Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Tandem Nursing...wait...what?!

Before I even got pregnant I knew I wanted to breastfeed my baby, I just didn't know I was going to have to pluralize that to "babies." I was raised as a healthy eater and to pay attention to the number of ingredients in a food. The longer the paragraph on the side of a box, the more leery I become. It only made sense that I wanted to steer clear of formula, but I wasn't sure I was going to be able to.

My husband and I had no clue we would have twins, so when we got the positive pregnancy test we, like anyone would, assumed we were having one baby. We began making arrangements based on that, such as: I would go back to work after a maternity leave, we would aim for an at home birth, we would cloth diaper, and we would breastfeed. Well, upon seeing our two little gremlins on the ultrasound  for the first time we quickly realized some of our goals would not be possible. A home birth for one, as midwives in our area are not comfortable handling a twin pregnancy or birth. I definitely wouldn't be going back to work, as child care would eat up all but $300 per month of my salary. We were wondering what else would need to be compromised.

As my pregnancy progressed I did more and more research by communicating with moms of multiples on websites, blogs, and forums. It seemed as though the majority of them either didn't bother trying to breastfeed, tried but felt as though they wouldn't be successful so gave up within the first month, or only breastfed part time. I was really beginning to think I would end up falling into one of those categories. Then I saw a comment that a mother wrote that changed everything. She said, "I have two babies and two boobies, and women have been feeding their children this way since the beginning of time. I think I can I think I can." I decided then that no matter what, I would try my best to feed my babies for at least 2 weeks without supplementing, and if things were going alright that I would extend my goal.

All 3 of us after nursing...they were passed out!

My boys were born via c-section and were immediately brought into the NICU for observation. I was not allowed to feed them the night they were born because they were having slight breathing issues caused by the c-section. They still had fluid in their lungs that hadn't been squeezed out like it would have had they been born naturally. After recovering and visiting with the boys for a couple of hours I asked that a pump be brought to my room. For the next 7 days if I wasn't with the babies or napping, I was pumping. I was headstrong that if I just kept pumping, my supply would build, and I would have enough for my boys. The NICU rules for my guys were: they had to eat a certain amount of food by mouth within a given amount of time, but if I nursed it couldn't be measured, so I pumped and bottle fed. Kingston at 7, Langston at 8, pumped at 9...Kingston at 10, Langston at 11, pumped at 12....I swear I didn't sleep more than two hour stretches for that whole first week, and that was if I missed a feeding!

My Brest Friend twin nursing pillow (stock photo!)
Finally the day came to bring the boys home. I was soexcited to get them off of the monitors and snuggle, and actually feel like a mom. I was so used to bottle feeding that for the first few days home I was still pumping and measuring, but then I decided to use what has since become solid gold in my house: My Brest Friend Twin Nursing Pillow. I had no idea what to expect. I had only had the boys latch on for a few minutes here and there in the NICU, and that was just to try to get used to it, not to actually feed them. I strapped the pillow around me, sat on the bed, placed a baby on either side, and without missing a beat my little monsters started eating. They knew exactly what to do, and thank goodness because I certainly didn't! All of a sudden I had all this time! Both boys would eat at the same time. They would sleep at the same time. I didn't have to waste time pumping unless I was leaving them with my husband for a bit. And it was so nice to see them enjoying eating, rather than being force-fed predetermined amounts of food by a NICU nurse. I have read that twin moms feel that they would have a hard time getting their babes onto the pillow, and to this I respond by saying: when you have twins you have to get comfortable picking them up with one hand. I promise you'll get the hang of it pretty quickly :)

The boys in a milk coma after tandem nursing at 2 weeks old

Two weeks of nursing have come and gone. My boys and I enjoy the time together so much that I didn't even bother setting a new goal. We're almost at 3 months with no end in sight. They have both more than doubled their birth weights, and at last check Kingston had grown 3 inches and Langston grew 4 and a quarter! I high five myself for not getting overwhelmed with all the hype about nursing twins, and just doing what I felt was right for us. I attribute our success to the fact that the boys knew what to do, and that I remained calm and took each day as it came. Today I nursed Langston in a Moby wrap, while pushing Kingston in the double stroller, all the way home from our walk over the Ringling Bridge. Happy healthy babies and a happy healthy mommy!

p.s...I didn't have to compromise my desire to cloth diaper either! I'll write about that later ;)

Nursing Langston at the Hollister "nurse-in" to promote breastfeeding awareness           


  1. Good.for you girl.!! I may need some advice if the positive in a couple.weeks : o

  2. I have so many pics of my bubs on that same nursing pillow. We're at three months and going strong. It's been hard since I went back to work, but we're still doing it!