Hello, hello! My twin breastfeeding post has been a long time coming, and I am so excited to finally share it with you. After having handfuls and handfuls of private conversations with a lot of you, I’ve realized if I put it all in one place it could help even more, so here we are! Please note that I am not an expert, nor do I think I am. This is purely based off my personal experiences and things that I have found to help me navigate this new breastfeeding journey. 🙂 I wanted to put this post together to 1. Share my journey. 2. Share all the products that have helped me with this journey and 3. Start a open and honest conversation about the struggles and stigmas behind breastfeeding. Through it all, I have found that Walmart is an amazing resource for shopping for baby feeding products, and at the best prices! I thought I had everything we needed before the babies arrived, and as time went on learned that wasn’t the case! Luckily, Walmart also offers reliable, fast shipping on items because as a new mama when I realize I need something that can help me, I need it like… yesterday! Haha! So I wanted to put all my necessary breastfeeding items all in one place for you to shop from Walmart. I include those items in my breastfeeding journey, as well as linked below!
Going to start my journey with a little rewind. During my pregnancy, I was set on solely breastfeeding my twin babies. I wanted to because it was important to me to have that bond and to fill them with all my nutrients and antibodies to build their immune systems. Selfishly, I also wanted to because all I heard was how much weight you lost with breastfeeding and I had a LOT to lose. I’ve heard how difficult it could be, but I was determined. I started leaking during my second trimester and was excited to see things starting to work! Fast forward to when the twins arrived, well, that’s a different story. If you haven’t read my birth story, you can do so here.
Long story short, I wasn’t able to hold my babies after delivery due to some complications and then both our boys were tongue and lip tied, so they were unable to latch. I felt defeated and had already made an appointment with a lactation consultant, but refused to give into the bottle at the hospital, so we spoon fed the boys my “liquid gold” for the first 24 hours. Time at the hospital is a bit of a blur, but I remember there was a transition period before my milk fully came in and we subsidized with formula – again via spoons and medicine cups. I was so concerned if we introduced the bottle too soon they wouldn’t want to try to latch because I had heard it’s easier to drink from a bottle and they won’t want to work harder (aka feed from the breast). Side note: Babies stomachs are the size of marbles when they’re first born, so they only can drink so much at a time (which is why they need to feed so often!) So spoon and medicine cup feeding them for the first week or so was fine!
The boys were born on a Wednesday and that following Monday I was home and had a meeting with our lactation consultant. It was then we had confirmed that the boys definitely had the ties and she recommended that we had the procedure to laser them, and in the meantime that we order a few things to help us with feedings. – Nipple Shields to help the babies latch, as well as these Avent bottles. She understood my concern with confusing bottles and breasts and recommended these because of their wide breast-shaped nipple that promotes natural latch-on so you can easily combine bottle and breastfeeding. These bottles definitely took the pressure off of “only breastfeeding” and it was a relief to have Marc and family help me with the feedings. As they starting drinking more milk, we also got the larger size bottles!
I did have the Brest Friend pillow, this is great for breastfeeding twins!! When our baby nurse arrived, she also used the pillow to prop both babies up so she could bottle feed them at the same time. I have mostly pumped using the Spectra2, which I absolutely love! And it is super easy to clean and use. If you’re going to be pumping, you will also definitely need a hands-free bra. I promise you it is life changing! This one is great and is under $10. I would recommend getting at least two because they do need washed frequently from absorbing sweat/breast milk. This is also something that I wish I had when I went to the hospital.
We also ordered a bunch of things the week we got home from the hospital. The hospital gave us a few storage containers, but we quickly outgrew them (I think they only held 2 oz each), so we ordered reusable breast milk containers. We also picked up a drying rack. I love this one, not only because it’s cute! but because it’s not bulky. We only have so much space in our NYC kitchen, so it’s nice that this one doesn’t take up too much space! And then we also picked up these bottle cleaning brushes and baby bottle dish soap. I personally like having a sponge specifically for the baby items!
Back to the babies, we had the lip and tongue tie appointments scheduled that Wednesday (babies were 1 week old) and it was the fastest procedure! We were in and out with both babies in less than 3o minutes. It took less than 10 seconds to do the procedure, and then we learned mouth exercises to do so the ties didn’t reconnect. The exercises were simple! And we only had to do them for 2 weeks (we never had to go back to the city for check-ups, etc.) and sent update pictures via texts to the doctor just to make sure they were healing properly. If you’re not sure about having the procedure done, this is why we chose to do it. 1. Our babies couldn’t flip their top lip out or stick out their tongues. The ties on the bottom went to the tip of the tongue and without being able to flip out their top lip is what prevented them from being able to properly latch! Because of this, breastfeeding was nearly impossible and we all would get frustrated and upset. The babies would because they couldn’t latch and then I would because I felt like I couldn’t help them. 2. Breastfeeding aside, we learned that if you don’t correct the ties that it could lead to other problems, like speech impediments and/or being able to do things like lick an ice cream cone! 3. Then lastly, we realized that there is nothing negative that can result from the procedure. The only downside is it is an out-of-pocket cost, as most insurances don’t cover it. Regardless, we thought there were more Pros than Cons and it was worth a shot!
