How realistic is it to nurse twins with no bottles? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 35 Old 08-14-2010, 10:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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In the past, I've always breastfed exclusively with no bottles, even of pumped milk. But I'm wondering of the logistics of this with twins. I plan on keeping my church choir job, which means a rehearsal each week (the babies will be with Daddy) and a service once a month. I can hand the babies off to a church lady and get them back, but I worry about giving them over without having a way to comfort them. I'd also like to get back to the gym at around 6 months. And while I have no issues nursing one in church, I wonder how it's going to work with two. And as a pastor's wife, I have a lot of church obligations.

Anyway, thoughts?

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#2 of 35 Old 08-14-2010, 11:07 PM
 
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Can you dedicate a few months to having little or no obligations? If you can get to that point where they don't nurse as often, and if you all master tandem nursing, you should have a really good shot. Find a place in the church building where you can sit with a nursing pillow, maybe a couch or really large arm chair. IME, regular rockers and gliders won't work and a typical pew bench would need some serious help to work for tandem.

I used bottles extensively since I went back to work, 8 hour days, at 5.5 weeks postpartum. It was hard at first to see them with bottles, and little production when I pumped led to use of formula sometimes and earlier weaning (15 mo). But I have two happy, healthy almost 2 years old boys.

You do what is best for your family! If you put breastfeeding in high priority for a while, I don't see why not.

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#3 of 35 Old 08-14-2010, 11:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It doesn't help that I'll be alone in the pew with the babies and 4 other kids, LOL! I was planning on getting back to the choir in February. God willing, the babies will be 6-8 weeks old. The half-hour with Dad once a week and 15 minutes with church ladies once a month might not even require a bottle, but I don't know. I've never had twins before.

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#4 of 35 Old 08-14-2010, 11:44 PM
 
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I did We did have a few issues at the beginning (one of my twins refused to latch and took close to 2 months for him to latch). After we worked out those issues, I nursed them without any bottles at all.
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#5 of 35 Old 08-15-2010, 02:12 AM
 
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My best friend exclusively nursed her twins... We sang at a retreat together when they were a few weeks old and I just wore one in the sling while she wore/nursed the other. Would your church ladies be willing to babywear? Can your older kids help with the babies when you are in the pews?

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#6 of 35 Old 08-15-2010, 02:22 AM
 
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My boys have been home for about 6 weeks so far and there's ALWAYS someone who wants the boob. Seriously, these kids never stop eating. Or if they're not eating, just for chillin. Personally I need to do a couple bottles of EBM per day so that they'll just eat and fall asleep, rather than constantly being on the boob. I also need to pump a couple times a day to drain the boobs anyway. But you're an experienced mom, so I'm sure you could exclusively nurse them, something that I can't do yet. A twin size Brest Friend pillow is necessary, BTW.

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#7 of 35 Old 08-15-2010, 10:03 AM
 
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I have nursed my twins without bottles...I pumped one bottle when they were six weeks so my husband and I could go out for a few hours while my parents watched the kids. Sometimes it seems like a great idea to pump some milk, but honestly it takes more time to get out the pump (and I have a really good pump, fee style by medela since I went back to work when DD1 was six months), sit and pump for 15-20mins, clean and sterilize bottles and then feed. My mum also thought that one full bottle was not enough milk and that next time I should pump two bottles....so double the pumping, sterilizing etc.

I find if I want to go out to do groceries, the park etc the babies will last for 1.5-2 hours if they are worn in the sling. They are about 8 wks old now. That take two people though since wearing them both is, I find, awkward.

Good luck finding a solution. One I started to be able to get out and do things I started to feel more normal again.

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#8 of 35 Old 08-15-2010, 04:37 PM
 
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I was close to EBF'ing mine.

An idea for church: I learned to tandem nurse mine with one in the football hold laying 'on top' of the one in the cradle hold, under a nursing coverup, so I didn't need a nursing pillow. Our church has a mothers' room, so I'd take them both there. Someone would come by and say, "Are they BOTH under there???"

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#9 of 35 Old 08-15-2010, 06:36 PM
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I think it's possible, and if you really want to do it, you could - especially with a little help. Hopefully your older kids are a little more cooperative (or just old enough to help) than mine. I find tandem nursing in public really difficult, there's just no way for me to be modest. I anticipate hunger and feed one and then the other when we are out and that seems to work just fine. I am using EBM though, while I'm at work and sometimes when we go out just to prevent dual freakouts, or a busy toddler needing me while my boob is hanging out.
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#10 of 35 Old 08-15-2010, 06:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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To be honest, it's not a hill I'm going to die on. I mean, I definitely don't want to supplement with formula, but I'm really trying to let go of this idea that a good mommy doesn't use bottles. I never would judge another woman for pumping and feeding breastmilk, and I'm trying not to be hard on myself. I have no problem NIP, but prefer to do so as modestly as possible. I mean, I don't cover or anything, but I don't let it all hang out either. I'm not sure how I'll be able to do that with twins.

