Advice Needed on Breastfeeding twins- Am I crazy?

Alana - posted on 01/03/2009 ( 29 moms have responded )

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Hello,

I'm new here and needed some advice. I have 11 day old twins, who I had intended on breastfeeding. My milk has come in fine, however latching is an issue. Right now I'm expressing and feeding them from bottles.

I've come to realize that actually doing the feeding directly from the breast is very very time consumming for two, especially when they are biters.

What are some of the experiences of mothers of twins here in regards to this issue?

Thanks! Alana

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Janet - posted on 01/28/2009

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No, you're not crazy ... I didn't and I applaud your efforts. Good luck ;). They say babies are healthier w/breastfeeding, mine were pretty healthy with the formula, its a choice and we are happy to have choices..

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Michelle - posted on 02/04/2010

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I have twin girls and I tried breastfeeding, but I couldn't handle it. I lasted 3 weeks, but my skin is so sensitive, that feeding 2 kids at the same time every 2-3 hours killed me! My daycare lady is still bf-ing her twins and they are almost 2. Dont give up and just keep working at it! YOU CAN DO IT! :)

Ginger - posted on 01/22/2010

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I have boy/girl twins and breast fed for 6 months. I suggest a recliner with wide arms....it's a must in my opinion.....this was my home for quite some time. They relax on the arms while you nurse and it frees up your arms to help with the adjustments you need. It's way easier than bottles. When not feeding, I pumped...felt like a dairy cow but so worth it. Hang in there.

Justine - posted on 01/21/2010

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Hi Alana



You've had lots of advice here, but at the end of the day you have to do what's best for you and your situation. You probably need to try feeding them seperately for a while to get the hang of latching - it's much easier to cradle one baby and get them latched, but once they have the hang of it you will be able to feed them both at the same time, as per all of the advice here (I couldn't get one of the special pillows so I used two regular bed pillows and a triangular shaped 'reading' pillow - the sort you would use to prop yourself up to read in bed, if that makes sense - but otherwise just a double layer or regular pillows with a blanket over the top would also work fine). I breastfed my twins for just over a year - six months full time, working down to 3 times a day. It DOES take a long time - for those six months I's say just about one third of my whole day was spent breastfeeding as to make sure they both got plenty - and they tend to latch on and off a bit, not just drink it all down in one go, I'd breastfeed for just about an hour each time, giving me just two hours between each three-hourly feed. I was lucky to have the time and support system that meant I pretty much didn't need to do anything else for the first six months, and people around who could watch them sometimes so I could dash out in between feeds occasionally! That said, I actually found expressing just as time consuming, and more restrictive as you have to sit attached to the pump and can't really do anything with your babies during that time, whereas at least with breastfeeding you are spending the time with your babies! As they get older you don't need to support them so much whil eyou feed them - I eventually could even read a book while I was feeding them ... other than that I watched a LOT of day time television! Overall, I would say good luck with whatever you decide is the best for you - having twins is a huge event and you just have to find the best way to make it fit with your personal situation, lifestyle and priorities. My twins are now 2 and though the first two years have been tough in a lot of ways, it has been a sheer pleasure in more ways than I could ever have imagined - watching a child grow and develop is an amazing experience - watching the interaction and relationship develop between two babies just makes it even more special. And the pay off comes as they get older too - my girls are much more advanced at sharing and taking turns than other kids their age (we don't have two of everything - another twin myth!) and much more likely to play on their own as they amuse each other - we have some great lay ins in the morning while they chatter and play through the bars in their cots! So just concetrate on enjoying your precious little babies - they will grow far too quickly! - and find solutions that make it work for you.

