Babies going on five months and I want to do a little post that might be helpful to Moms of Multiples, friends of MOMs, expectant MOMs, and probably no one else. There may be a little TMI in this post, but hey, anatomy isn't dirty. Especially not mine. I bathe regularly!* Now often there is a lot of judgement tossed about on mothers and their baby-feeding choices. Please know that this post is judgement-free! I'm dishing on how I do it, but without any judgement on how you do it.
Let me introduce you to the very most important item a new MOM needs (besides a night nanny and a milkshake**):
Yes, a twins nursing pillow! I borrowed one from a fellow MOM and could not live without it. There are many types, but I recommend one with a flat surface like this that straps around your back. This keeps the babies from rolling off or falling into the crack when you doze off (because you will). There were nights when my babies slept on the pillow on my lap while I was semi-reclined. Also, removable/machine-washable cover a plus.
Now, on to nursing! Let me preface this by saying I breastfed (or "boob-fed") two singleton babies before my twins without any problems. Nursed them for a year. Loved it. I didn't know what to expect nursing twins. Turned out to be no trouble at all. I'm not a lactation specialist and I know many women have troubles, but just so you upcoming MOMs know, it is possible. And for me, much more convenient, inexpensive, and enjoyable than bottle feeding. Not to mention good for the babes (all that nutrition and antibodies!) and for you (decreased risk for breast, ovarian, and cervical cancer!).
Here are my tips for making it work.
- Twins nursing pillow.
- Feed babies at the SAME TIME. This may seem overwhelming, but it really works out great. I've heard several women who tried nursing twins and quit say, "it was so frustrating to be feeding one baby and hear the other one crying!" If you nurse them at the same time, that frustration at least is eliminated.
- Feed babies at the same time. (Did I mention this already?) They get on the same schedule, so you're not feeding babies all day long, not to mention all night long.
- Nurse in bed. I like this because I can have the babies beside me on the mattress. I strap on the nursing pillow and then lift the babies on to it one at a time. I'm not stranded and in need of help, so I can do it easily for every feeding. If you're bottle-feeding, this is also a great system.
- Feed babies at the same time. They become booby buddies! (Really, Ms. Hale, must you keep repeating anatomical words?!)
- Nurse in public! I mean it. People who have to hide away to nurse are much more likely to give it up. Not that I'm in public much, because hey, I have two babies.
Here are a few other things that have worked for me but I know many specialists would not recommend, so be warned!
- I hate pumping. Passionately. If I was going to take care of twins, I was not going to pump. And I haven't. Not once. For me, it was not necessary.
- Since I wasn't going to pump, I still wanted the freedom to allow someone to take care of my babies while I caught a nap or something. So from day 1, in addition to nursing, we've given our babies 1 bottle of formula each day. There's been no nipple confusion. They will take bottle or breast and don't refuse the taste of formula because they're used to it. Formula is so good nowadays. I have a couple of dear friends who wanted very much to nurse but their bodies (aka boobies) were not compliant. No shame, ladies!
- I have never written down or kept track of which baby nursed on which side for how long and how much and so on. They tell you to do this and I didn't bother because I need to eliminate busy work, not add to it. My babies were not premature or low birth weight so it just didn't seem necessary to me. And I know they're supposed to alternate sides in case one breast (aka boob) makes more milk than the other. But hey, I figure they've got a 50/50 chance of a fresh boob each time if I don't keep track. And they're both gaining the exact same amount of weight.
*Okay, other moms out there know that's a lie. Unless you have a loose definition of "regularly."
**My milkshake brings all the babes to the yard, babes to the yard.