Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Breastfeeding twins

It's not that different from breastfeeding a singleton except that it involves two babies. Not necessarily double the time if you are tandem feeding. And I do know lots of twin mummies (even triplets) who are able to breastfeeding their multiples fully.

So here's my story.

With Ayden, I had no clue about breastfeeding. I just did not put any effort into researching it at all. I mean, how hard can it be? Just slap on the baby on your boob and off you go! When I crossed that bridged, then I realised how hard it was. Cliche story short, I got all the basics of breastfeeding wrong but eventually I did manage to bf my boy for 9 months. The first 4 months exclusively and mixed with formula there after. Why did I mix? Well I did not have much BM stocked up and I was worried that I would be called for a business travel. And I did not want to leave substituting with formula to the last minute. What if he did not like it? I like to have enough time to ensure that he is ok and to trouble shoot any problems if any.

So with the basics of breastfeeding sorted, I had in mind very early during my pregnancy with the twins that I will breastfeeding them exclusively as long as I can.

As soon as I delivered my twins I was wheeled back into my room. They were delivered via c section. The nurses brought them up to my room about an hour later after they see cleaned up and thoroughly checked by their pead. Both were sleeping peacefully. I decided to start bfding them so I asked for one baby. Hubby handed me Aaron. This time being experienced with bfding Ayden I expertly positioned Aaron on my breast. And he suckled with no problems. After about 10-15 min, it was Hannah's turn. Hannah could suckle even better. Confidently, as though she had been bfding for the longest time. She also had 10-15min. I was over joyed. I bf my twins for the first time with no problems.

The following feeds were just as smooth. I also tried tandem feeding them while I was at the hospital. I used the football hold and with both twins being quite small, the first time was easy. I arranged two pillows by my side (I did not have a twin feeding pillow then) and placed each on each pillow and they both latched on no problems. Only someone had to handover them to me in turn for me to correctly position them.

I found that bf my twins were easier compared to my first born as they were both sleepy babies. So it was easy to just latch them on without them howling the place down and getting all stressed. It was a calm and easy to pick them up every 4 hours and give them a feed.

Things were however different when I was feeding Ayden. The moment he was out he was howling for milk every hour. Being inexperienced, I did not know how to deal with it. So even during the week at the hospital he was given formula. He also could not latch properly causing my first time feeding nipples to be terribly sore and cracked. I only started exclusively feeding him after I bought my breast pump, where I was relieved for them pain of him trying to latch.

So back to the twins, feeding them for the first and second month was really no problem. They were sleepy babies for the first month and had to be woken up for their feeds. I even managed to keep stock of one 5oz bottle a day and collected a good inventory before I started work.

Just some quick economics. In Malaysia one would expect to spend between RM400-500 a month on formula for a newborn per baby. So if you have twins, you would expect to double this amount! So by bfding I save RM1000 per month!

Night feedings are a bit of a challenge. When both cry for milk I have to tandem feed them. And being tired and sleepy, hauling two screaming babies on two pillows sitting in bed was not easy. They fall all over the place ! They either are too high, too low, not positioned correctly or simply just moving about too much. It was just frustrating. But I just endured it. Hubby eventually bought me a twin feeding pillow but that did not help much.

Things did not look too rosy when I started work either. I expressed my milk, using my madela freestyle twice a day. Once in the morning and once more after lunch. All was good the first week but my supply began to drop gradually. I was one or two oz short at every pumping session! I know I has collected some inventory but not a lot. Not enough to hold up if I keep being short even for 1oz at ever pump.

I did take some recommended milk boosters like oats, horlicks, fish and young papaya soup, fenugreek tablets. But nothing helped. Due to my work and meetings it was not convenient for me to pump more often than twice a day, which I think could have helped.

So I had to take a sad call and started supplementing with formula. For whatever amount I was short for that day.

Now that the twins are 7 months and has started weaning, I am still bfding. I do whatever I can do.

So mummies don't give up! It's doable. Just try your best. Don't worry if you have to supplement with formula. You're not a monster mom for doing that. You're just being human.

Best of luck!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

1 comment:

Carolyn said...

My son is 4 now, and I too can identify with what you went through with BF. I did it exclusively for 10 months. A real challenge, but very satisfying no doubt! Kudos for BFing your twins......thats certainly a great achievement