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struggling with nights and feeding twins - 9 days old

(18 Posts)
thegirlinthesassyspace Tue 27-Nov-12 10:00:22

I am on day 9 of my twins and finding problems.
I am trying to bf but I can't latch them on in taandem during the night-time as they are often too sleepy or thrashing about, and if one does latch on the other then falls off by the time I have jiggled aabout so much on the other side.
I have just done a pretty bad night and both me and dh gave up after not being able to settle either baby, and slept with them on our chests.
Not a good idea I know!
I am so exhausted and I feel guilty for not being as loving or chatting to them as much in these early days - I haven't the energy to think of soothing words or songs.
During the day time I am much more calm and up for persevering with them on the boob, and so are they, but the night time someytimes just creeps up on you and you have a terrible one, which puts me in a desperate mood in the morning.
I was thinking of getting a white noise machine. At the moment I have the radio on and some soothing rain cds etc. This has helped them feel a bit safer in the dark and silent nights, compared to the every day noises during the day (they are happy to sleep in the day!!! why so unfair!!???)

aimingtobeaperfectionist Tue 27-Nov-12 10:02:45

I'm sorry I can't be much help but I just wanted to say congratulations and bloody well done! Sounds like you're doing really well so far. Hopefully someone will come along soon with more practical advice.

bigboobsatlast Tue 27-Nov-12 10:10:56

Congratulations - you are doing an amazing job so dont be so hard on your self! I did not BF my boys so cant help I am afraid but look for the 'under / around / over one' group on this board - a very very friendly and helpful bunch who will welcome you with open arms and there are several super mums on there that very successfully BF their twins. Put a post on there and you get lots of advice and support I am sure. Sorry cant link but it is always towards the top of this board as lots of traffic and it was started by DreamingofPeace - hope that is enough info for you to find it!

Congrats again smile

TwelveLeggedWalk Tue 27-Nov-12 10:15:03

Oh lovey.

First of all a massive CONGRATULATIONS.

Secondly, the early days of twins are HARD HARD HARD HARD. I don't think anyone will tell you otherwise, and if they do they're lying. It is survival. Do whatever you need to get through, and don't feel guilty for one tiny iota.

Tandem feeding is REALLY HARD. I only managed it successfully for a small window of time, basically once they had a bit more strength in their necks, but before they started wriggling. There were plenty of evenings when I would get them on and then be completely beached on the bed waiting for DH to get home from work and help me get them off/winded etc! Have you got a proper twin feeding pillow - they're not the answer to everything, but they do make a few elements of it easier - check out here to see what I'm talking about.
Other good sources of information are the Mothering Multiples Book and La Leche League (0845 120 2918) - I had a telephone consult with a multiple bf counsellor as there wasn't anyone local to me, but I live in quite an isolated place so you might have one who can pop round.

Were they term? Did you leave hospital with the midwives/your hv happy with their latches? If you can successfully feed each singly I would really focus on that for a while, one can always fall asleep on the boob while you sort the other one out - assuming they don't wake absolutely in sync. The other option of course is bottles at night, but I would really really try and persevere with ebf if you can, you will so reap the rewards a few weeks down the line (besides all the benefits to your DTs of course!)

Is your dh still on maternity leave? If he can extend it with any annual leave I would strongly recommend it, these early days you need as much support as you can get.

As for the falling asleep with them on your chest.. yep, vividly remember that. I also remember shouting at DH as he couldn't stay awake holding them at all, and he is a heavy sleeper, that scared me. I think rather than fight it it's better to work out ways of doing it safely. Do you have a bedside cot you can roll them into easily? Get a bed guard? Move DH into a spare bed if needs be? There's lots on here about safe co-sleeping - maybe wear thick pjs and put your duvet right down below your waist so they can't get under it etc.

Sorry that is an epic post and you probably don't have time to read it all, but just to say you're doing AMAZINGLY to be tandem feeding, it will get easier. Don't be daft worrying about 'stimulating' them at this stage with songs etc - they just want to eat, sleep and be cuddled - you're doing all that, you're a brilliant mum.

metafarcical Tue 27-Nov-12 10:24:09

Do you have a breast pump or could you maybe rent one? I found it easier to give one expressed milk some of the time at night because tandem feeding can be tricky when you're tired and they are so young and floppy. And feeding one at a time can take forever!

I mixed fed as well, but it really did effect my milk supply so I wouldn't suggest it especially so early on.

Can the HV or your midwife recommend a lactation consultant? Also maybe TAMBA has suggestions.

Congratulations! !

thegirlinthesassyspace Tue 27-Nov-12 10:25:50

oh thank you I feel emotional just reading your post, as it was so reassuring
I know its supposed to get easier, sometimes I just wonder when you know
They were almost term (37+5) but still small (5lbs) so latching on I hope will get easier as their mouths get bigger and their necks stronger
Sometimes I wonder if I'm giving them enough or too much - do you remember how many mls you used to give?
Sometimes they are so agitated I think they must be starving, other times so sleepy I thnk they've taken loads....

