Nursing Twins? - Mothering Forums

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Old 01-16-2008, 06:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think this is my biggest fear, beside getting them to term. I've had natural home births with my last two (last one a UC) and medical inductions before that, so I'm pretty covered on birth fears!

HOW do I go about nursing two? What's the most important thing that I do from the birth of the first baby?

I've read a LOT on this today and yesterday and I keep bumping into the same thing: I will have to supplement. Is this true? Did you find it to be true? I've nursed two of my four and never had anything but OVERSUPPLY issues. So I'm going to have enough milk. What about rest/sleep? Is getting them on the same schedule going to be imperative? Or is it less stressful to nurse them one at a time.

Give it to me straight ladies! Is being committed to nursing them both for 2 years just loony?
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Old 01-16-2008, 06:41 PM
 
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Aww. You can totally do this. If you've had oversupply in the past, there is no doubt in my mind that you can avoid supplementation. I did have to supplement, but I am a low-supply mama. Even my singleton had weight gain issues. That being said, in spite of supplementation, my guys just weaned at 27 months!

A good twin nursing pillow is helpful, but the very most important ingredient is lots of help! Make it a goal that your only job for at least the first month is nursing those babies. Rally family and friends to help you as much as possible.

I saw your post on the UC board, and though I don't know you I felt so excited for you! It's a wild ride!

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Old 01-16-2008, 07:04 PM
 
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You can totally do it, and you don't have to supplement. Our guys are total booby boys! My goal is to nurse them for at least a year, and it seems like that will be no problem after the issues we've already overcome
(not twin-related). So don't be afraid; just go for it!
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Old 01-16-2008, 07:46 PM
 
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No, you don't have to supplement! I did at the beginning, probably due to bad advice and prematurity, but after we got our issues resolved after 6 weeks, I never supplemented, nor did they ever take a bottle!

ETA: I should add that my twins are 15 months and plan on letting them self wean. And yeah, a lot of the books I read, it did make it seem like you HAD to supplement,and of course, that's not the case. Also, you'll figure out what works best for you as far as nursing together, etc. I didn't tandem very often when they were little. I tandem more now because one will have a fit to see the other nursing and he isn't :
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Old 01-16-2008, 07:49 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Chantelhayes View Post
I think this is my biggest fear, beside getting them to term. I've had natural home births with my last two (last one a UC) and medical inductions before that, so I'm pretty covered on birth fears!

HOW do I go about nursing two? What's the most important thing that I do from the birth of the first baby?

I've read a LOT on this today and yesterday and I keep bumping into the same thing: I will have to supplement. Is this true? Did you find it to be true? I've nursed two of my four and never had anything but OVERSUPPLY issues. So I'm going to have enough milk. What about rest/sleep? Is getting them on the same schedule going to be imperative? Or is it less stressful to nurse them one at a time.

Give it to me straight ladies! Is being committed to nursing them both for 2 years just loony?
who what when where HUH?!?!? yes yes yes! you can totally nurse two for two years with out supplementing!! who was giving out that bunk advice? i nursed my first set of twins for 2 years (they were exclusively bf for a little over the first year, until they started solids) my second set were exclusively bf for over a year. i really enjoyed nursing them separately when i had someone there to watch the other twin to get a little one on one alone time. but also had a really great nursing pillow when i nursed them both at the same time.. the http://www.pregnancystore.com/ez-2-n...ing_pillow.htm
i had the inflatable one. it made it easy to nurse when they were having all day nursing sessions with grow spurts. i coslept, so bfing at night was alot easier. but sleep is something that can be hard to come by. so be prepared to sleep whenever possible! nap during the day, go to bed early at night. bfing twins will use up a ton of calories so eat lots of healthy food and drink LOTS of water!
congratulations and you can do it!!
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Old 01-16-2008, 08:29 PM
 
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Just chiming in to say YOU CAN DO IT! Especially if you have already nursed and are more confident about latch, watching baby cues, etc., but even if you were a first time mama, I would still say you can do it. My girls weaned just before 2nd birthday and had no real supplementation (I tried some bottles around six months when I was REALLY tired, but they didn't go for it).

The biggest things to make it easier are people to help with the rest of life (cooking, cleaning, other kids) because you REALLY do spend a lot of time those first months just sitting and nursing. Karen Kerkoff Gromada's book Mother Multiples is a good reference (a LLL book) and LLL meetings and talking to other mamas of multiples who nursed can give you a boost.

