???s for those that have nursed twins - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 34 Old 03-04-2003, 03:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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#2 of 34 Old 03-04-2003, 04:18 PM
 
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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.
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#3 of 34 Old 03-04-2003, 07:26 PM
 
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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 .
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#4 of 34 Old 03-04-2003, 10:01 PM
 
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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.
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#5 of 34 Old 03-04-2003, 10:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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!
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#6 of 34 Old 03-04-2003, 10:20 PM
 
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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!
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#7 of 34 Old 03-10-2003, 04:13 PM
 
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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.
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#8 of 34 Old 03-10-2003, 05:13 PM
 
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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!!!
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#9 of 34 Old 03-11-2003, 07:20 PM
 
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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)
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#10 of 34 Old 03-12-2003, 04:45 PM
 
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congrats!!

my boys were born at 29 weeks and I never supplimented.

I'm Andrea - I have three boys - 12 year old twins & an 11 year old

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#11 of 34 Old 03-14-2003, 12:03 AM
 
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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!
congratulations!!!
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#12 of 34 Old 03-14-2003, 12:24 AM
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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!
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#13 of 34 Old 03-14-2003, 03:35 AM
 
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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. . .
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#14 of 34 Old 03-14-2003, 04:15 AM
 
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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).
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#15 of 34 Old 03-14-2003, 04:16 AM
 
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Forgot to say... can't wait to hear about them!
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#16 of 34 Old 03-14-2003, 03:53 PM
 
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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!
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#17 of 34 Old 03-14-2003, 03:55 PM
 
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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!
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#18 of 34 Old 03-17-2003, 01:03 AM
 
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Lara,

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
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#19 of 34 Old 03-17-2003, 02:27 AM
 
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Momofmany,

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.

Paige
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#20 of 34 Old 03-17-2003, 03:00 PM
 
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Sorry, Robin! I do know that! That is why I prefaced my advice with this:
Quote:
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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#21 of 34 Old 03-17-2003, 03:02 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by Theo's Mama
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.

Paige
Amen to that! Now if I could just stay off threads that yank my chain, like the pacies are bad thread. I say way too many negative things to myself to listen to anyone say I am lazy/bad/selfish for using a _________ (insert device).
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#22 of 34 Old 03-17-2003, 07:29 PM
 
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I didn't take it as criticism. I felt dumbfounded when I did it all "righht" and still couldn't nurse. I'm just glad I persisted...even if it is time for me to go back to work now. LOL

Robin
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#23 of 34 Old 03-18-2003, 02:51 AM
 
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hah hah hah. I was so anti pacifier when I had my son, and so proud of myself, but my girls have them. They just can't both suck me as much as they would like. (I was so relieved to see one in one of your pics, Lara). I know a lot of AP lit puts down swings, seats, etc., but I just think that it is unavoidable when you have more than one. AP is the attitude and the intent.

What I don't have is experience in taking the pacis away so that they are not three and still using them. Any advice?
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#24 of 34 Old 03-31-2003, 02:04 AM
 
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Just wanted to add my $0.02 that we did not supplement. Mine were healthy at 37w2d and came home with me. I agree that that makes a huge difference.

I wanted to mention that I went back to work half-time at 4.5 months and that I have pumped for them the whole time and have never had to supplement, even with pumping. I know some have less luck with the pump but it can be done, even with working. There were some times I was worried I'd need to supplement (particularly when my entire stash went bad because I had active lipase and didn't realize it), but we made it through. If we can do it, with some of the same luck we had, you can too!

GL!

Cate
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#25 of 34 Old 04-02-2003, 03:26 AM
 
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Natural Joy, are you nursing those babies yet? I hope you are loving it and that things are going well for you and your new ones.

I just wanted to say that I am a 110% advocate of breastfeeding, but that anyone who has to supplement shouldn't feel bad, just as those who do have an awesome supply should be proud and grateful.

It is a dicey thing to make sure that bottle feeding doesn't interfere with breastfeeding, but it didn't cause a problem for me--my girls definitely prefer the breast unless they are really hungry, and I feel bad to have them be hungry. We did offer a bottle early, too, but always did breast before and after, and if anyone seemed to start preferring the bottle (Xanthe did some days), I just kept breastfeeding her all day whenever I could, and hid the bottle for that day.