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#11 of 35 Old 08-15-2010, 08:44 PM
 
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My boys are eight months old now and have never taken a bottle (we tried with breast milk, but they wouldn't take one). It was hard at first because it seemed like I was always nursing, but things settled down after about two months. We got really good at nursing anywhere. I think you will probably need a bit of time off from your church obligations, but as long as you have support, you should be able to BF your twins (barring any health issues or problems with them learning to nurse).
Good luck!
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#12 of 35 Old 08-15-2010, 08:55 PM
 
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Totally doable. I pumped for my girls once around 9 months (I think) but they didn't need it. I only had 2 other kids, but I'm sure you'll do fine! My girls are now 3 years and nurse about 6/7-a bazillion times a day!

Congratulations!

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#13 of 35 Old 08-15-2010, 10:33 PM
 
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A couple things are playing into my response. My twins were my first, and though I was deeply committed to nursing them, I wasn't quite comfortable doing it in public at first. And my husband became nervous if they cried in public, and wanted to run to the car for fear of disturbing others, no matter where we were.

Nursing twins ment sometimes having a bottle in my experience. At first, we had one baby with a bad latch, which took awhile (about a week) to remedy, and during that time there were some bottles. After that was sorted out, we were bottle free when at home, but we used them if we were out, mainly because I couldn't nurse two at the same time without exposing a whole bunch of skin, and needed my pillow, too. So I'd nurse one, and husband would use the bottle for the other. Once they were more moblie it was actually harder, because one would want to nurse if they saw the other one nursing.

Once my boys were 6 months, I was back to work and Husband stayed home, so they had bottles then, too. After that point, however, we didn't use them in public any more. I just nursed.

If you're at all concerned about nipple confusion, the lactation consultant I worked with recommended Haberman Feeders (made by medela), which require more effort in use and therefore reduce the chances of bottle preference. We had no trouble with babies preferring the bottle.

Using bottles may mean that you'll be pumping, too. I found that a pumping schedule of right after each nursing session gave me a decent sized freezer stash and increased my supply.

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#14 of 35 Old 08-18-2010, 11:04 AM
 
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I nursed mine exclusively. My MW had told me that exclusive bfing was the way to go. She explained that if I needed to get away for a few hours on occasion, they would survive without eating for a bit. I bought a breast pump thinking it would be so much nicer for the twins and a babysitter if they had the option of a bottle.

I left my husband alone with them a few times for a couple hours. One baby really hates the bottle. The other isn't excited about it either. It seemed that when they would get hungry, they would get fussy. The bottle would push them over the edge. They would be really mad when I got home. If he didn't push them to take the bottle, they were pretty okay.

It wasn't exactly my plan not to ever use a bottle. It just worked out that way.
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#15 of 35 Old 08-18-2010, 11:34 AM
 
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I think you can do it with no bottles. As long as they're nearby and someone can bring you one that needs feeding. Or just time feeds like what a lot of moms do, and plan on timing a feed for right before you need to be somewhere so the baby is least likely to want to feed while you're gone. I had so many women tell me IRL that I'd just HAVE to use a bottle at some point, and 3 years later, still not one bottle. I've tandemed mine at church with no cover all the time. You just learn what to wear that works. I also used a burp cloth to cover between my breasts so my stomach wouldn't hang out.

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#16 of 35 Old 08-18-2010, 04:04 PM
 
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I agree that it's do-able. We used bottles in the beginning due to nursing difficulties. We got them off bottles and just to the breast or finger feeding by Daddy by about 5 or 6 days old. After that experience, we avoided bottles. When we tried a bottle again when they girls were about 4 months old, one of my girls refused the bottle and the other happily took one. (I had lots of pumped milk because I had some crazy worry I was going to die and my husband would have to give the kids formula so I pumped before bed every night. I quickly realized I'd need an extra freezer and a lot more milk than the 4 oz or so I was able to get, so I stopped.)

It was convenient to have one who would take a bottle and nice for my husband and Mom to be able to feed a baby from time to time, but it was do-able with one who wouldn't. I almost never gave a bottle to the one who would take once since it didn't help me any to get away, since the other would only take milk from me.

Anyway, i think your attitude about not having giving an occasional bottle making you a bad mama is a good one. If it works for your family, it's fine. You can do it without, but if it makes life as a pastor's wife and mama of 6 kids easier, it's okay.

