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When pregnant twin moms come to our twin club’s monthly support meetings, breastfeeding is often a topic of conversation. How do you breastfeed twins? Can you? Do you produce enough milk? Does it take up all your time? What about tandem feeding? Lots of twin moms want to try to breastfeed, but there aren’t a ton of resources out there that talk about how to logistically manage two babies. And, honestly, there is some crappy advice out there. I had family members tell me that it would be way too much for me to do, and that I’d stop after a few weeks. I had a lactation consultant in the hospital tell me that all moms of twins find breastfeeding two babies too much, and what I needed to do was feed one baby from the breast and formula feed the other. When I protested that this was not what I wanted to do (shocker, really, that I wanted to have a choice in this) she told me that this was just what twin moms had to do. What did I know, really?
So, how do you tell the crappy advice from the good advice? How do you know who to listen to and whom to ignore (hi, unsupportive family members and bad lactation consultant!). I think that moms of twins who have breastfed their babies are the most informed people to talk to. They’ve BEEN there! They know the challenges—two screaming babies, preemies, sleepy eaters, bad latchers— and they know how good it can be when it works well. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t seek out the advice of lactation consultants, who can be a fabulous resource. Even I found a much better one than the original hospital lactation consultant—one who actually believed I could breastfeed if I wanted to. I did. And I could.
So, all of you moms of twins out there, what kind of advice would you give a new mom of twins about breastfeeding? What do you wish someone had said to you? What do you wish you had known? Share with all of us—and those expectant moms of twins out there who are gathering information. AND, just by commenting, you will be entered in a drawing to receive a free copy of Twinspiration! There are two chapters in the book about the experience of breastfeeding twins, but also lots of other stuff about the joys and challengings of having two babies at once. Happy reading….
I’m going to start the comments here by throwing in my 2 cents, plus a few links for places to get more information or hear more about moms’ experiences breastfeeding. If I look back on what I wished I’d known those first few weeks, the first is that it gets both easier and better. I hated breastfeeding at first—I was recovering from a nasty C section, I hurt, I was exhausted, and BFing hurt too. People had described it as a wonderful, special experience…huh. But, it was later on, at 2 and 3 and 4 months, when it got easy and sweet and this special time I could share with the kids. In those first few weeks, I felt like I never moved from my spot on the sofa, which I think still holds a butt-sized imprint from my weeks there. I felt guilty about hating it, and thought maybe that meant that BFing was not for me. I couldn’t imagine months and months of this. It was my mom who got me through those first few weeks, telling me that it got easier and faster and that it didn’t have to be all BFing, all the time, if at some point I decided I didn’t want to.
The other thing that I wish is that someone had told me to keep it simple…I came home from the hospital with a hospital grade breastpump and a whole pumping/feeding plan, but what ended up being so much easier for me was just to put them to breast when they fussed for food. At first, pumping seemed to be easier–no uncertainty about how much they are getting and it didn’t hurt any more than latching did at that point. And, it was over in a predictable amount of time. But once the kids got good at nursing, I realized that feeding at the breast doesn’t have to hurt, can be quick like pumping and is much more portable (can you imagine me pulling out the hospital grade pump in Starbucks? Hehehe.) Obviously the pump is important and a great resource if you have to be away from the babies or want a break at night. But for me, things worked better when it was an occasional help, not something I had to incorporate into my feeding routine. Although I needed help getting the babies to latch at first, by the time I got to 6 weeks, and my help disappeared (ok, went back to work), I felt like a really had the hang of it. Of course, that was the day I got mastitis the first time, but that’s a whole different story…..
If you want to read about Goddess in Progresses thoughts about BFing, as she looks back months later, click here. LauraC and I also wrote about this experience on HDYDI here and here. Here is our readers’ advice to one mom of twins who was struggling with BFing. If you’re looking for more information about tandem feeding, click here. At least one HDYDI mom found La Leche helpful, and they have some information on their site about BFing multiples.