Personal best - 18 months of breastfeeding twins

By Lauren – Gold Coast Mum

You know when swimmers celebrate their personal best, or PB? Well that’s what I’m doing at the moment… No, I haven’t suddenly added competitive swimming to my hobby list.
I’m celebrating a PB of a different kind.

A milestone I certainly didn’t think I’d reach… 18 months of breastfeeding my twin girls.

I’m so excited to reach this milestone as my twin breastfeeding journey got off to a rocky start and it actually surpasses the 15/16 months I breastfed my first two (who weaned as I was pregnant with the next one/two).


Breastfeeding twins, extended breastfeeding, natural term breastfeeding, tandem nursing, tandem breastfeeding, how to breastfeed twins, twin sleep routine, gold coast mum www.goldcoastmum.com


Both of my twincesses had tongue ties so their latch wasn’t great and they were feeding constantly.
They were piling on the weight though, which was a good sign.

After seeing a great community health nurse and lactation consultant, the twincess’s tongue ties were snipped at 4 weeks at the local hospital and their latch improved over time.

The girls also had colic (they cried a lot in the first three months and didn’t like the pram or car) and silent reflux which meant they fed constantly to soothe their little throats.

I spent countless hours at home on the lounge breastfeeding the twins.
And enjoyed many nights up feeding my twincesses at the same time and at opposite times.
Some mornings, when hubby would be getting up with our then-22-month-old son and then-3-year-old girl ready to start the day, I’d be sitting on the lounge breastfeeding – in the same position I was in when they all went to bed. (He would also get up to change nappies during the night and help however he could as well so don’t worry, we were BOTH sleep deprived, it wasn’t just me ;-)

Our toddlers got up to all sorts of mischief during the times I was home alone and couch-bound breastfeeding the twins. A wonderful friend posted me goody bags for our toddlers that I could keep near me on the lounge and whip out during feeds to help keep them entertained.


Breastfeeding twins, extended breastfeeding, natural term breastfeeding, tandem nursing, tandem breastfeeding, how to breastfeed twins, twin sleep routine, gold coast mum www.goldcoastmum.com


The twins would cluster feed every evening starting from around 4pm (so I’d try and make dinner at lunch time most days before the chaos).


The cluster feed times would always be the time our son would take off his nappy and do a poo on the potty/floor/toilet and require me to stop feeding, place the twins in bouncers while I cleaned up the no.2 situation before returning to the lounge with the twins to continue with the feed.

This stage – continuing to breastfeeding newborn twins whilst also juggling two energetic toddlers was pretty stressful/chaotic/hectic to tell the truth.
On a few occasions I doubted my own supply and sent hubby out to buy formula as I thought my supply couldn’t keep up with the twins’ needs. I pumped a few bottles and there were a couple of occasions where the bubs received bottles of formula – where they would only take little bits.

After having breastfed my first two children to 15/16 months I knew breastfeeding wasn’t always easy and something I needed to persevere with.
And I was cautious about falling into the ‘Top-up Trap’ (where my supply would decrease if feeds were replaced with bottle feeds which would mean I wouldn’t produce as much).
I also knew that my bottle feeding friends had it hard with keeping up with all the washing, sterilising etc, purchasing the formula and carting it around with them wherever they went.
For me, breastfeeding was the journey I wanted to take thanks to the unquestionable health benefits, and also that it is cheap/free and convenient.

But I persevered and had great support and it all worked out eventually.


Breastfeeding twins, extended breastfeeding, natural term breastfeeding, tandem nursing, tandem breastfeeding, how to breastfeed twins, twin sleep routine, gold coast mum www.goldcoastmum.com


Mastitis

When the twins were around 12 weeks I had mastitis in my left breast. It was something I’d only ever read about – and wow did it knock me about.
I was bedridden with a fever, shaking, nausea, aches and pains, as well as a swollen, sore and red raw left breast that hurt like hell to feed from.
 My husband would bring the babies to me to feed while laying down and my Mum came over to help look after our then 2yo and then-3yo.
After 14 days and two rounds of antibiotics I started to feel like myself again.