Alison - posted on 01/20/2010

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I nursed my twins girls until they were 29 months old. Because I had tohave a C-section with them, I had to stay in the hospital an extra day, which was so important, because the lactation consultants came twice a day. This still didn't keep one of my girls from chewing me to shreds, but I let the "good latcher" nurse from that one until it healed... I recommend lots of lanolin!!!!!! I am also a fan of the recliner and the football hold until at least 4-6 months,depending on the sizeof your babies. Mine were big, as twins go, so I was able to do a version of the traditional hold with them. Sadly, I had to go back to work after 8 weeks and didn't have the opportunities to pump often enough to supply them with breastmilk alone, so my sitter mixed breastmilk and formula. I also found trying to get them on the same schedule was easier for me, and far less time-consuming than trying to pump at home and bottle feed. You're doing great!!!!

April - posted on 01/15/2010

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Alana,
When my now 6 month old twin girls were first born at 34 weeks they were in the NICU for 2 weeks. I felt imposing on the nurses wanting to breast feed in the NICU and one of my girls was on a feeding tube since she wanted to sleep all the time. I worked with a lactation specialist the last week in the hospital and got my girls to breastfeed very well with a nipple shield. I used this at home too and pumped in between. Down side of twins is that I felt like I was either pumping or feeding 24/7, so I slacked on the pumping which in turn slowed down my milk. I worked with a lactation specialist throught "WIC" not sure if you have the program where you are and through St joseph hospitals, they are VERY helpful.
It can be frustrating at times and time consuming but I ended up slowly over months 2-4 putting my girls on all formula. I was a little frustrated with myself and felt like I let myself down not being able to nurse longer, but I was ready to have a breakdown from the stress of production, latching, pumping, 3am 6 am etc!!
Starting to ween them off of nursing and even just pumping to feed also gave thier dad some bonding time with feeding and ended letting me get more than a 3 hour stretch of sleep!!
You can only do what you can do, and whenever you feel you need to supplement or change is ultimately your choice.
Keep strong and enjoy those little ones while the are little because they grow fast!!!
Best wishes.

Amy - posted on 01/15/2010

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Don't give up! I nursed my twin girls until they were 14 months and the first month and a half was the hardest! After that, we got into our groove and it was way easier than messing w/ bottles. One of my nipples split during that first time period and I had to use a nipple shield. That did help the smaller of the two to latch better too. I went back to work when they were 3 weeks old and worked until they were 3 months (had to finish out the school year of teaching and had used up all of my leave on bed rest). I did pump and my husband bottle fed them during the day. Their little bodies were so tiny that I used 2 boppies and several pillows in a big recliner in order to prop them up enough to have one hand free to help w/ latching on. We always did head feet/head feet both at the same time while they were little. And if they would bite, which they did, I would lightly flick them in the mouth and tell them not to, or blow really hard on their face if I didn't have a free hand.

As a side note, my hormone swings were way stronger w/ twins than w/ my first daughter. I cried for the first 2 1/2 weeks constantly--exhaustion, pain, overwhelmed, and hormonal are not a good mix. But it does get better! I promise.

I know it is hard now, but as they get older and hold each others hands while they nurse and hold your shirt up for each other, it is the most special time you can ever imagine. Hang in there! You can do it!

Judy - posted on 01/10/2010

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Do what works for you and don't feel pressured by everyone. As long as you try and do your best is what important. I tried with my twins for 2mos. My son wouldn't latch on so I pumped milk for him and breastfed my daughter. It just became very time consuming and when they're so young they eat more often as you know and unless you Can master the football hold with both and can get both of them to latch on it's just too time consuming. I really didn't enjoy the around the clock breastfeeding and pumping so to keep my sanity I switched to formula. They also had jaundice so I was already supplementing anyway. Don't feel bad if breastfeeding doesn't work out. It's already hard enough caring for twins and getting a little bit if breast milk is better than none.

