My beautiful identical twin girls just graduated this year. We spent a good deal of time going through pictures to make memory boards for the occasion.
When browsing through pictures and eventually the baby books looking for infancy pics my daughters pointed out (well, basically chastised me for) a lack of filled-out first months of their baby books and very few pictures during that time.
As I tried to recollect those early months, I came across the chunk of papers known as lactation logs! Oh maybe this explains things!
As I read over the sheets and sheets of filled out details of breastfeeding times of day, diaper changes, ounces of breast milk pumped and daily weights of babies it all came rushing back to me.
I lost time those first months because breastfeeding twins was no joke for this mom! It felt like a 24/7 dairy cow job!
When I remember the first days in the hospital, I had one twin rooming in and one in NICU.
So what breastfeeding twins looked like was feeding Baby A in my comfortable hospital bed; then after changing her and making sure she was comfortably sleeping, I notified the nurse station and waddled my chunky swollen cankles down to the NICU to see Baby B, which was luckily on the same floor.
I would arrive just in time to see and hear my Baby B screaming and flailing in the incubator bed with tubes and IVs and tiny splints. I would then get to cuddle her and soothe her skin-to-skin and make every attempt to nurse her hopefully long enough before she would pass out from total exhaustion.
This was just the beginning.
After returning home and then back into the children’s hospital with both babies in under lamps for jaundice, we were introduced a medical grade pump and began feeding schedules simultaneously…meaning I nursed one baby while my husband bottle fed the other then back under lamps and I proceeded to pump, drink eat something and sleep until next feeding usually about two hours later.
This was the kick into simultaneous scheduled feedings and lactation nursing and pumping every two hours.
At home breastfeeding twins is almost a paralyzing proposal.
Pillows all around, top completely off and babies both in a football hold leaving me no hands free for the duration of a 20-30 min feeding.
Yeah, well as soon as the letdown begins that “I’m dying of thirst” feeling kicks in and I’m immediately needing someone to give me a straw cup of water and literally feed it to me.
The phone rings, can’t answer; the doorbell rings, can’t get up; and the 4 year old is basically running the house in totally anarchy! I figured out to employ the 4 year old to bring my already prepared sippy cup and feed me water and taught her how to professionally answer the phone and turn the speaker on making this experience doable.
One day during breastfeeding, my 4 year old apparently called 911 several times while I was in my usual straight jacket feeding position. Apparently she learned how to do this in preschool and the 911 operator called back when I was finished nursing to make sure I wasn’t in need of an ambulance or police and was quite forgiving.
After the twins were sleeping, I would then be secluded to my pumping corner which revealed that while one breast supplied 2-4 ounces of breastmilk the other one only could muster up drops that didn’t quite even make 1/2 an ounce. Because of this, supplementing began. Then feedings were propped bottle for one twin while the other one nursed and then taking turns each feeding. And then, keep pumping.
This was the system at night too, making Dad’s job of holding bottle for one twin while I got to doze and nurse the other, usually waking up with both twins in the middle of the king sized bed and parents on a sliver of each edge forming a fence like barrier.
Oh, the days and nights were a blur.
Then came the clogged nipple pore and mastitis and a frazzled and totally melting down mom!
During one of the weekly scheduled lactation nurse home visits, she calmly comforted me through a blur of words and hysterical exhausted mom crying, and told me it was ok to feed my babies with a bottle and that I should not feel pressured to nurse them over the weekend. WHAT!?!?
You know when your lactation nurse says to feed your babies a bottle, she is telling you that you have made every effort known to man or cow and that maybe you need a break or a visit to the mental health facility.
I fed my twins with bottles all weekend and not once except during the night feeding when I could peacefully sleep-nurse one baby, did I feel the need to nurse.
To be honest it was so much easier to just give up the nursing, pump when I wanted or needed to and just have my body back, my freedom back, and some relevant amount of sleep and shower and time with my 4 year old again. For two months I had not had this.
Looking back on this experience, no wonder there wasn’t enough time in the day to take pictures or fill out their baby books!
Breastfeeding twins was an obstacle course I pushed through for two months until I dropped.
But in spite of the small amount of time nursing, my twins still grew into healthy happy intelligent athletic 5’8” young women now graduated from high school and preparing for college.
We made it with tons of photos of memories from two months of age until now…and at least I can now add this story to the baby books!