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#17 of 35 Old 08-18-2010, 10:05 PM
 
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I didn't until 6 months due to feeding issues. However...as far as church is concerned, I did nurse exclusively. I'd get dh or another church lady to hold one as I nursed the other. Then we'd switch. I still nurse them at church almost every week. I did find with twins that they need to eat almost every 2 hours, which makes any chance of getting out very difficult, at best. If you can mentally take being with the babies for the entire year to meet their feeding schedule, then go for it! Good luck!

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#18 of 35 Old 08-18-2010, 10:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't know... I guess I feel kind of guilty for wanting to keep the choir job. I feel like I give everything to my kids-- I'm home with them, we homeschool, I center everything around them-- and it feels good to do the choir. And it's such a small time commitment. I just really hope it can all work out.

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#19 of 35 Old 08-18-2010, 10:42 PM
 
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Nothing wrong with wanting to do that! It's not like you're doing 5 hours practices... and your choir will just have to understand and maybe work with a few distractions

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#20 of 35 Old 08-18-2010, 10:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Luckily, it's a youth choir and they're very adaptable.

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#21 of 35 Old 08-19-2010, 11:53 AM
 
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I never introduced bottles to my twins. Before they were born, I was pretty set on exclusive at-the-breast feeding, and after they were born, I just couldn't imagine when I would ever have time to pump! The babies nursed ALL THE TIME. I was mostly never separated from them, but my dp would sometimes take one (or both) for a walk for an hour or so to let me nap, and I'd always just nurse them before they left; it was a non-issue that no one else could feed them.

It's true that it is hard to tandem nurse discreetly. If I had someone with me in public, I would usually nurse my twins one-at-a-time. I'm guessing that your older kids will be a big help to you in this regard. I'd also sometimes try switch nursing the babies: nurse one for a few minutes, then nurse the other for a few minutes, and so on and so forth. Once they were about 2.5 months old and became more efficient nursers, I stopped tandem nursing them all together (then started up again around 7 months when they became aware of each other nursing and would get jealous).

It's definitely possible to forgo bottles with twins (assuming they are able to nurse well at birth), and it sounds like the commitments that require you to take some space from your babies are so minimal that they shouldn't require your babies to be fed anything in your absence.



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#22 of 35 Old 08-20-2010, 05:28 PM
 
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For me your question breaks down into two parts...
1) can you nurse twins without pumping or supplementing
2) can you nurse twins in public

To question 1 -- yes undoubtedly you can exclusively nurse twins without pumping or giving formula.

To question 2 -- to me the answer is yes, if you can nurse a singleton in public you can nurse twins in public, just one at a time. (That's what I did.) But if the question is really can you *tandem* nurse in public... I see that at least one poster mastered that, so it seems quite possible! I never tried it--but I didn't like tandem nursing even at home.

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#23 of 35 Old 09-03-2010, 12:16 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by annettemarie View Post
To be honest, it's not a hill I'm going to die on. I mean, I definitely don't want to supplement with formula, but I'm really trying to let go of this idea that a good mommy doesn't use bottles. I never would judge another woman for pumping and feeding breastmilk, and I'm trying not to be hard on myself. I have no problem NIP, but prefer to do so as modestly as possible. I mean, I don't cover or anything, but I don't let it all hang out either. I'm not sure how I'll be able to do that with twins.
HI Annettemarie, I didn't read all the replies, but I did cruise through yours.

TOTALLY POSSIBLE to nurse twins with no bottles. I did it for 3 years (exempting a week of H@&(LL following an LC's instructions to try to force-feed them pumped milk w/ bottle or usually syringe, after each nursing b/c slow weight gain . . . didn't work anyway).

Your comment about being out with several older kids and the balance between no problem NIP, but not all hanging out reminded me of myself. I found it was easy to nurse comfortably in public without any sort of cover. I always could do this only with a parallel hold. But if I pulled the stroller near my chair, I could pick up one babe and latch on, then pick up other babe and latch on when they were only 1.5 weeks old. Later, I'd get both of them in my lap and then arrange one at a time. I'm sure you imagine it to be squirmy and crazy with two, but most of the time it was pretty orderly. Sometimes a home they were a little more "adventursome" during nursing!

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#24 of 35 Old 09-03-2010, 04:18 PM
 
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My twins are now almost 7 months and they've each only had two bottles of EBM. I have obligations (two older children, school, church, and social) but they never have me away for more than an hour or two max. And the bottles were a choice I made, one for a bridal shower (3 hours) and the other a birthday lunch (3 hours). It would have been hard to get away in the early days, their schedules were slightly unpredictable, but I would have felt comfortable if they were in the same location and could be brought to me to nurse if necessary.