Sarah - posted on 01/10/2010

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Eventually, once you get the hang of it, you can feed them both at the same time in which case it's not so time consuming. I would watch the bottle use. If you really want to breastfeed and they get used to having it from a bottle you might find it hard to get them just to take breast. Expressing is hard work... good on you for the hard yards!! :)

Monica - posted on 01/09/2010

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Hi Alana,

I breast fed my twins until they turned one. I got a twin nursing pillow and used the football hold. It's best to feed them simultaneously and it will take some time (about 45 min. at each feeding) at first. After a few months, when they nurse more efficiently (5 to 10 min.), you can do one and then the other. I really recommend getting them on the same schedule as fast as possible (feedings, naps, diaper changes). If one wakes up hungry, wake the other and feed him/her too. Otherwise, as soon as you top off the one, the other will wake up and want to top off, too. Then it keeps going and going and going and you'll never sleep again. Keep working at it and consult a lactation consultant if the latching issue still persists. I'm proud that I nursed my twins as long as I did my singletons. It was tough at first, but gets easier over time. Good luck!

Sarah - posted on 01/01/2010

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Keep it up.... might seem harder now but in the long run it is probably easier! (and cheaper!!!!!) I had problems latching also but you'll get there, I did. I don't know about doing the bottle tho... if you want to breastfeed they might decide bottle is easier and not want to co-operate with you! Latching on to a bottle is a different technique to latching on to a nipple and they could be confused. Can you get in touch woth a La leche group/advisor/midwife??? Think they are a worldwide organisation and they gave my sister heaps of help when she wanted to make breastfeeding work for her.

My boys are now 7 months old and I am still exclusively breastfeeding and after initially feeling like I spent the whole day doing it, it is now much easier and I don't have bottles to prepare, clean etc. It really has been worth it. My daughter did a combination of bottle and breast so I do have experience with both types of feeding.

Best wishes

Janet - posted on 10/22/2009

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I don't have any advice but If you continue with the breastfeeding I think that is great. I tried for a week and I emotionally and physically couldn't do it. Feeding every two hours and them eating for 20-30 hour you had no time to relax. I think I would have been apt to pumping if I had a hopsital grade pump. Good luck my twin boys are now 9 months old enjoy every moment.

Lisa - posted on 08/19/2009

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Good luck. I wanted to breastfeed my twins but they never would latch on so I just pumped for as long as I could until I had to go to work full time.

Ginger - posted on 08/14/2009

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Call your hospital and see if they have breastfeeding nurses on staff. If not, call the pediatrician, he may have someone or be able to refer you. I nursed both sets of my twins for a year but I needed lots of help with one of my babies. The nurse was able to sit with me and watch me get them latched on, make corrections to position and give me suggestions on how to make it work. I almost always nursed both at once but it's still very time consuming, I know. But once you are done you will be glad you "wasted" the time :)
Good luck to you!

Cassandra - posted on 08/01/2009

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Hi Alana :) I have 6 month old twin boys who are exclusively breast fed, so I just wanted to encourage you to keep going! It is absolutely possible. If you are having trouble with latching, the absolute worst thing you can do is feed them from a bottle since it requires a completely different set of muscles and will just confuse your babes. sucking on a bottle is much easier than a nipple, so if given a choice, they will of course choose the bottle. Also, the action of breast feeding actually assists in proper jaw formation for your little ones :)

I know that it is hard to deal with two babies who are fighting you to latch, but trust that if you persist, they WILL get it, and then you will both benefit in the end. I would advise you to invest in an EZ to Nurse nursing pillow. The are around $80 but they make breast feeding twins at the same time easy, and almost hands free! Also, you will be able to re-sell it on ebay later on and recover much of your investment.

Dont give up honey!!!! Breast milk is the greatest gift you can give to your little ones, and its good for you too :)

Lisa - posted on 07/07/2009

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I have 28 month old twin boys. It was a struggle at first with one of the boys latching on. I was persistant and kept repositioning him. I breastfed both at the same time. I used a boppy pillow which held them close to me. If I could encourage you in anyway. Stick with it. It will get better. I am currently weening them. Best wishes.

Jocelyn - posted on 02/24/2009

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It gets better I swear! They will get the hang of it.



Also- it's a great way to lose weight! I breast-fed my twins for 6 weeks before I had to go back to work. They are bottle fed now, but those 6 weeks were great for helping get the weight off. Breast feeding is a great experience, though it is time consuming. Just do it for as long as you are comfortable. If it gets to be a hastle, don't worry about going to the bottle.



