But, before I talk about nursing two babies, can I just say one thing? I would never want any woman to feel like us breastfeeding mommies think less of those who choose formula. Your love for your child is not determined by how you feed him/her. (And let me help you if you are still feeling guilty...Ella was breastfed for 9 months...and she is always sick and even has asthma. So, see? I could argue that it didn't really help her stay well! )It is hands down the most perfect food for them...but, if it wasn't your cup of tea, you're still an amazing mom!
Lauren asked: I'm curious how breastfeeding is going! I have a 10.5 month old and he's never had a bottle in his life, and I hope to be able to breastfeed exclusively with all my kids (another reason I don't want twins next time around). So I wonder how that whole thing is going.
Ok. So, I hope you weren't looking for a simple answer, because feeding these babies has been very complicated. But, before you read into all this, just know that YES!!!!...you can certainly nurse two babies!
First, I have to remind everyone that our twins were born at 28 weeks. That's about 3 months early. So, feeding at that stage was simply a tube going down into their belly. Because they were small (obviously), their feedings had to be fortified with extra calories. Basically there is a ratio of "formula" to breast milk that makes it higher calorie...this is called fortified breast milk. Are you following me so far? So, for the first 7 weeks or so, they were fed through a feeding tube. (This will all make sense in a minute).
After that, I would nurse them once a day. Obviously this was extremely hard because:
1) we never had that initial establishment of nursing immediately after birth
2) they were on oxygen and that would get in the way some
3) they would constantly have to be pulled off because their oxygen would drop...so, you can imagine the frustration of trying to teach a preemie to latch and constantly pulling them off once they finally did latch.
4) I was trying to do all of the above with TWO babies
5) I was only getting to nurse them once a day...not exactly ideal for establishing good latching and nursing sessions
Ok, so when the babies were discharged, I was originally told that both babies would continue to have to have half of their feeding fortified (which meant I had to continue to pump and feed bottles...WEW! That's a lot of work).
When we got home, Jacob was doing terrible trying to nurse and shortly thereafter got sick, so I decided to just pump for all his feedings and do bottles. When Audrey came home, she was nursing some, but she was not gaining weight....so, we were then told ALL her feedings had to be fortified. This meant, I was pumping and feeding and adding calories to every bottle of breast milk. To keep it simple, we did all the bottles for both babies this way.
So, I continued this pumping insanity and still continue to pump a couple times a day. I have gone back to nursing Audrey twice a day, because I feel like she is gaining weight fine by me doing it that way. The rest of her feedings are fortified breast milk.
My original goal was to make it to 6 months with the breastfeeding. I am very pro breastfeeding for at least one year, but I also have been through a lot more than the average person this past year...plus I'm trying to feed two by pumping. So, let's be real. I just can't keep doing this. So, in one more month, I will probably be totally done with pumping. I will try and continue to nurse Audrey some (and Jacob some on the off chance that he decides he will...every once in a while he will). But, no more pumping. And if it is all completely over in another month, I'm ok with that. I gave them 6 months of me and I feel happy about that.
So, if you have two healthy "normal" twins, yes you can nurse both. It's hard, but it can certainly be done. I hope this helps!
Lauren asked: ...And how much sleep you get. And how the twins are sleeping.
I usually get 6 straight hours of sleep a night. Ella goes to preschool in the mornings on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, so I can sometimes sneak in a nap then. But, honestly, there is just always other things that need to be done, so I don't. But, I get more on the weekends. I'm definitely always tired, but I get enough sleep to not feel too bad.
The twins are finally sleeping really well. They eat about every 3.5 hours during the day. They "go to bed"...whatever that means...around 7pm. I then go in and feed them around 11pm and go to sleep after I finish feeding them...usually after midnight. They wake up around 3:30 or 4am and are both fed at the same time this time. They then will sleep until about 7:30am. Andrew goes to bed early and feeds them their 4am feeding. I stay up late and do the 11pm feeding.
Otherwise, they both take 3 naps a day. Audrey is my dream napper. She is a GREAT sleeper. Jacob likes to wake up after 45 minutes and scream for 15 minutes and then sleep off and on for another 30 minutes after that. Here is what a typical day looks like:
7am: Ella and I are up
7:30: feed babies
8:30 babies nap
10: Jacob wakes up
10:30: Audrey wakes up and both babies are fed
2: Babies wake up and are fed
5:00-wake up and feed
7pm: nurse both babies-then they go to sleep for the night
11am-wake them up to eat, then immediately they go back to sleep
3:30/4-both babies eat, then go back to sleep
7am-wake up...do it all over again...drink lots of coffee!!!
This is just sort of guide for the day. It certainly isn't a schedule. We just follow an eat, play, sleep routine. It is VERY hard to keep both babies on the same routine through the day b/c Jacob is 13 lbs. 5 ounces and Audrey is 10 pounds 10 ounces. That's an almost 3 pounds difference! That's huge in terms of sleeping and eating.
So, that is life in a nutshell here. Breastfeeding is such an amazing thing. It hurts and is hard at first, but then it becomes really sweet. I will feel sad to be done with it. But, I've done the best I can do. So, when it does end, I will give myself a little pat on the back and say "Good Job...now where's my teeny-tiny bras again??" Sigh.