Bf'ing twins - on the verge of giving up :-(

(37 Posts)
FindingTwinsHard Sun 11-May-14 14:30:03

I've already posted in the feeding forum but hope to get some more responses here.

Hi, I need some help/advice.

I've bf 2 other dc before until 1 year with no problems, so really didn't expect to find this so hard.

I'm trying to bf my 2 week old twins. I was tandem feeding, but dt1 is really difficult to get latched on, he fusses, takes a mouthful then just chews, rather than sucking. He's clearly hungry and gets very fretful. He's getting harder to feed - took me 30 mins this morning to get him to latch, then he fed for 5 mins.

I've tried for a few days to feed them one at a time which initially helped with getting a good latch and making them both less windy. But dt1 is getting worse again, and because he takes so long to feed, I often only get about 45 mins between him finishing and me needing to start feeding dt2 again. I'm exhausted. My milk supply is still good though, even in the evening.

Dts were fairly small at birth and despite a good start, dt1 is now losing weight, so I can't just carry on regardless. We have tried top-ups via cup which are ok, but not enough now to supplement dt1's poor feeds.

Dt2 is a better feeder, she fusses sometimes and falls asleep before she's full, but is generally ok. I'm just finding it impossible having a 'difficult feeder' when there's 2 babies to look after.

I'm on the verge of giving up bf with dt1, but not sure the alternatives will be any easier as I'd like to keep bf dt2 as long as she wants.

Has anyone tried bottle feeding one twin and bf the other, either with expressed milk or formula? I don't see how that will be any easier, other than dt1 getting a full tummy.

Grateful for any help.

throckenholt Sun 11-May-14 14:38:18

You could maybe express so that you can feed one more quickly/easily sometimes (or someone else can feed one) while spending longer on the other one getting the latch sorted. If you can manage to express while feeding the other you should get a good let down (bit like double pumping)

They are still very little and sometimes it takes them a while to figure it out (and if you have fed two already you know what it feels like when it is right).

Maybe try varying the hold ?

FindingTwinsHard Sun 11-May-14 15:28:14

Thanks for the reply. I'm not sure I can express and feed at the same time - dt2 would be put off feeding and dt1 goes mad when I express in the same room. As I'm on my own as of this week, I can't see how to manage it.

I've just spent 1.5 hours feeding dt2 and trying to feed dt1 but he's just had a few sucks and is frantic. I can't do this anymore.

FindingTwinsHard Sun 11-May-14 15:31:26

Now I'm feeding them separately I have tried varying the hold, some holds are useless (laid back, lying down). Rugby ball is best but when he gets frantic cradle is more comforting, but he just chews and doesn't feed.

OMGtwins Sun 11-May-14 18:11:17

Have you checked for tongue or lip ties? Our twins had them and had to have thrm snipped twice, but the difference it made was amazing. Thry went from half an hour of fussy feeding to half that in the week after, amd seemed much happier.

NaiceAm Sun 11-May-14 18:18:51

I second having them checked for tongue tie. You could also try the breastfeeding support TAMBA offers - will dig out the link

NaiceAm Sun 11-May-14 18:19:48
violetlights Sun 11-May-14 18:22:13

My sister tried fb her twins but one just couldn't do it. The other could some of the time. She persevered with one and then eventually put them both into formula. She have bf a good go but it was really the right decision for her in the end. If you do decide to stop (don't say "give up"!) then please don't feel bad about your decision! Having twins is a challenge in itself so congratulate yourself for what you have achieved so far.

NaiceAm Sun 11-May-14 18:26:39

I bf my first until she was 14 months old. After I stopped I almost immediately became pregnant with the twins. I tried to tandem feed as I'd not long stopped feeding DD1 and thought it would be doable. I felt pressure to tandem feed.

What I should have done is feed them separately until breastfeeding was well established. Trying to latch twins on in tandem gave me sore cracked nipples and made me panic when one fed for longer than the other.

Good luck

9VFNNEM Sun 11-May-14 19:09:57

Hi, I really feel for you and it can be so hard.

I had fraternal twins. One fed brilliantly, the other was jaundiced, very tiny and just could not latch properly.

I tried everything, lactation consultant, nipple shields (can make it easier for them to latch apparently), expressing. In the end it came down to lots and lots of micro feeds until he grew. I was feeding every two hours night and day for quite a long time.