TwelveLeggedWalk Tue 27-Nov-12 10:41:29

It will get easier, you probably won't notice it at the time, then one day you'll look back and think 'oh wow, I haven't had to do X for ages'.

I mixed fed and expressed too but was in a slightly different situation as mine were premmies. If I had my time again I'd try and avoid doing that. If you have a good supply and can express a decent amount easily then that is an option, but it is yet another demand on your time/stuff to wash and sterilise etc, and you're introducing a bottle teat which might not help. There are pros and cons to everything, but as I said, you just do whatever you need to to get through for a while.

The best way to make sure you are producing enough milk for twins is to keep bf'ing twins! If they are gaining weight, wet and dirty nappies etc then I'm sure they're doing fine - but there is a wonderful bf expert in the breast and bottle feeding section called Tiktok who I'm sure will be able to reassure you and give you more info, you could try Private Messaging her.

I hope some of this is helping.x

Randomkath Tue 27-Nov-12 20:34:50

Big hugs and well done. You are doing so well. It's such early days so make sure you are looking after yourself as it can all escalate and end in a meltdown very quickly. Just do what you need to do to survive and get some decent stretches of sleep. For me that meant some bottle feeds, a mix of expressed and formula.

I tandem breastfed as much as they wanted during the day which was pretty much constant from about 5 till 9 pm. I could never get the hang of lenghty tandem feed for the middle of the night feed, but my bf counsellor told me that it's important to bf in the early hours of the morning to stimulate your milk supply as this sort of orders your milk for the next day, so I hired a proper hospital grade double pump and got on this for 10 mins between 2 and 3am and got enough to give them a bottle feed. Could pump, get them changed (oh did this whilst i was pumping), fed and settled in about 40 mins and we got a couple of 3-4 hours stretches of sleep. We did this until about 8 weeks old. Also gave a ebm or formula top up at about 9pm from about 4 to 16 weeks as was getting fed up with the constant evening feeding frenzies. After about 7 weeks their feeding settled and they only took about 5-10 mins every 2-4 hours, so I found I didn't need to tandem feed anymore as could feed and wind them separately in under half an hour. When the first got hungry I fed them then offered it to the other, though they weren't always interested. They rarely got hungry at exactly the same time. Also meant I could feed a bit more discreetly and get out of the house more.

Tips to keep them awake during feeds - strip them down to vests, blow on faces, pump arms up and down (bit weird but works!)

Mandy21 Tue 27-Nov-12 20:48:35

Just posted a long reply that has gone - arghh!You're doing unbelievably well and as everyone has said, its just succh a shock to the system but you'll get there!

I would also say if you have the hang of feeding them separately then go with that, you'll probably find if you can sort a routine of feeding them quickly one after the other, its not that much more time consuming than tandem feeding. Does your H help? We used to do it like this - Twin 1 wakes, I get up, change nappy (to make sure they were properly alert and ready to feed), start feeding, after 10 mins, wake H, he'd wake Twin 2, change nappy and then swap with me. He'd wind Twin 1 and then settle them whilst I fed Twin 2. H could then go to sleep. I'd finish feeding Twin 2, wind and settle. We could do that in about 30 mins, and then got at least a couple of hours proper sleep before Round 2.

I'd be wary of my H sleeping with a little one as hes quite a heavy sleeper so what about a bedside cot?

Good luck - keep going because it does get easier!

1stMrsF Tue 27-Nov-12 21:16:50

What would be your ideal? Do you want to tandem feed? Or would you be happy to feed them separately if that got you all more sleep?

Some find that feeding singly when each wakes is quicker whilst others find it's worth persevering with tandem feeds. Are you waking the second one when the first wakes? This is often cited as 'the way' to feed twins and it does facilite tandem feeding, but all families are different.

If you want to tandem feed, do you think that you might like to try experimenting with different positions? Some mothers/twins never get on with the classic '2 babies in double rugby hold on breastfeeding cusion' set up. Have a look at Biological Nurturing which can be very helpful in a situation when you are tired and they are still learning.

Twingirlsrock Tue 27-Nov-12 21:17:34

Oh your post takes me back OP. Like some others have said, you don't realise things have got easier until something jolts you into remembering.

I was all about survival in the early days. I was breast feeding them in the day and mix feeding at night as the formula helped them drop off. I breast fed for 6 months with the mix feeding and then bottles only at night. I remember trying to find the position for feeding them as their necks needed to be supported etc....

I would echo others. Don't feel guilty and do what works for you. I reasoned that it was better for them to have a mentally healthier mum at the expense of a bit of formula rather than strung out and emotional and exclusively breasted. It does effect your supply ( mine a bit but not lots) but it worked for me.

