Sleep-deprived mum needs help re. breast-feeding at night

(85 Posts)
Frenchfamille Tue 19-Feb-13 20:30:31

The twins are here - they are delightful but I am shattered. The good news is breast-feeding is going well. They are 4 weeks old today, and I know I shouldn't be expecting too much, but after a long delivery I feel as though I haven't slept since they arrived.

In the day they are not sleeping for long spells. I have put them together in a big old fashioned pram which is in the lounge - really for ease but perhaps I should be putting them in their cot(s) upstairs?

Day-time sleeping for me seems hard as one is awake, the other sleeps etc. I have 3 other children, at school mostly (not on wednesdays - we live in France).

At night-time they have been in the cot in our room, and I try to do a feed last thing with them both but neither then seem to settle brilliantly so we've ended up with latched on to me, the other being held by husband, in an attempt to get some kind of sleep.

Despite having done this 3 times before, I feel completely out my depth with the sleep thing. Any advice very welcome. At 4 weeks should I let them cry, perhaps put them in their room, and not be feeding what seems every other hour (or sometimes every hour if one then wakes up the other)? I am obviously snatching sleep as I wake up with one latched on, or off, so I've obviously nodded off.

Everyone in France is telling me to switch to bottles - honestly, it really is something that every health professional has suggested! But will this achieve anything - they still need to sleep! And I have established good breastfeeding so think this is not the option.

Sorry to waffle and sound negative about no sleep. We adore our girls (our eldest are all boys so it's quite different!) but I really do need to sleep soon....

butterflyexperience Tue 19-Feb-13 23:49:07

I think you have done amazing to bf twins till 4 weeks and have other dc!

I don't yet have my dt so I'm sure someone more experienced will pop along to advise

DigestivesWithCheese Tue 19-Feb-13 23:55:07

Hi French,

My twins are fully formula fed now but I've met a few mums who are breast-feeding twins and most of them give a bottle of either expressed or formula milk as the last feed (the one which is between 9 - midnight, ideally 10 when they are more of a routine).

My DH does that last feed for our twins and it means I get to bed as early as possible (around 8pm if I can) and have a longer stretch of sleep before the next feed, which is usually after 1am.

Keep going, you're doing brilliantly to have got this far! grin

temporary Wed 20-Feb-13 00:06:20

I am so so sorry you haven't got any replies on here.
My heart really goes out to you, as I was like you and had twins who did not fall into a deep sleep immediately after a feed, and that was massively hard. I remember mine doing the whole crying all evening until about midnight, and both wanting to be feeding or held all day long, and that was the most draining thing.
I don't really know where to start as there is so much I can say. Firstly I don't think that bottles are really the answer to your sleep problems as then you would still have to feed them with the additional agony of having to get out of bed to make the feeds.

I did one night once, when I had a pile of pillows on each side of me, as well as pillows putting my body at about 45 degree angle. I put a baby on each pile of pillows to each side ( the piles were high and got the babies at exactly the height to breast feed whilst on their sides). I managed to lie and sleep for a long period of time as the babies could have a nipple permanently in their mouths, it was my best night sleep for a loooong time. I was very reliant on my partner though as I couldn't do anything for myself. It was such a hassle getting the pillows in position that I didn't do it again.

The rest of the time I would put baby A on to my left breast lying down, then fall asleep. When baby B woke, baby A was by that time asleep so I would move her onto the cot next to the bed, and bring baby B over to my other breast, get her latched as I lay down then fall asleep until baby a wanted her next feed. On the plus side I was able to be lying down in the dark and sleep for all the night, but the obvious downside to this method is that the babies are not in sync so the disruption is so much more frequent, but I can honestly say that because I was zonked out so quickly again after the change over it wasn't a big issue.

During the day I always fed them tandem, so they were in sync and although the feeds were every 2 hours they only lasted 30 minutes and then I was potentially 'free' (as long as there was someone around to push the pram or take over.)
Have you managed tandem feeding at all? If you don't enjoy it, it isn't forever and could just get you through the tricky early days.

I wonder if you could get the days a bit straighter, and get some more help to give you a proper nap every day, then it might just help you to get through this early days 'hump'. That is my biggest regret, that I didn't get more help in the first 3 months, all because I thought I had to get the hang of it all on my own so I may as well get on and do it on my own.

You are doing a wonderful job, my heart honestly went out to you when I read your message, it was like reading a message from me 3 years ago. It doesn't matter how experienced you are, twins do floor you, I felt like I was a first time mum all over again because it is just that much more complicated.

Xx

temporary Wed 20-Feb-13 00:07:11

Oops x-posted.

CharlieBlanche Wed 20-Feb-13 00:20:58

Firstly I bow down before you in respect I was tired enough having teins let alone 3 other children.

I saw your question earlier but didn't respond because I wasn't sure I had anything helpful to say but I'm about to go to bed and no one else has come along so...

I exclusively breast fed our twins. Yes it is exhausting. At about your stage I literally thought I'd die from lack of sleep. I remember weeing the night before DH returned to work and it was all I could do not to beg him to stay home with me.

At about 6 weeks I started to feel a bit better (not having more sleep but I think my body just got used to it a bit). After 12 weeks even better (though still not much sleep).

I'm sorty to tell you that my two were more that 6 months old before they ever slept at the same time during the day or night.

Having twins is really hard, breast feeding twins is very physically demanding. Three other children - I can't even imagine!!! flowers

I think that whatever you need to do to get thtough the day is fine really. You have to take care of yourself too.

But although I found breastfeeding very hard and only sheer bloody mindedness kept me going in the early days I was soooo glad I stuck with it. Going out and about with twins involves aLOT of kit I can't imagine having to lug bottles etc too.

Sleeping arrangments. We had ours in two cots in our room until the were 7 months old. Much easier not to have to spend all night trooping into another room to fed/comfort/change two babies. They were orginially in the one cot but I found that they were disturbing each other in the night when waking for feeds, changes etc so side by side cots worked best for us.

The other thing I did was LOTS of walking with the pram. Fresh air would help send them to sleep then I'd wheel the pram into the front room and lie down on the sofa for 30 secs or so.

I put them in their carrycots or bouncy chairs down stairs to sleep during the day at this age. Once we'd established them in their own room I put then into their own beds diring the day. We never left then to cry it out. (although I have vivid memories if sitting in my bedroom floor howling myself while holding two crying babies).

