It has been 6 weeks now since the twins were born, and it has been quite the adventure learning how to care for two newborns at once versus just one. Double the diapers, the crying, the smiles, and, of course, breastfeeding twins.
I breastfed both of my older girls exclusively for about 9 months. Nothing changed about wanting to do that for these babies even though they are twins and I knew the amount of effort it takes would be doubled.
Breastfeeding is work. Plain and simple.
I have never felt so much like a cow in my life. I don’t mean by the size comparison as much as I mean that I am a non-stop, milk-producing creature.
You can read more about their one month update here, but I’ll give you the short version of their eating habits. These two are always eating. Annabelle is our small baby and struggled with losing a lot of weight in her first few weeks but not being able to put it back on. She is being supplemented with 1.5 ounces of formula after she nurses 4 times a day. Our girls LOVE it help feed her when they can. As soon as she hits 8 lbs (my personal goal for her), the supplementing can stop. Oliver is just a tank and put on 2 pounds in 2 weeks. The boy can seriously eat!
Our pediatrician did not thing that I would be able to only breastfeed them because “about 80% of twins moms end up formula feeding or mostly supplementing because its so difficult for many reasons.” Super supportive right? If you know me, you know I despise being told what that I won’t be able to do something.
Besides the small amount of supplementing for Annabelle, these babies are doing really well with just breastfeeding and now that I have learned these bits of knowledge, it’s going much smoother for me as well.
What You Need To Know About Breastfeeding Twins
- You will be hungry ALL THE TIME. This is not an exaggeration. I thought that when I was breastfeeding one baby that I had an increased appetite. When breastfeeding twins, it’s insanity. If you don’t eat enough then you won’t produce enough, but your body makes sure that you know how much to eat. It’s a good thing that I had decent eating habits during and before getting pregnant, because I have to eat every 1.5-2 hours in order to give my body enough fuel for these hungry little kiddos. Not to mention, the hormones that are making you mentally and physically crazy cause imbalances in the things you crave and what you need to eat. For instance, I crave chocolate all day, everyday.
- You have to make sure that you drink enough water or else you will feel the terrible effects of dehydration. In my first weeks of recovery after delivery, I was suffering from anemia and dehydration anyway so it was a process trying to get my body back on track. Now, I still have to drink about 7-8 bottles of water a day, at 16 oz each, to prevent getting light-headed. I am in no way joking when I say to make sure that you have water with you/next to you/within reach at all times.
- Your let down (when the milk flows down to the front of your breasts) may be painful, and with twins it will happen much more than with a single baby in my experience. I sometimes have a let down twice in one feeding if it’s long enough, which I guess is a good sign that I am producing plenty… that, along with our little man’s double chin:) Just breathe through it, it only lasts for a few seconds. Warm showers help with overly full boobs or if you have been struggling with getting a good latch and your nipples are killing you. You can read more here about my postpartum necessities for this issue and more.
- The first few weeks of trying to get into some kind of routine will make you feel like you are going crazy, but you’ll get through it. At first, I tried to feed them every two hours all day and night. I would wake them up at the same time to try to feed them together… obviously that changed as you can see in my next tip. After about three weeks of that, I just let them create their own schedules and it’s actually been easier. They get more sleep, I get more sleep, and they pretty get to eat when they’re hungry. Win for everyone!This picture is what mom reality looks like… one crawling under the table, one nursing, one you’re trying to keep calm in the Boppy, and the three-year-old taking the picture.
- Feedings will take time. If you want to feed them at the same time, go for it! It is absolutely possible. If they are awake and hungry at the same time, I will sometimes go for a double football hold and knock out two nursing sessions at once. However, it’s nice to just let them feed when they are hungry and to give myself a free hand to do whatever while only nursing one at a time. It takes longer out of your day, but when you just at home with your kids because leaving the house just sounds like a nightmare, time to nurse doesn’t really matter;)
Breastfeeding one baby is hard. Breastfeeding twins is hard too. Give yourself a break! Deciding to give formula part time or full time doesn’t make you any less of a mom and it makes me sad when moms are judged on this subject. These are just my tips that will hopefully help those mamas that want to breastfeed their baby or for those mamas who are breastfeeding twins for any length of time:)
*Here’s to owning the fact that our bodies can be baby feeding machines*