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did anyone NOT nurse their twins?

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 
I am expecting twins. I have nursed my singletons. Assumed I would nurse my twins...or at least try. However, EVERY single person I talk to and EVERY single post I read talks about how the hardest part about having twins is the breastfeeding. I went to a expecting twins meeting/panel discussions and ALL the moms on the panel nursed but talked about how hard/terrible it really was and how 100% of them took antidepressants and how after they weaned everything got better and most of them stopped their antidepressants.
I work with many ladies that have had twins. One lady told me the best thing she ever did was to bottlefeed them. That bottlefeeding 2 babies was easier and less stressful than nursing 1.

I am starting to notice a huge trend here. We all know that nursing is best but if no one enjoys twins b/c of the nursing, maybe in this circumstance nursing isn't best. I know it isn't going to be "easy" having 2 babies at once but I also want to be realistic about what is and isn't feasible when you have other kids to tend to and you work outside of the home. I would probably feel incredible guilt if I didn't nurse. however if 100% of people told me that if I walked into the woods I would get a poision ivy rash, I wouldn't want to walk into the woods.
post #2 of 31
So this isn't really answering your question because I did nurse exclusively, but I remember saying nursing was the easiest part of having twins. I did struggle for the first 3 weeks, but I had a PP doula who's whole focus was helping me nurse. She came every day for a few hours. And during that time feeding them by any means was very hard. They weren't effective bottle feeders or finger feeders, either. So it's not like bottle feeding would have been easy. But once we got the hang of it, which was about the time their 40-week due date would have been, nursing was pretty problem free. I never got mastitis, thrush, only a plugged duct or two. It was a time to sit, listen to the radio, read a book, relax a bit. I will say, however, that I didn't have older kids. The only advantage of bottle feeding I can think of is that someone else can do it. And, maybe they bottle feed less often. Perhaps bottle feeding mamas use pacifiers for comfort? Otherwise, you have to buy the stuff, actually get up out of bed to get it, warm it and clean the bottles. I thought formula feeding would have been more work.

Good luck to you either way mama!
post #3 of 31
I am mostly nursing my six month old twins. By that I mean they do get a bottle once in a while if either I run dry or I just plain run out of steam. It is mostly around the time of af every month, as my supply drops then (yes, my fertility returned around 4mos pp, despite feeding twins all.night.long). Also, one of the babies had reflux as a newborn and so would scream for hours, and just wear herself out to the point she didn't have the energy to nurse until after she had eaten, so a bottle was necessary. Yes, it would be better if I could express and store, but I honestly don't know when that would happen.

I do have older kids, and I work, though from home, so that does make it a little easier. Even with that, it IS hard, much harder than with just one (but then bfing was never the easiest thing for me anwyay). But I don't know that, for me, formula would be any easier. As the pp said, you still have to prepare and clean bottles, get up in the middle of the night with a screaming baby, turn all the lights on, and come fully awake to feed them. At least with bfing I can snooze while I feed, even if I end up feeding all night long, which happens sometimes.

I am on antidepressants for ppd, but then I had ppd with my first two as well. I do believe it was caused by the hormones associated with bfing, as it did lift when they weaned. I don't believe, however, that it is any worse with the twins than it was with the first two. For me, the benefits of breastfeeding while medicated far outweigh the risks of the zoloft getting into the babies' systems. I believe, however, that is a personal choice.

I think ultimately you have to do what works best for your family, and what makes everyone as a whole happier.
post #4 of 31
I'm a member of my local MOM's group, and yes, lots of people don't nurse their twins. Granted, lots of mothers of multiples also utilize CIO, scheduling, and so on, probably things that you wouldn't be interested in since you're on MDC. :P Lots of other MOM's I know do both BFing and bottles of formula. Most people I've met have been happy with their choices, whatever they have been, because there are benefits to both.

