I’m sure the question on a lot of people’s mind is: “How is she feeding the twins? Is she breastfeeding? Are they on formula?” I have been asked these questions so many times and people always get fascinated. I honestly sometimes feel like a “superstar” answering them. lol. When you have a CS, because you don’t get to feed your baby immediately, your milk doesn’t flow right away; at least that’s what happened to me. With my daughter, my milk came in the next day, so she had formula for just one day. I breastfed her for a whole year and only introduced formula after she turned one. I was blessed to have a good supply, so I didn’t struggle with her.
When I was pregnant with the twins, I did a lot of research on how to breastfeed twins (btw… Pinterest owes me shares, lol). I watched all the YouTube videos and read every article and wondered how I was going to do it. Theory is easy, practical’s is another thing. My biggest fear and challenge was how I was going to breastfeed them at the same time. Two babies on my breasts at the same time?? Wow! I just couldn’t imagine it! I looked all over for twin feeding pillows. Which Instagram baby shop didn’t I contact? I was even close to borrowing one from a friend who also had twins. I so badly wanted the Twin Z pillow but it was out of my budget. Finally, @Brands4less (shootout!!!) got me a Kindervalley one but it was small and couldn’t serve the purpose. It pained me but I couldn’t let my money go to waste so we found a good use for it: photo-shoot pillow and lounging pillow after eating.
My goal was and still is to exclusively breastfeed them till they are six months. When they were finally brought to my room after delivery, at some point, they started crying and I didn’t know what to do. For a minute, I was wondering why they were crying and what the problem could be. Then it clicked; I had to feed them!! Duh . I couldn’t believe that I had forgotten to do that, especially that this is my second time. This was the moment of truth. I had this semi-circle pillow but it wouldn’t wrap round my tummy well, so I had to resort to using pillows and holding their fragile heads up to reach my nipples. It felt weird, different and challenging. As if that wasn’t tough enough, my milk chose to take its sweet time to flow till the third day. Imagine! Didn’t my breasts get the memo that my body had just produced two human beings? I was worried but I chose to remain calm, after all, high BP was trying to take over my life. As a mother, one of your worst nightmares is to not have your breast milk flow. MBA! Tofiakwa! (God forbid)
The first few days back home was difficult. The boys weren’t getting enough breast milk, I barely had appetite too and I wasn’t getting enough sleep. My husband looked at me one day and felt so sorry for me that he had to beg me to give them formula so I could rest. After much persuasion, I gave in! (…I can not come and kill myself). Then one day it hit me, why hadn’t I prayed about it? Is there anything too hard for the Lord? Is He not the one who made the milk? So I took it to the Lord in prayer. However, you can’t just pray and sit down. Faith without works is dead.
I had to device a breastfeeding strategy that would help us all. I chose not to breastfeed but bottle feed during the night. I also tried to pump in the morning and in between feeding sessions, but that was almost impossible so I stuck to pumping twice a day. One day, when I become rich and can afford stuff without looking at price tags, I shall gift myself a Willow Pump, not that I want anymore babies, but for ‘shakara’ reasons. Y’all should see that breast pump; hi-tech; it’s the Ferrari and Bentley of breast pumps; hands free and very stylish. When I tried to find out the price one day, my bank account looked at me like, “what are you feeling like?”. I just appreciated my Avent double breast electric pump like that, which had served me well during my daughter’s time. Anyway, I know that pumping helps increase milk supply, but I just don’t like doing it.What I don’t like is the assembling of the parts and the washing afterwards. And the scary part is pouring the milk out of the bottles into the storage bags. Bruh, that thing requires some deep concentration, precision and focus. Like, you have to be extra careful because that milk is expensive! I wouldn’t allow even one drop to remain in the bottle or pour out. The few times I spilt this liquid gold, I almost cried! My daughter would sometimes come and say: “ mummy let me help you” and I’m like , “NO THANK YOU!” This limited edition is too expensive to be toyed with. It is too much work.
The boys fed every two hours so it was formula when they woke up so I could pump, then breast milk the next session, formula, breast milk and so on. When the breast milk wasn’t enough, I would do a top up with the formula. On days where I was too tired, it would be more formula than breast milk. I also decided not to breastfeed when we go out. The logistics involved to do that was too much and I ain’t about to show my boobs to the general public. Can you imagine both of them crying at the same time and me removing one boob after the other to feed them? Someone’s son paid for them, mehn. But hey, I don’t judge women who openly breastfeed in public. Do what you got to do, mehn. Those of you saying; “ me I can never do that,” 3nto wo a, da!(you never know what it’s like till you experience it.) I have a breastfeeding cover though, but it’s not big enough to cover both of them. Come to think of it, I’ve never seen a twin mum breastfeed with the cover on . With twins, it’s just too much work sha.
