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???s for those that have nursed twins

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 
I am having my twins on Thursday Very very very excited to say the least! Anyway, I've been reading up on nursing twins and on several boards I've visited, even the most dedicated nursing twin mommies had to supplement in the early weeks. Most did so because babies weren't gaining, etc. and they quickly weaned off the supplements by 4-6w when the milk supply boosted to meet demand.

I was wondering if anyone else here could share their twin nursing experience with me. Should I be prepared to supplement? At one point do I make that decision? I nursed my son for 15mos so I am definitely more confident this time around! However, in the beginning, I wound up supplementing him too a bit because I was so unsure of myself. This time, I've purchased on bottles/formula because I feel like just knowing what I'm doing is going to get us through. But am I being naive?

My milk was somewhat slow to come in with ds (day 5). This time around, I purchased an herbal supplement from www.organicbebe.com that you are supposed to begin right after birth to quickly boost supply. I have not decided whether or not to take it or wait and see if it's necessary. Any thoughts on that?

Thanks again for any twin nursing experience! Come on Thursday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
post #2 of 34
I only supplemented until my milk came in because both babies had jaundice. And if I had the knowledge then that I have now, I wouldn't do it. Their bili levels were *not* high enough to justify it.

I did *not* have to supplement at all once my milk came in. I say put those babies to the breast immediately and keep them there (as much as they want to nurse) until your milk comes in. Mine came in on the third day. Unless they have sucking problems you shouldn't need to supplement. One way to boost your milk production if you worry about it is this: Nurse both babies until they are sated then pump for 15 minutes with a hospital piston-action pump on both sides. Then offer what you pumped in a bottle. I did this and not once did they ever take the bottle (proof to me that they were full). I kept pumping for the first month or so and built up quite a supply of pumped milk in the freezer. After that I decided it wasn't worth the trouble. Now I won't pump until I miss a feeding whenever I decide to let my mom babysit.

Now in the first month, I was convinced that I didn't make enough milk at night. Not true! They were fussy and wanting to nurse for hours, but when offered a bottle, they weren't interested. It finally passed, but I have heard several MOTs complain of this. So just know that even if they don't seem full at night, don't worry. Just let them nurse and nurse.

The only way to keep your supply up is to nurse on demand. As their demand increases, they suck more and you produce more. If you supplement and don't pump, your supply won't meet their demand. So if you do supplement, be sure to pump to make up for the missed feeding, that way, next time they want it, it will be there.

Pm DaryLLL. She has lots of good info on nursing twins. Also you can join the yahoo group "apmultiples". There are lots of twin moms there who have great advice for nursing twins.
post #3 of 34
Congratulations on your twins! Mine were in NICU for 10 days and the hospital insisted on supplementing until my milk came in. If this happens to you (hopefully it won't) make sure you start pumping with a hospital grade pump as soon as possible after birth, that will help your milk come in sooner. If they are sleepy, try massaging their palm, ear lobe, or jaw to encourage nursing. I would also get a good nursing pillow (One Step Ahead has a great one that isn't humongous like most twin pillows) so that you get good positioning. If you already have the herbal supplement I don't think it could hurt to take it from the start. I'm lucky in that supply has never been a problem for me. If doctors start wanting to supplement for weight gain, keep track of the diaper out put before agreeing to it and then try to pump enough bm so they can have that instead of ABM. Some babies gain slower than others and it isn't necessarialy a problem. Since you already have one ds you know how easy it is to second-guess your instincts in the first tired days. Try to relax and listen to what your inner voice tells you is right. They are YOUR babies and nobody knows them better than you .
post #4 of 34
I forgot the nursing pillow like mom3 said. I have a EZ2Nurse pillow and it is great. I think you get it from doubleblessings.com. I'll have to check that because I got mine used. It is bulky but it slopes in so they won't roll off (and so they are positioned for nursing) and it has a waist strap so it won't slide off. It is "hands free" so I always nurse while I eat or surf the web. I couldn't live without it.

I would have a smaller one though for trips/car, etc. to nurse one at a time.

Take it to the hospital so you can nurse both at the same time.
post #5 of 34
Thread Starter 
Thanks! I got the same pillow as Laralou. It's all packed in the car and ready to go to the hospital with me My twins are being induced at 38w for all sorts of reasons. Hopefully they won't be spending any time in the NICU since I'm term, but you just never know. For sure I will be demanding the best pump they have if they can't feed right away!

