Another great meeting is coming up! Before our General Meeting next week on Preschool, Gemini Crickets' will host our New & Expectant Parents Meeting next Wednesday, January 14th at 6:15pm at Saratoga Library and our topic will be Feeding for Multiples - breastfeeding, bottle feeding, pumping, formula feeding, combinations of the above - we'll cover it all! - (click here for the details). Xochitl F., one of Gemini Crickets New & Expectant Parent Liaisons and mom of 2-year-old twin boys, joins us today to tell us her "breastfeeding success story: co-experienced by Fox and Wolfgang F. (2-years-old)."
For more breastfeeding stories, see the following past Mad About Multiples posts:
- The First Time I Didn't Log a Poop
- To Nurse or Not To Nurse...That is the Dilemma
- Breastfeeding in the NICU - It Can (or May Not) Be Done
Here is Xochitl's story:
I want to start my nursing experience on a positive note, before I scare or intimidate future breast feeding moms. I want moms to know that I exclusively breast fed both my twins until the age of 13 months and never had to use formula to supplement. So, yes you can do it!!
I previously wrote in my journal about my experience and went back to re-read what I was feeling after realizing I could breast feed both my twins with ease and this is what I had to say, "Nursing my twin boys is the most successful thing I've ever accomplished in my life. I've never been more proud of myself, because it was work and it was very hard and I pulled through. Now I want to help other moms be successful and be able to feel the joy of nursing twins."
I also like to start my experience by telling moms that when I became pregnant, nursing my twins was not a big goal of mine. I felt "Oh well, if it works it works and if it doesn't it doesn't. Everyone uses formula, including my mom and we are all smart and healthy." But, once I delivered my children some mommy neurons in my brain went off and I became militantly insistent on not using formula.
My boys were born 5 weeks early and were very sick. They stayed in the NICU for 3 weeks. During those 3 weeks I pumped my breasts and every day took my bags of milk to the NICU. In the beginning I was pumping around 16 ounces of milk every three hours!! If this is not your luck, please don't become discouraged and quit! Continue reading and you will see how my luck ran out how I worked very hard to overcome obstacles.
Because my boys were premature and sick they had difficulty latching onto my breast. Nursing would exhaust them so much, their vitals would start to drop and then they would be entirely too tired to drink anything. This was dangerous because they were having trouble putting on weight, so the nurses had to add preemie formula to my breast milk to add fat calories to my milk. Once I took my boys home from the hospital, I continue to pump and freeze, pump and freeze. I became crazy (yes, I mean crazy) about the amount of ounces I was pumping and more and more fearful of trusting my babies to nurse off of me. As my boys required more milk, I started stressing more that I wouldn't be able to pump enough to feed their growing appetites.
This is when I really started to freak. I was so freaked out that I couldn't give them enough milk that I started having trouble sleeping, I started to get very short with my husband and very angry with anyone who told me to just quit and put the boys on formula. With this added stress, my milk started dropping from 16 oz a pumping down to 6oz! The boys were now drinking 10oz a feeding, so I was going into my frozen reserves and depleting them quickly. Now, I'm freaking out big time and crying all the time, because I was starting to think I would have to use formula. I can't tell you what made me hate putting my babies on formula so badly, all I can say was that some alien took over my body and would not let me use formula.
Then one day I thought I needed to get professional help, breastfeeding shouldn't be this damn miserable, hard and stressful! I found a lactation consultant that charged $150 an hour and drove to see her 1 hour away to find the magical answer. I didn't get the magical answer and my husband was very angry about spending $150 for the magic green bean that didn't work.
The next day I called the fantastic lactation team at Los Gatos Community Hospital for advice (something I should have done way in the beginning). I went in and they told me I first of all needed to relax, I'd never produce milk with the stress I had myself under. Then she gave me my magical answer and my magical green beans. Her answer was "breastfeeding isn't an exact science, it is an art". That was, as Oprah says, my "Uh, Huh moment". I had become so fixated with filling my babies bottles with X amount of ounces; I didn't know how to trust myself and my babies with drinking just what they needed.
The lactation specialist weighed my boys, and then helped me latch them on, then they fed for 4-5 minutes, then they pulled away, then she weighed them again and they each had gained 6-7 ounces. Oh-My-God!! They drank enough in 5 minutes and I didn't have to painfully sit at a pumping machine for 20 unfulfilling minutes! Hope and happiness filled me for the very first time in my new role as a mother. This took 3 months to get to!
I went home feeling very hopeful, but still a little nervous, so I rented the baby scale for one week. For that week I still struggled with one of my twins latching. (Remember, until month 3 the boys had only ever used a bottle.) I would nurse one baby and kept pumping for the other. I became more excited when I saw the amount of milk I was pumping increase back to 16-18 ounces once again (this is after nursing one twin!)
I call them the magic green beans, but what was helping with my extreme milk production was the fenugreek pills the lactation specialist sent me home with. I took 5 capsules 3 times a day. Once I had my milk production up, one twin latching, and a more positive outlook on breastfeeding. My next goal was to get the second twin to latch and get rid of the pumping machine entirely. This happened 2 weeks after the first twin exclusively started nursing. I worked and worked with the second twin, until he just relaxed and I relaxed and at that moment was when I felt that I had just accomplished the greatest goal I'd ever set for myself.
My 5 Top Tips to successfully nurse your twins:
- Remember, "Breastfeeding isn't an exact science, it is an art."
- Trust yourself and your babies and relax.
- Drink lots and lots of water all day!!
- Eat many small healthy meals all day.
- Fenugreek pills!! (Sold at Whole Foods and other health food stores).
See you next week at Gemini Crickets' New and Expecting Parent's meeting for a panel discussion on breastfeeding, bottle feeding, pumping and formula feeding. The meeting will be held at the Saratoga Library on Wednesday January 14 at 6:15pm. Here are more details.