Posted by: Marisa | April 15, 2012

Breastfeeding Twins

Breastfeeding twins has been the most physically and emotionally challenging thing I’ve ever done.

Two marathons, a slew of triathlons, a 600 mile bike ride, carrying two babies in my belly for nine months, delivering said babies via my lady parts – all less exhausting then breastfeeding these two boys.

For the first two-ish months after they were born I had to feed them every 2.5 hours. But I couldn’t feed them at the same time because to get one baby to latch and stay latched for long enough to eat took four hands, a mound of pillows, and a box of tissues to wipe away my pain-induced tears. Because my milk supply was low we had to supplement the boys after each feeding and I had to pump after each feeding. Each baby took about 45 minutes to eat and pumping took another 30 minutes which left 30 minutes for me to go to the bathroom, grab a bite to eat, tend to my sore nips, clean and re-fill supplement bottles, and cry over how tired I was. I knew that being a dairy farm was going to be hard work but I had no idea that it would literally consume my life.

I remember six solid weeks of tears over feedings. The Mister says it was eight.

By the time the boys were four months old breastfeeding had begun to feel more natural and we began getting into the swing of things. After having the skin under J’s tongue snipped, five visits with the lactation consultant, and weeks of watching breastfeeding video’s on Youtube we’d finally figured out how to get the boys to properly latch. The boys had a little more control of their heads, could hold themselves in position better, and were eating in 30 minutes each. Because they were putting on more weight we were able to feed them every three hours which meant that I had two whole hours between feedings to do things like eat and shower. It was amazing. And when I was feeling adventurous we’d even try feeding them both at the same time.

Now that we’re six months into things I feel like we’ve really hit our stride and we almost exclusively tandem feed which means it only takes 30 minutes total – every three hours (for a total of 5 – 6 times per day because I don’t feed them in the middle of the night). I gave up on trying to feed the boys sitting up so I lay on the couch or in bed (with lots of pillows). Usually The Mister helps me position the boys but if I’m alone I can get things situated by using the back of the boys onesies to hoist them from the couch cushion to my chest.  We just hang out for thirty minutes and while the boys eat I either watch TV, catch up with someone on the phone, or take a nap.

There are definitely some challenges though because my milk production is too low to feed two babies and the boys aren’t gaining weight the way the doctor wants them to. So we’re supplementing the boys with one or two bottles a day of breast milk mixed with formula. When we give them those bottles I pump and I also get up every night at 1am to pump as well. This allows me just enough milk to get through the next day. It’s pretty exhausting and means that even though the boys are sleeping through the night I’m not.

But I’m still fighting to make breastfeeding work because I love the tender little moments it gives me with the boys. When they’re done eating they lift up their heads, smack their lips, let out little sighs, and fall asleep on me – every time. And even though I have a million things that need to get done I can’t resist spending a few extra minutes laying there with them in my arms. Breastfeeding twins has  certainly been the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life but I don’t take those little moments on the couch for granted.  There’s actually a little dread in my stomach when I think about  the day that I no longer have the opportunity to lay on the couch with the boys on my chest taking a little post-lunch nap.

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Responses

  1. Absolutely the hardest thing I too have ever done. But so worth it. My girls are almost 9 months and we are still going strong. Well done mama!

  2. What a difference this will make in the long run for your boys! I remember the tears and the stress of these times, but enjoy these moments- they go by way too fast! Sounds like you’re doing an amazing job!

  3. Just discovered your blog today and am enjoying reading it! Breastfeeding ONE baby has been a struggle, even now as we near the end, there are days of biting, wrestling, and supply and demand issues. Kudos to you for figuring out TWO!


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