Monday, December 20, 2010
Can You Really Keep Up? BreastFeeding Twins Part 1
How many times was I asked this question I cannot say but the answer was always a resounding, YES! Can you really breastfeed twins? Yes, you absolutely can and yes, you can do it for the recommended 12 months. I did. I also have a close friend who is still nursing her twins at 13 months old.
Breastfeeding twins can certainly be time consuming and tricky at moments. Here is how my year of tandem breastfeeding went.
The first month was probably the most challenging for me. I am not new to nursing as I had already nursed my 3 older children but, I was new to tandem nursing and nursing preemie babies. My twins were born at 36 weeks and 2 days. The first feedings went great. My littlest baby, Ellie latched on and ate great. Eli nursed well too. It was 7 hours later that things got crazy. Ellie developed severe hypoglycemia and her blood sugar levels were at 17. At this point she was hooked up to I.V.s to give her extra glucose. By the time she was two days old she had been transferred to the NICU just over an hour drive away where she stayed for 22 more days. Eli was nursing well but loosing too much weight. It turned out that he wasn’t strong enough to suck hard enough, long enough to get enough milk. My first month consisted of nursing Eli then pumping for Ellie. Driving back and forth from the NICU at least every other day. Which I wasn’t allowed to bring Eli with because of the “swine flu” outbreak that occurred last year. I was also pumping and giving Eli a bottle every other feeding for a couple weeks to ensure he was getting enough milk to gain weight. It was a tough month but knowing my tiniest babies needed their momma’s milk the most kept me going.
Ellie came home from the NICU the week before they were 1 month old. I continued to nurse Eli and pump for Ellie. During this time I was trying to get Ellie back to the breast. It was a difficult challenge because I had to ensure she was getting enough milk so her blood sugar wouldn’t drop. I was on edge pleading with her to drink just one ounce at almost every feeding. Towards the end of the month she started to take to the breast more and more. I would have nursing sessions where she was satisfied for 2 hours or more in between feedings, which was declared a success! I had to use a nipple shield for most feedings but she was starting to nurse! I was starting to loath my breast pump. I was having to pump in the middle of the night too after each feeding to ensure I maintained my milk supply. It is essential to pump every time baby eats in order to maintain a good supply. Eli during this time loved to eat and very quickly was two pounds heavier than his sister. He is still two pounds heavier at 12.5 Months old.
At 2.5 months old I also switched my twins into cloth diapers as Eli was about 8 lbs finally and my One Size diapers finally fit!
This was a big month as I weaned Ellie on to just the breast at 2.5 months of age. I finally got so tired of my pump I told Ellie she was just going to have to learn. There were times when I feed her a couple times in 1-2 hours because she hadn’t eaten enough during the first feeding but in short order she figured it out and was nursing like a champ. I was even able to wean her off the breast shield! I was only visiting my breast pump once or twice a day. Because I had been emptying my breast each time when I was pumping exclusively for her and nursing Eli I had developed a wonderful milk supply. I wanted to keep up with it a little bit so when growth spurts happened I wouldn’t be stuck on the couch for as many days telling my body to make more milk. I would usually pump once in the morning and right before bed. I had a great stash of milk in the freezer too! That is always reassuring for a nursing mom.
By: Alyssa N.
29 year old SAHM to 5 children ages 7, 5,3, and 1 year old twins.