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Twins -ishoos 9 months in

(9 Posts)
DoingTheSwanThing Wed 15-May-13 13:04:35

Could I trouble the MN jury for some advice? This might be a long one!

I went along to a BF support group yesterday and, while it was lovely and supportive, I'm really not sure about the quality of advice given by the facilitator (community nurse).

Ill try to be brief...

Background - 9mo b/g twins, born 35weeks and EBF, eating really well. Not fully BLW but self-feed more than purée stuff. We feed on demand, usually only 2/3 times during day and same overnight. Nights are very hit & miss, but we mostly co-sleep and are happy with that choice. I'm not planning to wean before two years ideally. 
Both bottle refusers from about 3m despite regularly having them prior to that but DTB was offered EBM via bottle in desperation the other night and once again since and just drank it with no complaints and went to sleep. DTG still gets (literally) distraught if offered when she wants boob. I haven't pushed it but might have to in a month or so (going back to work p/t at one year, will be working occasional lates & nights). 

I've now had mastitis twice in the last 2 months, different sides. First settled within 24h with usual self-help stuff, second needed antibiotics (still taking), and aside from slightly tender lumpiness has settled and feeling fine again.

The second time came after a couple of nights when they miraculously and unexpectedly slept through - DTG did 10 hours, brother woke once. Then a couple of hellish nights in between but they slept really well last night and i didn't feel engorged in the morning.

Most of the difficulties are with DTB, who is a "live wire" <understatement>. Had me in tears the other night because he booted me in the sore boob then bit me on the other side.  He's now got 4 teeth and since the top ones have come through (over a month ago) I feel like his latch has changed... Something's not right because I can feel teeth, usually just the top ones but he seems to slide off a bit. Facilitator dismissed the latch, saying that supply is good so latch must be fine hmm.

Left to his own devices (after the first few weeks getting them latched just involved pointing them in the right generally direction) his bottom lip isn't curled out and there's wrinkly areola visible at the top... That's not right, is it?!
I can generally with effort get him to latch well, but it doesn't last. He's very, very distractible and with 2 babies (and 2 bouncy dogs and a 4yo) sneaking off to a dark room isn't going to work. I'm trying to limit distractions as much as possible, but he's on and off all the time and pulling or biting at the slightest noise. I don't know what to do about it at all. Some of the pulling might be to do with fast letdown, but it's always been this way and hasn't really been a problem before. 

On the other hand, apart from the biting/pulling, it's not painful to feed, and no discomfort in between. He gets a firm "no" (or squeal) depending on the strength of the bite, and taken off immediately... He's not getting the message though.

The only advice I got was "it's a phase"... Yeah. And to feed them less often in the day. I did say that past experience suggests they'll just wake more at night. So she tells me they don't need to wake at night after 6m... Sigh. 

I can see a slight merit to feeding DTB less, in that he might be more focussed on the job in hand when he does get it? The girlie one seems to tank up well during the day and if she's working towards STTN no way am I messing with that!

Tandem feeding is an absolute nightmare at the moment most of the time, between his pulling and them both poking eyes/pulling ears etc I've all but given up for now, are they likely to get easier when they're older? It's rather more time-efficient when I can feed them together. 

Another "problem" (sorry)  is the pre-bedtime feeding. Some evenings are driving me to distraction with the time DTG can take to feed. Even with breast compression & switching she can take 90minutes or more to come off on her own. Often but not always, if I take her off she'll go down with no bother (cot or bed, she's not fussy), but then be awake 90 minutes later wanting another long one - she does actually gulp so it's not all comfort sucking. Is there anything else I can to to hurry her along? She does like to feed to sleep, I've got no problem with that at the moment but we're working on settling for Daddy before my return to work <sob>. 

We had an amazing night last night, I'm really hoping sleep might be improving <touch wood> they had a big stodgy tea from a spoon and I'm wondering if that might've helped, had looked for a pattern with food intake before but not found any. Should we try shovelling the calories in at tea time and let them have finger food at lunchtime?
The other thing was he had EBM again last night but it was only 80ml or so and slept for a couple of hours and woke for a big feed when I came to bed. Would you keep offering the bottle or is it likely to make latch worse?

