When we found out we were having twins, the idea of breastfeeding two babies at once didn’t deter me. I was lucky enough to have already breastfed two singleton babies by this stage, so I knew what to expect and how to get things up and running.
What I didn’t bargain for was a few logistical issues that came with feeding twins. This, and the fact that our twins arrived two months early made those early days of feeding decidedly harder than it was when I started breastfeeding my first babies.
There were a few things I just didn’t bargain for and if you are expecting twins, take note.
My body… all I can say is wow
With my premature twins in the NICU and depending on me for their nourishment, the pressure was on for me to not only get my supply going without them, but also to get enough milk to feed both of them. Seeing their tiny bodies in their humidicribs in the hospital was all the motivation I needed – I pumped milk like never before – at first, with my hands to express precious drops of colostrum that I knew would help strengthen my babies’ little bodies, and then, using a hospital grade double pump to really get things going.
Before long, the fridge beside my babies’ NICU beds was filled with pouches of my expressed milk. The hospital staff were impressed, but I was warned that my body might not be able to keep up with the demand as they grew bigger and needed more from me.
Pfft. I knew then and there that the three of us could make breastfeeding work in the long term, and we managed it for a full 14 months before we called it a day.
Still, it wasn’t easy
Although I had no issues with having enough milk for my twins, it was not an easy task getting them latched on and in the right position for feeds. In fact, in the early days I had to have someone with me to pass me each baby, as once you get one on and latched, you risk them coming off if you stretch out for the next one. Or, just rolling right off the pillow if you’re not careful.
I also needed pillows and towels everywhere to keep us all propped up and in the right position, which was a pain, and nothing like the simplicity of feeding a singleton baby. While I practiced tandem feeding in the hospital, I tried to convince the midwives that single feeding would be so much easier, plus I would enjoy it better, but they encouraged me to keep trying. They were right too – once we got it sorted, feeding two babies together was more convenient and efficient than trying to feed one at a time.
Feeding in public was not for me
While I found it easy to feed my singleton babies here, there and everywhere, tandem feeding twins was not such an easy option. Not only was I not able to bring my gazillion pillows and rolled up towels with me wherever I went, but there was nowhere that gave us the room we needed to set ourselves up. Plus, tandem feeding means both boobs are out and about. Big, milky, udder boobs with babies attached to them… it wasn’t pretty. I know that shouldn’t matter, but modesty got the better of me.
Even trying to feed one baby at a time in public was stressful because of course the other one would always want to feed at the same time and trying to soothe one crying baby while feeding another did not make for a relaxing breastfeeding experience. Needless to say, we stayed close to home for those first few months.
All up, it was pretty amazing
The thing with twins generally is that they are hard work from day one, but they give you little magic moments along the way to keep your spirits up. Breastfeeding twins was exhausting and time consuming. It wasn’t as easy as feeding one baby, and definitely didn’t offer the convenience and mobility that feeding one baby did.
But when you’re sitting on the couch feeding your twin babies for the umpteenth time that day, feeling like some sort of milk machine, and maybe even wondering how the hell you’re going to keep it going for the next few months, and then you look down and see that they’re holding hands…well it was moments like these that made everything worthwhile.
Have you breastfed twins? How did you approach it? Share in the comments section of this post on Facebook.