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Any tips on exclusively expressing for twins?

15 replies

Abacha · 13/04/2017 17:21

I'm hoping someone can help. I have 3 week old boy/girl twin. My girl had to spend 8 days in scbu as she was jaundiced and had mucus in her lungs. I started expressing for both as it also seemed my boy had problems latching on, I do have a very large nipple and he was not opening wide enough to take in any areola.

If I'm being completely honest I'm not 100% comfortable feeding them from the breast. (My first son passed away 18 months ago. I was breastfeeding him in the recovery room after c section when he was about 2 hours old and he stopped breathing, was resuscitated put on life support. He passed away days later.)

Although post mortem classed cause of death as SIDS, i did blame myself for some time as I do feel that my breast restricted his nose.

I did try to seek help with breastfeeding the twins but my daughter's oxygen level dropped when she was feeding and i panicked and resulted back to expressing and feeding with bottles plus the midwifes said my nipple/breast was too large

I've made half arse attempt to get them to latch on but I've found that I can't really relax. At the moment I'm expressing enough for both of them. is there anything I can do to make sure supply is kept up. I've hired the medela symphony as its the one I used in hospital so I'm double pumping.
I'm taking it day by day but my first goal is to get to 8 weeks.

Any tips? Is it too late to get their latch sorted. I'm hoping the bigger they get, the more confident I will be so I woulD like to start with offering the breast for a feed when I'm most alert and take it from there.

OP posts:
BernardsarenotalwaysSaints · 13/04/2017 17:29

No it's not too late for them to start learn to latch. Have a look at the Kelly Mom website. I had to exclusively pump for a while with dc4. His latch was perfect but I had supply issues & although he never made it back on to the breast for all feeds he did for some, this was after about a complete 6 week break at just over 6 weeks old. I used shield to bein with but he soon settled in to feedimg without them. Can your hv put you in touch with a bf consultant that possibly has experience with twins?

BernardsarenotalwaysSaints · 13/04/2017 17:30

Gah, sorry about the typos. He's now 22 months old & attacking me with lego Wink

thelionsleeps · 13/04/2017 17:31

Well done you for trying to express - I did it for 6 weeks with twins before they got the hang of breastfeeding and it can be so time consuming. I'm so sorry about your experience with your first. For you to try again is really brave although I'm sure you were not to blame.

I think you need some really good practical advice so someone can watch you feed and you can gain confidence. I've never heard of anyone having too big boobs to feed. Are there any good bf groups in your area or la leche league. I found one lady I saw really made the difference to me.

Re supply oats are meant to be good so lots of flapjacks and anything else you fancy. Above all feeding twins is hard whatever you end up doing so be kind to yourself.

Jenijena · 13/04/2017 17:38

You poor thing, you've gone through so much. I don't think it's too late at all but worth asking for specialist help.

Girlwhowearsglasses · 13/04/2017 17:45

Oh you poor poor thing!

I BF my twins after it went well with my first DC - so I felt confident.

A proper breastfeeding consultant will help you but exclusively expressing for twins is unlikely to work longer term but it may be worth it until in a few weeks when your babies feel a lot sturdier and less fragile. Once you're past the newborn age you may feel it's lesss similar to your distressing experiences, especially when the babies can lift their heads and they look up at you too.

A midwife doesn't know anything like as much as a breastfeeding consultant about this - and even less about BFing twins.

Keep going and get support is my advice - and also making sure you're eating enough and drinking enough water. I found I had to have two lunches and hunger struck from nowhere

DancingLedge · 13/04/2017 17:47

Congratulations on your twins.Flowers
Agood bf consultant can be so helpful.NCT were brilliant for me.Nipplle shield needed to get .one of mine latched.After first couple of months, they managed fine- grew bigger, developing neck control.

Best wishes

KP86 · 13/04/2017 17:48

Firstly, I'm very sorry to read about your first DC.

My DS only latched at 9 weeks. Before that was a nightmare. I can tell you though, the next morning I expressed 700ml of milk, which was probably 30% more than usual.