I can tell you that eventually they will be so great at feeding that you should be able to latch on both of them at the same time. It just takes practice and patience!

Lori - posted on 01/24/2009

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Don't give it up.  I BF my twins for over a year.  In the beginning it was very hard and I felt like I always had at least one baby attached to my breast.  My son had a real hard time latching on.  I stuck with it and never regretted it.  I was able to feed both babies at the same time.  This really helped save time.  Best wishes to you and your babies.

Donna - posted on 01/13/2009

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Hi Alana, I have 2 sets of twins,and it is hard at some times.I would talk to a lactation consultant, they are educated on how to help most issues with breastfeeding.Latching on is very difficult for some babies for many reasons.Go to your local LC it will help alot. Pumping and bottle feeding does make it easier for getting them on and keeping them on a schedual. I fed on demand for both sets,and at times did feel like a milk machine tied to a coach or chair at times. I wouldn't trade a minute of it though.Just know what ever works best for you and your little ones is best.Breastmilk is best,so you're succesful already! Feel free to ask anything I'm pretty open!

Joanna - posted on 01/11/2009

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Hi there,



I had the same latching issue with my twins--and they were born healthfully at 38 weeks. I tried for two weeks with the latching, meanwhile pumping as much as I could to bottles. I, too, realized that feeding them from a bottle was much less time consuming. Plus, I found that I could express enough at one 20 minute to 1/2 hour pumping for 3 feedings. I chose to continue with breast milk in bottles, then made sure to cuddle and hold them as much as possible and wear them (in a sling) whenever possible.



Dad, grandma and our nanny were also able to hold them close and feed them, too:). This helps so that you can get some needed rest. You still have to get up every 3 hours to pump at first...but it is easier that breast feeding around the clock.



My twins took to the bottle and that was it...I pumped for 11 1/2 months then weaned them to organic soy toddler formula. 



They are now 5 years old and very active and healthy boys. 



If you choose to continue this (and I highly encourage breastfeeding them bottle or direct)...get the best pump that you can afford. I had a Medela Pump in Style Advanced. If you think of feeding them formula...read the label first--you'll get back your resolve to breastfeed them!



Best of luck!



Joanna

Christy - posted on 01/11/2009

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I breast feed my first 2 children till they were a year old.  then came the twins i tried to nurse them for a month it was hard one would bite and pull and the other just would never stay still.  I used the sheild w/ both which did help.  I ended up just puming and also suplimenting.  They are now 4 months and we are going on vacation in a few weeks and I think I am going to stop pumping.  I fully believe in nursing them but unfourtunatly things don't always work out..  i still am not sure if I sould try to pump on vacation or not.  My advice is to keep trying and find some suport.

Lydia - posted on 01/10/2009

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I have a set of twins that are nine years old now. I did breastfeed and I think you should keep it up. Its the best for them...keeps them strong and healthy. Trust me they will get better with the latching. For some reason they find a way of latching on correctly the more you breast feed and you"ll find comfortable postions to feed them as well. Hang in there it gets easier.....

Erin - posted on 01/07/2009

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My twins are 18 months old now. We had all the problems you are talking about. I pumped most of the time when they were tiny and just had them latch on for non-nutritive feedings at first. As we all developed confidence they fed more from the breast. I returned to work when they were 5 weeks old so the time I had them at my breast became very special for our bonding. I breast fed until they were a year old and wouldn't trade it for anything. One tip I have is buying the baskets you put in the dishwasher to wash your pump parts. I had 4 sets and trying to keep them clean made me so nervous. When I got the baskets it made all the difference. They get sterilized in the wash and you just have to hand wash the membranes.



The gel patches help and so do the heat and cold packs that you slip in your bra.



 



Best of luck. It does get better. (just a side note...I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight withing 6 weeks!)

