August 1-7 is World Breastfeeding Week and we have a special extended line up for you! Our writers will share their triumphs and tears through their personal recollections of making sure their babies are fed, be it through breastfeeding or supplementation. We hope you connect with these experiences by picking up a few tips or gaining the confidence to do what is best for your situation. Enjoy!
I knew I wanted to breastfeed my kids because I knew the value and the benefits of that liquid gold. And it was free! According to plan, I started nursing when my first was born. I will admit, there were some struggles at the beginning with my milk coming in. I had to supplement briefly in the first couple of weeks, but once my body got with the program, I exclusively nursed my oldest until I went back to work. After that, I nursed at night and before I left for work and pumped for his daily needs away from me. I made it to almost six months before I made the decision to switch to formula.
When we got pregnant the second time, my plan was to do the same thing. Then early on, I found out I was having twins and I questioned if I would be enough. Because of my struggles at the beginning with my first born, I knew better this time. I would need help, especially now with two babies. I decided I would be supplementing with formula and I was okay with that decision and plan.
When the boys were born, Quincy just missed weight by a few ounces and was in NICU overnight. Miles was able to stay with us in our room. Because they were 4 weeks early and my milk had not come in yet, the boys were exclusively fed formula during our 2-day stay at the hospital. The doctors were super helpful and suggested I meet with a lactation consultant. The consultant met with me while I was in the hospital. She also scheduled some time with me about a week later to help make me more comfortable with feeding two babies at one time and to ensure I was making enough milk for them both. As all us mamas who breastfeed have learned, you produce according to your baby’s or babies’ needs. I made sure I was nursing as much as possible so that my body would produce more to accommodate both of them.
For the first few weeks, I had received shields to make it easier for the boys to latch on. Since they were born earlier, it was hard for them to get a good latch. On top of that, the boys were early enough where their bodies did not know when to wake up to feed. So we set our alarms for every three hours and woke up the boys to feed them. We had a good routine going where we would have one twin drink formula and the other would nurse from me. Every once in a while, I would feed them at the same time. I relied on my Boppy Pillow, chair armrests, and my husband to place them the right way in my arms to easily latch and nurse. I was so focused on making sure I had a good grip on both of them, nursing became a dreaded event for me. I had no clue how I was going to handle this as they got bigger and more wriggly.
During the next month or so, the boys started to wake up on their own when they were hungry. Luckily they were on different schedules at first. One would wake up and be nursed and by the time he was done, the other twin would be up and ready to feed. That made it easier for me to feed one boy at a time, but as you can imagine, it didn’t really give me a break as I was constantly nursing. In the middle of all that, I was pumping to start my reserve in preparation for me going back to work full time. But this worked for me because I wanted to nurse them as much as possible. It made me less stressed than nursing them at the same time.
They were hungry at the same time. With my mind stressed out, I knew I couldn’t do this alone. We made the decision to go back to our routine from those first few weeks. I would nurse one baby and my husband would feed formula or pumped milk to the other.
I made it through about 2 months of nursing and pumping. The boys were about 4 months when I made the decision to go 100% formula. It was the best decision for me and I don’t regret anything during that time. I was still able to bond with my boys through nursing. They still got my liquid gold for as long as I could produce and still have time to focus on enjoying my boys before I had to go back to work.
My first initial thought was that I was failing at something I should be able to do for my boys. I know now I did what was best. I listened to my body and knew when enough was enough. My priority became to do whatever was best to ensure my boys were growing and getting what they needed nutritionally. Not going to lie, when I was no longer tied to nursing and pumping, I was so much happier. I was determined to provide for my kids through breastfeeding as long as I could. I truly think I made it as long as my body could handle it.
I consider myself lucky to have been able to nurse them as long as I did. In the end, I have two beautiful and healthy boys to show for it.