Breastfeeding twins - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 23 Old 07-11-2006, 07:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I would LOVE to hear some BTDT nursing stories from mamas of twins. I know nursing twins is entirely possible, feasible, and the very best thing for them... but I am terrified! I'm only 7w now, found out last week I'm having fraternal twins. It is something I REALLY want to do (had a crappy pumping/BF relationship with DD for 8 months, and I really just want to prove everyone wrong that I CAN breastfeed twins )

How did you handle the first few weeks, especially if you had one or more children already at home? Night nursing, co-sleeping? Any recommendations on reading material? Any helpful tips or must have gear (nursing pillows, etc?) Sorry if this is disjointed, I'm still a little :

Thanks mamas!

full time, single, slightly soggy WOHM to Juliet (12.31.2004 @ 36w5d) and Willow & Adam (2.22.2007 @ 39w5d, HBAC transfer) and... expecting my little womb warrior Eowyn Susanne in September
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#2 of 23 Old 07-12-2006, 12:31 AM
 
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Hi, Melissa and to the board! First of all a big congratulations on your wonderful and suprising news!! I was about 9 weeks when I found out I was carrying twins and I remember those crazy feelings so well. Now my girls are 3 1/2-years-old and it just amazes me how quickly time goes back.

Now run out - don't walk...run!!! - and buy the book "Mothering Multiples" by Karen Gromada (Karen is often on this board and I apologize if I spelled your last name wrong!). It's available at the LLL website and most likely on Amazon.com also. It will cover all that you could ever want to know about nursing and parenting twins. I lovedlovedloved that book!!!! Another good book to have on hand about twin pregnancies is "When You're Expecting Twins..." by Dr. Barbara Luke. Good info on how to get your babies to full term and to get them as big as possible. My girls were born at 38w3d weighing 6 lbs. 13 oz. and 7 lbs. 1 oz. and I give much of the credit to her book as well as to having a "can do" attitude about it. Nursing twins is SO doable! Stick around here and read some of the past threads...ask as many questions as you want...but mostly constantly tell yourself that this is something that you CAN and WILL do!

Okay...so I have to comment on something that you mentioned in your post. Sorry but this is a bit of a soapbox for me so bear with me on this one. How do you know that you are carring fraternal twins? Are you thinking that because each baby is in it's own sac and that they are not sharing anything? If that is the case then you should know that that is not the way you can determine if they are fraternal (dizygotic) or identical (monozygotic). 1/3 of all identical twins DO NOT share anything in the womb. Science use to think that identical twins had to share something otherwise they were fraternal but now they know that it's only based on at which point the egg splits. If it splits early (before day 3 after conception) then they will share nothing. The later the split the more they share. I know this because my girls shared nothing also. We were told they had to be fraternal by my OB and two ultrasound techs. But I bought some twin books and one in particular addressed that very issue ("Having Twins" by Elizabeth Nobel). What we learned was that if our babies were the same sex that we would have to have their blood typed at birth. If they had different blood types then we would know for sure that they were fraternal. If they had the same blood type then we would have to take it a step further and get their DNA tested. That's what we had to do and we found out at 3-months-old that our girls were indeed identical twins. Here's an article you can read on it: http://multiples.about.com/cs/funfac...inzygosity.htm and some of what it says there: Some identical twins form in a single sac, sharing a placenta and amniotic membranes. However, the number of placentas isn't always a clear indicator either. Two placentas of fraternal twins can fuse together and appear to be one. And identical twins may develop with completely separate placentas and sacs. Okay...off my soapbox now.

Congratulations again on your wonderful blessings!! I look forward to hearing more from you in future posts!!

