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Breastfeeding twins ... any experts around please?

(43 Posts)
millie1 Thu 12-Jun-08 21:45:51

DTs are 3 weeks now and exclusively breastfeeding. Putting weight on and doing very well .... except, I feel I've had one or other of them attached to me since 10pm last night with only 3 hours off in total. It's a bit early for a growth spurt (admittedly it could be) but tbh it's comfort sucking with them - they latch on, have a few mouthfuls of milk and go to sleep ... then promptly wake up when I transfer them to cot/carrycot. Am absolutely exhausted and am lucky if I get 3 hours sleep a night (this has been going on since birth). Sleep during the day is near impossible with two older children.

Any suggestions please. Have b/f my other two and know it takes some weeks to get into a routine so don't expect a miracle but do need some sleep. Try to start final bedtime feed at around 11pm ... last night I finally took one into bed with me at 4.30am (did manage one hour lying down during that time). Feel like my recovery from section is much slower and maybe due to lack of rest and also sitting all the time and not getting to lie and stretch out. If I feed lying down both they and I fall asleep and I don't feel comfortable co-sleeping due to soft mattress and being over-tired myself.

Have a Eze2nurse pillow but it's quite heavy and sore on my still-tender tummy. Am going to try to get hold of an ordinary v-shaped pillow in the hope that tandem feeding will speed things up.

Really just need a pep talk wink and some advice please grin

Thanks!

tangarine Thu 12-Jun-08 21:54:40

Hi millie1!

No advice, but huge congratulations! I've been wondering how you were getting on with all the other stuff that was happening and if they had arrived yet.

breadandroses Thu 12-Jun-08 22:09:09

Congratulations!

What helped me was tandem feeding as much as possible, then handing babies over to anyyone available (there will be THOUSANDS of people to peep at twins), this gave me time to shower/eat before the next round. I also slept with one and had one in a moses basket so I could feed lying down at night.
I had my 2 older children stay with MIL for a fortnight- I can highly recommend this!
It does take time- I had breastfed my older two but I really had to make feeding the twins my priority, they don't just "fit in" like a singlrton does.
Take it one day at a time and remember that if you get to 3 months it suddenly starts taking about half the time it does now to feed them. You will get there!
Yahoo have a very helpful ap multiples group which although very American is very hot on breastfeeding. Good luck!

millie1 Thu 12-Jun-08 22:43:02

Hi Tangarine ... thanks! Don't get much time to surface for air these days but babies are safely here and are absolutely super. Did look at other e-mail list last night but with an inbox containing 3592 e-mails I didn't get far!!! Hope all is well with you and will try to duck in there sometime soon!

Breadandroses ... thanks for the advice and words of wisdom. I really do need to get the tandem feeding going for most, if not every feed ... it just seems such an effort in the middle of the night when I'm struggling to keep my eyes open but I will keep trying with it!

Rattiekins Thu 12-Jun-08 22:49:55

I am no expert but I have breast fed twins. It does take up time - I stopped counting the hours when I realised that about 18 hours every day was feeding on or other of them. To be honest it takes time and tandem feeding is really the only way you can reduce this until they have a pattern. I did feel that my tiredness levels increased and then my milk decreased, which meant they were on for longer... a circle that I had to get out of. I did infact replace one feed with a bottle and let any takers (within reason!) give this to them. I sought all the advice and heard all the opinions about bottles and no bottles etc, but for me having a gap in the day when I didnt have to feed was better than anything... so long as the bottle only replaced one feed (and did not begin topping up other feeds too!...) infact later I only did a bottle out of choice, but it enabled me to leave the twins and get valuable space. Good luck and keep going. I too used the parental support as bread and roses did. Which is great as long as you have got it.

breadandroses Fri 13-Jun-08 11:20:51

How are things this morning?

Bty I never used a special pillow, just sat crossed legged with 2/3 pillows each side- maybe this might be better for stiches- you don't have to sit cross legged!

