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Twin Nurslings

Nichole Mann Kerber
Chicago, IL, USA
From: New Beginnings, Vol. 29 No. 5-6, 2009, pp. 10-11

I am a 33-year-old, first time mom who, until becoming a mother, worked as a director in a finance organization. I am now proud to be a breastfeeding mommy to my 11-week-old twins, Michael and Maxwell Kerber. My husband is very supportive of my nursing -- I consider myself lucky as most of the mothers in his family do not breastfeed.

The first week was tough; I won't lie. Although the boys were born at 38 weeks, Michael was a little small at 5 lb 5 oz. He was found to be suffering from sleep apnea, which meant a week's stay in the neonatal intensive care unit (the NICU). Max was 6 lb 14 oz at birth and came home from the hospital on his second day. It was quite a challenge having the boys in two different places, with a 45-minute drive separating them, and I felt mentally and physically exhausted.

I came home with a hospital grade pump, pumped frequently, and brought breastmilk to the NICU for Michael, always leaving some at home for Max, in case I was still at the NICU when he got hungry. Both boys breastfed well when I was with them. Luckily, Michael came home after a week and we started to breastfeed exclusively.

The boys are now champion nursers, have gained weight rapidly, and are right on track. I love the flexibility of not having to deal with sterilizing and warming bottles, and the inconvenience of traveling with bottles. If the boys are hungry, I nurse them -- it's as easy as that!

I love the fact that my belly contracted and my pregnancy weight disappeared quickly. And that is an accomplishment following a twin pregnancy!

Because we feed "on demand," whenever the boys want to, I typically nurse one baby at a time and do not need to use any pillows or other tools. When they were smaller, I would use a standard bed pillow or "boppy" pillow to lift them up to me. If they are hungry at the same time, I will use a bed pillow to lift their heads up and then hold them in a double football hold.

I have had one episode of mastitis, when I woke up one day feeling as though I'd been hit by a truck. I had a red splotch on the outside of my right breast that felt warm. The doctor said it was an early case of mastitis and prescribed a week's worth of antibiotics. I nursed through the infection, which helped clear up any blockages, and since then I have been fine.

I have been told that nursing a singleton is easier, but this is all I know. The boys are very efficient feeders and I nurse both babies just as fast as most of my singleton-mom friends nurse one. My siblings are twins and there are more twins in the family, so reaching out to family members has been helpful.

Some tips

  1. Don't watch the clock. Watch the babies. If they are hungry, feed them. They'll stop when they have finished.
  2. Drink plenty of water. My mother-in-law gave me a large plastic tumbler with a straw that I refill and keep with me at all times.
  3. Bring the babies to you. Don't slouch to reach their mouths. Pile up pillows and towels to lift the babies to your breasts. You don't need the shoulder and neck pain!
  4. When you find support, keep it. Once while I was shopping, Max started to cry. A pharmacist came over to offer me her consultation room to feed him. Now when shopping, I always say "Hi" to her and know I can use her room in the future.
  5. Remember why you are a breastfeeding mom. You may well get negative remarks and looks from friends or strangers, and most of them are not worth an argument. As long as you know why you are giving this gift to your little ones, you will feel great about your choice.
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