Within a week of having the procedure done the babies could finally latch and we were back on the breastfeeding wagon! (Just to give you a timeline, the babies were now two weeks old). We worked with our lactation consultant weekly for about 3-4 weeks total and she did help a lot! I will say, it is an incredible moment when they can latch!
With that said I never realized just how hard it would be. Not saying it’s not worth it! Or complaining at all! But I really had zero idea. I want to bring this up because I felt like there was a lot of pressure to only breastfeed and stigmas if you did or didn’t and why you chose one or the other, and then of course frustrations with milk production, etc. I will be first to say, don’t let any of that get in your head! I know it’s hard, trust me. Especially when usually the first question anyone asks is how you are feeding, and I always find myself getting defensive. Don’t! There is no right or wrong way! Whatever you choose to do IS best!
I’ve realized that there is a LOT to figure out when it comes to newborns and feeding schedules, and every child is different! Parker and Preston are two different people, and have entirely different habits and eat different amounts. We were all over the place for the first month before we started working with our night nurse, who helped us a ton and not only at night, but to also recognize the difference between hunger and gas cries. She recommended the Boppy pillows too for bottle feedings, tummy time and to sit up in and helped us get the boys on a 24 hour schedule. If you don’t have the Boppy pillows they’re great! We got two.
Where we are now: While I try to still breastfeed at least once a day, we are mostly pumping and bottle feeding the boys, as well as supplementing with formula. I tried breastfeeding both at the same time, however it was difficult for me to do that alone. Our boys are big, so to lift them up onto the pillow and prop them up is a challenge! And trying to keep them on the same schedule means feeding them at the same time! As far as production goes, it has been all over the place. When I was super focused on breastfeeding and pumping like crazy, I developed nasty blisters that would bleed. It was SUPER painful. I used this nipple butter, which helped! But then when I took a step back, it was also painful from my breasts getting engorged – I found these therapy packs are great for that! Lastly, wearing nipple pads also helps with sore nipples and from stains! I wear mine every day.
I’ve definitely gotten discouraged, but I don’t want to give up just yet! On most days I’m producing enough for one baby, and we just try to split it up between the two of them. I’ve learned that milk production is supply and demand, so your body will replenish what is used and it will quickly slow down production if you’re not getting it out fast enough! It’s crazy how fast it can change overnight. If you’re hoping to increase your supply, I’ve found sipping Mother’s Milk tea when I’m pumping has helped with production! As well as constantly drinking water is important! I got a reusable cup with a straw that helps me drink more water. When it comes to breastmilk EVERY LAST DROP is just as important as the first, haha – so if you haven’t heard of the milk catchers, these are great! They collect milk that leaks from the breast that isn’t being used during feedings.
As you can see, it’s definitely a journey! One that we’re taking day-by-day. It’s important to focus on the small victories, one feeding at a time! Hopefully seeing all my favorite breastfeeding and feeding items in one place will also help! I tried to answer most of your questions above, but will also include some below as well! As always, if you have any others you can always comment below. xx A
How do you deal with the boys crying in public? Did you ever breastfeed them when out? I have not breastfed the babies out. Not that I’m against it! I just find it easier to bottle feed them!
What makes your life easier with feeding that you wish you’d known sooner? Do what you can and don’t stress out over it! As I mentioned above I was so obsessed with the idea of only breastfeeding to the point where I was getting upset and frustrated. You’re still holding them and can still bond through bottle feeding them! So don’t worry. Do what’s best for you, because whatever is easier or better for you is best for them! 🙂
Are you doing anything special to increase your milk supply? Trying to drink as much water as possible and sipping teas! I also make healthy Lactating Cookies.
Did you ever feel mom guilt about formula? I only ask because I did 🙁 At first, but that lasted about an hour, haha! I feel comfort knowing that my boys are getting the nourishment they need to grow
When did you milk supply increase? I noticed it came in between Day 2 and 3 at the hospital!
What can I do to produce milk? My little is 5 days and is drinking 2 oz. Herbal Teas like Mother’s Milk have helped me (linked below and in the post!) I’ve also used Brewer’s Yeast in recipes.
