Today I am excited to share with you my breastfeeding experience with our twin girls! Everyones journey to feeding a baby is different and special! A nursing coach gave me the best advice that “fed is best! “Doesn’t matter how, just that the baby is fed!” I hope by sharing my story that you know you are not alone, and hope it helps you feel that your journey to feeding your babe is perfect just the way it is!
Pregnancy/ Preparing For Breastfeeding
When I found out I was having twins, I was sooooo excited! We were hoping and praying for multiples, and felt so grateful we were having 2 baby girls! Wahoo!!! I wanted to be realistic with my goals for breastfeeding as well as open to seeing how things would go.
Growing up with 4 older sisters has been such a blessing in my life! I feel so grateful I have been able to learn from their experiences and that they are so willing to share and teach me. Especially in the breastfeeding department! I have seen in my family babies that have been breastfeed, bottle feed, formula fed, breastfeed and formula, etc. And guess what?!?!?! All the babies got fed! And all of the kids have turned out awesome!
To be honest, the idea of breastfeeding has never been something I really desired. I liked the idea of it and the bonding with a baby, but the thought of it I was unsure about. Knowing that though, I really wanted to try breastfeeding and give it my best shot and to keep an open mind.
It was important for me to give it my all and do everything I could to prepare for this next step with my girls. While I was pregnant I tried to prepare as much as I could. After attending several breastfeeding webinars and taking 2 breastfeeding courses I was feeling more ready. Jake (my hubby) was a trooper and took the courses with me. I tried to be very open with him from the beginning about my feelings and how I felt I needed his support for this breastfeeding journey to work. We scheduled a few tentative appointments with a local lactation coach as well for when the babies arrived.
The babies had arrived!!! I just had a c-section, and was wheeled back to my room. In came my two precious babies READY TO EAT! Whooaa!!! That was fast! It’s GOOOOOO time!
The hospital location coach came right in and helped us get started! Just writing about this moment right now is making me cry….happy tears! This was such a special moment with my girls and one I will always cherish! Scout was crying, so she was up first! My little baby knew exactly what to do, she just latched on! It was amazing!!! No milk was coming out and so she was getting frustrated. Next we tried a nipple shield hoping that could help her get a stronger latch. Still no milk was coming out.
The nurses were amazing and grabbed some donated pasteurized breast milk so we could get my girls fed. One nurse held a little feeding tube with a syringe of milk, the lactation coach helped with the latch + holding the feeding tube behind the nipple shield, and I tried to hold Scout and keep her close to my breast/latched. She was such a little bean at 4lbs 7oz. It felt like she would slip through my arms! With the help of everyone, Scout got fed, was happy and ready to be snuggled! She cozied up with Grandma and fell fast asleep! What a first feeding!
Next was Davey’s turn! Luckily Jake had been close by and was observing how to feed the girls. Jake passed off Davey to me. With Davey it took some time to help her get latched. She knew what to do, but needed a little assistance. The whole team helped out with getting Davey, latched and fed. Dad even held the syringe with the milk in it! Little miss Davey got full from her first meal out and was ready for a nap!
Now it was time to pump!
The lactation coach brought in a pump and walked me through what to do. She was great and even left a print out with instructions if I forgot what to do. Which was great because I was so drugged up from the c-section…… most of this day was a blur to me!
I was trying to pump about every 2-3 hours as well as hand expressing, trying to get the milk to flow. First we would latch the girls and try to feed them. Still no milk, so we would do the syringe process. Jake got really good at this! He seriously became a pro a holding the nipple shield with a little feeding tube behind it and helping the girls stay latched! After both girls were fed I would pump.
Jake is seriously the best hubby ever and helped me so much the first day pumping. I was so nauseous from the anesthesia. Every time I sat up I felt like I was going to vomit.
During pumping I tried not to get discouraged and just have fun watching tv shows. It was 4 days of trying to feed/pumping until I got my first drop of milk! To be honest, I didn’t know any different though so I thought since I got a c-section my body just needed some time to get the milk coming.
I am sooooo grateful for the amazing nurses and lactation coach that were so helpful and willing to help me with my goals for feeding my babes. Every time we fed the girls for the first few days, it was an entire team event! I am also so grateful to the women who donated milk too. So neat and so grateful!