My diet too needed some revamping. I bought Fruggies granola, Zeno’s yogurt, lactation cookies and granola from Milkmaid and drank Mother’s Milk lactation tea my cousin gifted me, all in a bid to increase my milk. I didn’t do much of the soup drinking because for me soup goes with fufu. Please don’t judge me. I realized anytime I had dairy products, especially plain yogurt, my milk would increase. At this rate, I wasn’t concerned about weight gain at all. My sons were my main priority. FitFam can wait. Who flat stomach epp? But like they say, breastfeeding helps you shed the weight and it really did help. With my goal in mind, as my milk was increasing, I started reducing the formula feeds less and less. Gradually, I didn’t need to top up with formula and it was now only for morning and night feeds by the second month. I was making it!
How I breastfed.
Breastfeeding them was a whole set up. It was as if I was setting up a stage with props and all. Everything had to be within reach and I should have used the bathroom before or else… Initially, I couldn’t breastfeed them anywhere except on my bed. First, I would put them on the twin pillow, put a pillow up against the wall for my back, put another two on both thighs and get their car seat head rest on each pillow to prop their heads up. I would put one on the right breast first for him to latch on well before I put the other on the left breast. I realized it was easier to latch on my right breast. I would put them in such a way that their bodies would be facing towards my back so their heads would be facing my breasts. When I got more comfortable, I would hold one that way and hold the other in a regular breastfeeding position. I had to always make a mental note of who I breastfed on which breast so I switch them up the next session. It wasn’t easy. All this calculation . During the times where I had to feed one only because the other was asleep, I would put a bottle cover over the nipple not in use to collect every drop of milk it will produce while the other was in use. I wasn’t ready to waste any milk at all. I wanted to get a Haakaa silicone pump to catch the milk but as usual, out of budget. Twins are expensive.
They used to be so cute when breastfeeding. They’ll be looking at me and smiling smiling, sometimes holding hands and eating. But now that they are a bit active, hmmm. You’ll find one kicking the other, one pulling the other’s hair and pulling the other breast out of the other’s mouth. Why is it warfare? There’s one thing they do too that I don’t understand. They’ll be sucking normally then suddenly, they’ll pull the nipple out of their mouth and then start crying and searching for it again. Wharrisdat? What annoys me is when they bite my nipples with their toothless gums and then smile at you. You think it’s rubber, eh ? But you know what kills me? When they’ve sucked till their full and satisfied, looking all drunk and drowsy. Mehn, best feeling ever! You feel so proud of yourself for feeding these little humans (Pat on the back). Bobbie Juice, B-juice for short, is the ish! It has been saving lives since creation. Thankfully, now I’m a breastfeeding pro! I can sit anywhere and breastfeed. I don’t need my props always. I can carry one and put him to breast and carry the other to feed as well. I can try different styles too. I feel like a superstar. Glory to God!
How I bottle fed
This, my dear readers, was also a whole set up. In fact, nowhere cool. During the day, I had my mum or husband to help so it wasn’t so bad. The night sessions was where I always smelt pepper. I always wanted the Milkymate bottle holder but I couldn’t get it at the time. (Me and my wants) Bending while feeding them on the pillow was a pain because my back was killing me. One night, I couldn’t take it anymore, so my creative juices started working. I took their car seat headrest, put it around their neck, and put the bottle in between and it worked. My inspiration was from Milkymate. I felt like a genius! I was so proud of myself. But all too soon, my invention didn’t last. They got a bit active and kept moving their heads making the bottles fall always. I had to re-strategize. One day, I sat up against the wall, put them in between my legs, facing the front, and put the bottles in their mouth. I didn’t have to bend and it took the pressure off my back. Yaaaay! I had finally succeeded in finding ways to bottle feed them. You never know what you’re capable of until you’re faced with a difficult situation.
Please who hates burping babies like me? Show by hands because I know I am not alone on this table. Let’s shake it and break it, I beg. . That one too needed a strategy. I should add Strategist to my CV. I would put one on my shoulder and the other on my thighs and pat their backs. For instance, if one was on my left shoulder, I’d use my right hand to tap his back and my left hand for the one on my thigh. If my mum or husband was around, I’d give them the noble duty of burping them while my breasts rest from the manual labor it had just done. My breasts deserve some accolades . Sometimes the shoulder and thigh style wouldn’t work and we would have to switch up by bending them a little, as if to sit. That seemed to work always. In the beginning, PJ burped easier than MJ but now he’s quick to burp. I can’t wait for when they can sit so I don’t have to burp them again.
I must say, boys can eat! My daughter could also chow down well, but I must give it to the boys. They can milk me dry! In the beginning, it was as if the food I ate would run through my body so quickly after a breastfeeding session. I always had to have water and a snack on standby. I don’t know if any of you experienced this but anytime I breastfed and had a “let down”, my breasts would hurt. Even when I was done feeding them, I would feel my breasts filling and they would hurt. I didn’t get this with my daughter so it felt weird. Am I alone on this?
Anyways, on behalf of my family, I am very happy to announce that after 3 months, I started breastfeeding them exclusively. (Pat on the back). Now, the only time I have had to give them formula is on days where I have had to go out alone or my “freezer stash” was reducing. But so far, so good. Breast is best and fed is best. So far as your babies are full and sleep well, whether on breast milk or formula, you’re doing well. No pressure…
Nana Nkansa Duplan
Mom Blogger : www.mytwinsandmore.com