I would, of course, encourage you to start with BFing, because you can always choose to switch to bottles later on if nursing drives you mad. It's a lot harder the other way around. Plus , of course, the first several weeks and months are the hardest until you get the hang of it, which I'm sure you have experience with since you have other kids.
post #5 of 31
I nursed mine, and I agree with f&psmama, it was the easiest part. But the thing to remember is how hard the first few months are, regardless of how you feed them. I think a lot of the other parent's issues are global, not just linked to bfing. Most folks think the first year is hard. Knowing that in advance can make a real difference in attitude and being able to cope. I also know equal numbers of twin moms who had ppd and who didn't, the same as I know singleton moms. So don't get discouraged, and any bfing they get is a good thing, no matter how long you can do it.
post #6 of 31
my boys are 12 months now, and while bf'ing was/is hard, no question about it, i think bottle feeding would have been harder. having twins is hard overall...the prep work and expense that would go into bottle feeding twins would be enormous.

i was still bf'ing my older dd when my boys were born. i tri-tandemed until the boys were about 7 months old and i weaned my dd. i didn't suffer from ppd.

now, at 12 months, bf'ing is actually harder than it was when they were tiny. when they were tiny, i just slept sitting up with them on the nursing pillow. i'd call dh to come help when they needed changed, etc., and i slept really well. now that they are older, i'm up and down all night with them. tandem nursing acrobatic toddlers is challenging too, lol. but it's so rewarding!

like the pp said, i would encourage you to plan on bf'ing. if it truly is terrible for you and you feel the need to supplement/switch to ff, then you can decide to do that.
post #7 of 31
I FF... I adopted my twins and couldn't induce lactation. I bf'ed DD. I really do wish I had been able to bf them. I am home by myself most of the time without anyone to help me feed them anyhow. I remember how easy it was to just roll over in bed and feed DD and in the early days of heating bottles at 3am I really wished I was bf'ing.

And every time I have to run out to Target to buy ridiculously expensive formula... and when Similac got recalled...
post #8 of 31
I dont have twins, only a singleton, and just wanted to address a couple things that have been touched on by the pps. Ff is hard work. Yes, in the first few weeks it's probably easier to hand the baby to someone else to feed, but at a year, when i have to wake up completely 4x/night to get a bottle from the fridge, its no longer so easy.

I have to plan ahead every time i leave the house, and can't make unexpected stops or stay later than planned. If something happens like did to me a few weeks ago and i leave the house w the formula sitting on the counter and didnt realize it until i was an hour away w a hungry baby... You pay for that, one way or another.

I recently did a bulk formula purchase when my HFS had it on sale... I spent $1000 on just formula, and if i'm lucky, that will last me 6 months. That doesnt include the cost of bottles, nipples, cleaning brushes, dishwasher basket, bottle handles, bigger bottles now that he's eating more, replacement bottles when he throws it out of the stroller at WF and it shatters, etc. I'll also point out that he's eating solids, and i still don't expect it to last more than 6 mos.

And then of course there's the emotional cost, which is different for everyone.

I would never recommend ff for anyone that had another choice. It is a lot more work than the average person realizes. I couldn't imagine choosing to do it w twins, when i know how much work its been w my singleton.

Just thought you might like to hear about the other side.
post #9 of 31
i nursed them, but had to give supplements for a while b/c my supply wasn't up to par.

dealing with the formula was such a pain. i hated it, and did everything i could to get them off of the supplements. reason being: washing all of those bottles is so time-consuming, and such a drag. mixing up the bottles, so annoying. and it just smells so disgusting. it made their spit-up so yucky.

nursing them was really hard in the very beginning, as my boys came 2 months early and spent a month in the nicu, but after their latches got good and everything got straightened out, it was such a great thing. being able to nurse them to sleep was an absolute, utter and complete godsend. and when everyone was cranky (me included), it was so great to be able to lay down in the nursing pillow, pop each baby on and doze off while they nursed.

just my 2 cents, whatever works for you is great!
post #10 of 31
I ended up pumping for my twins. They were preemies. My daughter had serious swallowing issues and we had to thicken every feed so she didn't choke and aspirate. My son has a horrible latch from being in nicu.

After the 4th straight weight check losing weight, I moved to completely pumping. I got a lot of knowledge and support from the exclusively pumping board on ivillage. It was hard in a lot of ways, and I mourned my loss of a nursing relationship, But I did like the ability to let other people help me at times.