Karen - Mama to Haven (9/00) , Lillie & Faith (MZ - 12/02) and my first homebirthed baby, Willa (3/08)
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#3 of 23 Old 07-12-2006, 12:43 AM
 
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Hello there, and congratulations on your twin pregnancy! You are in for a fabulous time! I have wonderful twin boys who just turned four. Oscar was breastfed for 13 months, at which point he weaned himself by biting my nipple every time he saw it for 3 days (!), and Henry stayed with it for 2.5 years total (I weaned him - I was ready to be done!). They were full term (38 weeks) which probably helped, but bf-ing was not without a lot of difficulty at the beginning. You need a very strong committment, which it sounds like you have, so that's a great start. I think that everybody gets off to a different start, and everyone muddles through their own way, but. . . some things that I found useful were:

-kicking my dh out of our bed for a couple of months, and sleeping with one baby on either side. I was a side nurser for a while - it took me forever to be comfy sitting up with them. I would flip back and forth all night depending on who was hungry, and when they were hungry at the same time I was screwed because I couldn't tandem nurse for a while (see below)
- a nursing pillow designed for twins - I was able to tandem nurse when they were about eight weeks, it just took me and the babies that long to learn and get comfortable. A nursing pillow for twins will be very large and will get the babies high enough that you can latch one on, leave them in place to nurse, and get the other latched on
- a home visit from a lactation consultant - to help me feel that I was doing the best that I could
- regular pumping to build up a little reserve so that someone could bottle feed while I took a long nap every once in a while.

I was a psycho about avoiding formula at first - it was probably good, but I could have used a little more rest, I was a wreck for two months, at which point things really improved.

You didn't ask about this.. . but . . .some unsolicited advice if you don't mind. I would recommend the book When You are Expecting Twins, Triplets or Quads by Barbara Luke http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/006...855057?ie=UTF8
I'll never know, but I followed her recommendations pretty closely and I think they really helped me carry my boys for so long (as I am very small). The basic idea is that you need to eat eat eat eat eat and eat some more, starting now - among other things .

Best wishes to you for a great pregnancy! You CAN breastfeed these babies!

Sue
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#4 of 23 Old 07-12-2006, 09:38 AM
 
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nak will reply more later

welcome

my twins are almost 14 mos and still nursing strong! you can do it!

"We think we're gliding down the highway when in fact we're slip sliding away." Paul Simon
DD-7 & B-G twins, 5
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#5 of 23 Old 07-12-2006, 10:57 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1Plus2
Okay...so I have to comment on something that you mentioned in your post. Sorry but this is a bit of a soapbox for me so bear with me on this one. How do you know that you are carring fraternal twins? Are you thinking that because each baby is in it's own sac and that they are not sharing anything?
Yep, that's what the ultrasound tech said- they are in totally separate sacs. I didn't know that! I guess if they are same-sex we'll have to get them tested now

Thanks for all the helpful information- I'll be RUNNING to get those books!

full time, single, slightly soggy WOHM to Juliet (12.31.2004 @ 36w5d) and Willow & Adam (2.22.2007 @ 39w5d, HBAC transfer) and... expecting my little womb warrior Eowyn Susanne in September
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#6 of 23 Old 07-12-2006, 02:44 PM
 
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Congrats -and YES! you can nurse twins!

I always assumed I'd nurse, I never gave it much thought. But when I found out I was having twins, I started attending LLL meetings while I was pregnant. I even found a LLL leader who had nursed twins, and she was the best help of all. It felt so much more in control to be armed with the info I needed in case they were born early, etc.

Good luck!
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#7 of 23 Old 07-12-2006, 04:58 PM
 
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Yes, you can nurse twins. Two breasts two babies, how perfect.

If I might add, nurse those babies for their health not to prove people youcan do it. Nursing them is what is best for them. Nurse them first and fore most for them and do it with a 'just do it' attitude, (nike'). Supplementing was never an option for me. I have two boys and twins girls and none of them have ever had a bottle.

Two more things, first, take care of yourself while still preg. Drink a gallon of water a day and rest alot. Also, keep those babies in there as long as you can. Dont let the ob docs bully you into delivering them early.
Second, when you do start to nurse, dont let the peds. bully you into supplementing. As long as they are peeing poopong and developing and gaining (even slowly) they are fine.

