(Just wanted to throw this out there, every situation is different and I am hoping to encourage, not disparage any moms. This post speaks to my experience and general information only. Please treat yourself with love and care.)
I can recall a midwife appointment during my pregnancy, around 26 weeks. It began like any other visit – I was weighed, measured, and two heartbeats were heard.
Before I knew it, it was time for my questions. Did I have any? I had an entire notebook of questions that I’d been filling out whenever any inkling of worry came over me. (In case you didn’t know – pregnancy fries your memory. Notebooks were a necessity and worry flowed from my pen constantly.) I didn’t even know if my insurance would cover the time it would take to get tackle those pages of queries.
The conversation went like this:
Me: “I’m having a lot of anxiety lately.”
Midwife: “It’s normal to experience this before giving birth, I promise…”
Me: “No, I’m not anxious about birth. I’m incredibly scared that I won’t be able to breastfeed.”
Midwife: “Do you have any reason to believe that you can’t breastfeed?”
Me: “No… I just don’t know I could ever make enough milk for two babies. It seems impossible.”
Thankfully, I had an amazing provider who sat and addressed my concerns for as long as I needed. She was incredulous that I was so sure I wasn’t going to make enough milk. I could easily look back on my mindset then and blame it on my hormones. However, hormones were not the culprit, this time. Society, people, the internet, even well meaning family members, can cast doubt on your ability to breastfeed your twins. You need to tune them out. Do not give up before you even start!
This is not a debate about formula feeding vs. breastfeeding – this is for moms who know they have made the decision to breastfeed their twins and want to be armed with as much knowledge as possible. I want you to know that it is possible. My midwife was incredulous for a reason. There really is no biological explanation for why you couldn’t provide nutrition for the two babies that your body is creating.
Don’t quit before you begin, and don’t make any big decisions on a bad day. By quitting before you begin, I mean saying things like “I’m going to TRY to nurse my twins.” In what other context do we use that exact phrase? Things like, “I’m going to try to get there on time,” “I’ll try to eat healthy this week.” Usually, when we say these things, we end up not following through. We are 15 minutes late for something even though we said we would “try,” or we are back to having a “cheat meal” after a few days of “trying” to eat healthier. “Trying” is the mentality of accepting that it may not happen. Breastfeeding is something that you need to commit to. Committing to it does not guarantee success, but hearing yourself say, “I am going to breastfeed until x amount of time” breaks down the mental barriers. It’s assertive, straightforward, and present a real, tangible goal for yourself.
There will be days that even the most committed mothers want to quit. Breastfeeding two babies has a huge learning curve and is very stressful. There were even times when it was going well and I didn’t think I could make it one more day. One of the best pieces of advice I was given was to wait until tomorrow. Just get through one more day. If I still felt like I wanted to quit tomorrow, then I should seriously consider it. But, if tomorrow is better, even marginally better – wouldn’t I have wished I hadn’t acted so brash before? Months down the road, you may regret stopping because you had a bad day, or even a bad week. Pick a time when you’re feeling better to make these tough decisions. Even if your choice is to stop, you’ll know that you were informed and not controlled by too much negative emotion, therefore minimizing future regrets.
I’m currently at almost 16 months of exclusively breastfeeding my twins. I’m proud to say they’ve never had any milk besides mine. I’m not trying to brag, but it has been hard work and we should have permission to pat ourselves on the back. I’ve seen expectant twin moms on Facebook ask the same questions that I asked my midwife. I want them to know their worries are normal and so are their bodies. Listen to your bodies, your babies, and find a community that will support you and your goals. I haven’t decided on a stop date, and I still take it one day at a time. I commit and recommit to breastfeeding each and every single day that I choose to continue. When the time is right, I’ll decide our nursing relationship is over – on a good day.
Please feel free to add your thoughts in the comments!
Like what you read? Check out part 2 here: You CAN Breastfeed Your Twins – Part 2