Fab books from Amazon are the Elizabeth noble twins one, and one called Mothering Multiples by Karen Kerkhoff something. And of course Mars and the others to give you the REAL low down!

Hang in there.

mummykiwi Fri 13-Jun-08 12:25:51

So good to see another person breastfeeding their twins and exhausted .... if you know what i mean??!

I am new to all this too... Our babies were born 9 weeks early (after trying to come 12 weeks early) on Feb 28th. They are now 15 weeks, but 6 weeks corrected. I fully breastfed them from 4 weeks (35 weeks) and at 9 weeks I introduced a formula feed (just one) which they still get at around 7pm after bath time. When the babies were still prem, they slept a lot and I thought it was all going to be a doddle. When they hit their due date they 'woke up' and I feel like i have been breastfeeding them non-stop since then! Its tough and I dont even have other children.

the only respite I get is if I put them in the pushchair and take them out just to get them to sleep for 20 mins or so. they don't really nap. i sit on the soft with a tri-pillow and feed them ALL afternoon.

I don't really have any advice except that I think its really worth doing if you can keep at it. Perhaps you should consider a single formula feed to introduce a daily routine of sorts?

I have a question for those that have done this before... does a pattern ever develop? is is possible to have a life out of the house and breastfeed twins?

ps. I tandem feed whenever I can too.
Good luck with it

Sullwah Fri 13-Jun-08 13:04:59

This is what I did - it worked for me and let me have a life away from feeding my two and let me sleep and have others do the nightfeed. It is not an approach that is often considered / suggested. (I am sure that a few will jump up and down with reasons why this is a bad thing to do - but it worked for me and I am very glad I did it).

I managed to feed my two 70% breastmilk for nearly three months by expressing 4 times a day using a hospital grade pump. I think I could have extended this to 100% had I introduced a 5th session. And I could have done it for longer had I wanted to.

In fact my sister who also had twins managed around 90% for 6 months by exclusively expressing.

You need to be very organised - but can do other stuff while expressing especially of you keep the twins within easy reach while expressing.

MarsLady Fri 13-Jun-08 13:16:50

Hey Millie!

Okay... so you want to continue bfing them both yes? Your section recovery is taking time.

Right my angel. I'm assuming that you're babymooning where you can. You're sleeping where possible and you're doing lots and lots of skin to skin?

At 3 weeks it probably is a growth spurt. It would be of enormous help to you to get them feeding in tandem.

With regards to the few sucks then sleep you might need to try a bit of Breast Compression video here

Also.. you can email me if you like lovelymarslady at aol dot com. smile

You're doing brilliantly and I sure that the V pillow will help and once you're more recovered the EZ pillow will also help. You've not over inflated it have you?

millie1 Fri 13-Jun-08 13:43:34

Thanks everyone ... only just managing to turn this machine back on now! As ever, lots of words of wisdom and good advice. I know a bottle would help and buy me time but tbh I don't really want to go that route unless I'm really at my wits end (and I'm not there yet grin) ... I've loads of milk so don't believe that's a problem. Just two babies who want to be with their mummy 24/7!

Last night wasn't too bad ... got them both down shortly after 2 and they were back up at 4.45 and back in their cot again an hour later, fed and changed. Today they've fed (tandem) at 8.30, slept til around midday and had another feed and are now back asleep grin. Managed to get some washing & ironing done and soome baking (relaxation for me!) and now plan a nap whilst they're asleep.

But ... I've done something awful ... I've tried them with dummies shock! DT2 sucked for 5 mins, then spat it out and continued with her crying but DT1 went to sleep with it (inside 3 mins) and then i took it away. Resisted this route with older DC but midwife recommended this time so am giving it ago ... but hating myself for it (without wanting to ignite any debates about the pros and cons of dummies smile). Shall try not to let them become dependent as am worried about effect these might have on their latch esp given they're so young.