I'm not sure I've been helpful at all but you are doing wonderfully.

Ps my wonderful, wonderful twins are now 5 yo, sleeping peacefully next door and are just fantastic. Hang on in there and take all the help you can get from friends and family.

Good luck!

Dunno French. I am up with my two week olds. They are just about asleep on my tandem feeding pillow but as soon as I move they wake. It's a killer.

DTS barely slept today and is so sucky all the time. I think he needs some attention tomorrow without me being distracted and hopefully that will trigger a better nught's sleep. Can only dream ( or not!)

thereistheball Wed 20-Feb-13 03:58:41

Hi French - I've just finished a night feed so need to get my head down but I will be back in the day to tell you how we are doing things. Meanwhile bon courage! (I'm also in France)

Well. Marginal win last night with sleeping in their carrycots downstairs with me on the sofa.. Got 3 solid hours - which is enough to manage for me. DTD is now feeding.

Going to feed both and them try to get out for a quick wall round the block, them go for a snooze with them both. I think I'm going to aim for wakin them to feed every 2.5 hours today to see if it helps a bit. Plus take the carrycots up to the bedroom tonight - ATM they are I'm one big cot together - which doesn't seem to be working for us.

Wd be grateful for any words of wisdom though!

thereistheball Wed 20-Feb-13 09:12:44

Hi again. Here are a few quick thoughts about your post.

1 - congratulations and well done to have got this far. The first month for us was chaos and I think you just have to muddle through as best you can. Must be especially hard with 3 (!) other children.

2 - at this stage I think babies are too young for either 'being left to cry' (or any other kind of sleep training other than a gentle insistence on a routine) or being put into their own room. Also, I would resist the pressure to switch to bottles. The French are notorious for not breastfeeding. If you want to, and you've got this far, then you should be able to continue.

3 - As suggested above, I think the first thing to do is block a few hours when you can get a guaranteed sleep because you are off-duty. For me this is as soon as I can get to bed in the evening til about midnight when DH goes to bed (in the spare room so as to be guaranteed a proper sleep before work), though we hope that the babies will sleep til about 1.30-2am. DH gives them a bottle at 10-10.30. This was expressed breast milk and is now formula. If you haven't introduced a bottle yet then now is a good time to do it because you can leave it so long that they reject it, which will tie you in to breastfeeding for months (I did this with DD - fine if you only have one child, but not for you I imagine).

4 - I've found the key to a good night's sleep is getting the babies into the same routine, so they wake and eat at about the same times. You want to be feeding them as much of their daily milk requirements during the day as possible, to minimise their need to wake at night. At this stage I think we were doing something like:
- 7 am wake and feed (I tandem feed during the day, but you could split this to 6.45 for one and 7.15 for the other). Try not to feed after 8.15 so they get hungry for the next feed.
- 8.45-9.45 nap (I do this in the carry cots in the pram in case I need to go out. I use their pram suits with no blankets - I often keep the front door open as I find the cool air helps them sleep for some reason)
-10 am feed
-11.30-2 long nap (try to get some rest yourself during this time. I took mine round the block to drop off then left them outside on the balcony with the bedroom door open while I rested. Often got a whole hour this way.)
-2pm feed
-4-5pm nap
-5pm - half a feed, then baths, then the rest of their feeds before 7pm bedtime
-10pm feed
- on demand feeds during the night. But no matter what happened we started again at 7.

I wouldn't let the babies have more than 4.5 hours sleep during the day. They are now a bit further on and we are down to 3.5. Speaking of which I must wake them! Hope that helps. If I think of anything else I'll add it later.

Meanwhile you are doing an amazing job - keep going!

thereistheball Wed 20-Feb-13 09:13:39

Oh yes - cuddling them to sleep is completely normal at this stage!

thereistheball Wed 20-Feb-13 09:16:09

also - on wednesdays could your elder children go to a Centre de Loisirs so you just have the babies to contend with?

thereistheball Wed 20-Feb-13 09:20:43

(I should say, re the routine above - I breastfeed then top up with a bottle to make sure they are getting completely full at each feed. Mine were very prem and spent 10 weeks in hospital. Once they came home and started to catch up their growth curves their demand suddenly and definitively outstripped my supply, but we are still going with mixed feeding more than 3 months down the line and I'm really glad I persevered.)

Nancy54 Wed 20-Feb-13 11:56:52

Hiya, french (and thereis!), i'm in france too and have 21 week old twins.

havent really got much to add after what has already been said but just wanted to say sounds like you're doing amazingly with dts and three others!!

re the breastfeeding, yes the french appear to be rather pro-bottle feeding, i nearly ended up not breastfeeding mine cos so much pressure was put on me to bottle feed them. no breast is best in la france!!!! anyway, i resisted them and no ebf dtg (bottle refuser!) and dtb has a bottle of formula before bed. like thereis said, it is good to get them to take a bottle as it takes the pressure off you and means you can get a block of sleep which you really need! dtg did originally take a bottle but has now decided otherwise.

re getting them to feed at the same time, this is a good idea in theory and i do manage it up to a point but my babies are very different and have very different weights so i find one often needs feeding before the other so i just do it. Same with naps, i try to get them to nap at the same time but my little girl needs more day sleep than my little boy so what can you do!

i would say just feed them as often as they want at this point (even if it is every hour), i know that is totally against french advice but that what what instincts told me to do and my boy is now a very healthy 8kg and the little girl 7, so i must be doing something right. its however horrendously tiring so you do need to get someone else to take some of the strain - so that why a bottle could be a good idea. tbh i don't know how you're doing it with other dcs, it's really amazing!!!

ClairesTravellingCircus Wed 20-Feb-13 13:53:29

Hello french

not much to add to the excellent advice you have received (also I wasn't able to EBF so my experience is different), but we have all been there with the terrible nights some of us are still there actually.

The early weeks are a killer. I have 2 older dcs too (but at 7and 11 they were quite helpfull). for weeks my longest strecth of sleep was somewhere between 7/8-10am, I was lucky that dh took the other two to school and the twins seemed to sleep better at that time (often in bed with me though). It was my life saver!

