Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Breastfeeding Twins

I love this picture of Maya!

I just read an article about Angelina Jolie breastfeeding her twins, her difficulties and her finally weaning them from the breast at 3 months. Wanted to share my struggles and triumphs.

I nursed Zander for 12 months & Gavin for nearly 15 months. I assumed I was a pro and wouldn't have any problems. Well let me say, breastfeeding twins is tough! You have to be 100% committed to making it work...and still some women have problems with milk supply. When my milk first came in it was SO MUCH! (ouch!) I never had a problem with my boys latching on, but the girls were a different story. Maybe because they were a little smaller? (6lb 3oz & 5lb 9oz...big for twins) They couldn't seem to get their little mouths latched on correctly. Eventually...about a week of practice they got it :)

The "experts" (whoever they are) say that nursing twins doesn't make your nipples any more sore than nursing a singleton....I beg to differ! For the first 3 weeks I was almost in tears at feeding time. That never happened with my 1st two! At one point I even considered quitting and switching to formula. Without a supportive husband to cheer me along I might have. I'm not saying this o scare anyone...but to encourage. It's tough emotionally and physically to nurse twins, but you can succeed!

Here is my advice on how to make it work:

  • Be committed 100% Failing is not an option.

  • Take care of yourself! Those babies are taking a lot out of you. You need 2000 EXTRA calories a day (I'm no expert...I just remember reading that somewhere) Keep your pantry stocked with healthy snacks nuts, power bars, fruit, etc. Eat every 2-3 hours.

  • Drink LOTS of water! If you're dehydrated you're not going to produce enough milk.

  • Feed your babies at the same time, esp at night, wake the other baby if needed.

On that note, I want to add that when you're expecting twins you hear all this advice on how to do it "right." My twins are only 6 months now, but I through out most of the advice I received out the window. I think you have to do what works for you in your situation. For example, I was told you have to feed your twins at the same time & keep them on the same schedule. Easy enough right? Well when your busy with a preschooler and a toddler PLUS have twin newborns that's a different story. Don't feel guilty if you don't do it "right." I didn't have a strict nursing schedule or nap schedule (funny though...I did with my 1st born...I think you relax a bit the more children you have!) The first few months I just did what I could to get by. It was easier for me to take care of one newborn at a time. I would nurse one at a time, that way if I had to get up and attend to the other children I could. I loved my baby ktan sling! No hands nursing.

The turning point in my way of thinking happened this summer. I was busy nursing both twins at the same time, the boys were running around the house being extra rowdy. I would yell at them to settle down...but they knew I was busy and weren't listening to me. They went into the kitchen where I couldn't see them and started to wrestle. I didn't see what happened, but apparently Zander "body slammed" Gavin into the floor face first! Long story short, we had to go to the ER. And let me add that was a stressful 10 minutes...Gavin's mouth bleeding, teeth pushed back, he's hysterical...Zander's crying because he thinks he's in trouble...the twins were in the middle of nursing and I had to stop so they are screaming...while I'm tending to Gavin one of the twins poops her diaper. By the way, it's just me and the kids at home! While hugging Gavin, mouth dripping blood, I have to change the girls diapers load them in their carseats. Get Zander dressed...they are always taking their clothes off and running around in diaper or underwear...We eventually got to the ER. Anyway, the moral of the story is, do what works for YOU. Nursing one twin at a time works best for me. In the evening (and throughout the night) I get them on the same schedule...when Ely's home...that way he can help burp plus you get more sleep if you feed them at the same time at night!

Wow...look at all my run on sentences...girls are waking from their morning nap....more later!


Carmen said...

That drinking LOTS and LOTS of water is critical.

Jen said...

I read your article on Mult and more. It was really good. That is truly amazing. :)

Anna said...

thank you for sharing! i have 11 day old twins (6-6 and 6-9 at 38wk 1 day birth). nursing seems to be going great (yes, so sore), but no one ever talks about having other kids running around. i "just" have a 2 year old, but it's encouraging to hear how someone w/ other children handled things! thanks!