Congrats on having twins!!! They are soooo rewarding!!!
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#8 of 23 Old 07-12-2006, 05:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by twinsr4me
If I might add, nurse those babies for their health not to prove people youcan do it. Nursing them is what is best for them. Nurse them first and fore most for them and do it with a 'just do it' attitude, (nike').
Well obviously for that reason foremost... but having the extra drive to prove the world wrong is a big boost for me

Thanks!

full time, single, slightly soggy WOHM to Juliet (12.31.2004 @ 36w5d) and Willow & Adam (2.22.2007 @ 39w5d, HBAC transfer) and... expecting my little womb warrior Eowyn Susanne in September
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#9 of 23 Old 07-12-2006, 05:30 PM
 
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Originally Posted by polkadotjonas
Well obviously for that reason foremost... but having the extra drive to prove the world wrong is a big boost for me

Thanks!
Well ok just making sure. We can all have extra boosts to help us. Nursing twins can be challenging but well worth it.
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#10 of 23 Old 07-13-2006, 12:27 PM
 
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Okay, had a few minutes so wanted to give a couple of thoughts on what helped us, especially in the early days and with a big sister who turned 2 a mere five days before they were born.

1. A supportive partner. I can't stress this enough for me. The fact that my DH knew this was important to me so he didn't expect housework and meals done was priceless. I knew both of us thought it was first priority, so I got to relax and go with it. And believe me, nothing else got done, lol!

2. I paid a girl $3 an hour to be a mother's helper a couple of days a week for the first few months. She mostly played with dd1 while I would lie down with the twins to nurse, etc. She also would help me vaccum and pick up toys. We really couldn't afford it, but used the excuse that since we weren't buying formula or disposable dipes, we could find the money some how.

3. This board helped. Really! Just knowing others were doing it kept me believing in myself.

4. Co-sleeping. Made life so much easier at night (still does)

HTH! Good luck with your pg. Twins are AWESOME!

"We think we're gliding down the highway when in fact we're slip sliding away." Paul Simon
DD-7 & B-G twins, 5
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#11 of 23 Old 07-13-2006, 02:17 PM
 
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My twins are 12 months old (tomorrow) and they are still breastfeeding... no plans on stopping anytime soon... They do eat food also... and have had cups of EBM..... When I have to work... or if daddy takes them for Daddy Daughter time..
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#12 of 23 Old 07-13-2006, 02:19 PM
 
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Originally Posted by polkadotjonas
Well obviously for that reason foremost... but having the extra drive to prove the world wrong is a big boost for me

Thanks!
Me too the more people tell me that I won't be able to do it the longer I must do it...
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#13 of 23 Old 07-14-2006, 08:16 AM
 
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nak


I am currently nursing my 3 wk old (omgoodness - today they are three wks!!) b/g twins exclusively.

They were born at a little over 37 wks by c/s and were bf right from the start. I never had a "sucessful" bf relationship in the past (the closest I got was relactating for my last child and NEVER having a full supply), so I was very unsure if I could do this. I had tons of anxiety over being able to 1) produce enough milk and 2) to handle the demands of two nurslings. I am very lucky to have a DH who is SUPER supportive and who has cheered me on this whole way. We are currently fighting a bit of breastfeeding jaundice, but we refuse to give up. I even switched peds after 10 years with the last ped, as he was completely bf unfriendly and wanted us to suppliment right away. We moved to a new ped and he is vey supportive and knowledgable about this and has been working with us instead of against us.

So, my long winded post basically says: You CAN do this. So just go for it and do your best!
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#14 of 23 Old 07-14-2006, 04:19 PM
 
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my twins are 3 weeks old today too!! and also EBF at this point. i did supplement with a tube feeder system for 2 days (day 3 and 4) before my milk came in. i was stressed and felt very guilty about doing it, but it was obvious that they were VERY VERY hungry and my colostrtum wasn't doing it for them. i pumped to help speed up my mature milk coming-- something i recommend doing esp. if you end up having a c/s b/c a c/s can distrub the normal postpartum hormone flow and delay you milk coming in by a few days so the extra stimulation helps correct that. hopefully you'll have a vaginal birth and that wont be an issue! as soon as i could, i got a friend to pump for me and used her milk to supplement instead of formula. then my mature milk came in and we've been EBF since day 5.

i echo everyone's rec. of barbara luke's book-- her dietary guidelines helped me go to 39w5d and one of my babies was over 8lbs. full term and good birth weight go a long way to getting BF off to a good start.

oh- and don't let anyone tell you they have to be back to their birth weight by a certain point-- it's the rate at which they gain that's important (1/2oz to 1oz per day weight gain after your milk comes in to start). our doc recommended more supplementation even though their weight gain is good b/c they weren't back at birth weight by 2 weeks old. i spoke w/ a pediatic dietician and LC and she said that wasn't abnormal for twins and to just focus on the rate of gain instead.

