Breastfeeding can be a wonderful time of bonding with your baby. Or it can be hell on earth too. Every woman is different and the journey is so personal. And there is absolutely no right and wrong answer when it comes to feeding your newborn. Breastfeeding twins is very much the same in terms of choices and options. I would like to share some of the experiences I had breastfeeding my twin boys. There were some surprising things that I discovered on my nursing journey. And I hope I can give a little perspective on what could seem like a scary activity when you start out.
1. It’s OK to be Flexible
I was terrified during my pregnancy. We fell pregnant really quickly and were very surprised by the fact that we would be having two! And this spilt into the months after the boys were born. I had a need to cling onto control with all my might in order to feel like I was doing OK. Obviously breastfeeding was a large part of this. For instance, I was adamant that the babies would not have a drop of formula. But baby D had some in hospital to give me a small break. And he’s perfectly healthy today! I wish I had saved myself the anguish and stress of thinking that some formula would have long-lasting negative effects. Being flexible can be difficult when you’re in the moment. But it can mean the difference between a difficult breastfeeding and postpartum experience or a more relaxed and enjoyable one.
2. Double Feeding is Challenging but Worth It
Figuring out how to feed two babies at the same time is not an easy task. It took me a lot of research and practice to get it right. But I was determined to find a way in order to cut down on feeding time. A friend of a friend fed her babies separately and that is all she did all day! I wanted to have a little tiny bit of a life so opted for nursing at the same time.
We were on a tight budget so unfortunately I wasn’t able to get a special pillow. But I managed to MacGyver-style a feeding station with lots of pillows. It was pretty hilarious, thinking back. Those gorgeous images of intimate breastfeeding moments singleton moms have, did not apply to me. Generally I propped myself up straight to make sure both babies had access. And it was scary in the beginning because I didn’t want the babies to fall! Honestly I felt a bit like a cow and it wasn’t glamorous at all. Not to mention the planning that went into going anywhere. Military operations have nothing on a breastfeeding twin mom leaving the house! But I managed to get it sorted out and to get the boys on the same schedule. It gave me a few precious minutes here and there to take a breather.
3. Breastfeeding Twins can be Super Painful
Feeding one child can be painful. So you can imagine what is feels like feeding two! It was hell for me at the beginning. I used to cry with pain and frustration and resentment. I had the worst cracked nipples that never got a break. It felt relentless and I really didn’t enjoy it at all. But I was so determined to do it that I carried on regardless. As I said above about being flexible, I wish I had been a bit more relaxed about it all. When you allow people to help by pumping or giving formula, you give yourself some freedom to feel human again. And this is the key to enjoying the process. If it’s too painful to go on, then give yourself a break. Everybody is going to be happier in the end!
4. The Hunger and Thirst are Intense!
I think I must have eaten my body weight twice over in Peanut M&M’s. Oh my goodness! I know that it’s bad to eat chocolate when nursing but I had never had a hunger like that before! Not to mention wanting to drink all the water in the world! I was desperate for quick energy. I suppose a lot has to do with a lack of sleep. And of course the two growing humans that needed everything from me! In the same way that I felt like a cow, my husband felt like a restaurateur. As I mentioned in a previous post, it really helps to stock up on healthy food before the babies arrive. And be sure to stock much more than what you think you’ll need! This is another activity that you can do during pregnancy to make your postpartum time easier and more enjoyable. And it’s a good way to ensure that you eat well!
5. It’s Over so Quickly!
I was told this over and over again. And I have in turn said it again and again. Your children are babies for such a tiny part of their lives. Even though each minute feels like an eternity when you’re in a tough time, you’ll look back and be shocked at how fast it actually went. And breastfeeding them is also over in a flash! Even if you manage to extend your nursing to a few years, the intense, intimate part is really short. Once they are eating solids, they need your milk less and less. So try and do everything you can to enjoy the close time you have with your babies. Figure out something that works for you and for your twins. And then enjoy the double joy and love you get from having two little ones at the same time. Because having twins is truly a blessing!
Advice for Breastfeeding Twins
For those mamas breastfeeding twins or who have breastfed two, do you have any advice you can share? I think it’s important to share as much information as possible. Because nursing twins can be a daunting idea. But it can also be wonderful if you plan and inform yourself! And if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me or comment below.