Thinking of you. It will get easier xx

Nancy54 Wed 28-Nov-12 08:16:19

Hey, I feel your pain! My twins are 8 weeks old and the first three weeks breast feeding was a total nightmare!!! It does get better! I'm still finding it quite hard but SO much better. I didn't tandem feed for the first three / four weeks cos I needed to get the hang of feeding them separately first and found tandem just too hard to get proper latch etc (these are my first though so you might be more experienced). I also found that at first they constantly fell asleep after feeding for about two mins! That gets much better too though.
I do tandem feed them now if they want feeding at the same time. I've got the "my brest friend" breast feeding twins pillow and I couldn't do it without that.
We also give them a bottle of ebm or formula on an evening which seems to be helping them sleep better and gives my boobs a bit of a break.
It sounds like you're doing really well, I was a total wreck for the first two weeks, totally overwhelmed by everything, there's no way I was with it enough to write a post on mn! Keep going, they're learning along with you so they'll get better and better too. It will get easier!

thegirlinthesassyspace Thu 29-Nov-12 11:12:26

Thanks nancy54, they are my first too!
Last night was a total nightmare! They didn't go down after their 6/7pm or 10pm feeds so we were doing what you do til 12am to help calm them. Luckily after that they slept til the next night feed and then again til the early morning feed.
My dh is going back to work soon, so I have been panicking about what happens then. But must try and take each day at a time.
They are so young but I do feel like getting out at least once a day might help tire them out for the nighttime.
Do you do this kind of thing? I might look into those pillows, I got two large pillows but not sure exactly whether they are the right kind as got them from nct sale and they don't seem to help tandem feeding very much.
Glad your little ones are now easier at 8 weeks - I don't know about you but finding the time to express is difficult in these early days.
I guess the main thiing is persevere persevere persevere!
Thank you for your support!

Nancy54 Thu 29-Nov-12 19:29:25

Oh god yeah I was really worried about dp going back to work too, I thought that there was no way I would cope on my own! But actually it's really ok, you surprise yourself I think!! It's not easy but you will cope. I found the first month pretty horrendous but now I'm actually enjoying it.

I didn't go out much for the first three weeks but since then I've tried to go out every day, even if its just for a little walk with the buggy. The thing I have found though is that it is difficult to go out too long cos if they both want feeding at the same time you can't really tandem feed in public (full frontal exposure and all). This last couple of weeks I've started taking a bottle of ebm with me so that if they both want feeding at the same time I get someone else to give one of them a bottle. I didn't manage to express much either at first but now I do it after their evening bottle so always have quite a lot of milk at that point cos they haven't been feeding for a bit. Mine do feed constantly during the day though, not sure if that's normal!
Re nights, they started sleeping better about two weeks ago. Still not great but much better.
Anyway, it's really nice to talk to someone who's got new baby twins too! It's bloody scary (yet great!) isn't it!
You should come onto the under ones twins thread - the girls on there have been giving me some great advice and support this last few weeks
Hope you have an ok night tonight

TwelveLeggedWalk Thu 29-Nov-12 19:54:52

Not much to say except you both sound like you're doing amazingly!
<waves twin mum pom poms> grin

thegirlinthesassyspace Fri 30-Nov-12 16:27:10

thanks again - where would i find the under ones twins thread~? I'm a bit new to finding my way around! xxx

ClairesTravellingCircus Sat 01-Dec-12 10:01:07

Hello. And congrats!

Its in the Multiples section called Under/around 1....

Come and join us!

temporary Mon 17-Dec-12 14:44:04

I haven't read all the replies on here, but here goes.

What you are going through sounds bog, bog, standard. And you should give yourself a big pat on the back for getting through each day.

Thinking about the really early days, I tandem fed in the day but I am not sure I did it much at night unless absolutely forced to as I really didn't like it much. I took the unconventional route of feeding them separately when they awoke for months, though.
If there was an overlap or they both started crying together I would maybe hand the fed one to dp to be close to and cuddle to sleep. Probably what you are doing I guess. Ours did just seem to like being close to us though, so that was enough to settle them.
I don't think you need to worry about getting them to sleep on your chests, I really think you need to get them feeding well first and foremost, and then just get through this very difficult phase, and then you can deal with any 'bad' habits if that is how you see them.
Once I got them to sleep lying down - and they stopped pooing every feed - I would bring dt1 across for a feed and fall asleep, then when dt2 woke I would move dt1 away into the cot and bring dt2 across to my other boob and fall asleep with her on the other side. It was broken sleep, but actually pretty restful, as the light didn't have to go on and I didn't have to get cold.

I had no joy getting them to take anything from a bottle and found it all such a hassle that I really couldn't be bothered with.

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