What it feels like to breastfeed and wean twin babies

What it feels like to breastfeed and wean twin babies

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There I was with two babies and/or a breast pump permanently attached to my breasts. After miscarrying my first pregnancy and then working so hard to get pregnant again, infertility had left me struggling with feeling as if my body had failed.

So much of my experience felt out of my control. This might explain why I was so determined to take control of feeding my babies.

Before my twins were born, I watched my sister blissfully breastfeed my nephew. It seemed so easy. Although he was a singleton, I naively assumed I could do the same. Turns out feeding two babies was a very different beast. I quickly learned that this experience would also be somewhat beyond my control.

From the very beginning, I struggled: My milk was delayed, one baby struggled to latch, and the other lost weight rather than gained. We were feeding our babies with donor milk and syringes while I pumped every few hours until my milk finally came in.

Once I was home and producing milk, my husband was hands-on during every feeding to help me get a handle on tandem nursing.

Over the first few weeks, we worked to make me less dependent on his help until I felt comfortable managing an entire feeding on my own (with him nearby until he went back to work). Once we overcame those initial struggles, the first three months were relatively smooth. I fed and pumped around the clock. Breastfeeding my twins was a success – until it wasn’t.

I became obsessive, tracking everything for each baby, especially after one of my boys began projectile vomiting after every feeding about three weeks in. Every week, I was taking the boys to the pediatrician and weighing them to be sure they were gaining weight. I was determined to overcome the feeling that my body failed.

This is probably why I will never forget when our pediatrician sat me down to gently tell me that my babies weren't gaining enough weight and that I needed to consider supplementing. I'll be honest, I had to put my pride aside. But in the end, I knew I had to do what was best for my babies.

Thankfully, my sister was a milk-making machine and offered to give us some of her freezer stash, buying us an extra six weeks of exclusively feeding breast milk. Having that gift gave me a little more time to come to grips with that feeling of failure yet again. From that point on, I breastfed, pumped, and "topped them off" with formula. And we watched as the babies gained weight.

All of this was not without sacrifice: Because I refused to give up, it made the whole process of feeding, pumping, and washing bottles rather isolating. It was difficult to leave the house. And my determination to give my babies breast milk for as long as possible blinded me to the emotional toll it was taking on me.

There came a point, about eight months in, when my husband had to sit me down to talk about weaning the twins.

Luckily, the weaning process wasn't hard – for my boys at least. Having supplemented breast milk with formula bottles made nursing less attractive to them. Early morning feedings, while side-lying in bed, were the only time we were successfully nursing after they were about 6 months old. I, on the other hand, had a hard time leaving the breastfeeding – and yes, even the pumping – behind.

There's still a part of me that struggles with a sense of failure to this day, almost seven years later. I have moments where I wish I had done things differently, or feel like I didn't fight hard enough. Just like infertility, my breastfeeding experience left its mark.

The successes and the challenges are all part of my story, and when those moments of doubt creep in, I remind myself that the real miracle is that I had the opportunity to breastfeed at all.

Opinions expressed by parent contributors are their own.

Watch the video: I think Im carrying twins, but the ultrasound only shows 1 baby. Is it possible to have twins? (August 2022).

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