My doula knows how strongly I feel about nursing so she's ready to get my babies to me ASAP and be my advocate no matter how my birth turns out. Right now, I'm on for a vaginal delivery since baby a is head down, but being that baby b is breech, my OB has asked me to be prepared for a section if she gets into trouble after a gets out. We're hoping the OB can turn her or deliver her breech. My baby a has been so cooperative, head down since 28w. My baby b has been a real acrobat turning every single week since 33w from transverse-footling breech-head down-head down-footling breech. Supposedly after the 36w appt where she was head down she wasn't supposed to turn anymore...hugely rolling eyes! U/sound at 37w showed her footling breech again... Who knows what the 38w u/sound will show!

Sorry to ramble, I'm kind of nervous about all of this! But very very excited nonetheless. I can hardly believe that by this weekend I'm going to have two tiny nurslings. I've missed breastfeeding so much these last two years since ds weaned!
post #6 of 34
I did not ever supplement, and was never tempted to. It sounds like your guys will be on time, so a good latch may be easeir (but not guaranteed!). The best piece of advice I got was to make sure at least one latched really well, and the other had some idea, before you try to go to tandem nursing. This allows one to nurse (and bring on let-down) while you are working on the other. I did not do routine tandem nursing until they were 2 weeks or so, but I then rarely did anything else until they were 2!

Be aware-hospitals don't do a real good job helping twin nusing moms, and may try and really push supplementing. Two babies, nursing as much as newborns do, will probably bring in your milk faster than the last time, and you may be less engorged. So some of your concerns with your first child may not happen with these two!

Good luck on Thursday!
post #7 of 34
I never supplemented my twins even though the nurse at the ped. office said I would have to. At their 2 wk weight check they had not quite gained back their birth weight. The doc assured me that it was just that they were twins and that they would be fine to just keep on nursing. She was right. They're still nursing today.

I think the boys were about 2 wks before I nursed the together also. I had a barracuda nurser and a lazy nurser. I also used the ez2nurse pillow which was nice any where but at the house where I just preferred pillows

I was very engorged about the 3'd day. In fact I had to rent a pump just to get some milk out so they could latch.

I ate lots of oatmeal. Don't know if that helped with my supply or not. I had heard that it would.

Congrats on your new to be babies and enjoy them.
post #8 of 34
Good luck, NaturalJoy!!! I too supplemented early, but only out of ignorance. I would not do it again, because I know I could make enough milk. You will make enough if the demand is there, and as the others have said, pumping after a feed may help increase it. I fed my twins together except for a short ime when they were a little too big to do comfortably and weren't yet sitting up. that was hard, nurisng twins separately. Once they could sit up again, I nursed them simultaneously again. I will pray you have a vaginal birth. My first was head down, and my second was transverse, and they turned him breech and delivered him that way.
I felt the hospital supported my breastfeeding, but in a nonverbal way. They wouldn't supplement them, but they didn't give me a lot of pointers on nursing either. I personally didn't find the lactation consultant helpful, and I sort of feel now that learning by experience was the only way to do some things. At least you have nursed before, that will help.
Bless you!!!
post #9 of 34
Congratulations on your twins! Mine are b/b and are 4 3/4 yo. They recently weaned. I did have to supplement some, only because one twins had a weak suck. They were born at 37.2 weeks, so they weren't preemie, but one still had trouble. We had to supplement him with a preemie nipple even, so we knew for sure that that was the problem. My milk came in in 3 days, which was a bit longer than with my first, only 1/2 day longer. I never got engorged though! One benefit of twins. I'd think that with your babies being 38 weeks you should be able to avoid the problems that I had but you never know. I got mine to total breastfeeding without supplemental bottles by about 3 months. Even before that after a short while it was mostly pumped breast milk in their bottles. I've never regretted the difficult early days of breastfeeding as we had a 4 3/4 year bf'ing relationship that was well worth it.

Jenny (mom to Nicholas, 6.5 and Bradley and Christopher, 4.5)
post #10 of 34

my boys were born at 29 weeks and I never supplimented.
post #11 of 34
woohoo! today's the big day! can't wait to hear about your twins NaturalJoy!
sorry , i'm late to this thread. here is my experience:

my boys were born at 39 weeks. we never had to supplement. we roomed in and told the staff at no point to give them pacifier (to avoid nipple confusion). we introduced the paci around 2 weeks once they had experience nursing w/no problems. the first twin did really well, second twin had problems latching. so after 5 hours the nurses said i had to give a bottle. there was no way, so i got them to bring a pump and syringe. luckily by the time i had pumped dh had been working with twin2 (who would just clamp down instead of suckle the nipple) with his finger and, though it was rocky, he did nurse.