Sorry really what I want to say is, you're doing great and we know how you feel!
Hope some of the suggestions upthread help!

temporary Wed 20-Feb-13 14:55:48

clairestravellingcircus, mine slept best in the morning too. I used to get a really long stretch between 6ish and 10am, that was The ONLY time in a 24hr period though. I seem to remember I wasted it by getting up and having a shower.
It was about 3 months until that changed, which was weird.

DoingTheSwanThing Wed 20-Feb-13 18:06:29

Hi French
Congratulations! I hope you're feeling suitably proud of yourself smile
My b/g twins are now 6m and ebf, but I only have one other child, huge respect to you!
Not sure I have any words of wisdom but these are things that worked for us...
Tandem feeding only worked when they happened to want feeding at the same time. The only time I felt like I couldn't actually manage was as a result of trying to follow the very well-meaning advice of getting them on the same routine, so if that doesn't work for you (wrt nap times etc ), I wouldn't push it and try to go with the flow as much as possible. It's so hard though with other children to think about, I just wanted to strangle anyone who said "sleep when they sleep"!!
I found myself sleeping bolt upright tandem feeding with a massive cushion in the early days - totally unsafe but the exhaustion was something else! Eventually though we started properly co-sleeping (always intended to, but they were prem so I wanted them a bit bigger first) - I have a double bed in their room, they sleep there and I join them when they first wake up. It's so, so much better in terms of both sleep quality and quantity. Is this an option for you? I now barely wake to switch them over. They've both still feeding twice most nights but because there's no faff involved it's absolutely fine and I'm well rested.
Unless you particularly want to mix feed, I'd recommend ignoring the bottle suggestions- you've done so well getting established, things are only going to get better. I think it took until about 3 months for me to really feel like bf was the easy option... And then met up with some other twin mums who were ff... Gosh, I don't know how they do it! It's such an advantage being able to solve most problems by flinging a boob at them <lazy>.
Have you looked at any ways of tandem feeding whilst lying down? Difficult to advise as so much depends on babies size/boob shape etc, but that helps - only learned in the last couple of months here though (I kind of lie on my side feeding one then drape the other over the top of me... Total trial and error!). Even feeding one lying down is a huge advantage for sleeping.
Please don't take this as pressure to keep bf unless you want to, I'm sure plenty of mums will say ff is a good idea for division of labour purposes, I can only share my experience.
Very best wishes to you, I hope the sleep improves for you soon.
Apologies for the essay and any resultant typos... On phone wink

Frenchfamille Wed 20-Feb-13 22:38:18

I am bowled over by the number of replies I have got - a big heart-felt thank you to everyone. I will read them properly tomorrow as it is late here in France and I've only just logged on and am amazed with all the responses. Having flicked through so briefly I see there are lots of great ideas as well as support. I thank you all. Will read properly and reply tomorrow during one of the feed times when I have them balanced tandem and have hands free! We did, just to update, put them next door in their room last night, in separate cots, for the first time, and at 4am when they woke up, or one did, and it was about the 5th wake up that night, I decided to get up, lights on, proper feed (woke the other up too) and they went back to bed for 4 hours sleep afterwards which is the most they have ever had. It was a minor step forward...... til tomorrow, thank you all again.

Frenchfamille Thu 21-Feb-13 09:50:00

Thank you to all - support from everyone, thanks Butterfly,

Last night we managed 1-4.30am both asleep in their cots, then I had to do the lying down feeding changing over etc but at least we were relaxed, darkened light, resting. It really helped with husband taking charge after I finished feed at 1am and I went into deeper sleep and he settled them so I was 'off duty' which meant I zonked out completely til 4.30am.

Digestives - sounds a good plan, problem here with that is school doesn't finish til 5pm so we get home by 5.30pm, homework etc.... 8pm and everyone's still awake/home-working etc. It's really hard from 5-9pm as it's so full on so sleeping at 8pm would mean I'm in bed before the 3 boys! Although perhaps not a bad idea. But it does make me realise I need to do everything poss to get them into bed and then me follow. Sounds like you have a good routine going there.

Temporary - I hear you loud and appreciate your words having been there. You are right about it all and I know exactly what you mean about the lying down in night, you don't get the same deep sleep but it is sleep of some sort. I need to get the days more organised and yes I feed them mostly in the day in rugby position with drink, book, tv control, food, cake in front of me! I know it will get easier or I will just adjust more. Thank you for your long post and all the advice. Much much appreciated.

Charlie - your post made me tearful - bloody hormones.... I want to carry on BF and think it's not so much the BF but just the fact there are two of them, not always in sync and so the respite inbetween seems very very little. You write it so clearly that you are describing me exactly. It helps so much to hear other people's similar states - and the fact they are still alive to tell the tale!

Over here in France there is a real lack near me of twin support groups - I have to travel miles. It makes me realise how good it is in UK in comparison.

Keep going Freebutton - early days and all that..... well done for your 3 hour stint x

Thereistheball - don't suppose you in Brittany area?! What a great post - all those times noted! Yes, I need to do as much feeding in the day to leave nights less. 10 weeks prem - wow, you are a superstar. You sound so knowledgeable now - you've obviously done brilliantly. The other children are 11, 8 and 5. They don't want to be away on wednesdays but husband tends to stop working (works at home on computer) to help out and get them out and about. (we have a brittany and morbihan cycling champ in the 2 eldest - sorry, can't resist being proud mummy of boys especially as it's all girls stuff at moment!)
I feel better just reading your post. Keep in touch.

Nancy - thank you too. Not in Brittany area?! Sounds like you are doing well and yes, all that French stuff about bottles, it is quite unusual but I wanted to bf them so was quite persistent plus it is going well, just the fact that there's 2 to keep happy..... they are 4 weeks old.

Thank you Claires - for all your words.

Doingtheswanthing - I think I did that once, more by accident, one draped over the top - they seem to be able to grab the nipple from different angles so it's a good thought! I appreciate your bf advice - it is a very personal thing and I have no qualms on how they are fed as long as everyone's happy but certainly feels I've done the hard bit to get established so a shame if I didn't carry on now. As I keep saying to people it's having 2, not the way they are fed, and the fact they are not always in sync. But as you all say, they are zonked now, I am having late breakfast, and here by my 5 year old who is off school ill...... oh dear, just another thing to add into the equation.

