Breastfeeding twins: 6 months later
This story comes to you in honor of Breastfeeding Awareness Month from one of our Willow Tree Family, Kristin Thomas.
First, a disclaimer. Every family should feed their baby in a way that works for them. Breast, bottle, whatever keeps baby alive and happy is wonderful.
I have reached a major goal I had when we found out we were having twins. They have been fed only breast milk for the first 6 months of their life. No formula, no food just mama milk. Is this the right path for everyone? Nope. But it was for us and I feel pretty proud that we made it to 6 months.
The brothers have been breastfed from day one. They have also had breast milk from a syringe, breast milk from a finger feeding tube, and breastmilk from a bottle. They take their milk anyway they can get it. Though they definitely prefer it straight from the tap.
Most of you know I volunteer to help breastfeeding moms at our local hospital. As part of that volunteer work I have been able to attend several breastfeeding trainings and seminars. During a mother and baby summit statistics on the percent of babies who were breastfed exclusively for 6 months were discussed. In Michigan, 75% of moms try breastfeeding at least once (awesome!) but only 16% breastfeed exclusively for 6 months (that means only breast milk for baby it does not matter if baby eats said milk from breast or bottle). Audrey was in that 16% and I really wanted to achieve the same with the brothers. Would they be A OK if we didn't make it? Of course they would. Would we have given them solids earlier if they wouldn't take a bottle? Sure. But they did take a bottle so we could try to meet the AAP and WHO recommendation of 6 months. And we did! Yay!
Other than to have a party for myself, I feel like this post is important for expectant twin moms. When I was pregnant I could not find very many personal accounts of breastfeeding twins which left me feeling a bit unsure about what to expect. Would I be able to exclusively breastfeed? The answer to that is yes. Would it be easy? The answer to that is no and yes. Super hard at the beginning super easy after about 3 months. Overall, the easiest path possible in my opinion.
I say we took the easiest path possible because I went back to work and oh good god how I hate pumping and making bottles and washing bottles. So. Much. Work. Weekends are like pure bliss. No bottles to wash no pumping to be done. Sometimes I do pump on the weekend so I can go out . But when we go out, all we need are diapers, wipes, and me! And did I mention I hate washing bottles.
You still may be asking, but isn't breastfeeding twins twice as much work? I would have to say at this point, no. Was it at the beginning, yes. But breastfeeding is always by far the hardest for the first three months. The brothers are way faster at eating than Audrey ever was. I think because they know one is waiting, who knows. But they are quick, like 5, 10 maybe 15 minutes. They are also increasingly easier to feed simultaneously, which means super quick feeds. Even their middle of the night feeding is a half hour in an out, easy peasy. Unless they don't want to go back to sleep, which is just cruel.
So, to recap. Breastfeeding twins hard at first, much easier as time passes. In our case, easier than bottles. And biggest bonus of all, I am able to get some one on one time with each baby every day by breastfeeding them, which I love. It is hard to carve out time during which you are solely focused on one twin, feeding them separately at least some of the time allows me to do this and I love it!
Can you breastfeed your twins? I think so! Having a great support system in place is definitely key, but it can be done. Of course some women may need to use formula as well or may find breastfeeding just doesn't work for them. That is OK! I just want future mamas of twins to know that breastfeeding is a choice you can make. Just like I want future mamas of twins to know that vaginal birth is a choice you can make, as long as the babies are in the correct position. It doesn't have to be C-section and formula. It can be, and that is perfectly OK, but it doesn't have to be. And that is what it is all about right? Having a say in how you birth/feed/raise your baby!
Godspeed twin mamas. Two babies are no joke!