Erin - posted on 01/07/2009

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My twins are 18 months old now. We had all the problems you are talking about. I pumped most of the time when they were tiny and just had them latch on for non-nutritive feedings at first. As we all developed confidence they fed more from the breast. I returned to work when they were 5 weeks old so the time I had them at my breast became very special for our bonding. I breast fed until they were a year old and wouldn't trade it for anything. One tip I have is buying the baskets you put in the dishwasher to wash your pump parts. I had 4 sets and trying to keep them clean made me so nervous. When I got the baskets it made all the difference. They get sterilized in the wash and you just have to hand wash the membranes.



The gel patches help and so do the heat and cold packs that you slip in your bra.



 



Best of luck. It does get better. (just a side note...I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight withing 6 weeks!)

Nicki - posted on 01/07/2009

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Alana,



I remember the feeling!  My boys are 7 months old and were a month early. I really wanted to breastfeed, and I did for about a month. I was also pumping and supplementing. I just remember being in tears because I wanted them to latch on so bad. I finally went back to the hospital to meet with a lactation nurse and she helped. I used a nipple shield for awhile but they still didn't take to it very well. I also felt like I spent most of my time in the rocker either hooked up to the pump or trying to get the boys to latch on. I evetually made the decision to move to all formula especially since I would be returing to work after 3 months. It all boils down to you doing what you want to do. You can listen to all the advice in the world but every baby and mom is different. You have to make your days as easy as possible. My best advice would be to listen to your heart and only yours. although i was set on breastfeeding, my boys have not been hurt in any way by using all formula. they are as healthy as can be.



The nipply shield might help with the biting! Good luck with whatever you decide and welcome to this marvelous world of twins!  You're gonna love it!

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Hey alana,



I struggled with my first to latch and with the twins in the hospital so on my way home i went to shoppers and you can actually buy the breast pump attachment and rent the pump by month ... I did that for about a month maybe two i cant remember now haha .. but I found it very demanding and my pump schedule got off of their eating habits and i ended up losing my milk supply ... my advice would be to call up a nurse where you take them to get immunized and such --there is a really great program here where they come to check on you every week for a month with any kid im not sure if you have that there,,,, but get them to help you ... otherwise I know i might get bitched at but I found that it was important to get that first couple of weeks milk for the extra protiens and such but it didn't make a huge difference when i switched them to formula and all of my kids are healthy and always above on development so ...



 



do what you feel is best for you and your situation -- not what some people will try and guilt or pressure you into!



 



hope that helped

Britny - posted on 01/03/2009

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Diffinately don't give up!!! I am currently breastfeeding my 4 month old boy/girl twins. I always feed them at the same time using the football hold. I agree with Jill that he takes a lot less time then preparing and using bottles. Keep trying! At times when my daughter would not latch on properly and start to get upset I'd keep her at my breast and place a pacifer in her mouth-then once she had calm down i'd remove the pacifer and "sneak" in my nipple and she would then latch on. Now that they are a little older my boy, who is huge, doesn't always seem satisfied at the end of nursing so I then suppliment with a few ounces of formula.

The nursing pillow helps a ton, but my favorite is my recliner with wide arms that comfortably supports the babies while nursing. The lactation specialist are so great at giving helpful suggestions! Good luck it gets easier I promise just keep trying!

Jill - posted on 01/03/2009

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Don't give up Alana! I breastfed my twins for 2 years (not full-time in the end of course). They were lactose intolerant and it was the best thing for them. They have a fabulous pillow for mother of twins which allows you to hold both babies at the same time, using a football hold. Keep trying to get them to latch on. The sooner they learn how, the easier it will be. I would suggest going to a lactation specialist. They are highly trained in helping you with those issues. In the end, breast-feeding was a lot LESS time consuming than bottle feeding, because it is readily available, you don't have to make bottles, etc. You will eventually be able to get them on the same schedule, and then it doesn't take as much time. Let me know if you have the special pillow. If not, I will look up the website of where you can order it. It made a hughe difference for me, and since I worked, my husband used it to bottle feed the girls using my pumped milk.

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