Mothering twins is hard work, and lots of moms wouldn't even try to breastfeed, so I think if someone is able to mostly do it, they should feel quite proud of themselves. My milk supply is good, but I just can't make quite enough to make them full at the end of the day, and it makes us all a lot happier to have a little supplement some days and get a little more sleep. Sure, if I could get more sleep, my supply would pick up a bit, but that is not my reality. If I got up in the middle of the night to pump, my supply might pick up, but I'd sure be a grouchier mama if I had to get up any more at night. I could pump during work, but as I work for myself, any pumping time I take is just added onto my time away from home.

My point is just that it works for me to breastfeed 99%/90% depending on the baby, and any new mamas who read the encouragment that others are offering should not take that to mean that if they can't do 100% that they have failed or anything.
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#26 of 34 Old 04-06-2003, 03:59 PM
 
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My daughters were born at 37 1/2 weeks weighing 7lbs 10 oz, and 7 lbs. 5 oz. I never had to supplement. My midwife made sure that I was eating and drinking enough to keep up my milk supply. I set up a couple of nursing areas in the house and one next to the bed. I kept a basket of fruit, healthy crackers, etc. next to each area and had my family & friends keep them filled for me. I also had my big water bottle close by.

Can't wait to hear about the arrival of your two new babes!

~Jill
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#27 of 34 Old 04-06-2003, 11:53 PM
 
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I also never supplemented with my girls. My only advice is to eat and drink enough to feed three and have a positive mental attitude. When I told people I was having a homebirth with my twins most of them said I wouldn't be able to do it. Also, they said I wouldn't produce enough milk to feed them. Well I had a natural homebirth and strictly breastfed them for 20 months! I think everyone just made me stronger in knowing what I wanted.
Best of wishes with your new babes!
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#28 of 34 Old 04-07-2003, 12:09 AM
 
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My b/g twins were born at 39 weeks and 4 days and weighed 7lbs 14oz and 7 lbs 15 oz and have never received any supplements. Breastfeeding multiples is not at all easy and I found it to be extremly challanging but also very rewarding. My daughter really scared me until she was around 3 -4 months old. She just hardly nursed and grew very slow but my doc was cool about it and said she was extremly healthy just petite. He also knew that with my background I would or shoul dbe able to pick up on any problems. Just trust your body, eat and drink plenty of water and try to get some rest and surround yourself with positive people and avoid the negative. Also the ebst investment you will make is in an EZ to nurse breastfeeding pillow by doubleblessings.com . Good luck!
Angie
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#29 of 34 Old 04-08-2003, 03:48 AM
 
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My girls were born in January at 36 weeks and five days, each weighing around 5 pounds. I never had to supplement (though I was worried constantly that I would have to). The lactation consultants at the hospital got me nursing and pumping right away. Everything went pretty smoothly that way, and I'm glad the hospital was so pro-breastfeeding. However, like Ingwer and others, I have recently gone through a major oversupply problem which I guess was partly due to all that pumping and panic about not producing enough. Probably also the beer (was told the hops in it is good for lactation) and Mother's Milk tea. Anyway, nursing time is still kind of a miserable time with choking and spraying all that, but I noticed it has gotten somewhat better since I let my pump sit and have abstained completely from beer and the tea. I hope it will even out soon, because it makes the twins so mad and it's a frustrating time for everyone all around! They are almost 3 months old now though, and things do seem to be getting slightly better every day.

Oh yes, and I'd like to add that not all twin nursing pillows are the same! After blowing $45 on one that stinks, I got the DoubleBlessings one and found it to be much better. Don't get one that's completely flat--you'll have to lean over too much. I wish I had known that. But with such a strong letdown, I have recently tried nursing them seperately sometimes so I can position them at my side and even nursing them together sitting upright (I hold their heads). Looks silly but desperate times call for desperate measures

Hope all is well with your twins!
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#30 of 34 Old 04-10-2003, 10:26 AM
 
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Location: Hot and Humid, Home of the Field Artilery, Ft. Sill, Oklahoma
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I am still nursing my b/b twins who turned one almost a month ago.

I don't want to sugar coat things- it was hard at first. The first 6 weeks I lived, slept, ate, on the couch because I was nursing around the clock. I drank a lot of water and ate a lot.

It can be done! It is so worth it. I only supplented twice while in the hospital.

Get the pillow from www.doubleblessings.com. We are still using ours. I diddn't have it at first and just used pillows, then a fellow twin mom suggested this pillow and it is wonderful. I wish I had it from the start! But invest the $50 and get it! You will not be disappointed.

gotta run, restless boys are calling.....

Tawnya
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