Breastfeeding :: Nursing Twins…at the same time!

 

Breastfeeding Series{Click image above for more stories of inspiration, encouragement, and support.}

Hellllllooooooo twin moms and twin moms to-be! Y’all need a nursing pep talk?  I mean, you probably need a pep talk about a lot things…haha!! But for today, we’ll stick to nursing both babes at the same time – you got this!!

The fact that you are even thinking about making an attempt at nursing your babies has already earned you the title of SUPERMOM.  I was there, and now that I’ve made it through to the other side, I’ve got some scoop for you!  Before we begin though, there is a truth I want to make sure you know.  Whether you nurse, or pump, or formula feed them from day 1, doing what’s best for you in the moment is truthfully what’s best for your baby.  Owning that fact is the most SUPERMOM move of all.  I need you to promise me that you will remember this mantra :: If it works, great…if not, move on!

Say it out loud for me…“If it works, GREAT…if not, move on!”

Y’all on board with that?? I hope so!

On with the pep talk…

How I prepared ::

While I was pregnant, I was busy reading pregnancy books and all of the monthly daily emails that flooded my inbox.  The best thing I did though, was to take a breastfeeding class with some of the experts.  I got lucky y’all.  The teacher of our class was just so good at making everyone  feel like they were pros and could do this.  She told us that by the end of her nursing days, she was sitting in the fitting room at Nordstrom, nursing away, like it was no big thang.  She was nothing like the breastfeeding “nazis” my friends had warned me about.  I soaked up every last detail of what she told us about her story, and a few weeks later I was doing all the things she taught me.

The Gear ::

Nursing Pillow – These little preemies aren’t going to be ready to double feed from the get go, so a single nursing pillow will be mandatory for the first few weeks.

Double Nursing Pillow – A must have when you get to the point of feeding both babies at the same time.

Professional Breastpump The smaller pumps are probably just fine, but this thing is out of control!  Even when I was efficiently nursing, it was great to have on hand to build up a back up supply.

Bottles and bottle accessories – For the first month-ish of nursing, I was still using bottles to supplement the girls with pumped milk.  I’m a Dr. Brown’s girl, but just pick the brand you like best or that someone has already told you to like best..ha!

Lanisoh Soothing Gel Pads – Just in case nobody has given you the heads up, nursing hurts for a few weeks.  Your nipples will be cracked and bruised and good lord…get the soothing pads.  It’s the only thing that gave me relief.

Nursing Pads – Sometimes you’ll be running late for a feeding, or you’ll hear someone else’s baby crying…whatever the reason, there’s a good chance you’ll leak.  Keeping the pads in your bra keeps your shirt dry!

Nursing Tanks & Bras – Not mandatory, but surely make things so much easier!

The Process ::

Y’aaaaaaalllll…listen to me when I tell you that flawless double breastfeeding is not going to happen overnight.  It most definitely took me 4-6 weeks to get good at it and to feel confident.  The process started in the hospital.  I had two preemies, born at 35.5 weeks, weighing 4 lbs 7 oz and 5lbs 12oz.  Preemies ya’ll…they just don’t suck like full term babies, so go ahead and put patience at the top of your breastfeeding vocabulary list.  Both girls went to the NICU for the first day of their lives, so guess what that meant…their first feeding was FORMULA!  And ya’ll…unlike what so many of us fear, my breastfeeding dreams were not shattered in this moment.  In fact, it kind of set the precedent that bottles were okay, pacis were okay, and boobs were okay!  Ha! They took the formula until they were able to come to my room, and that was when the training began.

They were already on a 3 hour feeding schedule created by the NICU, and we stuck to it…in fact, we stuck to it for MONTHS.  In the hospital and in the first few weeks at home, I was nursing one baby at a time every three hours like clockwork.  It was a choice I made for my sanity.  I needed to be in control of when they ate, and I found comfort in knowing that if they were crying, it probably wasn’t because they were hungry.  When the three hour timer went off, I would wake up Olivia if she was asleep and let her “practice” nursing…meaning, I would just hold her up to my breast and let her smell, lick, take maybe a few sucks – and then I would pass her to Josh, or whoever was there helping me, to give her a bottle of pumped milk.  While Olivia was taking a bottle, I would pick up Laine and let her “practice.” After 5-10 minutes of practicing, I would then give the bottle of pumped milk.  Josh would change their diapers, and I would pump whatever milk was left, so they would have bottles for the next feeding.  It’s just easier for a teeny tiny sleepy preemie to suck from a bottle than from a boob, so this was my life for weeks.  Like everything else though, it was TEMPORARY!