Mars ... Yes, have absolutely no intention of giving up b'feeding! What's babymooning? Not doing much skin to skin and definitely not getting enough sleep!!!! Don't think I've ever been this sore 3 weeks post section sad but hopefully a bit more rest might help. Have been doing breast compression and it does help them continuing to feed when they would otherwise doze off.

Does anyone know what the widgley pillow is like? Can't find anything suitable on Argos although Blooming Marvellous have a bog standard V-pillow which looks fine.

Thanks again everyone

lilyloo Fri 13-Jun-08 13:52:42

Well done Millie just a note on the dummy i have used them with all my 3 from new born and they have all bf fine up to 7 / 5 mths and i am still bf no.3 now at 5 mths and have never had any confusion.

mummykiwi Fri 13-Jun-08 16:12:20

i have just introduced dummies as otherwise I would LITERALLY never stop feeding them. I just let them have it at night though so they associate with bedtimes. they are both sucky babies and i was finding that I could feed and feed them and they were still rooting.

pillows: I have 3! I have bean bag ones (see NCT sales site) for singleton and tandem feeding. the tandem feeding one I wouldn't recommend as for little little babies they are too far down from the nipple and I end up hunched. I think it will be good when they are a few months bigger. I am using a john lewis V pillow, which is great only the pillow cases are about a million £s each. I just slip 2 regular pillow cases on. not ideal but works ok.

I started co sleeping about 3 weeks ago and its changed my life. I was like a zombie before that. Mine don't sleep during the day and not much at night either. I think you should do whatever you can to make life easier for yourself. Don't be too hard on yourself as its most important that you are happy to pass on the joy to your babies.

MarsLady Fri 13-Jun-08 17:02:27

Hi Millie

Babymooning... basically being nekkid in bed with your babies. Okay so you don't have to be in bed but you should make yourself a nest in a room where you have food, drink, phones to hand. Watch television, listen to music, fall asleep. The babies should be stripped down to nappies and placed on your nekkid skin. If you have a nice cloth sling (eg Kari Me) you can wear the babies (which keeps your hands free to eat, drink, use the remote etc).

They've spent 9 months growing inside of you and don't know how to be separate from you yet. You're doing really well. Well done on the tandem feed. Try to keep that up. If one wakes, wake the other and feed together. It will lengthen your sleeping time (and sleep is paramount). Co-sleeping (even in the day) is a wonderful thing for sleep.

As to the jobs... hmm... young lady you need to let them go or only do one or two a day. Your rest is far more important so that you don't collapse in a heap in a few weeks. Take advantage of every offer of help that comes your way.

A bog standard V pillow should be fine. I used a V pillow with my pair for ages.

Proud of you honey. Very proud! grin

breadandroses Fri 13-Jun-08 21:40:34

DON'T IRON (stern).

I would put my 2 older dc to bed and then cuddle up in bed, telly on, dh bringing drinks/sncks and feed them literally all evening- it was very hard! They would drop off maybe 9.30 and I would sleep too. for me this was the only way of dealing with evening fussing and growth spurts.

Mars is right about a sling. It absolutely changed my life with my twins.

Take care of yourself before you take care of them, and stop doing housework (baking ok though, yum).

You are 1/4 way to 3 months! Woo hoo! (when you can knock a feed off in 10 minutes).

tangarine Fri 13-Jun-08 23:57:01

No ironing, no chores, and delete the inbox (you haven't missed anything exciting)!

Sounds like you are doing a great job.

millie1 Sat 14-Jun-08 20:03:32

Thanks everyone for more words of wisdom ... feel better about the dummies now too knowing that they didn't effect latch.

Mars ... thanks for explaining babymooning. And a question for those taking to bed with the babies ... positioning. Were you sitting up with them on a v-pillow or is there a workable way to lie down and feed both? I tried this the other morning - was on one side with baby feeding of lower breast and another baby sort of balanced on my tummy feeding of other side ... it felt very awkward esp for baby on upper side IYSWIM.

