Friday, January 30, 2009

Not to Be a Negative Nancy UPDATED.

... What do you think the chances are that this mother of octuplets will be able to follow through on her plan of expressing enough breast milk to feed all of them during their expected two-month hospital stay? She was 30 weeks pregnant at the time of her C-section yesterday.

My best wishes are with the family -- they'll need them to deal with SIX boys and two girls. The breastfeeding idea certainly seems like the RIGHT plan. I just kind of chuckled at the article saying, "they will be fed expressed breast milk through a tube." As if you can plan that as easily as scheduling their medication doses, especially when the mother has just been through the mother of all cesarian sections. I thought the premature birth would be an impediment too, but according to pump maker Medela, the duration of the pregnancy shouldn't affect milk production.

Then again, I bet with the family's high profile they would have no problem procuring donor breast milk if the mother's hydraulics don't kick in right away.

UPDATE: MomLogic quoted a lactation expert saying that it is certainly possible for two boobs to support 8 hungry babies. And as a commenter pointed out, the babies would only be getting a few cc's through tubes at first. And yet, many who have struggled with supply, especially after surgery and with mechanical stimulation only, if you can only squeeze out an ounce at a time, even getting a few cc's for each infant might be a challenge.

By the way, MomLogic also quotes neighbors saying that the mom is a single parent who already has six kids. I am currently gagging my inner judge with duct tape right now because it doesn't seem to remember that it's not nice manners to tell people how many children they can handle.

But ... YIKES!


babyboyg said...

I just got up off the floor.
Your post made me a little faint and I had to lie down before I actually passed out...holy cow...8...oh, I'm feeling woozy again just thinking about it....

Kori said...

The math here is confounding. Eight (kids) divided by two (breasts) = four (shifts) of at least an hour a piece. Multiply four shifts by eight times per day (feedings roughly every three hours), and this poor lady will be breastfeeding without ceasing every 24 hours and will still not get all of her kids fed on schedule. "On demand" feeding is not really a reality in this equation.

Put that one on the SAT, it is complicated.

Carrie said...

Good God Kori, you're right. I hadn't even thought about what the "real" breastfeeding woudl be like when/if the babies get big enough and mature enough to latch on. Frankly, in this situation I'd appreciate the ICU and those feeding tubes, because the idea of finger feeding or whatever all those hungry mouths makes me wilt.

But again, I hope things work out for the family.

Kori said...

You know, after I took the time to "do the math" on that breastfeeding equation, I realized that I wronged myself in the process. Without saying it, I implied that if this mom isn't breastfeeding exclusively (which is seemingly impossible), she won't really be doing what she said she's going to do.

This goes all the way back to when I was struggling to breastfeed EJ, when every breastfeeding session was backed up with a bottle and ten pumping sessions a day yielded no more than 3 ounces of milk, easily gulped down by the kiddo in a matter of seconds. When I describe the experience to friends, I say, "I wasn't able to breastfeed." It still smarts, more than I'd like to admit.

But why am I saying that? It's not really true. If I am giving myself some grace, I should say, "I breastfed for five months, until my daughter weaned herself. I supplemented my milk with formula, so that she could thrive and grow."

So, I do wish this lady luck, especially with so many preemies, and dare to say that I hope she, too, will breastfeed, as well as feed those children whatever they need to thrive and grow.

Therapy over.

Anonymous said...

The babies will be started on just a milliliter or few of milk at each feeding. If mama is able to pump every 2 or 3 hours while they're in the hospital she should be able to have enough for them for a while. Having the babies be preterm has no effect on her milk; you start making it around your 5th month of pregnancy.

Kori said...

Yeah, we certainly don't know the whole story, but the tidbits we have right now don't add up. There is some fishiness, somewhere. It will be interesting to hear from the mom if she decides to open up to the press.

Kori said...

And here we go...,0,720132.story

Anonymous said...

Boy the blogs are lighting up with this story!

I think that it is irresponsible to attempt to carry eight fetuses (feti? I don't know) as a human being. And by allowing eight embryos to be implanted, that is exactly what she was doing.

I do believe that we all have a social and moral obligation to care for our own children. And by that I mean you can, in general, pay for and coordinate their care without overarching and ongoing social assistance. Maybe you can have 18 and maybe you can have one. I know plenty of families who have more than two children and are not at all rich--but they care for their own. And maybe that is what this woman intends to do...only time will tell.

Personally, I think it's irresponsible to bring children into a one parent household. Sometimes a household becomes one parent after the fact, which is always sad, but to start out that way is not right in any income bracket.