NAK,

Crunchy Mama to the Triad of Chaos-- DD1 (9/03) & the Twinadoes- DS and DD2 (6/06)
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#15 of 23 Old 07-14-2006, 07:14 PM
 
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Congratulations! Good thing you found out early. I found out I was having twins at 28 weeks, and gave birth 2 1/2 weeks later : . You have lots of time to prepare. Mine also were in seperate sacks, and was told they were fraternal by the u/s tech, but I suspect they are actually identical. I'm going to have them tested sometime to find out for sure.

First of all, get the book Having Twins And More by Elizabeth Noble. It is a big book, and very AP friendly. I don't have the Mothering Multiples book, but I want it.

There is an AP multiples Yahoo group that seems to be good. I never have time to get on, but I joined it.

As far as breastfeeding, my girls are 6 months old, and are exclusively breastfed. I knew it could be done, and that was echoed by most of the nurses in the NICU where my dds spent their first five weeks. But there was ONE who tried to convince me that I wasn't making enough milk for both of them, and then the clinic I took them to afterwards for check ups had me convinced that they weren't gaining enough weight, and prescribed formula. I freaked, and gave them a bottle after nursing sessions for ONE day, and then they wouldn't suck right at the breast so I gave up and listened to my intuition (and my midwife), which told me they were doing fine. The doctors finally admitted that their weight gain was adequate, and I found another bf-friendly doctor. So it would help you to find support in that area. My babies are now fat little things, in the 50th percentile for 4 month olds (which is their corrected age).

I learned to breastfeed in the NICU. I started pumping the day after my c-section, because my babies were too little to eat at first. I pumped every three hours, and it took a week for my colostrum to come in. I brought my milk to the NICU,and it was given to them through tube feedings the first two weeks, and then I tried breastfeeding. It took awhile to get the hang of it, and was VERY frustrating at times. Luckily, alot of our NICU nurses had exeperience with breast-feeding or were also lactation consultants, so I had alot of people watching me and helping. Please find someone to help you, because it's not always easy, especially with twins.

Try tandem nursing as soon as possible - it saves time, and you don't have to listen to the other baby cry if it wakes up while you are feeding the first. It will also boost your milk supply. It seems hard and awkward at first, but you will get the hang of it. I just use a Boppy pillow my sister gave me, but I know they have pillows especailly for nursing twins.

Co-sleeping with nursing twins will save your sanity! I have one on each side of me, and I just roll back and forth all night to feed them. If they wake up at the same time, I just tandem nurse them sitting up in bed, but I try to avoid that. I wake up sore and stiff from being sandwiched in by my little muffins, but it goes away as I move around. I would rather be stiff and hurt for an hour everday and get 7+ hours of sleep, than to get 2 or 3 hours of sleep, which is what I got before co-sleeping.

PP that mentioned a supportive partner is right on! My dh cooks most of our meals (hardly ever cooked before dds arrived!LOL), goes to the store for me, helps with babies, etc. He has been very encouraging all along, when I was stressed out about not making enough milk/babies' slow weight gain, etc. Also, MIL helps me out by cleaning my house, because I sure don't have time to do more than a little bit of laundry.

Good luck with everything. You CAN breastfeed twins exclusively! Just get help when you need it. Come here often! PM me and others if you need to talk .

Twins are AWESOME! We are all lucky to have them...
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#16 of 23 Old 07-28-2006, 02:31 PM
 
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I am late posting to this thread but I just wanted to add my two cents. I am breastfeeding my 3 month old twins and it is great. SOOOO much easier than trying to bottlefeed them, I'm sure. When I think of the time, energy and money that would have to be spent on buying formula, making bottles, washing bottles, etc, it gives me a headache. My advice is just try to feed them at the same time as much as possible. If one is hungry, go ahead and latch the other on at the same time, because he or she will be hungry before too long anyway! This meant in the first few weeks pretty much all I did was nurse, but that was fine with me...I just looked at it as a built in rest period.

