First, this post does not contain ANY revealing photos. Feel free to read it anytime and anywhere.
This is about nursing basics, how to keep your supply up when feeding multiples, tandem nursing, and the dreaded mastitis.
Our nursing journey was not easy, but it was absolutely worth it. I never dreamed I would be exclusively pumping for 5 months. I hated it. God brought a lot of healing to those difficult chapters by giving me enough supply to donate back to the NICU.
So hang in there Mama, you never know what may come out of your struggles!
- You HAVE to pour into yourself in order to pour into others…literally! Producing breastmilk is not easy work. You need to make sure you are eating, hydrating, and MAKING time for some self care. I know, self care, HA. Seriously though, it is necessary. Take showers, brush your teeth and hair, do whatever you need to do to grab a few minutes to help you feel like YOU.
- Invest in a nursing pillow and a night light: You do not need back pain on top of all the other aches and pains that come along with becoming a new Mama. Register or buy a good nursing pillow and don’t forget a night light! Cell phone flashlights will blind you and your child during nighttime feedings.
My go to:
I loved my BrestFriend Twin nursing pillow! I used it before we were officially nursing to prop them up for bottle feeds. I also used it after we were nursing to prop up my back while holding them.
- I also LOVE and still use our VAVA night light. It is a touch light with a dimmer and the battery lasts forever. We have two of them, and we use them every night for story time, or for finding pacifiers underneath cribs for the 100th time.
- Always have some good snacks on hand: I ate like a football player when I was nursing. I would know, I had one for a roommate in college! I had a snack bucket by my bedside. I always needed a snack after pumping or nursing to keep my supply up. You want to eat foods that boost your supply.
I produced enough milk to support quintuplets. We actually calculated that to confirm! My secret?
Pumping 30 minutes every 3 hours (through the night as well) and eating lots of this:
Now, this stuff tastes horrible on it’s own…sorry Oat Mama. I highly recommend using it in baked goods. My favorite recipe for “Lactation Muffins” can be found here.
- The best advice I got from a lactation consultant was to “Remember that THIS is not how it will always be..there is a huge learning curve.” Meaning, when one baby loses their latch AGAIN and the other one is screaming and kicking you, remember to breath. This is new for all three of you, and it WILL get easier. I cried SO many times over terrible nursing sessions, but I kept reminding myself that it would get better…and it did! I absolutely loved nursing my girls, and I would still be nursing them today if they hadn’t self-weaned.
- GET A TWIN NURSING PILLOW. Are they big? YES. You will feel like you’re going tubing down a river. Will you need all that room? YES! See above for my suggestion.
- Your twins may decide they have a favorite breast. They will likely fight over said favorite breast. This is normal, and it is best to just laugh it off and keep pushing them to be flexible.
- Get a good nursing cover, but still teach your twins to nurse solo if needed. It is nearly impossible to keep yourself covered while tandem nursing, so in public I would nurse the hungriest one first and then switch.
I got mastitis while my daughters were in the NICU. I was overproducing milk, enough for quintuplets. Pumping like crazy was the only way I actually felt like their Mama. When producing enough milk to technically be a “supermarket” it is vital to stay on a tight pumping schedule. I started to let that schedule slip whenever things were chaotic at the NICU. Here is what I experienced:
- I woke up in the middle of the night feeling like someone had stabbed me in the infected breast. I immediately started pumping and praying, and then fell back asleep.
- I woke up an hour later with a 104 fever and a lump in my breast. I was HEARTBROKEN. Fever meant not seeing my daughters in the NICU.
- I called my OB and got on antibiotic that same day. My husband went to work and then the NICU, while my Mum came to take care of me.
- I don’t remember too much except that I had 104-105 fevers for 2 straight days. I had to be woken up and forced to eat/drink, then pump. It hurt so much to pump that I threw up every single time.
- My only joy during the day was Face-timing my babies to tell them I loved them.
After about 5 days of pumping every 2-3 hours, I FINALLY felt the lump pass. Hot showers before each pump session were vital for pain management.
The takeaway: Do not neglect your pump/feeding schedule! Get checked out if you start to feel any warmth or pain coming from a particular breast. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF, or someone else will have to until you’re better.
To conclude, breastfeeding is the very essence of sacrificial love. It can be enjoyable, but it also comes at a great cost. Do not hesitate to seek support, and please give yourself grace if it does not go as smoothly as you dreamed.
You are doing a great thing. Although what you do often goes unseen or unthanked, it is VITAL to your child’s wellbeing. Keep going, Mama!