I look back with pride, but it was a massive hard slog and the first three weeks were pure torture (worry and pain).

If you think you might keep going with some reasons to do so, here are the reasons I am glad I pushed through this awful first phase:
- once it settled, it was easy and breast feeding twins once you're out and about is a heck of a lot easier than having to have multiple bottles and double-time feedstops
- the little one had quite a few gastric issues, which the breastmilk really helped him to get through
- at its peak, I estimated that I was feeding them around 2.5ltrs of breastmilk in 24 hours, which slims you down really nicely!
- also, the milk cost if you bottle feed is rather immense
- its really hard with twins and older kids in terms of giving them enough attention. I do feel that I gave them the best start that I could and this helps now, when I feel torn in many different directions

Keep going if you can, try nipple shields, get help, but remember that if it is making you miserable, the most important person to your babies is you, so take care of yourself and make your decision with yourself in mind.

FindingTwinsHard Mon 12-May-14 04:29:28

Thanks for all the replies. I've had 4 different people check his tongue, and they think it looks fine.

At the moment I have a couple of impossible feeds, then a decent one, so I'm trying to keep going, one feed at a time.

HolidayCriminal Mon 12-May-14 06:50:21

Hang in there. Don't feel bad whatever happens. You'll know you tried your best.

throckenholt Mon 12-May-14 09:25:38

Just do what you can - and if it gets too much then there is always formula to fall back on. I never managed to feed my twins (too little to latch to start with, toddler to deal with, not enough time and hands - I expressed and mixed fed for 9 months).

If you want to - just keep trying to latch on when you and he are not too stressed - he may figure it out in the end. If DD is feeding well - then at least she will be keeping your supply going so if he decides he can do it at some stage then supply should pick up to match demand.

One thing I learned - if you are stressed it is less likely to go well - so have a one feed at a time approach - if it works fine - if not - then there are alternatives.

Your sanity is far more important than whether they are exclusively breast fed smile

HappyAsASandboy Mon 12-May-14 09:47:32

I think you're doing the right thing by feeding seperately. My midwives, HV etc were all a bit surprised I didn't feed mine together, but while they were little it was too hard to get both latches right at the same time. It takes all of your time though, I know.

Am I reading your post right that you've got newborn twins and two older children and you're on your own this week? That sounds overwhelming whatever your feeding methods. Is there anyone who could come and help in the day, at least until your older two are in bed? I think I'd have really struggled to feed two babies in rotation (for an hour each, starting every 2.5 hours, so a half hour break every two hours!) if I had to supervise/cook for/dress/wash any other children. If there is anyone you can think of to ask, please do - most people would be glad to help even I it was a big ask and took a lot of time.

I don't really have any advice to make things easier in the short term. TBH I don't think formula feeding would help with the logistics, as it brings another set of issues, but if DT1 doesn't start gaining then it might have to be a last resort. I know two sets of twins where one was formula fed and one breast fed, and I don't think there should be any pressure to 'treat them the same' as they're different babies with different needs.

In your shoes, I would try to draft in help so that I could focus on spending time in bed, with few clothes, and both babies. Your local children's centre may be able to help you find a trainee nanny or similar that could help with the older children since you'll be in the house not leaving them with sole charge.

Good luck. This will be such a short time despite it feeling endless now.

FindingTwinsHard Mon 12-May-14 11:07:01

Thanks Happy - I do have help for the bigger kids until bedtime - I had enough foresight to know I couldn't deal with 4 kids on my own! I meant I'm with the babies on my own this week - no one to pass me a crying baby if one is already latched, or hold them while I express.

Yes, I'm not sure adding FF into the mix will make life easier, though I might get more sleep if it speeds up getting them both fed. More jobs to do in daytime though, washing and sterilising...

Am now determined to take one day at a time, and everyone's responses have been really helpful. It's good to hear from people who understand!

throckenholt Mon 12-May-14 16:54:37

Can you beg borrow or steal a baby swing thing ? I was leant one when my twins were little - it was a godsend. You could put one in and set it swinging while dealing with the other one. It took up a lot of space, and had horrible music that my 18 month old toddler figured out how to switch on all the time - but still worth it smile

The other option is something you can rock with your foot while feeding the other. Nothing worse than a crying baby while you are trying to feed another one.

