I could really use some tips on how to 'survive' the newborn phase if breastfeeding. I seem to be doing it wrong. Do people tend to supplement or pump? Or how do you get sleep.. or do you just not?
I just spent night 4 of there life literally alternating who I was feeding/changing/feeding/burping and slept a total of an hour if that... Is it going to be like this for quiet a while? I can do this for 2-3 nights but at some point I start breaking.
An tips? suggestions on how to get sleep? I am willing to consider alternative methods if I have too. I need to sleep- I have a toddler to care for and I am working from home with already quiet a lot on my plate.
DS1 Dec 2009 DZ Twins July 2012
Are you tandem nursing? That will help a LOT. I found the only way I survived is when one woke up to nurse, I got the other one up, too. That way they were doing the same thing at the same time. When you are dealing with one baby at a time you find yourself *always* doing something for someone and *never* have a break. Which is sounds like you have discovered! The tricky part is meeting their needs simultaneously. Which is what makes tandem nursing so awesome. I often snoozed while they nursed. If they didn't fall back to sleep while nursing, I would use two foot powered bouncers or rock them back to sleep. I also tried laying them down to sleep when they were tired, but that had mixed results. Often one would go down, and the other wouldn't and took extra effort to get her to sleep.
Do you have anyone to help? I had a little nighttime help for a couple of weeks, but really that was on me. During the day is when you really need the help, though. Someone else to cover the basics so you can sleep when the babies sleep and nurse when they need it, and also help you get enough food and water so you heal and can produce milk.
Learn to Tandem nurse! I know it is not for everyone, but that was the only way I got any sleep. I sat in my recliner and let them nurse until they were asleep and then I slept. I did not change diapers unless they were poopy or really really wet. There are youtube vidoes to help you learn to do it.
I spent 7 days straight in my recliner nursing and never once laid in my own bed. I longed to lay down flat. It will get better and easier you just have to survive these early days!
I had older kids to care for also but they went to grandmas house for the first two weeks. When they came back, I started teaching them to get their own snacks.
Buy convience food. This is such a short time in your life just pay a little extra for the already cut up fruit and/or gasp! microwavable stuff.
If you have someone who has offered to help, let them help you.
Good luck, I can't say enough that this will pass and you will get the hang of things. My twins are a year old now and the joy of my life!
Subbing for tips-it will be my turn soon.
Pam Cliff Malachi 5/08 Judah 5/10 Eden 8/12 Asher 8/12
You can't get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me. ~CS Lewis
I think I slept for 2 hours maximum at each stretch for the first few months. My husband was up nearly as much and thankfully he was home with us for the first 4 months (he's a teacher with babes born in May!). We napped a lot during the day.
I would feed one, he would take that one, supplement it (they lost too much weight at the hospital) then while he was feeding #1 I would feed #2. Then he would take #2 and supplement her too. I would go pump (to build my not enough supply) while he got them both into clean dry diapers and then we would settle them into another period of sleep.
Each of those feedings took at least an hour. It was exhausting. We all didn't learn to tandem nurse until they were 3-4 months old.
Looking at this all coming upon us again, I will try to tandem nurse better and earlier. Also, just hoping to have a good supply and not need to do all the pumping I was doing. Even when the girls were sleeping longer stretches, I was waking to pump every 3-4 hours just to keep my supply as high as I could get it.
Its hard, but so great when it finally comes together. Keep at it, you will make it.
Hope this doesn't sound as horrible as it does when I re-read it! We are looking twins in the face again and I'm not terrified!! :)
Married 2002. Di-di twin girls 2010. Mono-di twin girls 2012.
I agree with the previous responses: tandem nursing was the only way we survived in the beginning.