I hope I haven't missed anyone out. Please keep in touch and I will try to post updates. This really has been of help to me, so sending you all a big thank you from a thankfully sunny day in France X

Nancy54 Thu 21-Feb-13 12:36:00

God french I don't know how you've got the time to respond to us all personally, wow!!

Not in Brittany unfortunately, I'm in Lorraine (nancy to be exact hence my name), its a shame, I'd love some rl twin mum friends!! Have joined the jumeaux et plus ass but its not v active in Lorraine

Frenchfamille Thu 21-Feb-13 20:42:42

Dommage, Nancy. But i will try to find some support here although not had much luck so far. Re. responding to all, I read the info on here which said it was important to acknowledge everyone and I was too scared to leave someone out! Normally so sure of myself and decisive, my sleep deprived head does not have the same clarity..... I have to say, the added 3 children bit hit a low today as i found myself at the doctors with my 5 year old. Has la grippe (like flu virus) and was hoping for once to get something for it having usually avoided doctors here but alas, just doliprane and rest and TLC. So tomorrow I have one of the boys off school also, possibly another as he says he's feeling rough! Ooh-la-la! All i keep thinking is 'what happens if I get ill?' Never before have i felt so much pressure to be well. So much so that I bought from the pharmacie a big bottle of that hospital type hand steriliser! Positive thoughts to France please........

Mandy21 Thu 21-Feb-13 22:05:10

Sorry for the late reply - hats off to you for dealing with newborn twins and 3 other children.

Couple of things that worked for me (and this is all bearing in mind that I didn't have any other children to sort), I found that demand feeding at this stage - absolutely every time they got whingey in the day I'd feed them, and if one wanted feeding, I fed the other one too (one after the other). Each twin had a designated boob so if they didn't take very much, it was still full for the next time we tried. For the night feeds, we still fed them together, but my H helped out - Twin 1 would wake, i'd feed him / her for 10 mins or so during which time my H would have woken Twin 2 and changed nappy. He'd give me Twin 2 to feed, and I'd pass him Twin 1 to settle. Once Twin 1 was settled, he'd go back to sleep. I'd finish feeding Twin 2 and then settle them. It sounds like a faff but it meant H was up for about 15 mins at each feed, I'd be up for about 20 mins. We could then (usually) get a couple of hours decent sleep before the next feed. In the early days, we had them in their moses baskets inside a big cotbed in our room - they seemed to like being swaddled in a confined space i.e. moses basket (they'd spent time in incubators) but liked being close to each other.

I also agree that if you can, keep going with the b/f - I bed exclusively for about 7 months, then gradually tried to introduce a bottle of EBM. We did eventually switch to bottles at about 11 months - my DTD was still waking at this stage for a night feed and the hassle of having to make a bottle up during the night was a real pain after b/f.

Good luck smile

Nancy54 Fri 22-Feb-13 07:18:08

Oh no!! Sending you lots of get well vibes across the country from Lorraine!!! Hope your little boy gets better soon and that you don't get it! X

Frenchfamille Fri 22-Feb-13 14:58:37

Too late Nancy - achey, hot/cold etc AGHHH! But being sensible, in pjs, curtains drawn, husband taking girls for walk so quick nap....... not easy though!

rednellie Fri 22-Feb-13 15:43:48

Hey Frenchfamille - you've had loads of really good replies. This is just another person cheering you on really.

I've EBF my twins and I have a 3 yr old DD and we've managed ok. Obviously, there have been a lot of broken nights, but I'm so so so glad I did. Apart from anything else, one of my two boys is allergic to all sorts of things and if I had fed him formula he would have been very very ill!

My number one tip, especially for the early days, is assign a boob a twin and swap every 24 hours. I do the swap at the 6pm feed. Just one less thing to remember when you're already sleep deprived!

Good luck and congratulations.

rednellie Fri 22-Feb-13 15:45:40

Oh and on the health note - I take a breast feeding multi vitamin and swig a dose of fish oil every day. I have NO IDEA whether it helps, but at least it makes me feel I'm fending off the worst excess of illnesses that go around!

Frenchfamille Fri 22-Feb-13 17:41:32

thanks rednellie - ive been swapping each feed. You think its best to do this every 24 hours? Will go and buy multi vit for bf mums. Thank you. Still achey but surviving and just had 90 mins sleep which is a luxury....

rednellie Fri 22-Feb-13 18:07:22

I just found it useful swapping every 24hrs for two reasons:
- it was easier for my sleep deprived brain
- I had one very efficient feeder and one slower one so I felt if I swapped every time they might not get fair/equal amounts of fore and hind milk.

And just a warning: twin mums do tend to get more than their fair share of plugged ducts and mastitis. It's because you're producing such vast quantities it can sometimes overwhelm your system. Check out kellymom.com for their advice. My best tip was as soon as I got a sore patch I'd fill a disposable nappy with hot water then wrap it round my boob. I kid you not.

But it's amazing as it moulds to your body and is a damp heat which is what really helps.

Nancy54 Fri 22-Feb-13 18:51:22

Oh noooooo!!! Hope you're not feeling too bad! The only good thing is that the twins shouldn't get it cos you'll give them your antibodies. Hope you've managed to get some rest.

Nancy54 Fri 22-Feb-13 18:55:20

Oh yeah and I was originally swapping boobs after every feed and red Nellie advised me to do the 24 hour thing and I found it much better.

Some people actually have a permanently assigned boob for each twin. I haven't done this though.

rednellie Fri 22-Feb-13 20:34:40

Yeah, I'm not sure about that as I definitely have a boob everyone seems to prefer hmm so I thought at least if they swap every 24 hours it evens things out and also forces both boobs to be supplying the same amount.

butterflyexperience Sat 23-Feb-13 08:50:26

Fab bf info on this thread. Helps me get my head around it all for when mine arrive ...

temporary Sat 23-Feb-13 09:13:43

I went through various phases. I think in the v.v early days the midwife told me to swap them over mid-feed, which was extra hassle I didn't need. Then I swapped each feed, and every 24 hours too.

It was all a bit prone to error for my befuddled brain, so I went to a breast each from about 4 months. I think it's horses for courses.

When I got mastitis it meant I knew who had caused it!