Do you pump when you’re out and about for long periods of time? I try to! It isn’t always easy and sometimes I’ve stretched it to 4-5 hours if I know we’ll be home soon (just easier to wait than to do it while were out).
Is it only me? But I think breastfeeding/pumping is a complete mess. Always leaking! Haha, it is definitely not you! Breastmilk just goes everywhere!
How do you manage to pump with your little ones? You just do! Haha. I wish I had a better answer, but where there is a will there’s a way. I try not to obsess too much over it – I think that would drive me crazy and lead me to burning out. But I do try to do my best and pump as frequently as they’re eating.
How are your twins with latching? Mine can’t figure it out yet! We worked with a lactation consultant to help with our latch! However, if you haven’t tried nipple shields yet, I would recommend trying those out first! They were recommended by my lactation consultant to help give our babies an extra grip to hold onto, and they really do help. Eventually they figured it out where I didn’t need to use them anymore. Other things I’ve found to help with latching is to pump for 2-3 minutes first and then set the babies on. By pumping first, it helps draw out your nipples to give them something more to grab onto. If I’m not near my pump I just pull on them a couple times to draw them out (not as pleasant of a feeling, but it helps!).
How are you like the Spectra? I really do love my Spectra pump! It’s easy to clean and use and was recommended to me by other mamas. I always get a solid pump with it and I’ve never had a bad experience!
Are the twins sleeping through the night yet? How much milk to get to that point? We worked with our night nurse to get them on a schedule where they’re consuming almost all their calories during the day (about 30 ounces give or take). They’re now sleeping almost 6-7 hours straight!
What’d you end up doing for sleep and overnight support? How did that play into feeding? We worked with a night nurse, who is also a sleep trainer, for a couple nights a week for a month. It helped so much! I’m going to elaborate in another post, but she was able to successfully get us on a schedule that works for our boys and we have been able to maintain it! The first week I would still wake up in the middle of the night to pump, but eventually realized sleep was more important for me to be the best mama I needed to be during the day, haha! So unless I woke up on my own I didn’t set alarms to wake up and pump. I would leave milk in the fridge and our night nurse fed the babies accordingly on her own.
Pumping when you’re out and about… how? Where do you store the milk? We have mini coolers, similar to this one here! They fit in the diaper bag. If we’re out/driving I’ve asked fast food joints for ice! And the one wedding we went to, I just asked the bar we were at for a couple scoops! Ha! I’ve never had anyone turn me down for needing ice for my breast milk.
I have twin boys the same age. How do you find time to go out with them!? I don’t always want to leave the house. Most days I’m run down, exhausted and stressed with managing work and trying to be a full-time mom. But I found that it’s important for my mental state to make it a priority to get ready and get outside. It’s hard! But I’ve learned it’s easier to start with family and friend support! I’ve only ran out for little errands on my own, but I already feel way more confident and comfortable to do it if I need or want to after doing it with family and friends!
Are you finding it easier to pump vs BF? My twins are 3 months and I’d rather pump! I definitely agree! While I do love the bonding factor of breastfeeding, it is pretty tough with twins – not saying it isn’t possible! I still try to do it at least once a day with each baby individually, however I’ve learned it takes a village and I physically can’t do it all on my own! So if someone can help by bottle-feeding them or if I can feed them both at the same time via bottles to be more efficient and to keep them on the same schedule then that’s fine too. That said, I pump what I can to be bottle-fed and supplement the difference. The boys are growing so fast and are the size of 3-4 month olds, so I haven’t been able to produce 100% of their intake on my own. Usually we split what I pump and then subsidize the difference with formula until they’re full!
Do you have a schedule or go by baby cues? We mostly go by a schedule! We’re not crazy about sticking to it super strictly, because #lifehappens. But we do try to keep them on schedule within a range of 30-60 minutes. That said, if they get fussy and seem hungry we won’t not feed them because of the schedule. Sometimes a couple ounces is all they need to calm down!
Can you share a day of what pumping/feeding twins looks like? Of course! Our days start around 7am. If I’m up before the boys, the first thing I do is pump. If we’re up at the same time then I set them up in the Boppy Pillows and bottle feed them as I’m pumping. This continues at 11 am, 3 pm, 7 pm and 11 pm (every ~4 hours). Bath time starts right before the 7pm feeding! As I mentioned, we try to stick to this schedule, however our lives don’t revolve around it. We just try our best to stick to it within a 30-60 minute range! If they wake up in the middle of the night then we give them ~2-4 ounces to put them back asleep!