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I have 3 week old twin girls and my goal has always been to breastfeed them exclusively. I feel like at every turn I'm facing a TON of opposition.
Right after birth, in recovery (c-section), I was able to nurse one baby very briefly. The other baby didn't latch on very well at all so I didn't get to nurse her. The experience was brief because they weren't doing so well and were taken to the NICU.
In the NICU the babies were given formula not long after they were born, in bottles, and both babies threw up everything in their bellies. After that they were given NG tubes. Through those tubes they were given formula and all the breast milk I could express. My babies were born at 36 weeks so a bit early but my milk actually did come in within a day or two. Eventually I was coming in to the NICU at almost every feeding and trying to nurse the babies and the rest of their meal would be supplemented through the NG tube (mostly breast milk but sometimes formula if I didn't have enough pumped).
The NICU nurses and our ped office were all aware that my goal was to nurse exclusively. Almost 2 weeks into their NICU stay one of the doctor's at my ped office (NOT my children's doctor) decided that the babies needed to be supplemented using bottles so that they could leave the NICU and go home. I feel like they spent more time trying to discourage me from breastfeeding and less time helping me learn how to nurse two babies at a time. By the time we left the hospital I was a mess but at least pumping enough to have the babies only drinking breast milk in their supplement bottles.
So what we're currently doing is having me try to nurse each baby ... and then supplementing with 2 ounces in a bottle. We should be lowering the bottle amount for long stretches of successful nursing, like they did in the NICU, and we're going to start doing that again for them. Generally when I pump I can get 3-4 ounces from one breast in 20 minutes and maybe a little less from the other. I try to pump after every feeding, which is every 3 hours but there are some feedings my husband and mother have been taking so that I can sleep more than an hour at a time.
I'm not new to nursing ... I nursed my oldest for 17 months, my second daughter for 14 months and my youngest son for 13 months. I'm just definitely new to nursing twins. Is there any advice or resources anyone can suggest to help me? I'm trying so hard not to get discouraged but the fact that they were premature and that there's two of them is overwhelming me. One of my babies doesn't latch very well (maybe due to the bottles) and both of them are so sleepy still it's so hard to wake them for feedings. Will it get easier to do this when they're old enough to start eating on demand or basically waking up to eat?
Basically any advice and encouragement would be appreciated!!
You can do this!!! And yes, it's going to get easier!
It's not unusual for preemies to take awhile to get the hang of nursing, especially with all of the other things that went on (bottles, NG tubes, etc). Preemies, whether singleton or twin, don't have the strong instinct to know what to do the way full term babies do - but with each week that passes, they get stronger and less sleepy.
You've already made it through some of the toughest weeks, it will start to get easier. Hang in there just a little longer!
I can't imagine what its like to nurse twins, but I know you can do it! Three weeks and a stay at the NICU haven't allowed you enough time to create a rythym with nursing. Once you get a schedule and get to know your babies better it will get easier.