A few other things that I found helpful:
I have my girls and my 3 yr old DS in a king bed with me, plus a crib side-carred to the bed. This gave me lots of room for all of us and all our paraphenilia: diapers, wipes, receiving/swaddle blankets, water bottle for me, extra sleepers/pjs for the girls (in the event of a poop explosion/spit up....), the ginormous nursing pillow (we used the my breast friend twins plus - a hand me down from a friend). I would nurse both at the same time and then change the diaper of whoever was finished first while the other was still nursing. I have a pretty good supply and just found it easier/simpler to assign each twin her own breast - this meant not having to switch sides/offer the other breast. My left breast seems to have more milk (we call it the power breast!) so for the first few months, I'd switch every week (whoever was on the power breast tended to gain faster. Now, 6 months in, they've seemed to regulate). I tried not changing diapers unless they had a poo, but found that in the beginning, their skin was too sensitive for that and I needed to change them after every feeding. I kept the room somewhat dark but had one night light that stayed on ALL. THE. TIME. This meant I didn't have to fiddle with light when they woke up.
I think one of the most important thing for us in those early days was really focussing on their latch and making sure that they were drinking well (vs. just nibbling at the breast). I found these videos http://www.breastfeedinginc.ca/content.php?pagename=videos , especially the ones of really young babies nursing, really helpful. Watch the first 4. I know watching some videos is probably the last thing you want to do right now, but trust me - they are super short and will completely change the way you approach each nursing session. Having a good latch and making sure they are drinking well means shorter more efficient feeds, which translates to more sleep for everyone.
Hope that helps.
HUGS and hang in there. It really does get easier.
This part is so so tough. It gets easier.
I forget. Do you have a partner? If so, then, especially at night, you shouldn't be doing all of this by yourself. Sleep may be thin on the ground for a bit, but you need some sleep to function.
We didn't get nursing down at night until 3 months, so my husband was able to feed one or both girls while I pumped at night. That makes it possible to sleep through one feeding a day to get a little more sleep. They get faster at nursing.
But I couldn't really consistently tandem feed until eight or nine months, and even now it doesn't work well at night.
Can you take a little bit of time off for maternity leave? Can you get in some help?
Twins are very tough. You're doing well.
The first few weeks have quite the learning curve. I did learn to tandem nurse but that took a few months. The best way for me to get sleep at night was to co-sleep with them. I would then just roll over onto one side to nurse one twin and then roll onto my other side if the other one woke up. Just being able to lie in bed and drifting off slightly was better than having to get up. Eventually I figured out how to tandem at night lying down in bed and that was great. We also didn't change many diapers during the night. If we could let it slide we would (not leaking through, keeping them awake or getting a rash).
It takes time to figure out what will work best. Good luck and keep up the great work .
Karen - spouse to dh for 11 years, mama to ds (Nov '02), dd (May '05) and ds and dd (Jun '08)
Definitely delegate and/or let go of anything but nursing your babes, sleeping and eating for the first 6 weeks or so. A shower will be a major accomplishment! I found it really hard to tandem nurse mine at first, especially without help to get everyone positioned but by 2 months or so we started to really get the hang of it. My husband was also up at night as much as me, did all the diaper changing and lots of bouncing and rocking of one baby while I nursed the other. What really helped me get some sleep was to bring the babies into our bed and lay on my side to nurse them so I could doze a bit. They slept better with me/on me anyway so it gained me a few extra winks. Also, I would sort of recline with them on the twin nursing pillow and snooze that way during the day when I could.
You are definitely not doing it wrong! It is hard, really hard, but you can survive this and it will get easier. Can you get some help during the day with your toddler so you can sleep when the babies are sleeping? It's definitely survival mode so do what you have to do! And hang in there, you are amazing :)
Married to my love since 08/12/10, mama to E 04/06/01 and twin girls M and Z 01/08/11
We are a family! Expecting #4 and #5 in September - what a surprise!
It is hard. The first few weeks are the worst, and all I did was nurse, so it seemed.
If you have any community resourses (church, family, friends) put out a call for help. Meals, laundry, entertainment of your older child, or whatever else you need is what you ask for.
I remember the first night I was able to get 2 hours in a row of sleep I felt like I could take on the world.
I started to do this a few days ago and found it works 95% of the time really well for me.. so I think I might stick for this for now..!! The real trick will be nighttime diapers- its a bit rough figuring out how often they need to be changed as they seem to always be pooping- I've "cut it down" to 3 times a night (with a night being from 11pm-6am) which seems to be ok- assuming there are no major blowouts.
DS1 Dec 2009 DZ Twins July 2012