Honestly though, it was a small comfort in a much harder situation. Pumping was very hard, but I felt it was especially important to preemies to get breast milk. Washing and filling bottles took a lot of time. Botles for two were expensive, pumps are expensive... It certainly wasn't easier to bottle feed, for me.
post #11 of 31
Originally Posted by dividedsky View Post
and when everyone was cranky (me included), it was so great to be able to lay down in the nursing pillow, pop each baby on and doze off while they nursed.
Ah, yes, I do have some nice memories of nursing with both babies on the nursing pillow and me dozing off in the recliner. I did get a lot more rest that way in the early days than if I had had to ff or pump and bottle feed.
post #12 of 31
I also EPed and now formula feed. Nursing for me, in general, is extremely difficult (I have major sensory issues) add to that the fact that I was alone w/ the twins and my 2 older kids (both under the age of 3, at the time) for the first 5 months after the twins were born and it would have been nearly impossible for me to exclusively nurse them. As it was, I ended up propping their bottles 98% of the time because someone *always* needed me. Plus, we lived way out in the middle of nowhere and it took about 30 minutes (one way) to get anywhere. If I had nursed them, I would not have been able to get anywhere or do anything. I don't believe there would have been any way I could have nursed, exclusively, I was just stretched way too thin.

That being said, I WISH I could have been able to nurse them in the night. At least I could have done that laying down. My pumping schedule the first 12 weeks was brutal (every 3 hours) so I would pump and feed the babies, 3x during the night. It was dumb. I wish I could have just nursed them to skip the pumping.

My advice would be to try out the breastfeeding first, if you want to do it. But don't stress over it. If it works, it works, if it doesn't, ok. You might find that you don't have the problems people talk about and that it comes easy for you and your babies. You might find that those minutes while you nurse them are the only time you really get to sit and be with them and it is actually a much needed break during the day. If you've been successful breastfeeding in the past then it might not be as difficult for you as it was for others. You don't want to deny yourself the opportunity to try, if it is important to you because I promise you, you will always feel that "what if...".

I'll be 100% honest when I say that breastfeeding/pumping for my babies did not make me a better mother. Hind sight is 20/20 but it was amazing what a weight was lifted off my shoulders when I stopped pumping. I felt like I could actually enjoy my kids and be with them. But on the other hand, as they are getting older I find myself really missing the opportunity to breastfeed them and wishing that I had tried harder to nurse them instead of pumping for them. As much as I can't stand breastfeeding (or pumping) there is something really quite special about it and my feelings of missing out on breastfeeding them surprised me. It was the right choice for us at the time, but I won't say that I don't secretly hope for just one more baby so I can finally learn from all of my trials and mistakes and finally "get it right".
post #13 of 31
In my observation/group of twin moms I know the vast majority nursed. I would say exclusive nursing was about 50/50, lots of people also gave bottles (most of the twin moms I knew went back to work relatively quickly too).

I heard far more complaining (from the $$ of formula for twins, esp. if you're unlucky enough to need the special kind, to the pain in the rear of putting together bottles and hauling them around, ect.) from the bottle-only folks than I did the boob folks.

I suppose I would wonder if all these people who are discouraging you to nurse had good nursing experience with their other kids? Or did they have a disappointing experience full around (or the twins were their first)?

I just don't understand the mentality of planning to not nurse if you've been successful before, just because some people you know told you that not nursing was the "Best thing I've ever done for myself/the kids." I mean, people say that about Babywise CIO, spanking, ect.

I am glad I never had to deal with not being able to nurse my kids--it certainly made life a lot easier not racking up huge expenses for formula, and it was hard enough to get out the door with my freakin' huge diaper backpack without having to pack formula TOO. I really can't imagine. Plus, I was so sleep deprived I had a hard time even keeping up with regular dishes, much less having to clean a ton of bottles, nipples, rings, ect every day.

It's one thing if you MUST. But if you don't, then why not nurse? I will say that nursing two is definitely NOT as fun as nursing one (IMO) but...I'd rather park my butt in the la-z-boy for a little while longer and NOT have to clean up a sinkful and spend the money on a treat for me or some cute clothes for the babies or a toy (for me or the kids) than on something I can make for free, KWIM?
post #14 of 31
My dh is a twin and his mom says she WISHES she could have nursed them (back in the day- they gave her a the shot to dry up her milk while she was still out after they were born- she lost a lot of blood and was out of it for several days as I understand)

She says the bottles for two were a real pain- she was always prepping and washing and mixing etc.

post #15 of 31
I ebf my twins. Ds was in nicu for a few days and when we got thrush he rejected the breast for a month. Pumping for him was a total pita. I loathed washing bottles. That was time I NEEdED to be spending resting. Sure, ff means someone else can feed them. You need to be realistic in determing if your dp would actually share night care with you. And those same people who can help you feed the babies can instead help you do other things. For me, it was much easier to lift my shirt then deal with ff.