I had enough milk for twins and donated around half via the HM4HB Facebook group

Point of the story: pump often (every 3-4 hours inc overnight) and keep going after you think you're done - after about 5 or 10 mins you'll get a second let down and more milk. Each of my pumping sessions was around 30 minutes, especially in the beginning.

If you can get one or both to latch, that really will help with supply as they are so much more efficient compared to a pump.

Your hospital grade pump will also help a lot.

Keep at it, but don't kill yourself doing it. Twins are already hard work. Barring allergies (which unfortunately my DS had), formula is perfectly fine for most babies when breastfeeding doesn't work out. And I say that as a massive breastfeeding advocate, who expressed full time for over a year.

Good luck!

Abacha · 13/04/2017 17:51

Thanks bernard I'm seeing HV next week so I will ask her, we do have a breastfeeding cafe run by NCT nearby, I tried going 2 days ago but I totally underestimated how long it takes to get 2 babies ready and get out of the door. Will try again next week.

Lion thank you. I'm feeling slightly down at the moment as a friend just told me that expressing is not the same as its the babies saliva at the breast that signals what type of antibodies the milk should contain. So im trying my hardest not to feel guilty.
Jen thanks

OP posts:
Girlwhowearsglasses · 13/04/2017 17:51

Just saw midwife saying boobs 'too large' - this is what I mean about midwives not being experts! That is total bollocks. My breasts went up to size J and more! (Nipples large too)

You do need a proper twin breastfeeding cushion though and also to sit up in bed with LOADS of cushions to get both babies up to height.

Look to trying sitting up with babies on cushions and under your arms with legs sticking out behind - the 'rugby tackle' hold - thisnworked best for getting both babies on and feeding well at same time.. do this on the bed so you can lay beside you and lift easily up.

I didn't always do both at same time though - you de need to get them going properly first probably.

The twin breastfeeding pillows blow up and are a big 'u' shape around you. They are indispensable.

Abacha · 13/04/2017 18:04

girlwhowearsglasses I think what you say about the twins being slightly older is true. I will definitely be seeking help. I have the harmony duo feeding pillow but ive only used it to bottle feed both at the same time.

Kp96, thanks for the tips, im currently getting about 500ml after pumping for
20 -30 mins.

Dancing you've just reminded me about nipple shield. I was going to order one but I totally forgot. Any recommendations?

OP posts:
KP86 · 13/04/2017 20:59

Don't worry about the antibodies and saliva. Just being near your babies (kissing them etc) is enough. As I said, I expressed for a year and I know that DS got the antibodies when he/I was ill because if he was sick, I got sick, and we both recovered quickly, but if I got sick he DIDN'T catch it, despite us being all over each other for most of every bloody day. Breastfeeding is amazing.

BTW, 500ml is fabulous for this age. At my peak I was expressing around 1.2-2L/day, which was enough for twins. A big hint was to pour all my milk into a jug and give it a good mix before freezing in separate bottles/bags, because otherwise the thinner foremilk and fattier hindmilk would end up in separate feeds. I could really tell the difference in the expressed milk when I swapped the bottles over mid-session. Foremilk was almost white-blue in colour and then the hindmilk was more yellow. Then after it had been refrigerated I could see the different layers of fat in them.

icclemunchy · 13/04/2017 21:13

Could you maybe give la leche league a call? They have a 24/7 helpline and run groups and things in most areas. They can often even get a leader to come out to you and give you some hands on help.

Expressing wise I was told every 2 hours day and night until supply is established. Although that was for one prem baby not twins and she move to the breast in week 3

user1471441738 · 13/04/2017 21:33

Don't worry about the saliva sensing thing as there is no evidence for it.

What you're doing is great.

DancingLedge · 13/04/2017 23:27

Sorry, head too sieve like to retain such info, can barely remember own DC names sometimes.. Need to rinse , and store in Milton soln. Some not very well informed HCP are discouraging, as they say babies used to smell of Milton won't then try to latch on the breast. This is silly- you just put a dab of very diluted milton on your own nipple, and they remember what comes next.
All good wishes to all three of you.

DancingLedge · 13/04/2017 23:33

Just had a google, probably Medela

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