Breastfeeding Our Twins: The First Six Months

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Breastfeeding rates are on the rise. We’ve all heard the “Breast is Best” slogan. New mothers everywhere are enjoying more breastfeeding support than ever before. It’s a great time to be a breastfeeding mother.

I’ve enjoyed breastfeeding all six of my children. Each child had their individual challenges: latch problems, fussiness, clogged ducts, oversupply, low supply, returning to work and trying to pump.

My greatest challenge has been breastfeeding my twins, Harmony and David.

David and Harmony first picture

Cute little trouble makers

As a “seasoned” mother I knew I needed to nurse them right away after their birth in order to establish a good start for breastfeeding. We were very blessed to be able to deliver our twins vaginally at 38 weeks. The babies did not require any NICU time and were able to breastfeed in the first hour after their birth. I worked hard during my twin pregnancy to grow healthy babies and keep them in utero as long as possible.

birth

Look at us – so happy. We had no clue. You can see the twins plotting already.

The first time I tried to tandem breastfeed both babies was … interesting. I used a football hold with both babies and a lot of pillows. Both babies were able to latch and I kept them on for almost an hour. The great thing about tandem nursing twins is it stimulates the breasts twice as much. Your body gets the message that milk is needed, and plenty of it.

We asked the nurses not to give our babies any bottles or pacifiers. We kept the babies in the room with us as often as possible. I nursed them anytime they made a noise. If I was holding them, I was nursing them. I believe this constant contact was essential for our breastfeeding success. The twins were champion nursers and we were able to go home 24 hours after birth.

At home I focused all my efforts into breastfeeding. I settled into my little nest on the couch: pillows, a blanket, a large glass of ice water, my phone, the remotes and babies. I would nurse them individually as well as tandem. I didn’t worry about setting schedules at first. We breastfed on demand – if the babies cried, I breastfed them. If they weren’t breastfeeding, I was pumping. I pumped to increase my supply and to store milk for the occasional bottle from daddy so I could sleep. During the first three weeks the twins did receive one 2 ounce bottle of formula in the evening to keep their body weight up as I worked to establish my breastmilk supply. It didn’t take long for my body to kick into high gear.

The one item that made life my life so much easier was my Brest Friend twin nursing pillow. I highly recommend this pillow for any mother expecting twins. I wore that pillow 80% of the time every day for the first six weeks. The pillow is large and square-shaped, perfect for setting up babies in the football hold tandem position. It’s firm and supportive, but also soft and snuggly. We often slept on the couch with the babies wrapped around me on the nursing pillow.

peeking twins

David: “Mom looks tired, should we give her a break?” Harmony: “Nah, keep eating bro.”

Neighbors, friends, family and church members brought us dinners for two weeks. We were SO blessed. My husband was able to spend the first week at home with us, helping with our four other children and taking care of the house. I was able to focus on breastfeeding our new babies.

That first month was a haze of feedings. I ate constantly. I was thirsty all the time. As we hit the dreaded growth spurts that often threaten new breastfeeding relationships I took Fenugreek to increase my breastmilk supply.

fenugreek

When a clogged duct reared its ugly head I took lecithin to keep my milk flowing.

Breastfeeding is hard work. It’s hard enough to feed one baby. Breastfeeding twins requires commitment. You have to push past set-backs. You have to be determined to breastfeed exclusively for at least the first six weeks. I had to tell myself, “just feed them for the first three weeks, you can do the first three weeks.” Then I would set a new goal: the first six weeks, the first three months, the first six months. It was work – but it was worth all the effort.

Our babies grew, healthy and strong. They were not overly jaundiced because the constant feeding helped eliminate bilirubin from our babies’ bodies. Breastmilk has a laxative effect and frequent breastfeeding helps lower bilirubin levels. Whenever one of our other children would be sick with a virus I knew the babies would be protected by the antibodies in my breastmilk. I was able to lose 70 pounds – all of my twin pregnancy weight – in five months.

thumbs up

Loving these little calorie burners

My purpose in sharing our story is not to discourage any twin moms. Breastfeeding is wonderful. The sweetest moments I’ve ever experienced as a mother happened while holding my babies, snuggling them, feeding them. There is a special closeness that develops with breastfeeding. I hope all moms can experience that joy.

harmony individ

I love you

But often new moms will experience very common frustrations as they breastfeed. So much of the information presented tells moms it’s easy, don’t worry, your body knows what to do – and that can be very confusing when a problem arises. Moms start to doubt themselves and their natural abilities. It’s important to know that breastfeeding is natural, it can be easy and yes, your body does know what to do. But it also takes dedication and some effort in the beginning.

These are a few sites that were very informative and helpful:

KellyMom.com

La Leche League

BreastfeedingTwins.org

Breastfeeding Laws

Be informed, dedicated and prepared. Don’t let anything get in the way of your breastfeeding success. You’re doing the very best thing for your baby and that is all that matters.

