.... does NOT mean breast feeding twins is easy.
I went into breast feeding our twins much like I went into gestating two babies, with very few expectations. Let me also be clear, the expectations I did have were more negative than positive. I assumed it would be VERY difficult and I prepared myself (as a PCOSer) to have a small/ if even existent supply.
This doesn't mean I didn't prepare for the best. I bought a double electric pump, a twin breast feeding pillow and a couple of boppys. I even went as far as to purchase milk freezing bags.... ha, that last one is funny!
I hoped for the best. I wanted the best, but I never wanted to breast feed at the expense of not enjoying EVERY.SINGLE.MINUTE with my babies. I know some of you are thinking- 'it doesn't have to be one or the other', and while that is true in some situations I will tell you soon how it is the truth in others.
While we were in the hospital we heard from countless people that I really need to learn to tandem feed. These people told me that if I didn't tandem, I'd most likely not continue breast feeding. I tried, and it was just too hard. It wasn't at all a bonding experience with my babies, I saw it only as a time saver, because otherwise (for me) it was more like being a cow than a mommy. In addition to it not being a warm and fuzzy experience, it was logistically a nightmare for me- a large chested woman. Not only did I need to keep my babies positioned on the pillow correctly, I also needed to keep them awake and eating (as to not make this a drawn out event!), and most importantly I needed to hold my boob in order to not suffocate my poor children on their food source. Tell me, does it sound like I have enough hands for this?!?
So, what did we do? We did what was best for us and threw all other advice out. I nurse each of my boys individually every three hours during the day and every 4 hours at night. The nursing/burping/diapering routine takes us about 1 hour, so if the boys get to sleep quickly following a feed I have 2-3 hours to sleep/relax/eat/shower before we do it all over again. I promise it feels much more like 10-15 minutes than it does like a couple of hours.
The boys both lost a decent amount of weight after birth and were slow to gain it back. Our ped. was concerned and gave us a couple of options. 1. Supplement with formula (probably forever) or 2. Seek the help of a lactation consultant and go from there. This is when I have to say I was much more committed to enjoying my boys than I was to breast feeding. I'm guessing anyone who has/had an infant can understand how difficult it was to get out of the house to an appointment. In the words of my OB, 'this is one of the many times with twins that 1+1 DOES NOT = 2'. Though I take my boys out relatively often, I couldn't get on board with committing to lactation appointments a couple of times per week in order to get things moving int he right direction. Going out in the early days was something of an all day event. We'd prepare for hours ahead, then we'd go and then we'd all recover from it for a couple of hours after we got home. Adding more of this to our weeks sounded horrible, it wasn't as if I wasn't able to still nurse them, it was just that I'd need to supplement. So, that is what we have done and I am so happy we did.
Right now the boys are eating seven to eight times per day. I generally nurse them every feeding expect for the most 'middle of the night' feeding. For that they get 2 oz. of formula and a quick diaper and we all go back to sleep as quickly as we possibly can! If I'm out and about when the boys need to eat they each take a couple ounces of formula and then I'll pump when I get home.
I have very happy boys who have taken pacifiers, fed from bottles and breast from the very beginning and we've never had a problem. I hope that twin mamas are wise enough and brave enough to do what works best for them and their babies regardless of all of the well-meaning advice.
In the very beginning I pumped A LOT (after almost every 'feeding') in order to get my milk to come in and then to get my supply up. I cannot urge you enough-- get an extra set of pump parts!! Washing parts is not at the top of your list of to-do's when you have babies who are just days old. Having a couple of sets will allow you to always have one clean set. Also- buy nipple cream. You'll need it. I like the Medela brand best.
I know there is plenty more to say on this topic, but I have a couple of babies who are starting to wake up. If you have questions about what we've done feel free to leave a comment or send me an email. I know I was CONSTANTLY looking for twin mama blogs to find out what I should be expecting!