Thursday, June 30, 2011

Mothering Twins - {Part 2} - Nursing

As promised, I am posting about my experience with nursing twins. :)  I am 100% for nursing when it is at all possible and nursed my first born for a full year. But this post is not about the benefits of nursing - and there are MANY!! We felt that my nursing our children would be the best thing for them, and so I committed myself to doing it.  I must confess that while I am very glad and thankful I did, it was not easy or convenient!!  I do believe it is one of the most unselfish things a mother can do for her child. ♥

My experience with nursing my twins girlies was FAR from glamorous or exciting!! They were both healthy at birth, but both had an extremely weak suck.  And even though I managed fine with my son without the help of a lactation consultant, I did feel it was probably best to have a consult in the hospital after the girls were born. She convinced me that I needed to supplement with a nurser bottle of either formula or expressed milk because the girls were small and needed nourishment right away.  I followed her advice because I felt that was best for my babies, but it did not help my efforts in trying to nurse exclusively!! 

So to make a long story short, I ended up investing in a hands free pump to aid in my efforts.  It was almost impossible to nurse them both and manage to keep my 2 year old out of trouble.  I tried nursing them both at the same time to cut down on the total time involved, but was only successful a few times and mostly just found it to be frustrating! 

During the first few weeks, my routine was to feed them every three hours so.... I had to try to nurse one, then pass her off to finish with a bottle while I tried to nurse the other one and then pass her off for a bottle while I finished by pumping to make sure I could keep up my supply. URGH! :) Since I was feeding them every three hours and it took 1 1/2 hours to complete the feeding cycle, that didn't leave me much time for anything else!! And it was worse when I was by myself during the day with no one to help with the bottles. At this point, I was extremely discouraged with my efforts, but fortunately I've always been too stubborn to let myself quit anything. 

 So after much prayer and talking with my husband, we decided it would be best if I just pumped exclusively and fed the girls the expressed milk in bottles.  Yes, I did miss the bonding time that nursing allows, but, honestly, there wasn't much bonding going on in my previously frustrated state.  And with the arrangement, I could at least insure that the girlies got the best nutrition possible.  The Medela Freestyle pump was AWESOME and let me pump while I did other things - including keeping up with Titus!! It also has a rechargeable battery option that allowed me to pump on-the-go.  

My goal was to nurse (or pump rather) for 6 months and I DID IT!! :)  At the 6 month mark (which is really a year since we're talking double time here!), I decided it was best to begin formula in order to allow me to attend more church services and start back up with all my ministry responsibilities.

So that's my story! I know of others who have successfully nursed twins, but various circumstances in my situation made that almost impossible. Fortunately, pumping worked out and they still got all the benefits of having mommy's milk. :)   

Titus helping Mommy! :) {BTW, ♥ Snappies!!)

I got smart and let him feed one the bottle while I tried to nurse the other one! :)


2 comments:

  1. Karla! Congratulations on your new addition - a boy! :) I delivered our boy/girl twins 3 weeks ago and just read through your nursing tips. I nursed (same as you, one at a time and pumped afterward) for the first two weeks and after talking with our pediatrician and my husband, decided to go to just pumping thereafter. We feed about 3.5-4 ounces every 4 hours...but I'm starting to have trouble keeping up my supply with our kiddos demands! Any tips for increasing supply? The pediatrician recommended Fenugreek (an herbal supplement) but I haven't seen much success with it so far. She also said to pump every 2-3 hours, which doesn't leave much time for things like SLEEP? :) Any recommendations are appreciated from a pro like yourself. Take care - and God Bless!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping by, Leslie!
      Congratulations on having your twins!!Oh, how I remember those early days of feeding the girls. For real, it seemed like all I did was pump milk and change diapers. :) It does get better!! I used Fenugreek, as well. At first, though, I wasn't taking enough. But I increased my dosage until I noticed improvement...you'll notice a maple syrup smell...lol. :) Once it started working I'd cut back and allow my body's supply and demand to take over. I only took the fenugreek when I started noticing a decrease in supply.

      It can be a little frustrating when they start to drink more ounces, because it takes a little while for your body to catch up. But I just used the extra milk I had pumped. I did try to fit in 2-3 extra pumping times a day to increase my supply. Like when I knew I didn't have quite enough for their next feeding, I'd pump about 20 minutes before they were scheduled to eat to get the rest. But don't stress...that's not good for your supply either.
      Unfortunately, there's not much sleep involved for the first couple months. My husband would get up as well for the middle of the night feeds to help with bottles and changing diapers since I had to pump. We had to turn on all the lights in the house, and then he would bring snacks from the kitchen and turn on our favorite shows - all just so we could stay awake to feed the girls. At the time, it really was no fun, but we really made some good memories. :)

      My hands free pump really was a lifesaver because I could pump while doing other things - except sleep... And I almost always used travel time in the car to pump with my nursing covers.
      I wish I could be more help!! I really can only just tell you that it gets better! At 8 weeks, I quit setting my alarm to wake them for the early morning feed. They had gained weight sufficiently, and they did just fine. If they woke and cried, I never knew because I was so sleep deprived that I just slept through it all. Best Wishes and Good Luck!!

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