Breast-feeding and pumping and formula (oh my!)
Breast-feeding can be a sensitive topic, as many new mommies out there can attest.
The expectations of mothers to breast-feed these days are, to be quite blunt, extremely high. And the challenge of breast-feeding seems particularly overwhelming for twin moms who have two little mouths to feed. If it doesn’t work out, you might feel like a failure—or you might welcome the opportunity to move to a more predictable situation with formula-feeding.
I wanted to breast-feed my twins and did so until they were 6 weeks old. That is when I landed in the “failure” category. I knew deep down that moving solely to formula was the right thing for me and my twins—though I still struggled to fully accept it.
For those first six weeks, I breast-fed, pumped, and formula-fed both twins. I would like to officially dub this arrangement “the trifecta of infant feeding.”
In many ways, it felt like I was in the film “Groundhog Day,” except that the schedule repeated every three hours instead of every day. And I had to do everything twice within each three-hour cycle, once for each baby. The complete feeding time for both children took over an hour, which gave me roughly 1.5 hours of “downtime” within each cycle. Groundhog Day and Night!
You are probably wondering how I got to the “trifecta” scenario. When my twins, Drew and Celeste, were born, they both stayed in the NICU for roughly the first week of their lives. Celeste was small, barely 4 pounds, and so any food she received was to be measured to ensure that she was getting the proper amounts. Drew was larger and in the NICU for different reasons; he was a champion eater from the get-go. So, when the twins came home, they required two very different feeding scenarios.
Celeste: Measured food intake via pumping and then bottle-feeding breast milk. If I did not produce enough milk, her feeding was to be supplemented with high-calorie formula to compensate and bring her to the proper amount.
Drew: Breast-fed first. Bottle-fed as needed.
Have I mentioned that I never was much of a milk producer? I was blessed with two amazing babies and below-average milk production. With one child, I believe I would have been fine, but feeding both babies with what I was producing was just not happening. Thus, the formula supplementation.
If you are a mother who very much wants to breast-feed your twins, I highly recommend you read Twin Mom Lauren’s story closely. She is pretty much my breast-feeding idol.
If you fall into the trifecta category, I suggest that you give breast-feeding a shot as long as you possibly can. Take it day by day. Always remember that well-fed babies are happy babies. They will be less cranky, sleep better, and be better-adjusted when their tummies are full.
My Soapbox Stance: It’s sad to me that breast-feeding has become such a polarizing topic among mothers. Women have enough division and cliques in life. The fact that our breasts continue to cause mental anguish, including feelings of insecurity and jealousy, during the first days of motherhood is sad and in these modern times a bit ridiculous. Though you won’t catch me saying that out loud at the playground.
Do what you feel is right for you and your babies. You are instantly in a unique situation as a mother of multiples. Your babies will be most content when they are fully fed and when their mommy is happy.
Want more Carrie? Follow her many musings, and check back often as the list will grow! You can also follow her on Twitter.