nursing collage

Eventually, the “practice” window got longer.  The girls were getting older and chunkier, and they were soon able to nurse for 30ish minutes.  One day I must have been feeling brave, so I got out my double nursing pillow and put both girls on at the same time.  I had one boob that always had more milk and one girl {Olivia} who wasn’t quite as strong at sucking as the other, so she got the easy boob.  Laine was more laid back, so she got the boob that required a little more effort.  I know there are some people who alternate babies and sides every feeding, but it worked better for me to designate a boob for each girl.  Ha! If something is working for you, STICK WITH IT!  The first try was a success! It was a success because I didn’t rush it.  I knew we would get there, and I understood it would take time.  Waiting until they were both strong enough eaters on their own prevented the frustration that would have accompanied a failed attempt.  Patience is golden…remember!?!?

I never made it to the Nordstrom fitting rooms to nurse. Ha!  In fact, I would say 98% of our feedings for the entire six months I nursed were on my bed.  It was the only place I felt comfortable with the big ole My Breast Friend.  At the end of six months, I was back to school teaching Kindergarten, and I just could not keep up with pumping.  I had some milk stock piled, so they continued to drink that from bottles with our nanny for a few more weeks – and then that was it.  Formula in bottles until their first birthday.  They sucked down that first bottle of formula so fast as if it’s what they had been drinking all along.  I remember feeling so let down and so relieved at the exact same time.

So what do you think?  Want to give it a try?  Have more specific questions?  Ask them below…I’m happy to respond!  Whatever route you end up taking, go easy on yourself SUPERMOM.  This is what worked best for me, but I promise you – if things didn’t go as relatively smoothly as they did, I would have laid out my other options, chatted with my pediatrician, and taken another path.  Every single mother has their own “right” way.  Good Luck finding yours my friends!


Please Note :: We are so very thankful to have A Woman’s Work sponsoring our entire breastfeeding series! They believe that bearing and nurturing children is some of the most important work in the world, and we could not agree more.  If you are searching for products, services, and resources for birth, breastfeeding, and beyond – we urge you to check them out both online and in store!

A Woman’s Work

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Houston, TX 77098

713.524.3700

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6 Responses to Breastfeeding :: Nursing Twins…at the same time!

  1. Avatar
    Jen August 1, 2014 at 8:14 am #

    I’m currently tandem nursing my 7 week old twins during the day. At night my son nurses and my daughter takes bottles. Did you pump after every feed to get a stash/increase supply? She tajes formula at night, but I’d love to have enough extra to give her some bm at night.

    • Avatar
      Jessica and Sarah August 2, 2014 at 9:36 pm #

      Jen!!! How’s it going over there??? 7 weeks….you are soooo in the thick of it my friend. I did pump after every feeding until I felt like I had a good enough supply built up. I wanted to be able to eventually leave my house alone for longer than a two hour window. I say….pump during the day and go back to sleep as soon as the night feeding is over! GOod Luck over there….sounds like you are doing great so far!

  2. Avatar
    Shelly August 2, 2014 at 5:50 am #

    Loved your article!! Brought back loads of fun and a few not so fun memories of breastfeeding my twin girls. We breastfed for 14 months! Couldn’t believe it! I did the same as you, just fed both at the same time…otherwise it’d have been even more exhausting! Congrats! Love your writing too. Have fun, time goes by so quickly and when your girls turn 5, as mine are now, you’ll be sitting back saying how incredible that was. 🙂
    Oh…to Jen…I would pump at about 5 minutes after every breastfeeding. At first I didn’t get much extra, but then my supply increased. And once one of the girls started skipping a feeding, I pumped during that time – so I was able to get quite a bit of extra going. When the girls were about 5 months old I had to leave for a 3 day trip, there was plenty of frozen breastmilk for them.

    • Avatar
      Jessica and Sarah August 2, 2014 at 9:38 pm #

      Mine are 4 and half! It is sooooo great to be on the other side. I also have an 18m old singleton. Nursing him felt like vacation…ha!

  3. Avatar
    Katia August 2, 2014 at 8:45 am #

    Thanks for the mantra… It makes it so much easier when your support groups acknowledges your reality, especially about trouble breastfeeding. I was unlucky and had a “nazi nursing consultant” for our first 6 weeks, needless to say the stress and emotional trauma dried up my supply and we stopped after her 2nd month.
    I won’t let my first bad experience ruin breastfeeding for me, I still plan on nursing our next baby!

    • Avatar
      Jessica and Sarah August 2, 2014 at 9:40 pm #

      Katia!!! Forget the consultant next time. Email me! I’m serious…ha! I’ll talk you through it and Sarah(my blogging co-pilot and best friend) is also great at giving breastfeeding pep talks!

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