Oh, and sometimes if the babies are the same sex, you don't have to do blood tests to find out if they are fraternal or identical. One of my boys was born with dark hair, olive skin and dark eyes. The other has blond hair, fair skin and blue eyes!
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#17 of 23 Old 07-29-2006, 08:43 PM
 
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Breastfeeding twins is such a blessing! I am currently EBF my b/g twins. They are seven months old. My advice is to PLAN, PLAN, PLAN for those first weeks after the birth. Start making a list now of all the people who you can call on for help. Enlist someone to help you call people and ask them to bring you meals at home after the birth. You are going to need a lot of fuel to recover while breastfeeding twins and it will be such a relief to have it taken care of. My doula helped me organize a schedule for when my friends would bring meals and it was so helpful. Also, I would suggest expressing collostrum prior to the birth if you can. Just keep it in the freezer and that way if there are any initial hurdles to breastfeeding, you will have that supply to fall back on. Talk to your local lactation consultant about techniques for expressing collostrum. Best of luck to you in your pregnancy! What an exciting time.
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#18 of 23 Old 07-31-2006, 02:16 PM
 
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I am exclusively breastfeeding my 4 month old twins now. We have had some hurdles to get over, but many nursing relationships are like that, twins or not. One of my boys had a very tough time latching on in the beginning so I needed to pump for a week or so to feed him from an eye dropper. We also had his weight checked twice a week for a few weeks. Once he gained some weight that way, he started latching fine and is the bigger of the two at this point. BTW my guys were term, too, so latching issues don't just happen with preemies. Currently, the other guy has been gaining weight really slowly, so we are keeping an eye on him. I think it has more to do with him spitting up rather than receiving insufficient milk, but we're going to do a couple regular weight checks and make sure he's doing okay.

Anyway, just sharing my difficult experiences. What has helped most is, like pps said, a supportive partner and also a supportive doctor. My ped has not once suggestion supplementing with anything other than EBM. And dh cooks, does laundry, did almost all the EBM feedings when we needed to do that, changes almost all the nighttime diapers, burps, etc. And has a fulltime job, of course! But he knows that I need sleep and calories in order to keep everyone fed and happy, so it's up to him to help make sure that happens. He is also happy to stay with all the kids whenever possible so that I can get out and recharge for a bit (massage, haircut, walk around the block, whatever).

I also had fulltime help for the first 3 weeks (days, not nights) plus dh home for 2 full weeks. I didn't leave the house until 6 weeks (wasn't physically feeling up to the challenge of packing & organizing 3 little ones before that). And we have had great support all along from many friends. Having someone come over just for a couple hours can be very helpful. They can play with dd, hold a crying baby, provide adult conversation!, maybe do some light cleaning/laundry, bring some food. I don't think I cooked anything until the twins were 8 or 10 weeks old. People brought us so much food, thank goodness, or I would have probably just eaten dry cereal and cookies.....not the makings for good BM & healthy mommy!

Gear-wise, I have the EZ2Nurse pillow, which works great for us for tandem nursing. I usually only tandem nurse a couple times a day, but it is still worth it. At night, the boys slept with us (ON us ) for about 6-8 weeks. Then they slept next to me for a couple more weeks. But I was not getting ANY sleep since they were packed against me so tightly. I was hot, couldn't roll over, just felt very cramped and suffocated. So it works best for us to have them in our room in bassinets/pack-n-plays. I would love to have a co-sleeper for them, but we already have the other things and we can't really fit a co-sleeper in our room next to our bed. But that would be ideal, IMO. Now I do need to get out of bed to get the babies when they want to nurse, but often I would need to do taht anyway since there is frequently some serious burping and/or diaper change needed in addition to the nursing. Dh & I pretty much take turns getting the babies & returning them to their beds. Oh, I also have a waterproof mat that I lay down under them when they are in our bed. I remember with dd getting really sick of needing to change sheets in the middle of the night (she & one of my ds spit up a LOT, plus there's always the exploding diaper issues in the early weeks, and I have heavy let-downs, too, which they sometimes come off for, so milk is squirting all over the place makes for messy sleeping!)

