I am a major advocate of breastfeeding. When I found out I was pregnant with twins, I was determined to breastfeed them just as I did my big boy. Since I have breastfed before, I wasn’t too concerned about making it work. I looked it up online and read about it in the baby books, and everything said it was possible.
I had these warm, fuzzy mental pictures of cuddling my two precious gifts and nursing in an serene, relaxed, possibly-classical-music-in-the-background environment.
Nope. Not even close.
I do NOT wish to deter any mom who is pregnant with twins from choosing to breastfeed. I have met TONS of moms who have nursed twins, anywhere for as long as one year to FOUR years. So I know it can be done. I did it. But it was highly unpleasant for me.
I blame stress and exhaustion.
The girls latched on from the moment they were born. Great! But they cried and cried and cried and cried in the hospital, and the lactation consultant diagnosed that they weren’t getting enough milk. We needed to supplement with a syringe feeder until my milk came in. They also issued me a hospital-grade pump to rent so that I could pump extra milk in between feedings once I got home.
Syringe feeding is awkward and definitely a two-person job. My husband and I had a difficult time with it. I was so glad when my milk came in and I could stop doing the syringe feedings. Actually, getting the hang of tandem feeding was pretty easy once I started using the double nursing pillow I mention here.
We came home from the hospital on a Monday evening. Less than 48 hours later my husband went back to work, leaving me with a fourth grader to get off to school and two newborns to care for. My mom (who also works full-time) came to help take the big boy to school that first day but from then on the four of us (me, boy, twins) walked to and from school. Every day.
In a nutshell, there was little help for us. From day 5 of their lives I was stressed out trying to get everything done.
In an attempt to continue breast feeding I had to nurse them, and once every hour I also had to pump. Pumping was supposed to kind of trick my body into thinking it was needing to make more milk than it was making. When we saw our lactation consultant 2 weeks later, both girls had dropped in weight, about half a pound each. They screamed and cried all day, every day, and the LC told me it was because they were hungry. I was forced to start supplementing with formula after each time nursing.
To boost my milk supply (in addition to pumping) I started taking fenugreek, More Milk Plus, drinking Mother’s Milk tea, and even ordered this overseas prescription stuff called Vomistop. It all helped a little. But basically, my entire day and night was focused on milk production. Oh, and getting a kid ready for school, walking him to and from school (we only had 1 car), making dinner, trying to keep up with laundry, and attempting to take care of my own needs like showering and eating. There were also my son’s youth group one night a week, 4 football practices a week, and games on the weekend. Busy schedule!
When I went back to work I took a new position that I loved, which reduced a lot of stress for me. But working a fast-paced schedule didn’t allow for much time to pump.
It was a humongous hassle for me to breastfeed the twins. It was hard on me emotionally because I couldn’t fill their needs on my own. Even though I had to supplement with formula whenever I didn’t have enough pumped milk to give them, I take comfort in knowing that I did the best I could and the girls received as much breast milk as my body could squeeze out. My goal was to breastfeed for 6 months, but with the new job, work schedule and not being able to pump much, I stopped at 5 months.
I would love to hear comments, please share your thoughts below.