I have nursed the twins together away from home (friends' or family homes)but never in public. When we're at the zoo or a restaurant I just nurse them separately. I've found that I have to lift my shirt up too far to stay modest without a cover (and I dislike covers). I've also nursed in my car (minivan) multiple times and it's pretty easy to get them both together in there. It is amazing how strong my arms have gotten (and how skilled I've become) over these months- I can now lift my 16 lb boys up with one arm! Safely!

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#25 of 35 Old 09-03-2010, 04:23 PM
 
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It was easy for me. Never bought bottles. One of my sons did have a bottle of EBM when he was in PICU for a week after birth but we just used the hospital bottles.

I detested the feeling of nursing both at once. Ugh, gave me the willies. So I didn't, modesty wasn't an issue. Occasionally I'd try it at home, but...*shudder*. I know other people that enjoy it, but not me. I learned how to nurse one and rock the other with my foot in their bouncy chair or bucket (in public) and switch off. They were both quick, efficient nursers so it wasn't a big deal.

Hard to say what it will be like until you actually meet your twins though. Some babies are easier than others, or if you've got two leisurely nursers that might be a problem. Or if you end up preferring to nurse both at the same time.
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#26 of 35 Old 09-06-2010, 11:28 PM
 
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We didn't use bottles either. I found after a few months old, I preferred to nurse them seprately b/c they would bother each other. We went in spurts tandem nursing or nurseing alone, but I can absolutely see you nursing them, then leaving to go do the choir thing, coming home and nursing them without needing to pump. And at church I can see nursing one while the other sleeps in the carrier, although I think you need to have a reality check. 4 older kids + twins all by yourself??? You will need some help, and I am sure you could ask someone at your church to help you I would say try to let all obligations go teh first 8 weeks or so, then gradually work them back in. You may be able to work them on a schedule where you nurse the babies durring 'class' time in the baby room, and when the sermon is going on they probably won't need to nurse. They may sleep or just be content to be held. I really do think a second set of hands is necessary, though, if you are trying to keep them quiet for church service and still handle the older kids.
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#27 of 35 Old 09-07-2010, 01:05 PM
 
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Just go slowly, and don't try to do everthing all at once. Be willing to be flexable, and you will have an easier time.

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#28 of 35 Old 09-08-2010, 12:23 AM
 
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I haven't had time to read the other posts, but I just wanted to say that we did it, and I was lucky enough to get the tandem thing down right away. Mostly we tandemed, but I also would nurse each individually as well, as their time clocks for sleep were different. I did take the twin thing seriously, though, and got lots of help to make exclusive bf-ing possible.
Good luck! There is a lovely feeling to nursing two at once. Your arms are just full of love, especially when your older is climbing on your back at the same time.
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#29 of 35 Old 09-14-2010, 04:51 PM
 
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Perhaps my experience was very different that a lot of other moms here, but at 6-8 weeks postpartum with my twins, I was not at all ready to resume outside commitments. After my experience and my experiences as a doula, I usually strongly recommended to expectant twin moms to seriously take it easy for the first 12 weeks minimum. Mothering, caring for and nursing two newborns is very physically and emotionally intense, IMHO. Plus, a twin mom's body will not only be recovering from birth, but also from twin pregnancy, which while a normal, healthy phenomenon, places different stresses on the body than a singleton pregnancy and requires a different recovery and healing process. Not to mention adding in meeting the needs of any other children in the house. I don't mean to freak anyone out or to be a total downer. But I felt like I needed to share my perspective and experience in those first postpartum months. Outside support at home was essential for me. As was releasing my expectations of what I'd be able to accomplish in a day just at home, much less trying to get out and about.

As far as nursing them at the breast w/o bottles, ITA that it is completely doable. That coincides completely with my experiences and the experiences of other friends who are also twin mothers.

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#30 of 35 Old 09-14-2010, 10:03 PM
 
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Nursing twins with no bottles is realistic.

Getting back to your commitments at 6-8w pp is NOT, ime.

With twins, not only are you doing everything twice, you're often having to do things twice SIMULTANEOUSLY. That's the rub. Not just doing it twice; but having to pick and choose which baby is more hysterical and needs to eat/cuddle more than the other baby who is crying but not hysterically. Not getting any consecutive sleep for the first couple months. One baby eats, the other is asleep, 45 min later the other wakes up, by the time you've nursed him the other is waking up, someone needs a change, someone needs to be burped, someone needs to be cuddled and won't sleep without a boob in mouth, or only with you holding him...

God, I'm totally having PTSD-like flashbacks of my twins first year.

treehugger.gif Erika
mom of twins.gif (8)  blahblah.gif(5) thumbsuck.gif (3) and baby.gif born at home on Christmas day! 
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