a portion of it, so it wound up being around $200 for me, which I figure is pretty standard for a pump, right? Anyways, I've been using it for about a week now and it's life-changing! I can pump from one side while nursing her on the other, pump while I'm feeding her a bottle, pump while getting my kids breakfast, pump while I'm driving … you get the picture. The most frustrating part about triple feeding for me was that my milk would be letting down on the other side or my boobs would be so full so it was difficult to bottle feed her without pumping first and this pump lets me do both at the same time. It's amazing.
The pump is also shocking to me because it's practically silent, I barely feel it, and yet it somehow pumps a full bottle in minutes. It also auto-shuts off when you pump a full bottle, so if you happen to fall asleep while pumping (ahem), it won't leave you with a flood. It's almost bizarre how well it works. If you are considering getting this pump, I would say DO IT and check into if your insurance will pay for some of it. Struggling to feed your baby is so hard and if there is something that can make it even a little easier, I have to believe we're worth the investment.
The Larken Nursing Bra
If you don't have a wireless breast pump, you need to get yourself a pumping bra. A lot of the ones on the market are kind of stiff and uncomfortable (understandable, since they have to hold a pump in place), but the Larken is amazingly soft, comfortable, and can easily be used for hands-free pumping and nursing, so you if you're doing both, you don't have to worry about switching your bra.
I have both the bra and the tank and I love them so much because they are so soft and supportive, so they make the perfect choice for the 2-hour sleep increments that make up my nighttime now! If you can, I highly recommend getting the duo tank and bra — I actually wear the tank alone at night, and it's supportive enough that I can still use it for pumping too. And if we're being real here, what I also love about this tank is that it's super absorbent too, so a few leaks here and there is no big deal when I'm wearing it. Hey, we're all moms here, right?
Moms Who Get It
You might not be able to pay for this particular “product,” but it's so necessary. Before I started down the path of a triple-feeding mom, I had no idea that there were others like me. I was just trying to do what I thought was best for me and my baby, and if I'm being totally honest, the only thing I knew how to do.
I didn't start down this path on purpose, but we're here now and I'm trying to make the best of it. Just like the friend online who introduced me me to the fact that triple feeding was a “thing,” I've found that it's been incredibly helpful to me to find other moms who are in the same boat as me, or who have gone before me. I've joined some support groups online (search “triple feeding” or “exclusively pumping” on Facebook to start!) and reached out to moms I know who have done the same thing that I know I can text or call on the days it feels impossible.
Triple feeding can be a lonely journey and it's been such a relief to me to know that I am not alone and that I can do this–because there are other moms doing the same thing every hour with me.