There were times it was hard. The 9 month mark was difficult bc they were non stop nursing. It was hard for me to tandem them before six months. But we got in a rhythm. I would nurse one while soothing the other. Or nurse one before they were hungry then the other. You may experience being touched out. It sucks, but it passes. The only other time that was hard for me was when they were teething while I was having my period. My nipples were very sensitive before and during my period and it was uncomfortable.

We nightweaned at 14 months. For us, nightweaning did help a bit with sttn. I wonder if that is what people are referring to?
post #16 of 31
Nursing was not the hardest part of having twins-- just being present-- really present-- for two babies was the hardest part, I think. Twins have to be fed. Bottle feeding requires either pumping time or bottle prep time, with washing, sterilizing... You've said you have already successfully nursed singeltons, right? You've got more experience going in than I did.

Things that made nursing easier for me with my twins:

The EZ 2 nurse pillow
Tandem nursing from the start
Swaddling the babies (made them easier to move around-- less floppiness)
comfy spot to be with something interesting on the TV
Supportive spouse

It may not be the same for you, but nursing my twins was something I was doggedly determined to do. I think I would have been devastated to lose that, considering the birth didn't 'go my way'.

Best wishes.
post #17 of 31
My twins were my first, so I didn't start out with experience, and I still thought nursing was far easier than it would have been to try to juggle two babies and two bottles. My boys almost always were hungry at the same time, and nursing them together was pretty straightforward (for me, at least).

I absolutely, positively felt that nursing was the best part of having infants, even two at a time. I loved every minute of it.
post #18 of 31
I found nursing twins much easier than nursing my singleton. My twins were my firsts and nursing was a dream. I only tandemed and the only formula that D got was in the hospital just before my milk came in. I started pumping two hours after birth and as a first time mother I was surprised at how much milk I had.

We got Haberman feeders and I pumped so DH could get up in the middle of the night. I do have to say that pumping was a good idea if I had to leave the babies at home for an hour or so, and so that somebody else could feed sometimes, but we got rid of the bottles at about four months and EBF. When we had to go out I pumped for the babysitter, but all the washing and sterilizing was so much harder than whipping out the boob

I didn't have older kids, so my experience was a little different, but I wouldn't give up the experience for anything. I nursed them for 18 months.
post #19 of 31
I do both.

My guys were born @ 33 weeks and spent a month in the hospital. I would like to be an EBF but it doesn't seem to be in the cards for me but I am happier when BF.

I've had to really, really search for a lot of BF support. I started domperidone to help with supply, I wore a nipple shield for a long time. My guys do nurse but are reluctant about it. I love that time with them. I don't have other children so I had no nursing experience to draw from. I've never mastered the tandem feed. I also have one breast that produces significantly less than the other.

I am not a SAHM and am Active military. I wish I wasn't supplementing, it is a PIA but no matter what, I'd still end up washing bottles. (I HATE, HATE, HATE cleaning them). Our day care requires 5 bottles per child labeled daily. I resent this but I have no other choice, my job does not allow me to nurse them on demand all day so even if I was just sending pumped milk I'd still be washing and labeling. Also, because I work, it is better for our family to have DH help feed which is he is more than willing to do. Trust me at 2 am, it is nice to have the company when we both have to get up for work the next day at 4 am.

I think what worked for us is flexibility. I BF when I can, pump religiously and it is not a problem for me (I actually like the time to pump at work because I can relax and take a break) and I FF. I try not to beat myself up about what I can't do. At times, the formula is more convenient (I don't like BF in public) and it is quicker if time is an issue. The downsides are expense and bottles.

Bottom line is you have to do what works for you.
best wishes,

Mommy to Franklin & Callan
post #20 of 31
For me, the hardest part about having twins is not actually the twins themselves (well, past the first 3 months, anyway)...it's having 2 older children to tend to while caring for the twins! This includes nursing the twins. I haven't tandem nursed them for a while now (they are 8 months) but did when they were really little. Nursing one at a time is just like nursing a singleton...except x 2. So, you are making sure the other twin is entertained and that the older 2 aren't destroying each other or the house while you are nursing. This, by far, is the hardest part, and I've actually thought about trying to go back to tandem nursing because of it. I also do one bottle each per day when I am home; this is because of my 3 year-old. I can do the bottles at the same time, and he enjoys helping and feeling included. I do think he feels left out when I am nursing the twins consecutively, despite my efforts to try and make him feel included. Finally, I do WOH part-time. For me, pumping for twins at work isn't really any different than pumping for a singleton at work.
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