a year with twins: breastfeeding

As we cross into toddlerhood with the sisters, I thought I’d write a few posts to celebrate the ways we’ve survived & thrived over the last year. This series, A Year With Twins, will cover some of the basics of baby world. Feel free to give me additional suggestions, and as always… give me your feedback on the subjects as well!

breastfeeding

I sort of feel like skipping over this post quickly in anticipation that you’ll read this and think, her twins are the size of my 6-month-old, what can she possibly know about any of this? In my defense, I had my milk tested and it came out just fine. Otherwise, I guess I just grow small babies? For anyone interested, though, I’ll bring you up to speed on my world of nursing twins.

I don’t have any recent nursing photos – at least, none that are safe for viewing. These girls have mastered the art of gymnurstics, and I often have to hide away to prevent a peep show.

I’ve nursed the sisters in tandem throughout their lives. It’s easier to keep them on a schedule, and it cuts down on the time. When they were smaller, I used the My Brest Friend twin pillow (and nipple shields. God bless those things). Now that they’re bigger, I lie flat on my back and cradle one in each arm, usually with the assistance of pillows. Sometimes, I sit up and each girl straddles a leg – a humorous image, I know. I treasure the times I get to nurse them separately, which is rare but sweet. I’m a big fan of side-lying nursing. If you don’t know, honey… ask for help! Glorious.

One of the great things about tandem nursing is that I never get full or engorged or lumpy, and I don’t have to remember who ate what when. I do try to remember who nursed on which side last, so that I can keep things even. They nurse for about ten minutes, and I empty out completely. They’ve always been fast and efficient, and I worried at the beginning. I did some block-feeding and worked on my foremilk/hindmilk balance, but it never became a huge issue.

Isaiah Jane is my star nursling. She cuddles me and stares into my eyes and smiles as if to say, “Thank you, Momma!” Honor tries to see how much she can get done while nursing, including leaving my lap and heading for the door with my body parts still in her mouth. They have both always acted just like that, never switching or developing any new habits. When they got teeth, who do you think experimented with biting? It only happened for a few weeks, though. I’d immediately break Honor’s latch and put her on the floor. She’s gotten much better since.

When I work, the sisters get expressed milk. We followed the Kellymom rule at first (25 / # feedings = oz. per feeding), but now they just get whatever’s in the fridge in addition to their solids. I’m working my way through a friend’s donor milk to try and help them put on some weight. They really like the Comotomo bottles and seem to toss aside everything else.

One of the coolest parts of this breastfeeding experience has been the divine math. I struggled to keep my supply with Ames and was sure I would this time, but I’ve not had an issue with the twins. I’ve always pumped exactly twice what I did with Ames, and it seems like there’s always just enough to satisfy them when they nurse. Down to the ounce, there is always just enough. The beauty of the body never ceases to amaze me. In addition to the good Lord, I’d like to thank my placenta pills. I’m convinced they helped me build and maintain my supply in a way that I couldn’t have done without them. Thank you, Christina!

We’re down to nursing three times a day now, which is bittersweet. I’m glad to have a little bit of freedom back, and I can finally go a full shift at work without pumping (although Chris often brings the girls at lunch). But since I’m not sure if this is IT, I sort of want time to slow a bit. I’m almost tempted to break out my pump again, just to remember it. I said almost.

I find it a bit unfair, how easy the weaning process is. After all of the hard work I’ve put into keeping up my supply over the last year, all I have to do is skip a nursing session or sleep an extra hour and my body makes less milk. I’m sure when it’s time, I’ll make each sister’s last session memorable like I did with Ames. In the meantime, I’ll enjoy what we’ve got going. And I’ll try to adjust to this new hormone/metabolism shift – zits and pounds are coming to visit, y’all!

5 thoughts on “a year with twins: breastfeeding”

  1. just because your girls are small, doesn’t mean i don’t value your advice/experience/wisdom on this subject!! don’t sell yourself short. i check your blog weekly for adivce, encouragement, tips and wisdom! my little nursling is on the small side, too– just like his daddy was when he was a baby. i haven’t lost an ounce of respect for you! if anything i’ve gained more! thank you for sharing your stories with us :)

  2. Totally agree with MarySuz! Doesn’t bother me one bit that your girls are small…it’s obvious that you are an awesome mama and I love your blog and mommy wisdom. :)(Side note – supposedly my daughter is small too and it just irks me that her pediatrician had me all worked up about it. There’s just so much they don’t take into consideration.)

    I know the sisters have probably been used to taking a bottle for a while but do you have any tips on how to make that happen? Baby girl refuses milk from anywhere but the direct source…7 months in and I’m really ready for some “not nursing every three hours, please oh please will you take a bottle or something?” time!

  3. Kudos for a year of BFing, especially with twins. That is an accomplishment in and of itself and don’t let ANYONE tell you differently.
    Isn’t it amazing how supply and demand work with our bodies. I have tons of extra milk in my freezer stored from when my daughter was in the NICU and I had an oversupply, but I still freak out if I don’t pump during the hour that she gets a bottle if I am out/away from her. I just don’t want my body to think she didn’t eat and make less.
    I went 13 months with my first and weaned so I could try for #2. She is most likely our last so I want to see how long I can go:-)
    Congrats, again!

  4. looooove the side-lie. Saved my life! Glorious is a completely appropriate term. And everytime my girls do something funny with their bodies (most every time) I laugh and thing about your term “gymnurstics.” It’s so true! Haha!

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