Feeding 2 babies at the same time
With having a c-section the hospital recommended we stay for 5 days. I am so grateful for all the time and help we were able to get there! Day 4 was an exciting day, both babies latched and were fed at the same time! It was such a magical moment, and one that makes me laugh to because it took so many people to make it happen!
I had a sweet nurse who knew I wanted to get to the point where I could breastfeed both girls at the same time. She wanted to make sure that happened before we left the hospital. With the help of a few extra nurses we all went for it! I wish I had this all on video to watch back because it’s so funny in my mind replaying back to me! hahaha
Anyways, there was 4 of us in total. Two nurses holding the syringes and feeding tubes. I was trying to hold both girls and not let them slip through my arms. (I had my twin breastfeeding pillow but both girls were so little it was hard to hold both of them at the same time.) Jake was running back and forth from syringe to syringe trying to keep the milk full. What an adventure!! But we did it!! Wahoo!
And guess what?!?!?! The team rallied back together and did it again!!! It was awesome! But it was also stressful on the girls. They were also really exhausted after each time. With the girls being so small the doctor was worried they would be waisting to much energy trying to latch/eat/syringe when they needed to be gaining calories. This process was also very exhausting to me because after it was all done, I still needed to pump!
With the girls being 3 weeks early and both around 5lbs, it was really important the girls were eating. We talked with our lactation coach and came up with a new game plan. My milk still had not come in. Yes, I had a few drops come in, but that one just from one pump session and then I didn’t see anymore drops of milk for a few days after. Since we would be leaving the hospital shortly, we needed to start transitioning the girls from donated breastmilk to formula until my milk came in.
Coming Home From The Hospital
We got a prescription from our doctor to get a pump through insurance. Since it had to be shipped to get it on our insurance, we rented one of the industrial pumps from the hospital. We got up the girls in their car seats for the first time and loaded up in the car! Wahoo!
On our way home from the hospital we stopped at Target. I stayed in the car with the girls and Jake ran in the store to grab some much needed supplies! He got me lactation cookies, a pumping bra, cream, milk storage bags, bottle warmer, formula, and the works!
Luckily we had a few different bottles at home to try that were gifts from friends. I was glad we had a few different brands to test out and see what the girls liked/what we liked the best! We didn’t want to stock up on anything yet till we knew if we would actually need the items.
Right when we got home…time to pump! hahaha
Once we were home I was surprised how natural it all felt. We have been wanting kids for a long time and it all just felt ment to be! (We did IVF with our girls, here is a link to our journey becoming pregnant.) Jake was a trooper and woke up with me for every feeding even though he went back to work when we got home. He just started a new job and couldn’t take any time off except for the hospital stay. Jake bottle feed both girls while I pumped during the nights. My milk still had not come in and so I was pumping and hand expressing.
I met with my lactation coach to try and get some help/advice and work on my milk supply. After 10 days my milk started to come in a little bit! It made me so giddy and excited! I remember the day I got 5oz of milk in one day! Every day I continued to pump but the most I would get would be about 5oz for an entire day. At this rate, I didn’t know if my milk would ever “come in.”
I was thinking at this point instead of breastfeeding, I would pump and bottle feed the girls. We were really liking bottles because anyone could feed the girls. That was awesome! I pumped about every 2-3 hours for a month straight aka 10-12 times a day. My focus was keeping an open mind and figuring out what would work best for not only the girls, but myself as well.
One evening, we were watching a movie (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels). I started to get chills all over my body, felt feverish and so cold! At first I thought I had the flu, but then realized I had mastitis. One of my friends had told me about her experience with mastitis a few years back, so I called her right away. She shared a lot of great natural remedies we could do to hopefully get rid of the mastitis if we caught it in time.
The next morning Jake went to the store and grabbed me all the supplies to get rid of the giant lump in my breast. It was like a huge, hard rock. After a day of pumping through it and trying lots of remedies was not cutting it. It got so bad quickly I knew I needed to call the doctor. He ordered me some antibiotics to help. The antibiotics were the hardest because you couldn’t eat an hour before taking the pill and you couldn’t eat an hour after taking the pill. Plus you had to take the pills every 4 hours for 2 weeks. With pumping/nursing I needed to eat to hopefully get my milk supply up so that was a little tricky!