Nancy54 Sat 23-Feb-13 09:36:21

i do sometimes forgot who's on which boob on a given day and / or realise they're on the wrong boob but i don't think it really matters that much.

rednellie Sat 23-Feb-13 10:00:49

Me too. It's actually getting harder to keep track as they only feed 4 times in 24 hours. Ish. Ah, it is lovely though. smile

ClairesTravellingCircus Sat 23-Feb-13 11:03:40

See the problems I missed having just one working boob! grin

Mandy21 Sat 23-Feb-13 11:06:22

As I said above, mine had a boob each right from the start - it worked for us but I needed anything and everything to simplify things!

I try to mix up which side they feed when they are tandem but I am still feeding them singly about 50% of the time so that evens things up as I switch/give two sides if needed then. Don't want to end up w uneven boobs! [vain]

rednellie Sat 23-Feb-13 12:46:37

Claire - you're such a show off bf twins with one boob! wink

Nancy54 Sat 23-Feb-13 13:12:16

Omg claire i cant believe you bfed them with one boob!!!! Wow!

Frenchfamille Sat 23-Feb-13 13:40:20

The great advice continues and I think I will try swapping every 24 hours. Today's hiccup is that I am in bed, with flu - but this is French flu which is probably not as bad! Seriously, last night I was a bit delirious and briefly thought I should go to hospital but I was just stressed about feeling rough. I did take myself (or rather was driven by dh) to doctors just incase there was something I could take but no, just rest etc.

However, I was always of the understanding you carry on bf through illness. He, however, gave me breast pump and told me to express off the 'flu milk' (although I was feeding last night) to help stop the twins getting it.

So with rather a fuzzy head I bought 2 bottles, gave them a bottle (or rather husband and boys did as i am in bed) and I am waiting for this super-duper pump to be delivered to me in the next hour from the pharmacy.

The twins took, in the end, the bottle but GP said when fever goes return to bf. WHen you feel so crap, you follow to the book what a doctor says, but really is this right? I do intend to use the pump in a minute, and perhaps keep using today and tonight and re-start bf tomorrow assuming I feel better. But infact, I feel really rough but I turned a corner and am definitely getting better.

The irony is that the twins both slept from 12.20am to 4.50am in their own cots, then husband latched them on when they needed next feeds from our bed so infact it was the best successful night to date!! If only I could feel the benefits today.... When Florence (she's the eldest and was born on different day to her sister!) saw me just now she gave me the most saddest cry and I had to hide upstairs as I was coughing and splattering and dh trying to do bottle, and I felt really crap.

Now I think I should just make the most of the rest this afternoon in attempt to get back on track next week.

But if you have views on whether I should say bollocks to gp here and continue especially if it is BETTER to continue now, tell me. I have various views on the french health system which will have to wait for another day !!
Don't get me wrong, lots of great preventative work being done here but sometimes some slightly askew advice.

Frenchfamille Sat 23-Feb-13 13:41:22

forgot to say, love the hot nappy advice XX

ClairesTravellingCircus Sat 23-Feb-13 14:35:43

I don't have much time bit I think the drs advice is bollocks! They might catch the flu from you not breastmilk, if anything b/m protects them!

Personally I'd keep feeding them and ignore drs wink

Nancy54 Sat 23-Feb-13 14:38:21

I'm not a doctor and have no medical knowledge but it seems rather odd advice.

Totally understand you having followed it though, I got some absolutely horrendous advice from french hcps and in my sleep deprived state I followed it.

Anyway, even if it is crap advice re 'flu milk', it was good that they slept longer and you got some rest so prob good to have done it because you must be on your knees.

Sending you hugs and get well vibes xx

Nancy54 Sat 23-Feb-13 14:42:51

Yes and breast feeding is supposed to give them antibodies

ClairesTravellingCircus Sat 23-Feb-13 15:36:36

Sorry that was a bit blunt, but I didnt want you to go unanswered!
I think that if someone else can do a couple of feeds so you can rest it is great, as having tge flu plus breasfeeding twins must be rubbish, and doesn't give you much time to recover.

Hope you feel better soon!

rednellie Sat 23-Feb-13 15:43:38

The doctor has no idea what he is talking about. Ffs what an idiot. You can feed babies even if you have HIV (obviously under very specific circs).

Anyway, of course express and use some bottles if you want a rest but if you want to feed them feed.

rednellie Sat 23-Feb-13 15:51:42

[[ http://kellymom.com/bf/can-i-breastfeed/meds/med-risks/ link]] to kellymom about taking medicine whilst bf. Just gives you an idea of how ill you can be and still feed!

rednellie Sat 23-Feb-13 15:52:17
ClairesTravellingCircus Sat 23-Feb-13 16:55:13

Nancy I didn not EBF both of them! (Only dtg as madam started refusing the bottle around 3 months hmm)

Nancy54 Sat 23-Feb-13 17:49:08

Ah ok Claire but still! That's funny actually because my dtg started bottle refusing a 3 months too. Little madams!

thereistheball Sat 23-Feb-13 19:11:33

French - sorry you're ill!

I swear by Elevit, which is a mega- vitamin with B9 - my doctor prescribed it when I told her I was breastfeeding. Any time I've felt like I was coming down with something I'd neck several thousand mg vitamin C on top (spaced out through the day) and that helped.

Your pharmacy will have surgical masks - we used them in hospital and I've used them occasionally since to stop me breathing germs over the babies while feeding them (sounds extreme but because they were so early we have to take special precautions to stop them getting I'll).

Sadly I'm not in Brittany - Just outside Paris.

Get well soon!

DoingTheSwanThing Sun 24-Feb-13 15:34:29

Goodness me French... That's shockingly bad advice (even for France...)! Hope you're feeling better.

Frenchfamille Sun 24-Feb-13 19:44:04

I will ask doctor to prescribe that vitamin, thereistheball. Thank you.
To all the rest of you - the common theme is that the advice was bollocks, and bollocks it was. After 2 bottles and a chat online (couldn't talk so had to email only!) with my good friend, a midwife in UK, realised (although I knew deep down it was true beforehand) that it was c* advice and back to boobs they went. So far they are OK. If they get it, they do but midwife told me at least they will have some antibodies from me and seeing as I'm fighting the virus it can only be good.

