In this latest attempt to share wisdom of my personal experience with twins, I am going to tread lightly into the breastfeeding waters. Carefully. Because it’s sensitive to discuss this topic — at least how I view it now.
You see, I was going to be one of those mothers — the ones with a baby at their breast every second of the day. The one insisting on all the latest bonding and attachment parenting tips. I read all the books, of course, and even attended La Leche League meetings while pregnant. I knew it was what I wanted to do and NO ONE could stop me.
Except me. I stopped me.
The issue: Breastfeeding
What I did: I read and read and read everything related to having twins. I spent hours on Web sites. Even more hours in online forums, soaking up every single detail about breastfeeding twins, and breastfeeding in general. I could almost repeat what the books said verbatim by the time my girls were born healthy at 38.6 weeks.
What I did wrong: I actually did not do one thing wrong here. I did, however, get some inaccurate information along the way. One was that a breast reduction surgery that I had about seven years earlier would not interfere with breastfeeding and it did. It totally did. More than that, I read and heard a thousand times NOT to supplement with a bottle or formula and so while I waited and tried and waited for my milk to come in, which it never did, I refused to feed my children formula. Actually, just one. One had trouble latching so she automatically got formula. The other, however, latched fine but so little was coming out that I eventually — around 24 hours — relented. Oh, the guilt I carried for making those formula decisions. It was just dreadful.
My advice now: Try to breastfeed and if you feel like it comes naturally and easy for you, keep doing it as long as you see fit. But if it’s not working, when you know it’s not good for you or the baby because it hurts too much, or it is too stressful, give it up and know that you will both be happier for it. And, your baby will NOT be the loser on the playground, either. In fact, all the smart people I know were formula-fed as our generation of mothers didn’t breastfeed. However, for someone who is struggling, I say give a bottle and continue to try to breastfeed while pumping. You will know when the time is over. And you should feel good no matter how long you tried — whether it’s one hour, one day, one month or three.
Sometimes, we as mothers, just need to trust ourselves to know when something is or is not working. That’s the spark I hope to plant with this post. Trust yourself, your situation and know that no matter what you choose — it’s the right choice for you and your babies.