Monday, August 10, 2009

Breastfeeding TWINS!!

My sweet friend has shared her breastfeeding premature twins story below. I hope you find it encouraging and amazing. It just goes to show that no matter what the circumstances, breastfeeding is always possible!

My Breastfeeding Story

I did not even know what breastfeeding was until I worked in a daycare in college. Of the 4 years that I worked there, I only remember 1 mom breastfeeding her baby. I remember how the older ladies working there would talk about how she was probably only doing it to lose her baby weight. Well, that sounded like a great deal to me. Why not?

Then, after I got married, my husband and I had friends with a new baby and the mother breastfed her. She made it seem wonderful and talked to me about the benefits to the baby. This is really what sold me on breastfeeding and I developed the attitude that if God was going to give me free food for my baby then I was going to use it!

It wasn’t until about a year later that my husband and I started trying to have a baby. When I was finally pregnant we were happy to find out that we were having twins. This news might have scared some people away from breastfeeding but it made me even more determined. I knew that we would not be able to afford formula for two and that my babies would probably be smaller and need the extra boost in their immune system.

I set out on a mission to find out all that I could about how to breastfeed twins. I knew a lady that worked in the same school district that has twin boys so I contacted her to find out if she had breastfed them. She was more than happy to provide me all the information that she could and also answer all of my questions. This was a great help to me and I decided that if she could do it, so could I.

Most of my family could not believe that I was going to try to breastfeed twins. Some wanted to know all of the details and some told me that it would never work. My mother didn’t breastfeed any of her children, but she was more than willing to learn from me and support me! I took the breastfeeding class at the hospital where I would be delivering and bought a few books to read. By the time my girls were born I was ready! This was a good thing since the lactation consultant at the hospital had retired and they hadn’t filled the position yet! My girls were born 6 ½ weeks early due to premature labor. They were whisked away to the NICU almost immediately. I had given strict notes that I was going to breastfeed them and not to give them anything. Not long after I was back in the recovery room, a nurse from the NICU came to visit me. She assured me that my babies were fine, but also told me that if I wanted them to come home anytime soon, I would need to give permission for them to have formula. At first I was a little worried about it but then I offered my permission.

When I arrived in my postpartum room, there was a breast pump waiting for me. Now, I had never used a breast pump before so I needed help. Each nurse that came in offered me different advice about when to use it and how to use it. I chose to pump every three hours because that is the feeding schedule that was being used in the NICU. The first few times that I pumped I didn’t get anything in the little vile that I was using. By the next evening though, I had about half a vile of colostrum. I got out of my bed and rushed it to the nurse’s station stating that they needed to get it down to my babies as soon as possible. The nurse that I spoke with laughed at me and told me that it was not enough to even do anything. I was extremely mad at her and told her not to worry about it but just to get it down to them. I knew that the NICU nurses would be thrilled with my little bit of liquid gold and that it was going to be great for my girls.

I continued to pump every three hours even after I left the hospital and would take my milk to the NICU. After my milk came in I was able to pump enough milk so that they were receiving only my milk and no formula by the third day that they were in there. Each time I went to visit them, the nurses would encourage me to try to nurse one of my girls. (One was on a feeding tube due to sucking problems) It was then that I learned that my nipples were inverted. This was another difficult task to overcome without a lactation consultant. Each nurse gave me different advice about what I could do but in the end I was able to use a nipple shield which worked great. We were able to bring one baby home after 5 days and the other after 8 days. The delay with one was that she was still having trouble sucking and gaining weight. We were supposed to bring her home on the 7th day and when I called to make sure that this was still the plan, the dr. told me that she had lost an ounce overnight due to my milk not having enough calories so they had been giving her high calorie formula. This news crushed me. I had been up around the clock every three hours pumping milk for this baby and now they are saying it’s not good enough! Well, this could not be true. How could my milk not be as good as formula? I asked them again when I went in for a visit and what the dr. meant to say was that my baby was burning more calories trying to eat my milk than she was getting. We were told that we needed to give her the high calorie formula every other feeding until we saw the dr. again.

When my girls came home from the NICU, neither one of them would nurse. My husband and I would each get up for every feeding and give them a bottle of my milk (or the formula for the one) and then after we got them soundly back to sleep I would pump. This went on for two months and my husband was extremely supportive. During the day I would offer to nurse them each time just to see what would happen before the bottles. I was determined that these girls were going to nurse before my husband had to go back to work because I didn’t know how I would do two bottles at once. When the bigger baby was about six weeks old, she stopped taking a bottle. She would refuse it. My husband said, “I think she wants to nurse, she won’t take this bottle from me.” I put her to my breast and she went to town like she had been nursing all along. The smaller of the two girls started nursing about two weeks later! I had succeeded at getting them to stop taking bottles and only nurse!

I enjoyed nursing them at the same time because they would hold hands while they nursed. When they were 12 months old I decided that I needed to make them stop. I did this on a Sunday morning before church. When I dropped them off in the nursery I told their worker that I hadn’t nursed them that morning, this was the first time I had ever mentioned to her that I even breastfed them. She told me not to worry that she still nursed her 3 year old and if I needed someone to talk to she was available. This made me start thinking that maybe I wasn’t ready for them to stop nursing so I called the lactation consultant (my now best friend) and she also said that it didn’t sound like I was ready to quit and that there was no rule that said I had to. I decided to continue nursing them and they nursed until they were 15 months old. I am so glad that I nursed them and I plan to nurse their sister who will be born in November. I hope that this story can offer support to someone who also has a baby who won’t nurse right at birth. Don’t give up!


  1. GREAT story! It's just goes to show you that if you decide that you want to breastfeeding, no obstacle is too big! Thanks so much for sharing!

  2. It really can be done! I breastfed my twins, also, which are about a year older than Ashley's. It's been nice to have someone to exchange stories with that understands where you are coming from! Thanks for your story!

  3. Yay you! What a great story! Good job giving your girls a great start. I'm inspired.