Okay ... the sling ... can I put both babies in at once? Shall go and google it now and try to get some more information.

Shall continue to ignore the house falling to pieces around me and shall delete the inb-box Tangarine!

ConnorTraceptive Sat 14-Jun-08 20:11:42

I don't have twins but just want to say i think you are amazing.

MarsLady Sun 15-Jun-08 03:44:40

Yes put both twins in the sling. Esp whilst they are small enough to go in together.

I found that lying in bed to feed my breasts kind of went out to the side blush Of course you can feed them sitting up then slide them down and go to sleep then feed whichever one wakes (as you continue to sleep) then turn and feed the other.

Well done for ignoring the house! grin

PazzaPlusTwo Sun 15-Jun-08 15:11:57

Hi Millie!

Sorry it's taken me a while to respond I've had a couple of rough nights with my girls recently too! My situation is a bit different as I don't have older kids so I can recover during the day (I have to force myself to GO.TO.BED though - never been good at naps) also i am no expert but i can share my experience so far - dts are 7 weeks old, born 3 weeks prem.

I generally feed one at a time and I make sure they keep awake and feeding. No messing around! I think I am lucky with this, it started well because while I was in the hospital they were sooo sleepy so the midwives showed me how to keep them awake andfeeding:
- undress them so theyre a bit cold
- tickle hands and feet
- stroke cheek/chin/along jaw front to back so they keep sucking and swallowing

this worked really well and they are generally done with a feed in about 10 mins flat - they just dont want any more. From the beginning I fed them about every 3 hours and it has worked out OK. Midwives kept saying I should feed them every 2 hours and for 30 mins a time (yeah right!)but I found that if I fed them more often they would just feed for less long and sleep less well, I was concerned they were just getting foremilk and never emptying the breast properly. Every 3 hours seems to work for mine (during the day - every 4 hours at night - makes 7 feeds a day). They have put on 300g (10oz) a week each so they're getting plenty.

I also have given dummies recently on my mum's advice - didnt want to, but the only solution when both wake up hungry. Sometimes they don't want it though so tandem feeding works best those times. (I generally prefer the closeness of one-to-one feeding but tandem does save time.) Carmen is a bit more sucky so she likes having a dummy occasionally and it helps her to wait a bit longer between feeds.

I am now trying to get into more of a routine so that I can plan ahead for going out etc. It might be a bit 'Gina Ford lite' but it works for us.

PazzaPlusTwo Sun 15-Jun-08 15:27:03

I've also tried expressing which helped clear some lumps from blocked ducts. A couple of times I fed it to them last thing at night (milk running a bit low), and have put a bit in the freezer. But this week I found I was too tired to bother and never seemed to remember to do it at the right time anyway.

oh another thing that's really worked for us is swaddling. We swaddle them tight for sleeping which really helps them sleep and also understand 'now it's time to sleep'. they have always slept two 4-hour stretches at night. so although i havent had more than 3 hours consecutive sleep in 7 weeks, i am surviving grin

when i'm feeling low/shattered/ears battered by relay crying - i stay in bed all day and eat high calorie food straight from the fridge (cheese, pork pies, ham, yoghurt, fruit juice, icecream) and don't budge until DH comes home and takes over.

... and not doing ANY housework grin grin grin

good luck i hope it works out and your scar recovers quickly! i'm sure things will get easier very soon.

if you want to chat/compare notes/shoulder to cry on i'll send you my phone number xx

millie1 Sun 15-Jun-08 21:52:31

Hi Mars & Pazza

Hmmm ... unfortunately I can't lie flat & feed two Mars ... whilst I have a great cleavage at the moment grin, it's just not enough gringrin.

