(with my beloved nursing pillow)
“I AM the kids table.”
Nursing is hard. Period. For even one baby. It’s nuts.
I don’t really know why I keep doing it. I just do.
As for the rest of us, there are stumbles and struggles and sobbing for weeks on end. At least that’s been my experience. With one baby and with two.
With my first born, I wept and wailed and “woe-is-me”-ed for the first couple months of nursing. I made several visits to a lactation consultant for life-saving advice and affirmation. I struggled and stumbled and sobbed my way through cracked, bleeding nipples and the dreaded… thrush. (I still quake in fear at the name.)
In both cases, with my first born and the twins, I nursed them each as soon as I could after delivery, and I just kept doing it. Each day, week, month has been different. I’m hoping by month 6, I’ll feel like I know what the heck is going on, but I’m not counting on it.
This is the road we’ve traveled thus far:
The girls were teeny tiny so they 1) didn’t have large enough mouths to latch properly and 2) would fall asleep before they were full since eating is exhausting work for such tiny babes. To remedy these issues, I used nipple shields to help them latch, and I pumped to force feed them extra milk in a bottle after each nursing session.
Every three hours I would attempt to nurse Katie, then s-l-o-w-l-y (post c-section) make my way down the hall to attempt to nurse Emma, then s-l-o-w-l-y make my way back to pump, THEN eat and sleep and start over. 24/7. It was exhausting.
The girls were still small, so I still used nipple shields at every feeding, still gave them pumped milk in a bottle after every feeding, and still pumped for them after every feeding. This meant waking up, nursing both at the same time, then handing them off to my husband. He would give them each a bottle of pumped milk while I pumped more milk for later. 24/7. It was exhausting.
Yes. You heard that right.
I nurse them at the same time.
This is a miracle from heaven above. It is no special skill of my own. I happen to have been given a fantastic double nursing pillow that I “arise and call blessed.” Also, my dear Lord in Heaven has gifted me with two identical children who just so happen to have identical nursing needs and preferences. Both girls take roughly the same amount of time to nurse, have no problems latching (using a nipple shield), and need little to no attention once they have started eating. Without these gifts, I have no idea how I would nurse two babies simultaneously.
My knuckles cracked and bled from all the washing and sanitizing.
I rinsed my nipples in vinegar and water solution after every feeding, covered them in a special cream after every feeding, sanitized my nipple shields after every feeding, and got sick of thinking about and caring for my nipples all the, all the, all the time.
I prayed and texted anyone and everyone asking for prayer. The strangest prayers I ever did pray.
Please. Please. Please. Make. It. Stop.
They still nurse for 30-60 minutes at every session, but so did my first born. For an entire year. Guess that’s just how we roll.
I still use the nipple shields. I really have tried to wean them off of them to tell you the truth. One of these days I’ll give it a shot. I may make an appointment with a lactation consultant to get some expert help. Weaning them off the nipple shields really would make the actual nursing process a lot easier, and make nursing in public about 100 times less stressful.
Speaking of which…
Many moons ago, a sweet friend of mine found out she was having twins. She already had a toddler. I was very excited and very frightened for her.
She pinned a video on Pinterest that showed how to tandem nurse twins. I watched it. With my jaw on the floor.
Fast forward… and this is now MY life.
(Please take a moment to pick your jaw up off the floor.)
Here’s the break down of my process:
I wash my nipple shields if not already clean.
I plump up my 1, 2, 3 back pillows (cuz you need lots of back support when nursing) and sit down, cross-legged and comfy.
I grab my lap pillow, plop my giant nursing pillow on top, and buckle myself in.
Pull one baby on, get her latched and nursing.
Second baby latched and nursing.
Ready. Set. Netflix here I come.
Roughly a hundred million times per day.
At 3 months, it’s just this thing that I do. And I don’t really do much else.
Nursing sort of dominates our days. I do get out and I have nursed in public (at church, bible study, the park, the library). I tried to find out how other people nurse twins in public, but the internet seems to be silent on this topic. So let me break the silence!
They are too tiny to tandem nurse in public without my nursing pillow, so I trade off, one twin then the other. This doesn’t throw off their feeding schedule much at all, since I only do it once or twice per week.
But it does require a major time commitment. My girls happen to take 30 minutes each to eat, so I have to be seated for about an hour. Major time commitment.
I have nursed them simultaneously in public on two occasions. It was insane.
One one of these instances, I had to figure it out all by myself in a back room somewhere. Wondering how I kept covered up? Ha! Modesty, Sh-modesty.
I felt like some sort of circus act. Precariously cradling one baby in each arm, carefully balancing nipple shields, and attempting to cajole infants into latching without the use of my hands, nudging and wiggling this way and that. When they were finally settled and eating I felt like shouting, “TA DA!” but dare not move a muscle for fear of ruining all my hard work. So I sat, motionless, sweating, nervous, praying. And then, of course, my nose itched.
Needless to say, I don’t plan on nursing two babies at a time in public unless I absolutely have to and only when they are older and the entire process is a little more hands free.
And that’s my story, so far…
Not sure how long this breastfeeding thing will last. Just taking it one day at a time. For all the hassle, there have been hundreds of sweet moments of cuddling and caressing and snoozing and snuggling. The next 3 months are bound to be completely different from the last three, except the continued cozy cuddles. Making it all worth while…