Breastfeeding the Twins (Part 2)
The next thing to master: double nursing. My meaning of double nursing, for the many who ask: having one baby on each side, nursing at the same time, for approx 10–15 minutes. Never changing sides. One breast’s nursing is their meal for that specific time.
Chief will swear to this day that I finally started double nursing because Angelina Jolie came out and said that she was. Her twins were born within a week of ours. Well, perhaps Chief is right. Also, I knew since we finally mastered the latch issue, never gave them a bottle, they never had formula, I thought I can do double. I wish you all could have seen my face and Chief’s the first time we double nursed. High fives, doin’ the happy dance all around our little house. It worked like a charm the very first time! It was extremely emotional for me for them to double nurse with such ease. I am sure one could imagine how the tears rolled down my face. They were about one month old.
There are no words to describe how one can handle getting set-up to nurse with two. Two to nurse, two to burp, trying to carry one off to bed, while the other is awake or asleep waiting for his/her turn to be carried to bed. Finally getting one to sleep, and keeping the other from crying in the other twin’s ear. It is extremely hard. The vision of a Mrs. Stretch Armstrong should pop in your head. (While drafting this post, I was nursing the twins for the last nursing of the day before going to bed. One of them fell off the couch while sound asleep.) One cannot imagine how hard it is to situate one without waking the other up. Getting one to bed, without having the other one roll off the bed, chair, or couch. I feel as if I should have a doctorate in nursing or at least a t-shirt saying, “I can nurse and juggle two babies at one time. What can you do?” Basically, what I am saying is that you just have to find your groove. For some, it’s the bed; for me, it is our deep seated couch with many, many pillows. Obviously, nothing will be a perfect set up. Especially when you are by yourself with no one around to help. It will be hard.
Chief had saved all his vacation time so he was off for forty days with us. I could have NEVER done it without his help. Never. The first month, if you have twins and are breastfeeding, you will have to have help. The amount of effort, time, patience, food, sleeplessness is unexplainable. But at the same time, finally finding a groove, feeling a true latch, seeing not one but two little creatures is really a spiritual awaking. You become so tuned into your body. Supply/demand, little squirms and grunts. It is all heavenly.
The earlier months got easier and easier until … one is sick. And then, you realize you have a puker on your hands. Hands, lap, hair, and the other twin that is. Ugh.
When breastfeeding twins, you are almost “quarantined” to your house every three hours. Unless you have someone to go out with you. I mean, really, who wants to sit on a mall bench with both breasts exposed, your legs separated slightly to support the large twin nursing pillow? Not me. I guess the mall walkers would enjoy having something ‘new’ to look at, but this girl just couldn’t do it. Double nursing is the most un-lady like, un-flattering position you could ever be in. But yet the few who have seen or been around to see me double nurse have said, “It is one of the most beautiful sights they have ever seen.” Not me. Just the actual act. To be clear. When Chief is around, we really do try to tear up the town. I have nursed around town doing double duty in various places such as: Target’s Lawn and Garden section, Home Depot on a pile of lumber, parks, ball fields. You name it we have christened it. At least for me, this past year I have been in my house way too much. Honestly, you don’t have any other choice unless you do have someone with you. Prepare yourself mentally for this. Although, one could consider pumping. As for us and our lifestyle, pumping just couldn’t be an option. Plus, the amount of milk going out for regular nursing times, then adding an extra pump or two. I. just. couldn’t. do. it. It was just too hard.
We have mastered and doubled nursed almost everyday in the past year. If one was sick or both, I would nurse them separately. But as a whole it was double almost always. It is so hard, but also so rewarding. Rewarding for them to have the ‘best’, rewarding for me to watch them grow and know our sacrifices were worth it all. Not in any day of the past year has these two ever had formula or a bottle to substitute for a nursing. I can’t believe we did. 365-plus days, and look at us now. Perfect in every way and extremely healthy. Everyday it is hard. Everyday it is pure pleasure to watch them nurse and finish with smiles on their faces. Our bonding is immeasurable. I am a lucky wife to an extremely supporting husband. Whose encouragement and understanding of it all makes him the best support team a wife-mother could have. I am very thankful and blessed beyond measure for him.
When their one year birthday arrived we celebrated their lives, our family of five, big brother being a big brother to these two, reminiscing the day they were born. It was a lovely day. But on that one year anniversary, I celebrated. Giving myself a huge pat on the back, jumping up and down in the bathroom (oddly, I was by myself for two minutes) getting dressed, and I found myself twirling one of my year old nursing bras in the air and saying to it, “WE DID IT, SISTER! WOOT WOOT!”
Part 1 | (Part 2)