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What can I do to prepare myself for breastfeeding two babies?
1. If I could do it all over again – I would absolutely invest in a breastfeeding class to learn the basic mechanics of feeding your babies. Unfortunately, while nursing is the most natural thing in the world, it does not always come easily. Especially with twins that are likely to be somewhat premature, latching technique is very important. I watched video after video, but I couldn’t seem to understand how to get the perfect latch. An in-person class would have been beyond valuable.
2. Find a local IBCLC and put her on speed dial. Group meetings are great, but the truth of the matter is – you’re having TWO babies. Leaving the house can sometimes feel impossible. I went to group meetings weekly for breastfeeding, but also had several home visits that were absolutely vital to my success. My twins both had tongue and lip ties, anatomical issues that affected heir ability to get a good latch. I was in a lot of pain for the first 3-4 months, until we revised their ties (more on that later). There were times when I could not even fathom the thought of feeding my twins one more time – and as I felt that way, the clock wasn’t stopping. The seconds were whittling down until the next nursing session and the emotional and physical pain I suffered while I reluctantly repositioned my babies on my breast was unbearable. I needed help and I needed the help to come to me. I realize your average lactation consultant will probably cost you about $75-100 for a home visit and this might seem cost prohibitive. However, when you realize that a successful nursing relationship with your babies will literally save you thousands, the monetary expense no longer seems to matter. The IBCLC I saw saved our nursing relationship. Without her expertise and support, I would not still be nursing!
3. Join a local Facebook breastfeeding support group. If an IBCLC is not in your budget, or if you need a quick, on-the-fly response to a question these groups are absolutely amazing. I truly believe that we are missing a very important piece of the puzzle in today’s society – a village of women who understand and are willing to help one another. Many mothers or grandmothers didn’t breastfeed, many people feel uncomfortable talking about breastfeeding, or maybe you are the first of your friends to have a baby. Whatever the situation is, the reality is that women are supposed to help other women. Today’s village may not be the same as it was in the olden days where we gathered around a town square, but we do having amazing social media resources right at our fingertips. I cannot tell you how many times a complete stranger answered my questions and kept me nursing for just one more day.
4. Purchase a twin-nursing pillow. There are so many types available, I had the Twin Z pillow, which was better once the twins were older, but not so great for the newborn stage. (link to amazon here: Twin Z pillow ) I would recommend reading reviews, but anticipate having to play games with pillow set up underneath and around you to tandem nurse. I had to have my husband “set me up” a lot in the newborn phase to keep their heads and necks level. I also honestly loved using just a regular boppy and think they are totally underrated for nursing twins. (Link here).
5. Think about renting a hospital grade pump. I was very misinformed about pumping before I had my girls. For some reason, I thought pumping would be unicorns and butterflies and giving bottles would give me a break. I couldn’t have been more wrong! Pumping is not only uncomfortable for a lot of moms, but it creates more work. When I could have sat and watched a corny hallmark movie while nursing my babies, I had to sit and listen to the most annoying sound in the world while this machine negotiated small amounts of milk into bottles that I had to then feed to the babies and clean. I hated every second that I pumped, but the hospital grade pump was much more comfortable and much more effective at bringing in an adequate milk supply than your standard personal pump.
6. Assess your partner’s attitude toward breastfeeding and knowledge level. My husband didn’t know much about breastfeeding, but he knew it was important to me. He also knew that it was also important to him. While he may have never thought about it prior to me getting pregnant, he did realize that giving his kids the best start possible was something he truly cared about. When times get tough, your husband should have your back. This is the same with female issues, like breastfeeding. He is still my number one support person, even though he hasn’t and never will breastfeed a baby. He lifted me up when I was down, wiped my tears when I was hormonal, and encouraged me to stick with MY plan. He knows all about latching, positioning, supply and demand – because we learned together. Discuss your goals with your partner, and together determine how you will support each other.
Didn’t read part I? Check it out here: You CAN Breastfeed Your Twins – Part 1
Also – you can now view part III! You CAN Breastfeed Your Twins – Part 3
Have any thoughts or anything to add? I would love for you to comment!!