ok now here's a warning about pumping a lot: by week 3 i wanted dh to help out b/c my guys hated nursing together till they were about 5-6 mos old. so i started pumping when i could to get milk in the fridge and freezer. a big mistake!
all this sucking caused my breast to make enough milk for triplets. it's definitely a supply-demand thing. it was horrible! milk would just squirt out b/c i had over-active letdown from too much milk and they would just choke on it. eventually i learned not to pump so much and they learned to nurse better to handle the quick flow.
after 3 mos (usu. 6 weeks w/singletons) things were smooth in our nursing relationship. i've heard with other twin mamas it takes about the same amount of time. so hang in there!
post #12 of 34
I never had a minutes trouble! Mine were 39 weeks, 7lb. 1 oz and 6lb 4 oz. I think that matters a lot, that they're term and healthy. My milk came in really fast, late the second day. But that doesn't matter, the pre-milk is very rich and has plenty of nutrition for the babes. Trust your body!
post #13 of 34
Congratulations! Are they here yet?

One of my babies was small (3 lbs 14) and the hospital insisted she have finger feedings of expressed milk and then we gave her a bottle for a week to make sure she got enough, since she was a tired nurser. Today she screams when she sees the bottle. I had to be patient with her and offer her to breastfeed after every feeding and soon she wanted nothing else. She is 3 months right now.

One thing that really increased my milk when I was worried about having enough, since I have to be away from my babies for a few hours at a time in the evening was fenugreek, but a warning, your armpits will smell of fenugreek too. . .
post #14 of 34
I have to second what Ingwer said about pumping making you produce too much milk. I was soaking over 10 pads a day, plus the bed at night, so I finally quit pumping. Now I will only pump if I miss a feeding. Tristyn won't take a bottle at all so I may never get to miss a feeding (it looks like only 2 hour outings for now).
post #15 of 34
Forgot to say... can't wait to hear about them!
post #16 of 34
We never supplemented, even in NICU. Mine were born 32 weeks and were in NICU for a month. I pumped like crazy... at least 7-8x/day. I needed a lactation consultant to help with latch on, since they were tube fed, then bottle fed, then me!! You really can't avoid bottles for preemies, since they don't let you room-in in the NICU, so it is harder but well worth it.

I didn't supplement until around 6 mos. because my dd and ds were sleeping through the night and I wasn't!!! I thought, this is crazy... I am pumping twice each night (midnight and 4am) and my babies are sleeping happily. You may be blessed with flowing milk, but I had to pump all the time to keep my production up -- even though I nursed them exclusively, I needed to pump after almost every nursing session and twice in the middle of the night. Anyway, I decided that I was through with pumping - I used to joke I really had triplets: ds, dd, and Baby Medela!! :LOL So once I stopped pumping at night, my production fell to the point where I had to start supplementing with formula. It worked out to be 5-10 oz of formula each per day. You do what you gotta do!
post #17 of 34
I just realized this sounded funny... I meant to say "we never supplemented **AT FIRST**, only once they were sleeping through and I was still up all hours of the night! Sorry for confusion!
post #18 of 34

There are people who have to pump to maintain the supply! I had twins born at home at 40w2d, great birth, full term, great weights (8 lbs and 7.5 lbs) - they would NOT nurse. They simply refused for weeks. I finally pumped and finger fed, then cup fed, then bottle fed. They are just NOW (at 3 mos) starting to nurse.

I still have supply issues, but we're working on them! There is a group of moms at pumpmoms who had some great advice for me. It's been a learning experience and there is nothing like pumping 13 times a day AND bottle feeding. YUCK!

Robin, Mom to MZ twin girls Owen & Clara
post #19 of 34

You're awesome, I don't know how you did it. I really admire you.

I pumped at first because my little one needed a bottle and finger feeding. I should pump to keep up my supply, but it is really more than I can manage with the twins and a three year old (that's why I can't imagine how you did it because I know you have other kids)and working part time. It just had to be one of those things I let go, and it helped me tremendously to be able to do that. I was just too drained to be a good mama, and giving that up made me have a little more space, less pressure.

Some nights my supply is low and I offer a bottle to them, one will take it and the other won't. I try not to feel too bad, because after all she gets so much breastmilk that she is still getting all the benefits, just a little more food. We just do what we have to do.

Parenting multiples seems to me to be a lot about deciding what is really important and what you can let go a little bit of without beating yourself up.

post #20 of 34
Sorry, Robin! I do know that! That is why I prefaced my advice with this:
Unless they have sucking problems you shouldn't need to supplement.
I only meant that if both babes do not have sucking/latch probs, she shouldn't need to pump after she is confident she is making enough.

I give you huge kudos for working as hard as you did to get your girls nursing. Most moms wouldn't have been so persistent. It is hard work nursing two at first, much less nursing and pumping. Sorry if anything I said came across as a criticism of you. I was just trying to encourage Natural Joy that she would be able to bf.
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