Breastfeeding our firstborn opened my eyes to both the rewards and the challenges of breastfeeding. When we found out that we were expecting twins, I was determined that I would give it my best effort to breastfeed them too, setting myself a goal of breastfeeding them for 12 months. I read as much as I could find about feeding twins, and I stocked up on some essentials, but I really had no idea what I was in for.
The first few days (okay, okay months) were a bit of a blur. They were spent working on the twins’ attachment, hand expressing and feeding via syringes, and waiting for my milk to come in. I was surprised by the amount of colostrum I initially produced, and was excited at the thought of producing enough for both babies. This excitement was dampened a little on the second night, as both babies were unsettled and hungry after another feed, and a midwife offered to give them some formula to help settle them. I was disappointed, but I knew that I needed the break, both physically and mentally. After a couple more days, my milk came in, and I was once again amazed at how much I was producing. Whilst in hospital, I used every bit of advice and support from the staff, and was proud to be able to leave tandem breastfeeding the twins.
Once we settled in at home, I hit a bit of a stumbling block. I found the nipple pain to be excruciating, and I found that the twins weren’t feeding for very long before tiring. We were incredibly lucky to receive a visit from a very knowledgeable lactation consultant, who educated me on breastfeeding premature bubs. She put together a feeding and pumping schedule, to help me establish a good supply, and reintroduced me to the nipple shield, which I continued to use for the next 6 months. The schedule saw us waking and feeding the twins 3 hourly, and involved trying each twin at the breast, giving top up bottles of expressed breast milk, and then expressing for the next feed. The full process took approximately 1.5 hours to complete and was incredibly exhausting. I persevered and we followed this schedule for approximately 6 weeks, until the twins were steadily gaining weight. I was then able to gradually reduce the top up bottles until we were exclusively breastfeeding.
The Early Months
Those first few months, especially the first 6 weeks, were incredibly hard. With the pain I experienced upon coming home, I decided that tandem feeding wasn’t for us and that I was more comfortable and relaxed feeding the twins individually. The endless feeding and exhaustion certainly challenged our relationship as husband and wife, and left me with little time and energy to spend with our 2yo boy, which I found really tough. We were incredibly lucky to have a huge amount of support in those first couple of months, from home cooked meals and lactation cookies, to entertaining our 2yo, and jobs around the house. We were also very fortunate to have my Mum stay with us for the first 6 weeks as my husband had to work. She was absolutely amazing, and I will be forever grateful for her support and encouragement.
After those first few months, I found things got a bit easier and I gained a bit more energy back (hooray to conversing like an adult again.. well almost). From about 8 months, I decided to give the twins a dedicated side each, and for the most part I continued to feed them individually. There were still days where I was beyond exhausted and wanted to give up, or didn’t think I could continue giving so much of myself to something I didn’t entirely enjoy, and it was then that I would need to remind myself of my goal, why I was persisting, and how far I’d come. After all the initial effort, and the challenges along the way, it really became completely natural.
Having now reached my goal of breastfeeding our twins for 12 months, I am incredibly proud. With relentless determination and excellent support, from both professionals and family, I have proved to myself that breastfeeding twins is possible, and I that I can achieve anything that I set my mind to! Sending positive vibes and loads of encouragement to all mums currently on their breastfeeding journeys. Keep going! You are amazing!
About the Author
Parenting Joys is about sharing candid everyday experiences of parenthood, and providing a space for parents to connect, share, learn, and grow. Simone, the face behind Parenting Joys, is the proud mum of their 3 year old boy and 1 year old boy / girl twins. She started Parenting Joys to share an insight into their life with 3 children aged 2 and under, to present a realistic side to parenthood, and to support other parents by sharing their journey. You can connect with Parenting Joys on their website or via Instagram.
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