Really peed off but at least mentally today I feel a bit better. And physically too. 3 long days unable to get out of bed but today woke up in cold sweat and seemed to signal end of fever. A really horrible virus. Who said these things are sent to test us?! Up today and left with a normal cold and very sore throat which is a heapload better than this time yesterday.

I know people say not to believe everything you read on the net, etc. but I can honestly say that this thread and site (am new to it) has given me some much needed overthenet support in the last week and thank you to you all for that. Sometimes it's just about tapping in your gut feelings and someone else saying 'yes, I did that' or 'yes, I think I'd do that if I was you' which can make the difference.

Not big rugby fans but couldn't help smiling that they were beaten yesterday. You can't take the Britishness out of the girl in France (especially when the recent medical advice was so rubbish!).....

Lets hope for an easier week for all of us - UK and France X

ClairesTravellingCircus Sun 24-Feb-13 20:09:01

Hi french

Glad to hear you're on the mendsmile.

This place is fantastic for support and the multiple births board is extraspecial, because we've all been/going through the same and we know just how hard it is!

Hope you get back on top form (as much as possible with baby twins wink) soon.

toomuchpink Sun 24-Feb-13 20:38:43

Glad so many people have been in touch. It is really hard that early bit. I felt there was such a tunnel ahead of me and even knowing from DD1 that it would get better, the length of the tunnel still depressed me. Do you do any expressing? (Sorry if you have already answered.) I expressed like it was my religion the same time every morning. Even though I struggled to express with DD1 using the madela electric breast pump at the same time (post mid-morning feed) every day meant for quite a while I could produce quite a lot of extra milk. This meant if the babies woke before midnight my husband would syringe feed them - moving to bottles around eight weeks or so. I would then do any feeds from midnight onwards. Often the best bit of sleep I got was between them falling asleep at 8 or 9 and midnight.
If they were being pesky at going down at 9pm my DDH would also take over. He found swaddling tight and rocking in a moses basket helped. He would actually keep the babies downstairs with him and bring them upstairs at 12 when he went to bed. (We slept in separate bedrooms until they were at least 6mths old.)
I used to really look forward to those three hours on my own.
Co-sleeping is just really not for me, I would do anything to avoid it unless they were unwell.

I decided I was going to put them into a napping routine at 12 weeks. Before then it was erratic. I was absolutely determined they would both nap at the same time each am and pm. The hard bit about this was it meant I did not like to leave one sleeping too much longer than the other when we first got up. But in the space of a week, I did get them to go down at the same time in the mornings and afternoons. It involved controlled crying with one.
The length of the naps were unpredictable until I started solids with them around 6mths, but I am so glad I got that routine going. I would recommend it to anyone.

Hope you are feeling better.

rednellie Sun 24-Feb-13 21:08:59

Hey french, so glad you're feeling better. What an awful virus you've had, I reckon your babies will be fine. Mine all seem to be totally without illness right up until I wean them, then it's open season!

Sending lots of good wishes and support from over the channel.

Frenchfamille Sun 24-Feb-13 21:21:07

thanks 4 support. Praying for a good night with girls as sleep is all thats going to speed this flu away. Drinking loads squash, making myself eat, being sensible. Hear you have this horrible virus your way too. Take care all. Our 2 wk half term hol starts tomoro.... good 4 lie in if poss but not so good 4 entertaining 3 boys. DVD/Amazon SOS!

Frenchfamille Mon 25-Feb-13 16:25:51

Girls had pretty good sleep - husband bringing them into me and settling them which helped and although I feel far from normal, I certainly am going in the right direction and today got a good hour's sleep/rest and nice hot bath while they were asleep. Can't help thinking how much easier it's all going to be when I get back to normal after the flu, and only have to deal with the tiredness again. Certainly going to seem easier than the last 4/5 days have been - and I'm even starting to think more positively again so must be on the mend!

Nancy54 Mon 25-Feb-13 19:26:33

Oh french you really have had a hard time! Glad you're on the mend., I know what you mean about this site being a great support, it's really helped me through the first few months too, I've found it m

Nancy54 Mon 25-Feb-13 19:28:30

Oops posted too soon...

I was saying I've found it harder than I thought I would having children in a foreign country. It's lovely to meet another twin mum in France, even if it is only over the Internet!

Hope you manage to get a little sleep tonight

thereistheball Tue 26-Feb-13 08:54:18

Hear hear.

French - vitamins aren't refunded by SS so you can just go and get them from the pharmacy. No prescription necessary.

Frenchfamille Tue 26-Feb-13 09:57:58

Nancy - we got some sleep last night, the babies start off next door to us and have about 3 hours then husband brings each in when they wake and at that point they stay in with us which is the best way it works at the moment. I think I can get them back in their cots when I have got over the flu which should make for a reasonable sleep at that point.

You and thereistheball will appreciate this .... we had to take the girls for their 1 month checkup with pueri. and paediatrician. They asked us the most BIZARRE questions and my husband said after it was like we were having a test. At one point they asked if they were making all the baby sounds, talking to us and my son said "they're advanced but they are not talking words to us!" Obsessed about if their bottoms were red, were they smiling etc (yes they are but they are only just 5 weeks so they're not smiling all day obviously) and I challenged them about the breast feeding when ill thing. Are they a little sick after a feed? Well only because one drinks so quickly. How much? How long has that spot been on her face? (it's a tiny milk spot for goodness sake) Then the doctor went to answer the phone for 10 minutes leaving them undressed waiting, and I picked one up and was told it was best to leave her there with her sleepsuit draped on her. Do you know what - at the end of a 40 minute grill about them, they admitted the girls were great but when they asked about how I was feeding them, having seen their good weight gain, there was no small 'well done' or 'you are doing well' to me which I thought was sad. I had no voice and it was obvious I had been pretty ill. We both came away feeling that if were in UK we would have had someone telling us that we were doing well.

There is sadly no kind of twin group or anything like that anywhere near us. So it's nice to have some connection with others in france even if only over net. I was really excited to have the twins here. And although the medical team during birth (primarily midwife) was superb, since then we have both felt ourselves talked at in disturbingly patronising way by the people we've since had to deal with. Hopefully as the girls get older and we have less to do with them we will calm down about this!

Re. flu - getting better every day but a really nasty virus and slow to mend so will go up to pharmacie and get those vitamins you recommend too.

