Breastfeeding identical twins…
Is not impossible! If you are expecting twins or your little ones have arrived, choosing how to feed them may feel like one of the biggest decisions you have to make.
I chose to breastfeed my identical twin boys, and I spent the first 6 weeks of their little lives debating whether or not I was doing the right thing. As far as they were concerned, I knew that I was, as I wanted them to have the best possible start I could give them. It was me who had the issues!
To begin with, feeding was incredibly painful and hugely time consuming. My eldest baby, Isaac, found it very difficult to attach properly and just wouldn’t open his mouth wide enough. His brother, Samuel, sometimes had the same problem. This resulted in me having cracked nipples, getting an infection in the cracks and generally feeling rather miserable.
In fact, it was worse than miserable. I felt torn in so many directions. The thought of pain-free formula feeding was very tempting! However, I really wanted to breastfeed my boys and my husband also wanted me to breastfeed them. I also knew that the health benefits for them would be so much greater than switching to formula milk.
Despite all this, I carried on breastfeeding . I very quickly gave up feeding in tandem and just fed them one by one – why try to run before you can walk? That said, feeding in tandem can be done, it just takes a bit of practice and a lot of pillows!
I am not unique in having problems with pain, but I know that it is definitely not a problem for everyone. Some people take to breastfeeding like a duck to water, so take heart!
The most important thing when breastfeeding identical twins whether you find it easy or not is to have support. I can’t emphasize this enough. Family support is really important, however you choose to feed your babies, but particularly when breastfeeding, as you will need to eat more food than you can imagine, need help with nappy changing, winding, etc…
My husband was amazing. He would cook all the meals and get up in the night with me to change and wind the babies. In those early days I used to beg him to tell me to give up breastfeeding and switch to the bottle, but he wouldn’t! He knew how much I wanted to do it and he wouldn’t let me give up.
I would recommend seeing a lactation consultantwho is familiar with breastfeeding identical twins, as soon as you possibly can after having your babies. If your babies aren’t attaching properly this can lead to an immense amount of pain as you will have twice the amount of sucking than a singleton mum at every feed. I spent a lot of time at a lactation clinic with the community lactation consultant and they got me feeding in a pain free way.
In my experience, learning to breastfeed was a bit like learning to drive. In the beginning it was totally overwhelming, tiring, and involved way too much co-ordination! However, once the babies and I got the hang of it, it became second nature and I can’t imagine feeding them their milk any other way.
After all the blood, sweat and tears (literally!) of the early days, I am still breastfeeding my boys. They are now 9 months old and big, strong and healthy! It was definitely worth all the hard work. I love feeding them and spending special time with each of them.
You will be successful and enjoy the experience if you prepare for breastfeeding identical twins, make sure to have the proper support and you and your babies get a little practice.