I'm planning to nurse the twins, exclusively if I can. BUT, my goals this time are so, so different than they have been the past two times.
With DD, she was born with almost no sucking reflex, so it took a lot of work to start nursing. My milk didnt come in for the first five days, despite near constant pumping. When it finally did come in, I finally got her to latch, but she just wouldnt nurse for more than 5-8 minutes at a time. After about a week, we were waking up ever two hours, and I was pumping while DH held DD and syringe fed. That went on for a couple of weeks, along with nursing with a nipple shield, nursing on demand, nursing with sns, yadayadayada. It was hard. We saw a couple of different LCs and her latch was good, just weak. Finally, at about 4 weeks we started regular nursing and everything was fine- except for one thing. Even though I had a huge supply, she wasnt really gaining any weight. We went for two months nursing on demand, and she gained very little weight. My ped is super breastfeeding friendly, and was really worried about her. So, on her advice, I switched to feeding every 2-3 hours. When we were nursing on demand, DD would nurse for less than 10 minutes and then be done. Totally done with it. Basically, I dont think she was getting enough hindmilk, so I was having to pump some milk off so that she could start out with hindmilk. When we switched to scheduled nursing, she nursed solidly for 20-30 minutes, and then didnt want to nurse for a couple of hours. Within a week, she had gained more than she had for the entirety of the first two months. She was like a nursing machine. We gave a paci in the in between times (between the 2-3 hours) because she did want to suckle, but not swallow the milk. It was 3 months of complete insanity, and then everything began to balance out. She was gaining, she was nursing like a champ, and it was easy as pie. I nursed her until I was 4 months pregnant with DS when she self-weaned because there was no milk. It's easy to forget how hard it can be in the beginning.
With DS, he latched within a couple of minutes of being born. He was a block feeder. He would nurse for an hour or so at a time and then be totally good for 4 hours. He was such and easy, relaxed baby. He was great at nursing, gained weight rapidly, and when he was done, he was done. We saw an LC twice, who verified that his latch was fantastic, he had no tongue or lip tie, and everything was fine. Regardless, my nipples hurt just as bad as they did the first time and they became cracked and very sore. For me, the only thing that helped was lanolin- and believe me, I tried almost everything. I began pumping when DS was about 4 weeks old. I got about 6 oz at each session, and had a whole freezer full just in case of emergency or if I wanted to go out (not that we did). So, my supply was doing very well. When DS passed, the milk was of course still there, for weeks afterwards. I wasnt nursing DD anymore, so I went thought several steps to deal with the engorgement and the pain. Luckily, I never got blocked ducts or mastitis.
As I mentioned before, this time I have very different goals. I intend to EBF, but not at the breast. I plan to pump and let DH do some feedings. I have a few things to remind myself of:
~Nursing is amazing, but it's not the end all be all of life. I'm important too, and if I need mental space, I wont hesitate to substitute my breast for a bottle of pumped milk or formula.
~If I have to go back on anxiety drugs, I will, even if that means formula fed babies. My mental health has to take first priority, because I cant be a good mom if I cant make it through the day.
~I will nurse until the babies are a year old. Then, if I want to keep going I can, but I dont need to give myself this two year goal. When I give birth to these babies, Ill have given birth to 4 children in 2 years, 10 months. It's overwhelming, and the thought of two full years of breastfeeding is really stressful to me. Especially because DH and I intend to try to TTC in two years. I need a year for my body to be mine in between.
~I will exercise, shower and get dressed every day. No matter who needs to nurse. I can not remain sane sitting on a couch with greasy hair, getting fat, and having no sleep. I have to have a teensy bit of myself leftover.