I knew I wanted to breast feed my babies but I had no idea how that would go. I’ve heard so many horror stories about breast feeding one baby, I couldn’t imagine what trying to feed two would be like. I knew from the beginning that our babies would require being formula fed to some degree but I didn’t really know what that meant, I really didn’t know what anything about babies or twins meant! Long story short, I successfully partially breast feeding my twins for over six months.
Here’s the long version:
In recovery after the babies were born I put one to my breast, I don’t know who it was, I think Talia, but I was so out of it and overwhelmed from my not emergency but super quick c-cection (more about that in my birth story postl) that I don’t really remember much of that first night. The next day the lactation consultant from the hospital came to teach me how to breast feed! She was great, she showed me a comfortable position and how to get situated, how to know if the the baby is in a good position and a schedule to try, which was 10-15 minutes at each feeding, then top them off with a formula bottle because my milk had not yet come in and they needed to eat. During each of my four days in the hospital I breast fed each baby individually. I would breast feed the first then pass her off to who ever was there to help me, then breast feed the second and then I would give that baby a bottle, unless there was someone else there then they would give the bottle and I would go back to sleep. I was so sore and tired, and breastfeeding those first few weeks makes you very tired. Once I got home I continued to breast feed each baby individually then give each a bottle, and then try to pump within an hour, always with the help of someone else. For the first two weeks we had a baby nurse, Pachelle, you can read about her here. After that my husbands mother was staying with us for the next two months and my mom and dad came to visit about five times during those first three months for a few days or weeks. And my aunt, sister and friends were also great helps when it came to feedings, while my husband was at work. When he was home he ALWAYS helped with everything.
Within the first two weeks home Pachelle helped me figure out how to breastfeed both babies at the same time. She has twins herself, they are 25 now. At first I had to use the nipple shields every time, it seamed like I was always washing nipple shields, but they did the trick. Sometimes I had to trick the babies into latching on, even with the shields by pouring a little formula into the nipple part to get them going. Then they were good. They could drink so much that the nipple shield would fill up, get all over their cute little faces and spill all over me when they decided to pull off or fall asleep. When they were a month old we went back to the hospital to meet with the lactation consultant. I was curious to see how much milk they were getting from me. The lactation consultant weighed them before the feeding, then helped me get them latched on correctly, this time without the nipple shield, and then weighed them after. At 1 month old they were getting almost three ounces of milk from me. After this appointment I tried to get them to latch on without the nipple shield at each feeding, they could do it sometimes and other times, no way! Usually they would start out without them, then if they pulled off I would have to use the nipple shield to get them back on. But slowly slowly over the next month they got better at it and eventually didn’t need them at all. Around two months they started doing this thing where they would drink for 2 -4 minutes then stop, I thought they had gotten all they wanted, because also around this time I stopped giving them formula at every feed, I wanted to try to exclusively breastfeed as much as possible. It’s much more time efficient and there are no bottles to clean after. Sometimes they would get hungry just an hour or two later and I would have to give them a bottle anyway, but sometimes they were fine for their usual three hour stretch between feedings. Looking back I realized that by not getting them back on after they pulled off distracted was a mistake and it made my supply decrease.
Breast feeding two babies at once takes a lot of planning and coordination. I watched this you tube video on how to do it while I was pregnant and it was probably the most informative video I have ever seen! I had to get my supplies ready, and set up on the couch. Nursing pillow, two boppys, a burp cloth, water, phone, remote control. Then get each baby in a boppy, sit down and get situated, then put one baby on the nursing pillow, then the other, then get each baby latched on and basically spend the next 15-30 minuted trying to get them to stay on. Burping one baby while trying to keep the other baby latched on was a challenge, but I did it. It was tough and a little frustrating for the baby that was still eating (usually Jordan) and it was hard on my back, I still have knots in my back from months of sitting funny while breastfeeding. When they finish I would usually leave whoever finished first on the pillow until the other one was done, then put one on the boppy , then the other.
At the end of three months I went back to work, at work I pumped during the day. Remember the cozy pumping room at work. Pumping rather than breastfeeding also decreased also my supply and I went from pumping more than six ounces per side at two months to less than three ounces then to less than an ounce. I tried drinking the mothers milk tea, eating the milkin’ cookies, and taking funegreek all of which is suppose to help increase milk supply, but if it did help it was minimal. Around the fifth month I decreased the number of times I pumped during the day from three to one, then shortly after I stopped pumping all together. I would breastfeed the girls in the morning and in the evening. I would decrease the amount of time I breastfeed each day since the girls have started to chew instead of suck, not fun. If we are out and it’s not convenient to breastfeed then I just skip it, by doing so my supply gradually decreased and within a few weeks I stopped completely. I was lucky with how my body responded to breastfeeding, I never got sore or chapped from it, I never got engorged and I never leaked. I do think that using the lanolin every single time and the nipple shields at the beginning helped a lot. I feel really lucky that I got to give my girls breast milk and that they eventually really seamed to enjoy breastfeeding. When I get them on the tandem pillow they open their mouths as wide as they can because they know whats coming, it’s pretty funny and pretty cute. It’s sad that this time is over, but they are getting so good at holding their own bottle,and I want them to grow and learn and become independent because it will make them better people and they will feel proud that they can do things on their own.