Good luck!
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Old 01-16-2008, 09:56 PM
 
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I nursed my b/g twins for a little over 3 years and never supplemented. (They never even took expressed milk in a bottle - though, trust me, I tried!)

It totally CAN be done. I've never nursed a singleton, but nursing twins was a LOT of work - but doable. Focus on nursing and get help with anything else you can (childcare, housework, food, etc.)
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Old 01-16-2008, 10:29 PM
 
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Argh!!!! I just wrote this long and detailed reply to you and then I pressed a button and it was gone
So here is the condensed version (yet still very long:
YES YOU CAN DO IT!!!!!
I was also told by many people (mostly doctors and nurses) that I would HAVE TO supplement. They made it seem like anything else was simply not an option. Luckily I had a great lactation consultant and we were able to nurse exclusively for 10 months, after introducing solids my two still nurse about 3 to 4 times a day each (at 18months)
I would highly recommend getting the EZ 2 Nurse pillow. I found from birth to about 6 months it was easiest to nurse them together (if I didn't I would have been nursing constantly which is what it felt like anyways!) But around 6-12 months we nursed separately for the most part, at this point I didn't want to wake a sleeping baby just because the other one was hungry and the logistics of nursing the two together weren't working out. Now we are back to always nursing at the same time because as soon as one wants "mah" the other one comes running too!!! They are big enough now that they can get into a comfortbale nursing position and I don't have to support them.
In general I think eventually you'll want them on the same schedule for naps and bedtime (and it can be done!) but I stressed a lot about this during the first year when I think it was really unrealistic. Just my experience. Where we are now: they both take a mid-day nap at the same time but in separate rooms. They go down at the same time at night in the same room. Oh and they shared a co-sleeper then crib (when they reached the weight limit on the co-sleeper) for about 7 months.
I have no doubts you can do this!!!! It is such a great accomplishment too. Try not to stress too much before they are here (I know, easier said than done) and try to just survive and marvel at your TWO beautiful babies once they're here, I won't lie, those first few months, even the first year, it's tough, but I look at my two now, running around and laughing together and it just melts me everyday. Congrats!!!

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Old 01-16-2008, 11:03 PM
 
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You can totally do it! I am still nursing my 2 year old twins (and I'm pregnant) and they never had a bottle in their life. I don't even own a pump. www.karengromada.com is a great site and I spent hours there looking at all the nursing pictures. It really encouraged me to see so many women nursing their twins of all ages. I found the EZ 2 Nurse pillow very helpful, although I did prop their heads with blankets when they were small. The most important thing is determination. Just decide you are going to nurse, no matter what. I never had any supply issues and if any, it would have been an oversupply. My normal size is a C/D and I went up to an H while nursing the twins-that was one draw back to nursing twins exclusively is I looked like Dolly Parton for the first year. This forum is great and you will find lots of encouragement. Here is a picture of us when they were newborns: http://www.karengromada.com/karengro...ndemnak3wk.JPG

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Old 01-16-2008, 11:18 PM
 
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Nobody else mentioned the LLL book on nursing multiples, but my friend sent it to me and it's great. Mothering Multiples by Karen Kerkhoff Gromada. Obviously I have no real-life experience to encourage you with, although the posts here are certainly encouraging to me!
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Old 01-17-2008, 03:47 AM
 
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That was my biggest question before my twins were born 18 months ago. I was so glad for the moms who helped answer that question for me.

Some twin moms will need to pump to have a great enough supply, but some don't need to do anything at all to have a great supply. I struggled with supply with my first two, and my supply issues weren't much different with my twins. I did end up supplementing a tiny bit, and I tried pumping to increase my supply, but I think I have pumping issues--I could get hardly any milk pumping. My girls also began sleeping long at night fairly early (didn't train them that way, but they just seemed to sleep long stretches), so that probably contributed to my supply issues. Anyway, I think that your supply won't be much different than it was with your singletons.

Oh, one more thought. Nursing can be WAY more challenging for twin moms who have their babies early. Even babies born as late as 35-36 weeks may not yet have developed their sucking instincts. Near the end when you're huge, part of you REALLY wants those babies out (something I never felt with my overdue first two); knowing that having them stay in will help them nurse better is one of the best ways to remember to be thankful that they're staying a bit longer (and an encouragement to stay hydrated and well nourished, since those things can encourage early labor).

