Breastfeeding the Twins (Part 1)
For starters … let me say, I’ve been hungry in fact, starving for the last 365-plus days since breastfeeding the twins. The hunger is uncontrollable. When we first brought them home, now a year ago … the Summer Olympics, Michael Phelps, and his diet were all over the news. I could have beaten Michael hands down in an eating competition during the first few months of their little lives. One word: starving! And for the past year, I can remember feeling “full” just about six times. Honestly.
Perhaps, I should also mention I have zero medical training nor am I a licensed nutritionist. I guess what I am saying, is in many eyes, I am no expert. BUT what I will say is I have been actively–daily–hourly—breastfeeding my twins for 365-plus days of their lives. So maybe, I have a little “hands on” experience.
When I was pregnant with the twins I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt I was going to breastfeed. I breastfed my first for fifteen-plus months. So I knew the dos and don’ts. I thought I kind of knew what to expect. And boy, was I ever wrong! If you Google “breastfeeding twins,” there are a few options that will pop up. In most breastfeeding/nursing books or magazines, they have devoted a chapter or two to the subject of twins. There isn’t really a lot of info to find, so my knowledge was vague to say the least. So without a lot of knowledge … I thought to myself, I can handle it—“What’s one more—right?”
Well, that above thought or statement, as to date, has been the biggest understatement of my life
I won’t go into month by month detail, but I will say the first month was the hardest, most trying month of my life. My genetic make-up or personality (what have you) is pretty much a “Happy-go-Lucky” type of gal. (Hopefully, my friends will testify to this.) But during the first month, everyday I felt the urge to throw something at the wall. OR at my very supporting husband. (Almost too supporting.) Plain and simple, my thirty-seven-week gestation, seven-pound-nine-ounce and seven-pound-two-ounce twins would. not. latch.
For the love of Pete, you sweet, little, precious, babies—just latch! Try-try-try. Minute after minute, hour after hour, they would hardly latch. Imagine, if you will, post-partum hormones raging, milk coming in, upper torso leaning forward because my breast were so FULL of milk, and so tender to any touch. Might I also mention, they were born in July. Hot-Humid-Hazy days in the South, and I was trying to nurse two babies. Geez Louise. One thing going in my favor is that I had a great support team. My support team consisted of Chief (my husband), my dear mom, and some very close friends. My team was lucky enough to see me at my best. By that I mean … milk stained nightgowns, my hair was (and still is) the biggest bunch of frizz mess imaginable, the house torn apart, milk-stained sheets, not a clear place to sit, fast-food wrappers everywhere, and the kitchen … it was all so gross. I remember my dear friend Susan Lucci (not the real Susan Lucci, I’ve just called her that for up-teen years) told me, “The only thing that is important is that, you brush your teeth and get those babies to latch. Don’t worry about anything else.” Of course, I worried about everything else, but that simple statement and other support is what helped us get through the first month.
I knew I wouldn’t even consider to “double nursing” for the first month. So everyday, hour after hour we (me, husband, and mom) would try to get these babies to latch and nurse for at least seven minutes each time. Chief and mom hovering over me, keeping the babies awake, rubbing their arms, stroking their faces, anything to get those lips to attach!
Never did the doghouse outside look so appealing to fall asleep in and get away!
For three weeks, this was a constant struggle. Every three hours.
I have yet to read any nursing/baby book that will say straight out, what to do and what not to do.
So let me go ahead and say:
- Do NOT give your baby a pacifier the first week
- Do NOT give your baby any type of bottle the first three weeks. (That is if you are planning to nurse exclusively.)
- Do NOT eat garlic, onion, or spicy food the first few weeks.
- Do NOT drink carbonated beverages the first two weeks
- Do insist on you nursing exclusively at the hospital (if you are planning on nursing exclusively)
- Do take advantage of the nursery at night
- Do have a support team in place and ready 24/7
- Do say YES to any help offers.
- Do have a meal plan in place for at least three weeks
- Do say “I need help”—it is 100 percent okay!
Now for some good news … after about the third week and a few visits to our local Le Leache League we conquered and karate chopped those “latch issue” and we have been good to go ever since. Can I hear a “Woot–Woot?”
(Part 1) | Part 2