Long story short, my mastitis took 2 rounds of antibiotics and an entire month to clear up.
Milk Dried Up
After 2 rounds of antibiotics, my body was feeling ready to switch things up. Any milk supply I did have, dried up. I was pumping and nothing was coming out. By this time I had been pumping for 2 months. I met with my lactation coach again to see what it would take to get any sort of milk supply back. After meeting with her, I decided to change my focus and goals for feeding my babies.
I knew how much time I had put into pumping and knew that is not where I wanted to continue spending my time. We were already using 95% formula to feed both girls with my milk supply being low, so I knew the transition for them would be no biggie.
I wanted to spend time holding my girls instead of being hooked up to a machine. Literally all I had time to do between pumping, was feed my girls bottles and run to the bathroom. I wanted to be snuggling with my girls and spend time doing skin to skin.
Another concern I had with trying to get my milk supply back. When my milk supply was “up” I never made enough milk for one baby, I was worried it would never get to the point where I could feed 2 babies.
In a crazy way I am so grateful my milk dried up! I would of kept trying and this was a great way for me to realize when to call it. Plus Jake is such a hands on dad, it was great for him to! He loves being able to feed the girls and feel part of their routine. I love it too because I am all about any help I can get with the girls! I am so grateful for my amazing body and how it was such a trooper with all the changes.
By sharing my story I hope I don’t scare any of you about breastfeeding! It was honestly was amazing the few times I got to do it with my girls and they were such special moments! So special in fact, I would be up for doing all of this over again and breastfeed my next kids! Well see though, Jake wants me to go straight to bottles! He loves being able to help out too! 🙂
What I Have Learned From Trying To Breastfeed
I am so grateful for my experience learning to try and breastfeed our girls! It has been an adventure for sure. It has continued to be an adventure in learning how to feed these growing girls! 🙂 Through the experience I learned a few things I wanted to share that have helped me through these first 6 months of being a twin mama!
Do whats best for you and your mental health!
Really though! For me, I knew I needed to do something that would work for our everyday lives and that I would be happy doing too. As a parent, your mental health is so important! Taking care of you is just as important as it is to take care of your babe! Formula and bottles rock, and dad gets to help too! So its a win-win in my mind! Lots of people will give you great advice during a motherhood journey but just know… YOU KNOW BEST! As a parent you know what’s best for you and your family! Don’t forget, YOU GOT THIS!
Babies are great adapters!
I was amazed watching our girls eat from syringes, nipple shields, so many different kinds of bottles, etc. Babies are incredible! I have realized a lot of changes might be hard for me, but no big deal for them! These girls amaze me daily with how they are growing and I am just trying to keep up! 🙂
Try to be flexible, open minded, and open with others
I knew going into breastfeeding twins it could be an adventure! Try to be open to what works best for you and family. Don’t be scared to ask around for help from friends and family to get ideas!
One of my friends from Elementary school saw our YouTube video from the hospital where I mentioned we were using donated breast milk. My sweet friend Katie was so amazing and brought me over all her extra bags of milk she had been pumping! So grateful I opened up about our journey and so grateful for an amazing friend who came to the rescue!
It’s ok to change what you thought you wanted, to something new
I really wanted to breastfeed both girls at the same time. Not spending money on formula sounded amazing to me! Being able to travel and feed my girls anytime, anywhere sounded awesome! At that time, I didn’t know how amazing bottles were! How anyone could help feed my baby! Whoaa…game changer!! I learned it’s ok to create a idea of what you want and change it up as you go!
Stay positive and stay grateful
If there has been anything I have learned in life, it’s that no matter what it always helps to be positive and grateful! Take time to write things down and focus on the good stuff! Life is good, God is good.
Thank you so much for stopping by today! I am so grateful for my experience breastfeeding my girls and am so grateful that they were able to roll with all the behind the scenes going on! Babies sure are amazing! Hope you have a wonderful day! If you have an experience feeding your little babe you are willing to share, I would love to hear about it in the comments below!