Michelle G.
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Old 01-17-2008, 06:50 AM
 
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Yes you can do it! I read all of those woeful stories as well and in defiance did not go out any buy any bottles! My girls will be 6mo tomorrow and have nursed for 6mo w/no issues at all. I'm even nursing their big brother as well. I always had over-supply issues and still have enough milk for another if I had to!

As for after the 1st baby is born, it depends on how long before the second one comes out! I had no time between their births to nurse the 1st one. I heavily relied on my EZ2nurse pillow and still do at times. Even though they were born at almost 38 weeks, I did have one of them still a little weak at latching and sucking, so know that it may take some work.

I feel the most proud of myself when I realize that I'm nursing two little babies and they're thriving!

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Old 01-17-2008, 12:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you everyone!!!!

I can't imagine going back to bottles. I did that with my first two children. Not only was it a pain, but my daughter has milk protein intolerance which we did not know at the time. It was a rough first year for her poor tummy.

Many of the sites I've seen have said that it's 'possible' but in real world not likely. Another breastfeeding board I got only one response and she basically said it will be too tiring to do it all myself. Well, it was exhausting nursing my last every hour on the nose for 3 months, but we made it through. If I nurse them at the same time, how on earth is it different?

Anyway, I was hoping you would all say this! I really don't have any supply issues. My one fear is having to pump for preemies. I am a horrible pumper!
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Old 01-17-2008, 12:14 PM
 
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Thank you everyone!!!!

I can't imagine going back to bottles. I did that with my first two children. Not only was it a pain, but my daughter has milk protein intolerance which we did not know at the time. It was a rough first year for her poor tummy.

Many of the sites I've seen have said that it's 'possible' but in real world not likely. Another breastfeeding board I got only one response and she basically said it will be too tiring to do it all myself. Well, it was exhausting nursing my last every hour on the nose for 3 months, but we made it through. If I nurse them at the same time, how on earth is it different?

Anyway, I was hoping you would all say this! I really don't have any supply issues. My one fear is having to pump for preemies. I am a horrible pumper!
Definitely! I agree with getting the book Mothering Multiples by Karen Gromada (she's also on LLL message board and often answers posts).

Having had preemies, it is challenging but can be done (mine were born 34w2d). I was in denial that I could have them early so I skipped the chapter on nursing preemies. I would just read about as much as you can. Not sure about not responding well to the pump though..That might be a question for Karen
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Old 01-17-2008, 01:48 PM
 
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I can't believe someone would say you HAVE to supplement! I had to supplement my girls for a day in the hospital until my milk came in because they had lost too much weight, but that doesn't always happen. After that I didn't have to supplement until I started work (pumping is much less efficient than babies.) When I was home I had more than enough. It is difficult to nurse whether they are on the same schedule or not, but not impossible. When they are on different schedules you have a baby attached all day and don't get much rest. When nursing both you become an expert in getting them to latch correctly (at the same time I mean) and it all becomes so much easier. Get the EZ-2-Nurse pillow. It made my life MUCH easier. My only problem was that I am pretty tall, and I would have to either slouch or pick the babies up when they were smaller but now I they're big enough for me not to have to do that.

I had very mixed feelings when I found out I was having twins. Sometimes I had wished it was only one baby so life wouldn't end up being so hard but it all went away when I heard that first cry.

Good Luck!!!
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Old 01-17-2008, 03:03 PM
 
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just chiming in to add my encouragement-- we're at 19mo of nursing and counting. i also supplemented for like 2 days in the hospital because i was hormonal, recovering from an unexpected c/s (hb transfer), eating crappy hospital food and scared the pediatrician wouldn't want us to go home b/c DD wasn't "gaining" fast enough for them. but once i got home, into my own bed and got back to my whole foods and plenty of liquids, i just nursed and nursed and didn't supplement another drop. now i couldn't get them off me if i tried!!

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Old 01-17-2008, 05:04 PM
 
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Of course you can nurse twins!

I had to supplement for a couple days because my milk was slow to come in, also. I also had to pump for awhile until they grew enough to be able to latch (they had small mouths and I have huge nipples). Once that was past, they latched on, and never looked back. They are now 2 1/2 and still nursing strong.

How you nurse will be up to you. For the first few months, I had my boys on opposite schedules, so I could nurse one at a time. Then we went back to the same schedule when we all got more experienced with nursing (and they could self latch).

