Feeding one baby can be challenging, so adding another baby to the mix is certainly no walk in the park either. For twins, it’s SO important to sync up their feeding times at or right around the same time…otherwise you’ll be spending every waking hour in the first few weeks feeding and changing babies. I mean…it feels like that already…but every 30 minutes that you can spare yourself for sleeping, tidying up, or eating is worth it! I often get questions like:
Do you breastfeed or formula feed?
Do you pump?
Which pump do you use?
How do you feed both at once?
How long does it take to feed them?
Are you on a schedule?
Are you getting any sleep?
Which bottles do you use?
I constantly asked those questions to other moms of twins before Henry & Emily were born, hoping to gain some insight into what my life would look like. My “plan” was to breastfeed or pump for at least 4 months, and I was completely open to offering the twins formula if my supply couldn’t keep up. Having a plan or personal goals in place is a great benchmark, but I quickly learned to be open to changing things up in the first few months to find out what worked best for our family’s sanity, and of course for the twins’ development. Here’s the play-by-play of what happened:
At first, I only breastfed. I tried tandem breastfeeding from time to time, but I mostly fed just one baby at a time. While we were in the hospital a lactation consultant came by our room every day. It was so helpful to have that support! By her third visit both babies were feeding better. By day 5…hello hormones! I would burst into tears at any moment from both exhaustion and my milk coming in. We were warned that when a mother’s milk comes in after labor, so do the emotions. Knowing that in advance really helped me distinguish between new parent anxiety and the postpartum induced emotions which overwhelmed my thoughts. I worked so hard at remembering that my emotions were the result of my body’s hardcore changes in such a short amount of time, and that really did help. It’s a very difficult battle for any new mom to go through, but we get through it because we’re AWESOME! Am I right?! Wooo! You just have to ride it out, stay positive, build up your support system of positive people cheering you on, and do your best to take care of yourself.
Trying to breastfeed twins in the beginning was rough, especially during night feedings. Each twin took at least 20-30 minutes to feed, and it was exhausting. I was barely getting any sleep. Luckily, we had a pattern that first week where Sean would do a baby tradeoff, change a diaper, re-swaddle them, and rock them back to sleep while I fed baby #2. I sluggishly snuck back into bed only to get an hour of sleep before the next baby would wake up. It was rough…but as all parents do…we got through it!
Tip: Have your “feeding station” ready. It helped SO much to have everything waiting for me in advance. After each feeding and before I went to bed I’d make sure there was a: fresh glass of water, cell phone charger, granola bar (breastfeeding makes you super hungry!), iPad/cell phone, and nursing pillow. I looooved my twin nursing pillow, even when feeding just one baby at a time – it was a life saver!
Weeks 2 – 4
I mainly breastfed, then offered 2 oz of formula (Similac for Supplementation) if they were still hungry after 20 minutes (and they usually were). I broke out the pump by week 2 in an attempt to keep a stash of breastmilk in the fridge so that Sean could help with a feeding from time to time. I LOVED the Medela pump, and luckily our insurance covered the cost so I received that for free!
Tip: if you plan on pumping, check with your insurance while you’re pregnant to see if they’ll cover a pump for you before you purchase one yourself, or before adding one to your baby registry.
Weeks 5 – 8
Around this time I had completely stopped breastfeeding and switched to only bottle feeding. I’d pump after each feeding and either stored it in the fridge or kept it covered and at room temp for the next feeding. Breast milk can stay at room temp for about 4-6 hours, and for a few days in the fridge. I began getting SO tired at night by pumping after each feeding that I decided to only pump once at night and instead offered formula for those late night & early morning feedings. That worked like a dream because it meant a wee bit of extra sleep for me! Win!
You know what else was a win? Sean’s double-feed method. That’s right. My sweet hubby was the one who came up with the comfy set up on our couch where whichever one of us was feeding the babies would sit in the middle with one baby on the right and one on the left, each in their newborn Boppy pillows. It works like a charm, and also cuts the feeding time down by 50%. WIN WIN WIN! Here’s what I looked like in all my “mom-bun” wearin, comfy clothes sportin glory:
Tip: make sure that when you purchase bottles, you buy an adapter that will fit your bottles to the pump. We tried SO many different bottles in the first 2 months, and you might too, so make sure whichever you’re using will adapt to your pump for quick & easy usage/storage. If you’d like my opinion on Munchkin Latch, Dr. Brown’s, or Madela bottles, comment below and ask!
The less I pumped, the less supply I had. Your body will work hard to give you a good supply if you create a demand for it by pumping or breastfeeding, so as I began offering more formula and less breastmilk, my supply began to slow down. I definitely began to worry at this point because I was only just reaching the 2 month mark and already seeing my supply go away!
Was I being a bad mother? Were the twins being deprived of nutrients? Would people judge me for “giving up” on giving them breast milk?
No….nope…and not one bit. 😉
I struggled with those fears at first, shed a few tears, and quickly got over it when I remembered
“Hmm…I have two babies. Two of them. TWO hungry babies. So many women can’t provide enough breastmilk for one baby, let alone two. So…stop being sad and celebrate what I can do for them! Bring on the formulaaaa!”
If I could breastfeed both twins, get enough sleep, and maintain that supply for months to come then that’s exactly what I would do…but I’m not perfect and I just can’t do it all. So, “fed,” is the best thing I kept remembering. I’m so grateful that I live in an age where I can feed my babies good formula without ridicule or judgement.
By now, we’ve got both twins on 100% Enfamil Gentlease for their acid reflux and it works like a charm! The twins love it, and you know what else they love? Dr. Brown’s bottles! God bless yooooouuu, Dr. Brown’s bottles! Though it takes a little longer to feed them, their reflux and fussiness is WAY more controlled now. It also takes a while to put each bottle together due to the filter it comes with. But again…it’s worth the extra work! Check out a time lapse that I put together for just 4 feedings worth of bottle prep for the twins (8 bottles):
Tip: I recommend getting the Dr. Brown’s Formula Mixing Pitcher. An Instagram user recommended that I give it a try, and I’m SO glad I did! I can make up to 32 oz of formula in one pitcher, I close the top, store it in the fridge, then boom…I just pour as needed when it’s feeding time. It’s so much easier than measuring out enough scoops + water + shaking before each feeding when the babies are crying. So much easier when I just pour, tighten the bottle, and feed!
Phew! Thanks for reading, y’all. What did I leave out? Any thoughts or questions? I’m no expert…just sharing what worked for me & my little fam. Does this bring back memories for some of you? Share below in the comments section. I would LOVE to hear from y’all! Every baby & family is different and I applaud every mother & father for feeding their baby the best way they can!