I'm sorry for the essay and so many questions. Probably loads I've missed even now. The last month or so has been so challenging, more so than when they were tiny and I just wasn't expecting it. If anyone had advice/experiences to share (even on just one thing!) I'd really appreciate it. I don't want to give up but I have to admit considering it a few times in the last few weeks. I'm NOT giving up though. 

loopydoo Wed 15-May-13 14:04:31

Hi doingtheswanthing, as they are now 9 months, have you considered expressing more and giving it to them via cups? I know you said dd takes a bottle happily but Ds won't but from a cup, at least during the day, may help with lots of issues, including preparing for going back to work and the fidgeting.

Latch wise, the bottom lip should be curled out before it presses against the chin so perhaps removing Ds each time his lip doesn't curl and repositioning him until its correct may help with this.....and hopefully allow him to attach more effectively to remove milk from the breast.

To be exclusively feeding them both at 9 months is really brilliant and I'm sorry you didn't get a bit more help from the nurse. It must be tricky sometimes when you are in a rush especially with dd feeding for 90 mins however, it's lovely that you want to continue to feed them from the breast and maybe doing this first thing in the morning and before bed and during night (with EBM cups in day) might mean you get a bit more time hands free.

Babies at 9months are so much more into everything and aware of other things during feeds so sometimes it feels as though you just want to end the feed short when they don't seem that bothered.

Hope you find the above of some help. Until recently when I moved areas, I was a bf peer supporter in local groups and hospital and saw lots of babies who became fussy feeders once they were old enough to be easily distracted.

loopydoo Wed 15-May-13 14:05:31

Ps, are there any twin groups you are already in /could join for support from mums who MIT be in a similar situation and who could offer some suggestions reference the tandem feeds etc?

WouldBeHarrietVane Wed 15-May-13 15:25:07

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WouldBeHarrietVane Wed 15-May-13 15:29:11

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WouldBeHarrietVane Wed 15-May-13 15:35:03

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WouldBeHarrietVane Wed 15-May-13 15:42:32

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DoingTheSwanThing Thu 16-May-13 11:36:02

Thank you both so much for the advice and encouragement, it means a great deal to get such considered replies

I think you're both right about the sippy cups - they do manage the cheapo TT cups really well... When they've got water in them! They've had a fair few tries with EBM in them and they look vaguely disgusted and spit it straight back out.  If nothing else, I know how to make strong willed children blush

The last couple of nights we've continued with OH doing bedtime for our littlest boy with a bottle, it does make things a bit easier sometimes (and it's nice to all snuggle in bed together) but I will exercise caution re latch. In fact thinking about it we'll offer it via the cup tonight and see how that goes down. Bibs at the ready! Last night was frustrating in the evening though, fed our girl for nearly 90 mins, but her brother was faffing with daddy and just fell asleep, then woke again 30 minutes after id finished feeding... Gave me just long enough to help OH deal with the domestic chaos and make some packed lunches then back off upstairs again. It won't last for ever, I know. It is prime MN time (and Facebook/I player/shopping!) but its difficult not to feel sorry for OH (and mourn my lack of "me" time).

I think I need to shift the idea in my head that bottle in my absence = comfort for her... It's probably fair to say she's made her feelings on that quite clear on that matter and I need to respect that. They're lucky to have such a wonderful hands-on Daddy, and if he does struggle when I'm not there will happily get his sling on and bounce to sleep. Three months is a long time for them but it's hard not to look upon August with dread. It'll be fine <mantra>

I've looked at LLL groups, they're a good 15-20 miles away in either direction but probably a good idea. I do go to a sling meet and natural parenting group where it's nice to feel 'normal'. Met up with a few twin mums but none BF for long and at that time (only a few months ago) I'd never really found the whole twin thing difficult... It was all a bit doom and gloom IYSWIM so I felt like I needed to keep my gob shut (same with another non-multiples group I tried. Even the HV gave me a gentle telling off for saying I hadn't found BF that hard (then)... Surely the "look how hard I have it and I'm still going" would be far more undermining for struggling mums?!). But hey, that's another rant entirely. Suffice it to say my experience with HVs hasn't been particularly useful, and I've had and overheard some shockingly bad advice.

Thanks for reminding me about Isis, we did read up a few months ago, it's a brilliant resource. I'll keep in mind about food and sleep, OH will be interested to read that too. I wonder if part of the fidgeting might be to do with him being overtired, we're going to try getting up earlier in the mornings and encouraging better quality naps during the day, it does seem to flow better that way. And if our instincts on that are wrong we'll just go with the flow and reassure ourselves of their normality smile

Thanks again thanks

WouldBeHarrietVane Thu 16-May-13 12:39:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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