I had oversupply with my first, and ALSO with my twins!! You may want to be very careful to watch for plugged ducts, engorgement, etc. Have a pump available to ease the engorgement before it causes problems (and hand one would work, if you aren't pumping otherwise). Mine resolved by about 7 months, but I had to be very careful before that.

But even with problems I nursed my twins and you can nurse yours too!!

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Old 01-18-2008, 10:47 PM
 
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[QUOTE=Chantelhayes;10307944]If I nurse them at the same time, how on earth is it different?
QUOTE]

While I agree with you that it's completely doable, there are still differences. First of all, you may or may not like nursing them together (I nursed mine together about half the time). Also, they may not like nursing together (mine had no problems with this, but I've heard of babies who choke at letdown and hate nursing together).

The biggest difference I saw though was my immobility during nursing. With my older two children, I could nurse them in a sling if necessary while accomplishing certain tasks. When I nursed the twins together(still nursing at 18 months, but only a few times a day), I had to be stuck in one spot on the couch or bed. If I needed a drink of water, I couldn't get it myself (I tended to nurse in one or two spots and tried to be prepared before sitting down to nurse so I could keep up fluids and such). Because of that immobility, I preferred nursing them separately certain times of day.

One twin tended to sleep a little longer during her early afternoon nap, so I'd let her sleep while nursing her sister. It worked out a whole lot better to have only one at a time then, so I could sling the one while doing something with the other hand. Also, this kept them off sync until dinner preparations were finished (we didn't have meals brought beyond a week, and we couldn't afford to order in often, so this was essential for us). They got back on each other's schedules shortly after dinner, nursing together before going down for the night.

I hated nighttime tandem nursing. I can doze off while sidelying nursing in bed, but I'm wide awake when tandeming. We didn't end up doing true co-sleeping, so they started off in their crib. I put them down at the same time, waking when the first cried and nursing only her, sidelying in an extra bed in their room (my boys, 3 & 5 at the time usually joined us in our bed at some point during the night, and they both sleep so hard I was sure they'd suffocate the babies). When the first finished, I'd usually dozed off by then. When the second awoke, I moved the first back into the crib and nursed the second. I kept this up all night (they usually only nursed 2-3 times a night each), sleeping in that extra bed. When they woke in the morning, I woke the second, and our whole morning was back in sync for nursing together.

Well, that may be WAY more info than you wanted, but your statement just stood out to me. A lot of people who haven't yet had twins will tell you that you HAVE to schedule them together in order to make it work. I firmly disagree.

Michelle
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Old 01-18-2008, 11:26 PM
 
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Many of the sites I've seen have said that it's 'possible' but in real world not likely. Another breastfeeding board I got only one response and she basically said it will be too tiring to do it all myself.


So sad!!

You CAN do it! We are just past 8 months, no formula, no pumped bottles. No problems.

Don't expect the worst!

Wife of one and mom of five, including my HBAC twins!
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Old 01-19-2008, 12:36 AM
 
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You need to psych yourself UP not down. I had my twins at home and i was determined to nurse them. They are 12 months and have never been suplemented and don't take bottle. One thing that helped me was contacting a local LLL leader and getting the name of other moms who have done the same thing. In one of my "break down" moments i called her for inspiration b/c i KNEW she'd encourage me to continue and not do the "well, it's ok to just give them a bittle"

it's not easy. it takes a lot of time and patience but you can TOTALLY do it.
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Old 01-19-2008, 12:46 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Michellyn, that's not too much info, but exactly what I am looking for. These inside, in-depth things help me prepare. What I am seeing is that I need to just be prepared to be flexible. I'm hoping my experience with Izzy (hated the sling and would.not.be.put.down for the first 3 months) was good preparation for constant twin holding!

One of the things I think will be obstacle to me nursing both at the same time is that I get overstimulated nursing ONE child. I usually have to do some deep breathing during let down. I wonder if that won't completely overwhelm me with both sides going? It's good to know that I can do it one at a time if that's what I need to do.
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Old 01-19-2008, 01:10 AM
 
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One of the things I think will be obstacle to me nursing both at the same time is that I get overstimulated nursing ONE child. I usually have to do some deep breathing during let down. I wonder if that won't completely overwhelm me with both sides going? It's good to know that I can do it one at a time if that's what I need to do.
I also get overstimulated, and to be honest I never enjoyed tandeming my twins. I got used to it though, and it really was a lifesaver in those early weeks. Once they were 3-4 months old, and I could put one in a bouncy seat or under the play gym, I mostly nursed them individually.

