Welcome to the place where you can easily access TONS of FREE Breastfeeding information and GAIN valuable insight on best tips, how-to’s and “ need to know” about all things breastfeeding related.Please enjoy this All About Breastfeeding podcast with Brittany Yankowski
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“Look they are really dehydrated, we have to do IVs, this is not working, you need to do something and we did end up giving them bottles of my pumped frozen breastmilk. The Dr. said: why do you want to breastfeed them? I said, well, its better, cheaper, and that is what I did with my other children and he told me like well, I have never seen a woman breastfeed triplets there is no way that you can possibly make enough milk”.
Episode 53 Brittany Yankowski is a mother of 5 children, she is a photographer. She has a newly 5 year old, a 2 year old and 1 year old triplets. She has breastfed all her kids and they each have their own struggles and achievements.
Brittany Yankowski’s interview has some initial audio issues. She is driving around in the car with her kids, and you will hear background noise. Hopefully, all or some might fall asleep after a few minutes of driving around. They did not want to take a nap during our interview time. so she put them all in the car and hoped they would nap.
Brittany Yankowski parents were divorced when she was young and she visited her Dad on weekends. Even though her parents had kids after the divorce, She felt like she was raised as an only child, and acknowledges that it is kind of funny that she has so many kids/. Her parents each have one other child with their spouses, so she has a brother and a sister who are both younger than her, but she did not see them much. Brittany was born and raised in Ohio. Brittany and her husband have left Ohio a few times for jobs, but each time her husband’s job fell through, so they came back to Ohio and she feels they are there to stay now. Both their families live in Ohio and it sure is good to have family around for built in babysitters.
When Brittany Yankowski was a teenager, she never envisioned having more than 2 or 3 kids. After 2 kids, they said: lets’ have one more and it turned out to be triplets! In five years, she had five kids. When the triplets were born her oldest was not quite 5, so for about 6 months she had 5 children five and under.
Natalie was her first baby, who was born when she was just 20 years old. Brittany was not a breastfed baby and her family was not supportive of her breastfeeding. She had read a lot about breastfeeding during her pregnancy and she knew this was something she wanted to do, something she just had to try. The first 6-8 weeks were not easy for her. She had supply problems, poor latch issues and it was painful. She did not know who to call for help, but she just fought through it all and somehow managed to do okay and it got better. At around 9 months though, breastfeeding became difficult again. Her latch became lazy, she didn’t know how to pump, who to ask, she ended up just giving up. It was devastating, but at the same time, she told herself that she did make it 9 months. She feels like she experienced a lot of things, learned a lot and was determined to do better the next time. She feels like she failed. She has heard these same sentiments from so many other moms too. Now, after several experiences with breastfeeding, Brittany is highly motivated to share her story with others so that she may be helpful and encouraging to other mothers if they have breastfeeding challenges.
In between her first breastfeeding experience and her new baby being born, Brittany made sure that she learned all she could about all things related to pumping. She wanted to make sure that she had a handle on pumping as she felt this was one of the important skills that she did not know about during her first experience that could have made a difference. She said that she did not want her first experience to deter her from breastfeeding her second baby. She looked for resources, for somebody who could help her out with what she did not know. She found lactation consultants were a good resource. Brittany knew about lactation consultants before but did not fully understand what their role was in helping the breastfeeding mother. She knew they helped moms in the early days of breastfeeding, but did not know they were available to help even when your baby is older, like 6 months or older, when there is a nursing strike or other issues.
Brittany Yankowski’s triplets are 16 months old now and their names are Addisyn, Bentley and Connor. Brittany was very determined, which is good because this was her hardest start. Her milk took longer to come in so when they were first born. When you are nursing 3 that is all you do. Brittany talks to us about the early days in breastfeeding her babies. She was very eager to tandem nurse. When you have a baby on a 2 hour schedule and 1 baby takes half an hour and the second baby takes half an hour and the third baby takes half an hour, you only have half an hour to eat, shower and do what you need to do.
