I didn’t really find my true commitment to breastfeeding until the day I straggled down from my hospital room to the NICU for my girls’ 6AM feeding. A sweet nurse said this to me: “Your daughter took all two ounces of the breast milk you pumped for the 3AM feeding. Keep it up!”
Crap. That little four pound kid drank an entire shot glass full of breast milk, a feat we were trying to get her to do with the formula for the past few days? This breastfeeding thing wasn’t going to be easy.
At the end of the day, nursing twins was freaking exhausting, but like everything else about motherhood, you have to do what works for you. My kids would have survived — and thrived — either way, but I’m glad I stuck with it. Here are some other things I learned about breastfeeding twins:
1. You will have a new appreciation for cows. Yes, breastfeeding can be an amazing bonding experience, but when you have two babies pulling on your nipples at different rates, you start to gain a lot of empathy for the poor cows who have to get their udders yanked on daily. I talked to some moms who loved having both babies at their bosoms…I was not one of those moms.
2. You will have the twins, and then THE TWINS. Because I breastfed twins and also a singleton, I can most assuredly say that my breasts were impressive while nursing my daughter, but they were Dolly Parton-esque with my twins. Let’s just say my previous (barely) B persona had no idea bras even came in size F, and I was popping out of them! And they were also sensitive times two as well — like my husband couldn’t come within 10 feet of me without getting squirted in the eye if those things weren’t properly stowed.
3. Never underestimate the power of Super Boob. Like most women, the start of nursing my daughters was the hardest part, and I had a major problem with a clogged duct that put my right breast out of commission for about six days. That’s when I discovered the awesomeness that is my left boob. It fed two human beings single-handedly for nearly a week. At its peak I think it could have fed the entire population of Rhode Island. And this is why it also hangs one and a half inches lower than my pansy right boob now.
4. You will become BFF with your pump. When I told a fellow mom of twins that I was going to try and breast feed, her initial response was: “Make sure you get an industrial-sized pump to start.” Now that was comforting. What I think she meant to say was “hospital-grade” but it’s not much different. Because most twins are preemies, these tiny babies often can’t nurse from the breast in the beginning (or can’t do it efficiently.) Pumping — all the time — is critical to generating enough milk to feed two growing babies. I was attached to my pump for the first couple of weeks — both because it was easier to bottle feed late at night and also to know how much milk my kids were getting. And I caught up on a lot of movies while that machine got to second base.
5. Expect to bring in a relief pitcher. In comparison to my brutal pregnancy, nursing twins came a bit easier, but it’s extremely hard for a mom of multiples to have extra breast milk. It was a major relief when my mom could do an occasional formula feeding so I could get a few hours of sleep, and later, so my husband and I could go out to dinner. Yes, it would have been great to have that freezer full of breast milk like I did for my singleton, but giving myself that break may have also saved my sanity.
Related post: 18 Tips For New Moms of Multiples