Most importantly: enjoy breastfeeding

This is such a special time in a woman’s life. It doesn’t last long. Cherish every moment. Have fun with your babies. Tickle them while they nurse and be rewarded with milky grins. Smell their sweet skin as they snuggle close to you. Kiss the little fingers that reach up to touch your face. These are precious moments, don’t let anyone steal that from you. Family members and friends might mean well when they say, “just one little bottle won’t hurt.” Stay strong mama. No one will understand why you have to fiercely protect your breastfeeding relationship. The first few weeks are crucial.

undercover

It’s us against the world baby

Breastfeed at home, at the store, at the park, at church, at the library. Breastfeed as often as you can. You and your baby deserve the best. Breastfeeding is good for you and good for your baby.

six months breastfeeding

We’ve now been breastfeeding our twins for six months. I’m very proud of our accomplishment. There are still struggles. The twins are teething. And the six-month growth spurt has been a challenge. But the good far outweighs any hardships. Lounging on the couch in a sleepy pile of snuggles, feeding my two babies is wonderful. I’m looking forward to the next six months.

22 thoughts on “Breastfeeding Our Twins: The First Six Months

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  6. I’m glad u stuck with it. I have twins they are 13Months now and in the process of weaning. So far it’s been good. I love nursing my twins but they are move independent now and only want to nurse for nap and bed time. I was wondering since ur a seasoned mom was weaning hard for you with your other children? These are my first and only. So everything is new to me.

    • All my other children transitioned to a bottle before their first birthday. My twins will be my first to breastfeed for the first year (and hopefully beyond). I actually don’t have any experience with weaning straight from breastfeeding. I may need your advice! 🙂

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  8. Hi, I’m a three week old twinmum. Today is my hardest day, the twins seems unhappy with breastfeeding. Also struggled with mastitis for a couple of days.
    I had no problem to breastfeed my todler for a year before I got pregnant.
    Reading your lovely story about your experience made me to think positiv.
    Thanks for it.

    • Hi Melinda 🙂 the three week mark is a tough one! It will get easier after the next few days. I remember feeling overwhelmed at times that the twins weren’t getting enough milk. But after a day or two my body would catch up. It’s tough though. You’re doing a great job for your babies! Keep it up! Supplementing every now and then is okay too. Whatever works for you and your babies is what is best. I’m praying you get through this tough growth spurt.

  9. You’re post is just what I needed. I’m nursing my 4 month old twins and I’m at a bit of a struggle at the moment. I am feeling like I don’t have enough milk to feed my little boy.
    I eat and eat and drink and drink and feel like I still can’t produce enough for him at times. Luckily I have a supply stored up so I can give him a bottle if needed, but I’ve been feeling so discouraged and defeated. Any advice?

    • The 4-month mark is tough! They have growth spurts and it can seem like all you do is feed babies 24/7. Hang I’m there though, because it gets easier this big milestone. And definitely once you reach the 6-month mark, it’s all so much easier. You’ve done a great job so far! 🙂 if you need a boost in supply you could try fenugreek.

  10. Wow! Wish I’d read this 10 months ago when I was struggling to breast feed my twin girls. Recognise so many of the feelings you went through. I felt so overwhelmed they weren’t getting enough milk too. Tears before bedtime all round!!!
    But it’s my proudest achievement to date, and we have been taking weaning very slowly as I still breast feed them a lot. I remember one day when they were 3 months we literally cuddled in bed feeding all day!!! Then all the days where I fed them in pubs, cars and national trust cafés!!!! Lol! Still do!
    It was worth all the tears, because looking back through the fog of tiredness I just remember my tiny babies being constantly in my arms … And I wouldn’t swap that for anything….. Especially as these are Ivf miracles and almost certainly the only ones I’ll ever be lucky enough to get.
    I find feeding them all to easy now, hardest thing will be having to stop…. 😦 !

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  12. I’ll be having twins in the next four to six weeks, with two toddlers already at home (ages just-3 and 18 months). How did you manage to breastfeed SO much and also pay attention to your other littles? This is the thing I’m trying to prepare for right now. :-/ Having four under three and a half will be very very intense. I’ll have help for three weeks, which is a huge blessing…but then I’m on my own. I’ve never had issues with breastfeeding (fed my other two till they were 15 and 15.5 months), but I’m a little concerned! Thanks so much and blessings! 🙂

    • Hi Jennifer! Get ready for a whirlwind of craziness! 😀 Having twins is wonderful, but kind of crazy – not gonna lie. But you’re gonna rock it, mama!

      I have older children to help entertain my younger ones, so it did help. And my husband stepped up to the plate and took care of almost everything else, so I could feed the babies.

      Even with all that help, there were times when I would get overwhelmed and just cry. But! You muscle through those days, because it’s worth it. I will say, my Brest Friend Nursing Pillow was a lifesaver. I could nurse both babies at the same time comfortably. Do you have a twin size nursing pillow yet? I still have mine, and I’ve been waiting for just the right person to give it to… if you don’t have one, I might be able to send you mine if you’re interested.

      I would advise having plenty of new cartoons and activities lined up to help entertain your little ones while you’re feeding the twins. I try not to use the TV as a babysitter, but sometimes you just have to do what you gotta do to get through the tough times! Get some new cartoons and toys for them. Have the remotes and everything you need, like a drink of water, wipes, snacks and build up a little nest. Once you have the twins latched on for a feeding you don’t want to have to get up to get something.

      It’s going to be intense. It’s going to be difficult. I had to pray a lot, cry a lot, scratch most of my plans most days and just survive the day. You’re going to be tired.

      But, you will survive. You will love your babies. You will feel SO accomplished when you make it through the tough days – whether you breastfeed or not. Moms of twins earn special respect from me. You’re going to be AWESOME, mama!

      Feel free to email me: amandacoers@yahoo.com if you’re interested in the twin pillow, or if you want to talk or ask any questions.

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