HappyAsASandboy Mon 12-May-14 17:34:12

I understand about no one to pass the baby!

I spent the first three months camped out on our king sized bed. I could sit and feed one baby while the other slept in a bouncy chair because of reflux on the bed next to me, then switch them over. If the non-feeding baby woke up then it was right there next to me.

Every time the midwives or health visitors came over, they would organise and tidy me, and leave me feeding one on the bed/chair and the other sleeping in the cot. Totally useless! As soon as their car left the drive the cot baby would wake and I'd not be able to reach! They wrecked my system every visit as I wasn't brave enough to tell them to leave my orgainised chaos alone!

Can you set up a Moses basket and stand at the end of the sofa and feed sitting next to it? Perfect the babygro lift out of the basket and you'll be able to juggle one while feeding the other. Or decamp to the bedroom (though maybe not for three months, that was a luxury afforded because DTs were DC1 and DC2!).

A rocking swing also worked for us, DS would settle quickly and sleep longer in the quite violently rocking swing.

Your primary goal has to be getting more food into DT1 if he/she is losing weight. Have you tried breast compressions to try and get more in to him/her? Maybe cup feeding DT2 a bit to give DT1 longer at the breast?

FindingTwinsHard Tue 13-May-14 05:00:45

And for those of you who fed every 2-3 hours, how did you get some sleep/ survive without any?

I spent nearly 2 hours feeding at last feed (and that was attempting tandem) so even handing them over to dh to settle I only got an hour before it started again.

I actually had a better day in terms of getting dt1 to latch (thanks at least in part due to all the support and my resulting more positive attitude). But I'm so tired from the nights' feeding...

Cheerymum Tue 13-May-14 05:25:35

Lots of sympathy and support here. I BF my twins but I had a load of support - both easy to feed and I had the luxury of a maternity nurse a few days a week for the first few weeks and doing the nights alone must be pretty soul destroying. Did you have a normal birth or a CSection? In either case I think more help is needed if you can get anyone to come over - any relatives or friends? Even just one night where you only eat drink and feed and someone else passes them and settles them would help a lot with the bone-crushing exhaustion. Would second doing one at a time until established. It is easier once established, but obviously you are anxious (rightly) about the wt loss. All good suggestions above, I wish I could lift away your tiredness over the internet. It WILL get easier, regardless of whether you continue to BF or decide to move to formula.

Cheerymum Tue 13-May-14 05:31:41

The sleep deprivation is very hard initially. Any chance you get to nap, take it. Stuff everything else entirely.

Cheerymum Tue 13-May-14 05:37:04

By the way, glad you had a better day. Incidentally you sound like an amazing mum.

FindingTwinsHard Tue 13-May-14 10:37:48

Thanks so much. Feeding went a bit better yesterday, but it's still such a long process so the tiredness is awful.

All your lovely messages are keeping me going!

Nancy54 Tue 13-May-14 16:13:54

wow you sound amazing!!! keep going if you can as like the others have said, i'm not sure ff one would actually make it easier.

i bf my dts until they were 9 mths and, like you, i had one difficult feeder and one easy. i fed them separately for the first 3 weeks while i got the hang of it and then tandem from then. have you got a good feeding pillow? my brestfriend pillow saved my life!

i did give my difficult feeder one bottle of ebm or formula a day and that really helped me in that i got a little break and also i knew that she'd had a proper feed so that put my mind at rest.

anyway, you sound like you're doing so well. newborn twins, however you feed them, is pretty horrific hard. it will get easier!

FindingTwinsHard Wed 14-May-14 01:25:41

Thanks all. I've had another slightly better day of feeding (despite the cluster feeding...). I've been tandem feeding mainly to try to speed things up, but I think it's made them more windy again. Faster feed, but then grumpy babies - not good!

I feel a bit bad that I'm just ticking the days off at the moment, rather than really enjoying the newborn phase, but it seems most people acknowledge the early days with twins are not much fun. Can't wait to get smiles from the babies, that will help!

Nancy54 Wed 14-May-14 05:44:22

Glad to hear you had a better day.

I was definitely ticking the days off!! It is just really hard. I only have my twins (hats off to you for doing it with older ones too!) so I don't know what it is like to have one but in the early days I did feel rather envious of my friends who just had a singleton! Don't now though, twins are amazing and worth the horrific ness of the early days!

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