Anway, lots of help, lots of prepared meals or people to bring food, supportive partner, good, supportive ped., this board to help keep sanity, Mothering Multliples is a good read, nursing pillow, whatever sleeping arrangement WORKS for you (versus feeling like you NEED to cosleep/not cosleep or whatever). Good luck to you! You can do it. And you have a lot of time to prepare (I didn't find out until 30 wks pg that I was having twins
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#19 of 23 Old 07-31-2006, 11:10 PM
 
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Looks like everyone gave great advice! My twins are 2 1/2 now and I exclusively nursed until 27 mos. (after reading some replies I think their Identical, they definately look alike) Definately do-able. I mostly in the beginning nursed them at the same time. I had help from my mom and MIL and very supportive husband. I talked to LLL before and read everything I could get my hands on so I would be prepared. I had to pump in the beginning they were in the NICU for a few days. You can do it!

Remember to take care of yourself, when you hit 6-7 mos. you'll feel like your 9mos. listen to your body and take it easy, put yourself on some bedrest when you need! Get help. I just did the opposite and kept pushing myself also taking care of two children and ended up with preterm labor and 6 wks of bedrest, luckily the mag worked and didn't deliver till 38 weeks. Good luck and congrats.
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#20 of 23 Old 08-02-2006, 12:26 AM
 
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Everyone has already given you such good advice. Just wanted to congratulate you really! It's funny because when I was pregnant with my twin sons I was told by a couple of women that I simply wouldn't have enough milk to nurse two babies. Boy that ticked me off and I was determined to prove them wrong! I knew they'd be so much healthier with whatever I could give them and that was all the motivation I needed.

Congrats again,
Di
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#21 of 23 Old 08-11-2006, 07:31 PM
 
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nak...my girls have been ebf and are 4 mos. EZ2Nurse pillow is great for tandem nursing. one thing i have found with my 5 is that if i let them nurse long and often in the evenings, they get lots of fatty hindmilk and sleep longer at night. they pretty much stay attached to me from about 5-8 and then sleep all night in their crib (together). they wake at night during growth spurts or if they have a stuffy nose, otherwise they cuddle up and sleep 8 hours or so! sleep is very important for me w/5 kids 5 and under. i have a helpful (but busy) husband and MIL...but still too much to do myself...gotta go! :
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#22 of 23 Old 09-12-2006, 12:29 AM
 
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I'll only add this...

"If it's important to you, then be prepared, BEFORE going into the hospital, to succeed!"

With twins, you will probably (not always, but probable) deliver early. This might mean a visit to NICU. My NICU was VERY unsupportive with b/f twins. If I hadn't mentally prepared PRIOR to going to the hospital, I'm positive I would have walked out of their as a formula feeding momma.

Also, know that it is TOUGH TOUGH TOUGH - imagine boot camp for your nipples - on your nipples. They will probably get inflamed, crack and bleed. BUT, know that in a few weeks, that pain goes away and life is good after that.

Knock on wood, but I'm happy to say I never got thrush or mastitis or any of those other breast things while b/fing my 10.5 twins.

Good luck!

Christy
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#23 of 23 Old 09-12-2006, 12:58 AM
 
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I'm skipping replies so sorry if I say the same stuff. I just wanted to add that you really need to avoid formula! I was fortunate enough to be well educated about newborns, jaundice, normal weight loss/gain after birth, however, their ped. pushed me to supplement w/formula b/c of the percentage of weight loss after birth by one of the boys. I'm so glad I didn't listen to him! I knew the info was bad and could have easily ruined our nursing relationship. People are frequently told to give formula when their baby is jaundiced too (mine were) and that's not good info either. Anyway, I just wanted to lend my support - you CAN do it. It really wasn't that hard for me at all. A few minor challenges, but nothing my LLL leader friend couldn't help me with easily, and I was far less sore nursing the twins than I was with either of my singletons (had cracked & bleeding nipples with them).

Mama to four remarkable kiddos, all born at home.
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