Pazza ... thanks for all the information. We tried swaddling one night but it simply didn't work - they hated it. And I bought the special Grobag swaddle wrap thingys too - grrr! Might give it another go though as either one or the other kicks the bedclothes off both during restless periods. You're doing fantastically - good for you! Great weight gains too. I was waking mine every three hours too but stopped this week on advice of midwife. Have been totally out of sync last two days with them feeding at separate times so tomorrow I go back to waking the other twin when one wakes for a feed IYSWIM. Funny you should mention enjoying the one-to-one time you get feeding them individually. I love that ... it never feels the same with both on at once. Still, am going to get organised for tandem feeding, esp at bedtime when one can be crying for ages whilst the other feeds. Yes, mine are slow feeders no matter how much tickling etc I do!

ConnorTraceptive .. far from amazing but thanks for the compliment!! smile There are quite a few of us b/f twins at the moment which is great.

MarsLady Sun 15-Jun-08 21:54:34

swaddle tightly millie or they won't like it at all. smile

Still think you're doing well and you sound brighter than your OP. smile

millie1 Sun 15-Jun-08 22:07:12

Shall do Mars ... am going to try it again tonight.

Yes ... I feel much better than I did the other day. Still not driving but got a trip out today - only for half an hour but out with older children and got some fresh air and a short walk ... bliss! Was in a shop for the first time since twins arrived - wow! smile

Now, off for supper prior to nighttime feeds!

mummykiwi Mon 16-Jun-08 16:06:38

am typing this on lap, on v pillow whilst babies doze. I should say that until they were 9 weeks old I used expressed milk (mine were 9 weeks prem, so I had loads in the freezer) for the 'last feed' of the day, I felt like I was totally exhausted and it meant that my partner could help with a bottle which he loved. I didnt want to go to formula, but the babies just got hungrier and hungrier. I think you are very lucky to get 3 hours sleep in a row! I can't remember when that last happened.

I woudl echo about swaddling. i discovered thsi late in teh play. babies always seem not to like it, but if you persevere and make it very firm they will sleep better and love you for it. try swaddling them during the day when they are relaxed and not fussing.

I was worried about housework etc and I have learnt not to worry any more.

How I do co sleeping is... I have a bed guard and sleep on the side of the bed that is closest to the cot, with the guard up. I lie on my side and feed the baby that wakes up first and let myself fall asleep (lightly). When baby 2 wakes up for a feed, I take now-sleeping baby 1 and put them in the cot then take baby 2 and feed them on the otherside. I always tell my partner that there is a baby in the middle by waking him up and he shuffles over to the wall side. This repeats when baby 1 wakes up. My other half is huge at 6ft 5 and its a smallish double, so if we can do it I am sure anyone can. Its changed my life as i was sitting up and feeding them and the lack of sleep was killing me. you can only do it so long.

Last night my partner slept in the other room due to an early start and I had both babies in bed and I flipped over feeding one on each side all night. Best sleep in ages.

I can count on one hand when i have had to tandem feed in teh night since we started co sleeping. I found that quite stressful as setting up was very disruptive for my partner and also both babies were very awake after all my faffing. During the day I only tandem feed.

Another tip is that I have stopped changing nappies with each feed in the night. I only change if they are poohey or very wet. I figure tehy will be sleeping 10 hours soon, so as long as its within a decent timeframe I dont change them. It wakes them up a lot and they feed for a lot longer, i find.

Sleeping bags helped a lot too (post swaddling)

Hope something helps. i still feed my babies allllll afternoon and they have been on a growth spurt for about 4 weeks if I was to belveve everyone...

millie1 Mon 16-Jun-08 20:27:08

Thanks Mummykiwi ... you seem to have it well sussed out and your routine sounds like it really works - well done.

I tandem fed at bedtime last night and it was great - both fed within 45 mins although DT1 took another 40 mins to get into the cot but still the light was off an hour earlier than usual! I'll ignore the fact that they were both up 1.5hrs later ... DT2 seemed very colicky and quite distressed but settled within half an hour so not too bad.

Best run as they're both crying now - have been feeding constantly since 4pm and can't get them settled. Oh well ... best now than midnight.

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