Nancy54 Tue 26-Feb-13 18:21:53

Glad to hear things are getting better, baby twins plus flu is bloody hard!!

Lol re the paediat. As I said, I have found having babies here quite hard!! Luckily, I've got a really great paediatrition (sp?) who is lovely and v pro breast feeding. She goes on about how amazing it is every time I see her!! My horrendous experience was mainly in the hospital after birth and the midwife that came to the house. At the hospital, the DID NOT want me to breast feed, I really had to fight and then the midwife that came to the house told me to feed them no more than three hourly for ten mins and then put them back in their cots and not pick them up if they cried! She was in her late sixties though!! I then got in touch with a friends midwife who really helped me, so there has been good and bad.

One of the worst is my bloody mil though and I can't get away from her! Lol. Is your dh french or English?

Frenchfamille Tue 26-Feb-13 19:19:10

He's English, Nancy. We've lived here full-time for 3.5 years now. Had a holiday house here and every time we used to go home we were sad, until our eldest suddenly declared one day "we should just live in France" and fortunately as our work was home-based it was possible. So here we are. 3 boys all bi-lingual now, infact forgetting English at times. So I don't have a french m.i.l.

Sounds like you have battled against the system with the bfeeding but you've done so well so pat yourself on the back! We have a lady through the ADMR who has just started helping out, just 3 hours a week, but she's lovely, and pro bf and tells me how well I am doing. First time anyone's said 'well done' to me and I almost hugged her today.

Who invented a 2 week half term holiday in the freezing month of feb?

It's a culture thing here though, I think. Lots of telling you how to do things, and not so much of asking you how you would like to do things. Lots of good things about France but have already realised that to survive with all these checkups for the twins I will have to develop a thicker skin and silently sing the English National Anthem in my head to avoid hearing ridiculous questions and advice. Plus I get my dh to attend these appointments with me which helps me bite my tongue at times - until I get outside of course!

Anyway, girls doing really well so that's the main thing.

And when flu goes completely (getting there but think it'll take this week to get back some energy) I'll be able to enjoy the girls a bit more. They've just started really looking around and responding to us, a few smiles and on the whole they are calm and happy. I've got about 250 new outfits they've been given to get through before they're 3 months old so I need to get them out of sleepsuits!!

Nancy54 Wed 27-Feb-13 17:09:38

lucky you having no french mil. lol

wow that's a great story about moving out here, just shows that sometimes you should really follow your dreams!! Do you speak french? must be weird that the kids are losing their english!!!

re the culture thing, yes i agree, i'm just learning to nod and smile a lot and then do it my way anyway. is difficult being in between two cultures though. I too think there are many great things about france and don't want to 'france bash' but it's always gonna be difficult living in a foreign country out of your comfort zone etc. having said that, i have lived here for eight years so you'd have thought i'd be used to it now!

anyway, it sounds like you are doing really amazingly with your girls and i'm sorry no one's been telling you so!

are they id?

i've only just started dressing mine recently (they're 5 months). for the first three months they just stayed in their sleepsuits. lots of lovely outfits got wasted here too!

Frenchfamille Wed 27-Feb-13 18:55:14

Yes to speaking french but not in same league as boys. Enough to teach music here and have friends here but have lost some of my fluidity for sure since birth of twins and flu as my poor tired head wants to take the easiest option.

I think we just have to recognise the lucky situation the children are in being bilingual, knowing 2 cultures, having choices etc. and my boys would chain themselves to the furniture if I ever suggested leaving here. It works here for us on the whole, France has much to offer. The recent realisation that the health professionals re. babies are a bit different to what I'm used it, is just what I need to get used to and I think you're right about just listening, nodding and then getting on with what you'd do anyway!

The girls, Florence and Lily-Rose are not identical. They look similar and seem to know already that the other is there, looking for each other, happier when together. They won't get out of sleepsuits this week for sure as husband and eldest now have virus...... and it keeps lingering as I can't shake it. But next week or at least by April let's say, these girls are going to be in some of their lovely dresses!

Nancy54 Thu 28-Feb-13 09:37:53

oh no re dh and eldest!!! i suppose it was inevitable......god, roll on spring and an end to bloody illness!

what lovely names!! my little girl is ella rose, it was a close call between ella rose and lily rose. it's funny, mine were totally unaware of each other until tuesday!! (well,i'm sure they were aware of a presence but they never acknowledged each other). dtg would sometimes look at dtb, but he would never look at her back. Men!!

Frenchfamille Sat 02-Mar-13 14:39:14

Dear twins mums - aware this is sounding like a comedy sketch now with all my families ailments/flu but I have got a very bad ear infection and apparently perforated my ear drum which explains why I was rolling around thursday night in pain (even found myself I'd rather give birth to twins again)...... so french doctor given antibiotics which can't breastfeed with ( i have checked on net too) and the old electronic pump comes out again.

The question is - how often do I need to pump? Just when it feels uncomfy or as many feeds as they are having? I am so peed off as they are almost 6 weeks so was expecting the 6 week surge of feeding to get the milk supply up - I finish the tablets in 3/4 days so hope I can continue then. I've given it everything to bf and am so cross all these things keep happening to stop it but I carry on and hope they will continue when tablets finished. Florence is guzzling a bottle, Lily-Rose is playing with it! I have to look for some good - perhaps it's that my dh has had chance to bond as I have been in bed 48 hours. Very strange walking downstairs to see him and eldest feeding the twins! Other plus? Everything's quiet in my world - it's like being underwater with the sound!

ClairesTravellingCircus Sat 02-Mar-13 14:47:12

Hello French

So so sorry you have this as well. I have had a ear infection and the pain is horrible! Really feel for you and admire your determination to keep the feeding up!

I think the advice is to pump every 3 hours just like they would if they fed straight from you.

Best of luck, hope things get better soon!

Frenchfamille Sat 02-Mar-13 23:54:15

Thanks Claires.... I'm giving it a go at least but not feeding for 5 days is quite a lot of pumping! But thanks for advice. At least I will feel that I've done all I can. I feel, with this perforated ear drum, as though i am swimming underwater - very strange. I'm trying to continue really because I did quite a lot at the start to get going so it feels a bit unfair that just having got in the swing of things something outside of my control stops it. The girls in the end really took to bfeeding. Oh well, I can but try! Bonne weekend.