Brittany Yankowski describes the first couple of weeks as being such a struggle. She talks about wanting to parent them the same way she parented her older kids and she wanted to take care of her older kids. The challenge is: How do you sleep, shower, eat, breastfeed triplets when you still have 2 other kids to take care of. Learning how to tandem nurse and gaining that extra half hour, may not seem like a lot to others, but for her it was crucial to her sanity. Tandem nursing is nursing 2 babies at once. One baby is on one breast and the other baby is on the other breast. She talks about having to do ninja moves to accomplish this, acknowledging that it is difficult in the beginning, but that it does get better.
Brittany Yankowski tells us how she managed breastfeeding hungry babies in the beginning. Basically, her plan was that whoever cried first was fed first. When Baby “a” and “b” were done and then baby “c” got fed. Whoever ate last was always offered to eat first at the beginning of the next feeding. She feels she was really good at this for the first 3 weeks. After that, whoever was crying and hungry, got to eat. Her Lactation Consultants daughter had triplets so she was very knowledgeable about breastfeeding multiples and she also ran a support group. So she would do weekly weight checks and also tracked their intake at feedings.
Brittany Yankowski paid attention to her baby’s cues and that is how she would go about feeding them. She says that she went nuts trying to do completely on demand with all 3. Her system was that if one was crying, all 3 would eat. This way they all ate at the same time and she had a little bit of time afterward to focus on her other kids after that. Weekly weight checks were helpful with reassurance. She needed that proof so she liked going for the weekly weight checks. She did not want this to be totally left up to the Drs. Judgment. She wanted to be able to prove it to herself and to her pediatrician.
People would tell her all the time that she would not be able to breastfeed triplets. At first, her milk took longer to come in. During pregnancy, she had pumped and stored her milk just in case she needed it for her triplets early days of feeding. During her stay in the hospital, her babies spent some t ime in the NICU. First for lack of weight gain, then for temperature fluctuations, then for not gaining enough weight.
Drs. told Brittany that her babies are dehydrated and she needed to supplement. Brittany decided to give them her pumped milk from the bottle. Brittany was sorely disappointed in the lack of support she received from the doctor who questioned why she wanted to breastfeed her babies. He said: Well, I have never seen a women breastfeed 3 babies. This is quite sad as he was a neonatologist at a very well respected hospital. She supplemented her babies with the goal of getting out of the hospital as quickly as she could. She wanted to get home, in her own environment and concentrate on breastfeeding. She supplemented for the first week and at home decided to ditch the bottles and exclusively breastfeed.
Brittany ponders the question – Does this happen to moms of 1 baby? Are they getting enough support for with breastfeeding with one baby. Brittany sure felt that she was not getting the support she needed in the early days for her triplets.
Birth Information: Date of birth was September 2, 2014. She had a vaginal birth
Baby A was 4.12
Baby B was 5.6
Baby C was 5.5 oz
Listen to her birth story. The vaginal birth of her triplets is a really great story. Here is everything else that Brittany talked about:
1. Brittany Yankowski wanted to keep her baby in as long as possible. She was happy with the providers she chose. Her daily mantra was: Supply and Demand. Trust your body, trust you baby
2. If wet nurses can feed 7 babies, she can feed 3 babies.
3. Once her babies were not in need of the NICU and hospital care, she felt that being home was better for her. Being in her own space, she could relax better and able concentrate on breastfeeding the babies.
4. She made sure she had help with the older kids at the beginning, as well as help with the babies.
5. Her husband was a huge help once he came home from work.
6. She had a lot of help from her husband and grandmother in the early days, which was invaluable.
7. Moms of twins group also offered her support by providing some meals, which was a huge help.
8. Brittany felt that once the fourth month hit, they started stretching out the feedings a bit.
9. She talks about the importance of continued breastfeeding once the babies starting eating solids.
10. Why getting to one year was her goal.
Her words of wisdom: It’s going to be okay and it’s going to get easier. If you stopped breastfeeding today, you gave them something very important and you did a good job.
I appreciate the time that Brittany took out of her day to spend time with me in this interview. It is not often for a mom of triplets who breastfed for 1 year, to say Yes to being interviewed. Thanks Brittany
Contact info: https://www.facebook.com/briyankowskiphotography/
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