Before my girls were born, I was blissfully unaware of the mamouth task breastfeeding twins would become. Although I knew it’d be hard, I was pragmatic that I’d be able to do it. All the advice I was given at prenatal groups and from midwives only convinced me further that I wanted to give nursing my best shot.
It is such a shame that all the prebirth talk doesn’t materialise into actual support once the babies are here. Apart from a few quick sessions whilst I was recovering from my c section, I was pretty much left to it. In fact, I think many medical professional were ill equiped to support me. I got the distinct impression from a few that I was crazy to even try when I could just bottle feed.
I’d barely begun my journey before I was being convinced to give it up. After a few day, I felt broken. To say it wasn’t going well was an understatement. The pain was so bad, I’d sit biting my fingers until they almost bled, silently crying but refusing to give up. I’m not telling you this as some kind of badge of honour but more to demonstrate just how stubborn I was.
Feeling a failure
One of my biggest challenges was that Emily, born at 4lb4oz, just couldn’t seem to latch. Her mouth was just so tiny. When the medical professional told me I needed to top up, I sobbed. What a failure I felt. I knew nursing twins would be hard but if it was possible for others why not me? I turned to expressing. It was the only way both could have an equal amount of Mummy’s milk and to ease my guilt.
Looking back now, I should have called for help much sooner. After a week, I rang a free phone number and got matched with a fab breastfeeding mentor. Although she hadn’t nursed twins, she’d tandem fed her two girls and more than that she had my back. When everyone around me was telling me that it’d be ok to give up, she was giving me practical support, ideas, tips, positions and just as valuably, the encouragement and support to continue.
When it’s all looking pretty bleak, it’s not surprising your loved ones just want what is best for you. They are caught in a catch 22, wanting to support your decision but also trying to find a solution to the difficult circumstance. Most tried to convince me to switch to formula. I know this was only with love but I dug my heels in and carried on.
Cluster feeding and expressing for twins is no joke. In those early weeks, it meant I had only a 90 minute window between the end of a feed and when I needed to start expressing again. The days and nights blurred and my body went into survival mode. How I survived on hour blocks of sleep I have no idea but I did.
A light at the end of the tunnel
After a few months, I managed to get my supply up and only relied on a small amount of formula from then until my girls weaned themselves at 17 months. Getting to the six month mark was incredibly emotional for me. That had been my goal. At a week old, I didn’t think I’d make it to the first month. I was so proud of myself.
By then we’d got into quite a nice routine and the experience was actually easier than preparing a bottle. By the half year point, I could actually enjoy feeding my girls. Physically, it was the hardest challenge my body has faced and I’m still envious that it wasn’t as straight forward as some other mum’s find it. I’m convinced if I’d been given more practical support from the onset, I wouldn’t have needed to face the months of distress that I did.
That’s my breastfeeding story. Did other twin mums get the support they wanted or were you discouraged from nursing too? Here’s my advice to any expectant mum’s who are determined to breast feed. Firstly, get the number for your local support group before your little one arrives. Secondly, call it on the day you start having problems. Don’t wait and suffer like I did.
The volenteers at the other end of the line will do all they can to help.
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29 thoughts on “Breastfeeding twins: Why you’ll need to be stubborn as a mule”
I’ve read far too many stories about women being pushed to bottle feed. I ended up using formula to top up and I’m glad I did but at the time I felt like such a failure. Us mum’s need to give ourselves a break sometimes.
Absolutely. We should be supported however we choose to feed our babies x
What an amazing journey! I found breastfeeding with one incredibly difficult, so I can’t imagine what it would be like with two! You’ve done so well lovely! Thanks so much for sharing with #Blogstravaganza xx
What an incredible story. I have only ever breastfed 1 baby at a time and know how challenging that is. Well done you should feel very proud of yourself x
Thanks – those first few months were a hard slog but looking back so worth it.
I breastfed all 3 of my children but I cannot imagine what it’s like to feed twins. You’ve done a great job! It’s such a shame you didn’t have the support you needed at first but I’m glad you managed to find someone to help in the end. Support makes a big difference. #PostsFromTheHeart
From so many mummies, Ive heard that the help isjust not there. It’s such a shame
Amazing story, well done you. Such a shame that the story stops at promoting breastfeeding but they fail to provide support. #humpdaylinky
In my local area, it wasn’t even just promoting, it felt like that was the only option.
Everyone at the hospital/pre-birth tells us breast is best, but there is no support for breast feeding mum’s. We are pretty much left to work it out ourselves. I am glad that you managed to carry on and get help.
Thanks, it’s no wonder the rates of breastfeeding are so low and they wonder why.
Breastfeeding in general is quite the task! It’s hard to feel like you have adequate support and information. I’m sure with twins that it was just that much harder! You did an awesome thing by feeding your babies. Good work, mama!
Breastfeeding one was difficult enough, I don’t even know how I’d tackle two!
It’s a blur – I don’t know what made me feel so determined but something inside just wouldn’t let it go.
Wow! I have to commend you for sticking to it! And I thought I had a hard time with one!!!! You should be proud of yourself!!! #thatfridaylinky
Thanks it was tough going but something inside wouldn’t let me stop
I’m so impressed and heart warmed by your story! You are such a dedicated mother! (And yes, stubborn!) I can understand how strongly you felt about wanting to stick with breastfeeding. I felt the same way, though I never had nearly the difficulty that you did. I did have some pain and bleeding in my nipples. With my oldest, I got some blood blisters and the pain was excruciating for a couple of weeks until they healed. I was lucky, though, to have an amazing support system. You’re right that it makes all the difference! Maybe you should get trained to be a lactation consultant or a post-birth doula so that you can try to keep this from happening to other moms? I bet you’d be great at it!
I’d love to give back and help other mums who want to breastfeed. When my girls are a little older, I’m definitely going to look into it. Thanks for your kind words x
Oops! Forgot again! #thatfridaylinky
I always forget the damn hashtags 😝
What an amazing story well done our twins were in incubators and born six weeks early my wife didn’t have opportunity to breast feed Thanks for linking to the #THAT FRIDAY LINKY come back next week please
What a shame she wasn’t even offered – the support offered is shocking
We had problems breastfeeding from day dot. Ben didn’t like latching without nipple shields but I think that was due to his first 24 hours being on saline drip & tube fed as he was in NICU for the first 7 days of his life. Once we finally got a routine with the shields it was all going well. I also survived on barely any sleep and then I got repeated ear infections that started to dry up the milk flow… then I got mastitis which dried it up a bit more. I pumped and alternated between boob and pump but by this point Ben was wanting more than I could produce. We ended up topping up with formula and eventually I was barely getting anything so I let it dry up by like the tenth week. I was gutted I couldnt last longer but I saw that due to Ben’s big appetite I clearly couldnt let him starve to boost my morale. We kept a food diary and at 12 weeks old he was on 41oz of milk…. clearly a hungry baby!!!
Thank you for sharing this post with us at #TriumphantTales. I hope to see you back next week!
It sounds like you had a really tough time if it x
It’s a very strange thing isn’t it !! Everyone is so pro breastfeeding before the baby and then as soon as it pops out they scatter like mice and the help is minimal. #PostsFromTheHeart
Absolutely what I found – it’s as if they got it wrong and changed their minds