Distraction was how I dealt with the overstimulation. I watched lots of bad daytime TV during my twins early months. And there is something to be said for looking down and seeing this: My sweet boys

Trying to get my bearings...
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Old 01-19-2008, 11:13 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I also get overstimulated, and to be honest I never enjoyed tandeming my twins. I got used to it though, and it really was a lifesaver in those early weeks. Once they were 3-4 months old, and I could put one in a bouncy seat or under the play gym, I mostly nursed them individually.

Distraction was how I dealt with the overstimulation. I watched lots of bad daytime TV during my twins early months. And there is something to be said for looking down and seeing this: My sweet boys
Oh, aren't they PRECIOUS!

I think I need to get cable again!
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Old 01-19-2008, 11:25 AM
 
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I get overstimulated when tandem feeding... big hormone surge and I suddenly feel like crying, every single time!

Missionary, birth-worker, midwifery student
Mama to love.gif DD (9yr), DS luxlove.gif (3yr), & 2twins.gif UC twin DDs (5yr)

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Old 01-19-2008, 12:51 PM
 
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Oh, aren't they PRECIOUS!

I think I need to get cable again!
Thanks! And ftr, we are a no TV family now, and were for years before the boys were born, but I was an unapologetic TV watcher during those months!

Trying to get my bearings...
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Old 01-19-2008, 12:52 PM
 
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I get overstimulated when tandem feeding... big hormone surge and I suddenly feel like crying, every single time!
MamaRabbit! I totally remember those hormone surges.

Trying to get my bearings...
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Old 01-19-2008, 01:16 PM
 
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I actually had the opposite experience tandem nursing them as babies. I tandem nursed them all the time until they were too big to fit on the nursing pillow. I thought it felt good to be evened out somehow-just to have both breasts emptied at once was comfortable. But now that they are toddlers I hate tandem nursing. Way too much stimulation, especially since they flop around, smack each other, switch sides, etc.

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Old 01-19-2008, 03:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I get overstimulated when tandem feeding... big hormone surge and I suddenly feel like crying, every single time!
Well crud, that doesn't bode well for me. I had anxiety attacks for the first 3 months while nursing my two singleton nurslings.
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Old 01-19-2008, 05:42 PM
 
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No, no, no, no, no, no! It is SO not true! It *is* a possiblity - SOME women run into it (just like with singletons), but it is by no means an absolute. I had a couple of obstacles in the beginning that I did not encounter with my 2 singletons: one of my babies was a sleepy nurser AND had a short frenulum - both issues were overcome w/the help of a good LLL Leader-friend, and we dealt with higher-than-you'd-like-to-see jaundice levels with both boys but I nursed them like crazy and even expressed some milk and gave them that to help clear the jaundice from their systems. I was told to give them formula to help clear up the jaundice but I knew that was bad advice so that's why I expressed more milk and just gave that to them instead. Anyhoo, co-sleeping and nursing twins were my 2 greatest fears but both things have actually been quite easy for me! My twins will be 2 in March and there is absolutely no end to nursing in sight. I plan on letting them do child-led weaning. I expect that at least one of them will nurse until he's 3 or more (the other just isn't as interested in general so he might not). My main piece of advice is to not think that any one of us has the answer for you (should you need help along the way). It's different for every mom and set of babies. You have to just experiment your heart out until you find the right setup that works for you. Everyone told me how I'd have to tandem nurse OR ELSE and that's just not what ended up working best for me in the first 6-8 months (try as I did!). So you just can't know! I also wasn't in love with my ez-2-nurse pillow. It was OKAY but that was it. I preferred regular pillows! See - so you just never know. I'm just glad that I had sense enough to be flexible and not think that b/c what I *heard* should work didn't that that didn't mean I couldn't find a way that does. Did that make sense?

Mama to four remarkable kiddos, all born at home.
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Old 01-19-2008, 07:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Makes perfect sense! So much of this is just like my singletons. Each brought their own specific set of needs, as I am sure these babies will each have their own. We'll just stay flexible, be prepared, and take it as it comes.....

I'm just so glad to hear so many moms did it without formula. That's tricky for us because our kids have milk protein intolerance and I don't like soy in that amount. That leaves us with breast milk or neocate. I was fixin to call up my lactating buddies and have them start pumping!
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