oh baby

Breastfeeding Twins

This is for all of the expectant Mommas out there, shocked that they are carrying twins and searching for more information via-web on breastfeeding twins. The twins, of course, were a bit of a shock for me. I wasn't too overwhelmed with the idea of caring for them, but the breastfeeding of two infants had me a little unsure. 

 I am a routine lady, and all my babies have been on routines, so I knew I wanted to feed them tandem, but I just didn't know how I would manage it. I'm just going to break it down for you based on our experience. I am not going to lie, the first few days were absolutely frustrating. The babies were both in the 5 lb range, very very tiny with tiny little mouths. I had read a lot about nursing preemies and twins and was prepared for the frustration. But after easily nursing three larger babies, it was somewhat disappointing and stressful.

I was actually going to have to work at nourishing my babies. 
The amazing nurses at the hospital knew my goal was to be tandem feeding them by the time I left. They did everything to assist me, including offering an SNS (supplemental nursing system) to help the babies latch on. The SNS is a bottle of pumped milk or colostrum attached to a tiny tube that you place on the nipple. It requires very little work to get the milk to flow out, so a preemie or small baby that tires easily doesn't have to work hard to get fed, but at the same time are learning how to latch on. Of course, the SNS and the tired baby don't encourage much milk to come down, so then you must pump after to demand more milk from your body. 

It was days of pumping and stuffing tiny tubes down itty bitty babies' mouths, while trying to do it in tandem...sound frustrating? It was! However, it's as if the babies knew of the chaos at home and the lack of attention that they would be getting to their feeding needs, because the moment they got home, they latched on and ate efficiently. Whew. 

 I write that to encourage Moms that just because your baby tires while breastfeeding does not mean that you need to supplement with formula... this may be advice that some doctors or nurses give you. There are other ways to meet your tiny baby's nourishment needs! Plus, any bit of supplementation with out pumping is not going to demand milk from your body, leading to more supplementation and less milk. It's a bad road to go down unless you have an exact plan and understand the relationship between supply and demand. 

 I had purchased a twin breastfeeding pillow, but that required a lot of work and a lot of pillow wedging to get the twins adequately placed... in the end, a standard Boppy worked perfectly for positioning them. It also helped to be on a low couch or floor pouf so that my babies were at the correct angle for breastfeeding. Believe it or not, I donated the pillow because I still use the Boppy, even now with their 11 month old bodies!

(breastfeeding the twins at 11 months--in front of a tee pee, naturally!)

My midwife came by to check on the babies after we arrived home and learned that August was not gaining as much as he should have been. Again, I was used to plump, bigger babies who were able to last 2-3 hrs between feedings and gain weight. Well the little guys were a different story. They were so sleepy and I was distracted with the other children, that at times, I would look at the clock and have to wake them at 3 hrs because they slept the entire time. 3 hrs was just too much time. So her and I agreed that I would breastfeed every 1.5hrs until he reached 8lbs. That took weeks. But I watched him gain and that was extremely encouraging.

With raising twins, you read a lot that keeping them on the same routine is extremely beneficial.  I support that statement 100%!  On the days that the babies were opposite, it was stressful, busy, and hard to see the positive in raising twins.  While I did appreciate the one on one time with them, I felt that my entire day revolved around nursing, changing, and caring for them.  I had other children that deserved my love and attention.  I hear that identical twins have an easier time staying on the same routine, and for that I am blessed, because for the most part, they have always managed to be in sync.  Many days I would have to wake one since the other woke up, etc., but it always worked out.

Never once have I questioned if I had enough milk for the babies.  Even when people doubted me or suggested for me to supplement so that they would sleep longer at night... it wasn't an option.  They deserved the best nutrition possible and I wasn't going to change that because I needed a few extra hours of sleep.  They would figure it out, and they did.

This is not to guilt anyone for supplementing twins. I can absolutely understand the stress involved.  I imagined often if they were my first babies at how much I would doubt myself and my body because of fear or unawareness.  I am grateful for them being my 4th & 5th because I was so much more relaxed and confident in my body and in the boys' survival instincts to thrive.

This is simply just to encourage one who may be facing the fear of the unknown... you CAN do it!  Your body is capable.  It is hard. Possibly one of the hardest things I have done in parenting, but the difficult part ends and from there it is nothing but natural and primal.
The body is an amazing thing.  Trust it!  Trust yourself and your goals for your babies!

Feel free to email me with any questions regarding breastfeeding twins.  It's my passion for babies to get the best nutrition possible, so I would love to help!
-jodimockabee at gmail.com-

8 Months

For the record. Twins are awesome. I think I have written that a few times. But sometimes redundancy can make a point memorable. I want to remember that I had a fantastic time watching these two grow. Seriously, they are so much fun.

They have two top teeth!  Crazy how early they are teething.
Case and point: 

Their first teeth were rough for them, but they didn't even notice the top two coming in. I'm not sure if it's the necklaces or what, but other than a lot of drool and chewing (which is standard for my boys regardless of teething or not), they are in great spirits.

The Ozzie Oz Man...
He's a crack up.  He yells at his brother, demands his attention.  While Elias is happy to chat for a bit, Ozzie prefers to YELL.  Over and over.  He seems to have replaced his "most annoying sound in the world" with a high pitched yell. Sweet.  It's like music to the ears.

*How cute are these natural wood teethers by Little Sapling Toys?  They even made a little bee hive...thanks, guys!

-Both boys are near crawling.  Even though Elias has been rocking for a while, his motivation has remained the same.  Meanwhile, Ozzie has learned to move to get things he wants. He's such a wiggly thing..
-Down to two naps.  They take a 2hr nap in the morning and a 1.5 hr nap in the afternoon.  Bedtime is at about 6:30pm and they wake at about 6:30am.
-Recognition.  They now recognize each other, grab at each other and scream at each other. They like to pat each other's heads as they nurse.  I really need to get a photo before they wean...note to self.
-Eye color seems to be brown with greenish/grey around the edges.  They have their Momma's darker skin, thankfully, and look like they may have some strawberry blond coming in!  Won't hold my breath, though, they are still incredibly, irresistibly bald. :-) 

These two are total celebrities.  I heard this about twins but didn't think much of it until we started going places.  Aside from my entire tribe being attention causing, the twins tend to get even bikers to turn and chat with them.  It can be really fun or really annoying depending on the state of the other littles.  But all in all, it's just an incredible experience that I am blessed to be a part of.

You two rock our world!