Nancy54 Sun 03-Mar-13 07:08:26

Yes if you can face it every thre hours to keep supply up but I hunk you would be totally justified I only doing it when uncomfortable and so switching permanently to mix or ff. you've had such a horrendous time of it!!

Bon courage. And get well soon!

Nancy54 Sun 03-Mar-13 07:10:04

Oops...
Hunk = think
I = if

Frenchfamille Mon 04-Mar-13 12:12:33

thanks Nancy. Been back to get it checked out, it's still bad but apparently getting a bit better accord to doctor. Sadly I think its hit the same time as the 6 week growth spurt as both girls very hungry last 24 hours which is bang on 6 weeks so I may not have been able to pump enough to immitate that anyway. Crap timing. But finish antibiotics tomorrow and so will try to start again and let them go on demand and see what happens. Have to say that they have slept better with formula (saddens me to say it but I suppose I've needed the rest) and have had to deal with fact they take bottles better from husband and boys than me! But keeping open mind and perhaps can do bit of both. Got hold of ADMR people (france is good for giving support that way) and help coming in week as still in and out of bed with this thing and balance awful. Another pair of hands needed for sure. Will update later but thanks for all encouragement esp in support of the fact that I have tried to do what I can but sometimes you just have to realise you;re not supermum which is not easy when you have real ideals of what you would like to do but things in the way. I suppose having twins is that learning curve that sometimes its just about survival in early days and if you cant do it all you have to accept that. But due to dreadful last 2 weeks we are planning a few days away to celebrate my 40th soon. As soon as we are all back on track and then something nice to look forward to. By then I will need to get dressed though!

Nancy54 Mon 04-Mar-13 18:56:50

Well I think you sound like super mum for just having get through it all!! Give the bf A go when you feel up to it but you'll just have to see how it goes
So true that having twins makes you compromise on a lot if things.

Tou definitely deserve to be totally spoilt for you 40rh! X

thereistheball Tue 05-Mar-13 06:37:12

Hear hear. I hope the help works out and you start to feel better soon. Good luck with reprising bf.

Frenchfamille Tue 05-Mar-13 21:23:17

Thank you both of you.

Booboostoo Tue 05-Mar-13 22:33:51

Just read your thread, you've been having such a tough time of it! I Hope you are feeling a bit better.

I don't have any experience with twins, but I am also in France and can sympathise with a lot of the problems you are having. I put up with an awful doc for DD for the first 16 months and then gave up and found a different one - best thing I could have done. I have to drive 30 minutes to get to the good doc but having a supportive, knowledgeable doctor is really important. If you have any choice locally to you, just change doctors, don't put up with the rubbish.

Some French docs are supportive of bf, although they are few and far between. As far as I know many antibiotics are fine for bf, and a better informed doc may be able to help you more effectively in the future.

The only way I have survived DD's poor sleep is by co-sleeping. It allows you to get a lot more rest than getting up to pick the baby, bf and then replace in the cot, and it works for us although I appreciate it's not everyone's cup of tea.

rednellie Wed 06-Mar-13 01:16:12

Just rushing on to wish you good luck with re-starting feeding and hope you start feeling even better soon.

I always used the bfn website when working out if a drug's safe to use - my gp uses the same one!

But anyway sending all my best wishes.

Frenchfamille Thu 07-Mar-13 19:46:42

Hi boo - nice to meet another 'frenchie'. And thanks rednellie for good wishes. I've been back to doctor 2 more times but apparently the infection is almost gone, but the perforation will take a good while to mend which is hard as it's like being under water permanently. However, the good news is (and there is good news!) no more antibiotics and I started refeeding having religiously pumped for 5 days and girls seem to have started back on OK. THey are a bit unsettled but could well be that they are a little underweather as now the whole family, all 5 of us minus twins have had the flu.

Big wobble today when husband had to go back to UK on work which was just not possible to miss but Dad come up out and lots of lovely friends doing a cooking rota for me which is lovely. Like posh meals on wheels.

So apart from being deaf, knackered and getting over all the illnesses, there is a dim light at the end of a tunnel!

Just taking hour by hour and got some help from ADMR (french social services) who sent a lovely nursery nurse to help for a few hours and is carrying on this weekly.

So if anyone else ever has to stop bf for a bit, I did 5 days and just pumped and pumped and it seems to have worked.

Now it's the 2nd week of school hols and just a big pile of DVDs to watch and boxes of cakes to eat that friends have made. A bit of sleep would be good but I'm not going to ask for too much at the moment!

rednellie Thu 07-Mar-13 22:57:03

Yey for you French, I think you've done amazingly well and here's hoping everyone gets better soon. This time of year sucks on the health front, especially with children. What did my mother tell me? Babies get 10 colds in the first year....

Frenchfamille Fri 08-Mar-13 11:32:59

Let's hope that our flu virus counts as 5 at least then!

Bfeeding continuing pretty well by all accounts. Today's goal, to get out of pyjamas.....

Twinmumoffive Fri 15-Mar-13 15:28:58

I am also a twin mum of 5! My two are 14 months and I'm still breastfeeding. It's was soooo hard in the early months and I nearly gave up several times, but it can be done! I now have one sleeping through and 1 who still demand feeds through the night, which is becoming problematic haha...I hope things have improved for you. My OH works abroad for 6-8 weeks at a time and home for 2, so I really relate to how hard it is to manage on your own. Good luck! X

Nancy54 Mon 18-Mar-13 18:52:19

How are things going french?

Frenchfamille Tue 19-Mar-13 20:20:21

Hi twinmumoffive - sounds like you have done really well. Our twins are 8 weeks now. All going OK but lots of flu things and infections making life a bit hard at times, to say the least. Nancy54 - left with a deaf ear which should resolve in 4 weeks (!) and a cold. My Dad came over to help when my husband was in UK on work and we couldn't have done it without him. All of us are not en forme after this virus but now I don't feel bad for still being in pjs at midday! Whilst it feels as though the girls have been here forever, it's still early days. I am glad I persevered with all the feeding and pumping, which has enabled me to continue with bf. One twin sleeps about 5 hours in her cot, the other ends up in bed with us.... but too tired to worry about that at the moment, just getting some sleep is good. Hope everyone OK out there.

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