Routines/ follow their lead
Just as we did with our first two children, I followed our twins’ lead and eventually they formed their own routine.
It was a simple strategy/instinct:
Breastfeed them when they’re sad/hungry and let them sleep when they’re tired.
I’d either feed them to sleep and transfer them to their basinets or we’d put them to bed drowsy and let them drift off to sleep peacefully on their own.

Around 5 months the girls started sucking their fingers and thumb and dropped their overnight feed. They started sleeping around 11 hours a night.
If they woke during the night, they could roll over and put themselves back to sleep, or suck their fingers/thumb and go back to sleep happily.

We introduced solids at 6 months – a mix of home-made purees and BLW (baby lead weaning where I’d put mushed sweet potato on their plates and let them feed themselves) and the girls continue to be great eaters.

The girls didn’t cut any teeth til after their 1
st birthday – so that was a bonus too as – even though they now have most of their teeth – I didn’t have to deal with much bitting.

Now
Now, at 18 months, the girls have tandem breastfeeds in the morning, early evening and before bed. They have one day nap – around 12pm-3pm (which is when I try to get a lot of my work done on the days Mr 3 is at kindy).
At night, after dinner and baths, the girls go to bed in their own cots. In recent weeks, since starting kindy one day a week – while I’ve taken on some contract work – they can be harder to settle for bed.

Sometimes I’ll sit on the floor in their bedroom and sing to them as they lay down and drift off to sleep. Some nights one might nod off to sleep immediately and the other might need a cuddle, so I’ll take her into a bedroom and lay with her as she falls asleep and then transfer her to her own cot where she’ll sleep happily for the rest of the night.



Breastfeeding twins, extended breastfeeding, natural term breastfeeding, tandem nursing, tandem breastfeeding, how to breastfeed twins, twin sleep routine, gold coast mum www.goldcoastmum.com

There were two occasions around a month ago where I resorted to taking both girls for a spin around the block in the car to put them to sleep as they were so overtired and cranky. It worked a treat and thankfully isn’t something we’ve had to continue with.

While some twin families love set routines, love following schedules outlined in books, for us, especially with having a now-5-year-old and now-3-year-old as well, we’ve found it best to follow our twins’ needs.
And amazingly, they worked out their own routine which we loosely follow in between school runs, sports, swimming lessons and more.

Our twincesses are little cutie pies who, even though they now love to walk everywhere and climb anything and everything, are also content sitting in the pram when they need to.


Breastfeeding twins, extended breastfeeding, natural term breastfeeding, tandem nursing, tandem breastfeeding, how to breastfeed twins, twin sleep routine, gold coast mum www.goldcoastmum.com


They’re also still happily in rear-facing car seats. Something I plan to continue on with for now due to the risks forward facing can bring.
(Check out the Rear Facing Down Under website and watch the video!)

If this gives hope or inspiration to anyone else struggling with breastfeeding one or more babies, then I am glad to have shared this with you.

Did you/are you breastfeeding? What struggles/hurdles did you overcome?

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7 comments

  1. Oh wow. I'm seriously impressed that you're all still here and sane etc. That's incredible! To have twins as #3 and #4 would be challenging enough but to have bf them for 18 months as well... much bigger PB than swimming the English Channel I think! Thanks for linking with #TeamIBOT.

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  2. Lauren, you are a superstar. Oh my God. Honestly. You are amazing. I just love that second photo of you. You must have the patience of a saint. Both my girls had tongue ties too. My second also has an upper lip tie. They both had trouble latching on and I got mastitis etc. My first was incredibly colicky also. My paed recommended against snipping though, so I battled it out until the tie stretched naturally. If I had my time again though, I think I would go the snip.

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  3. Firstly how amazing are you for breastfeeding that long! I always follow my bubs lead {shes now 21 months}. I think if I followed a set routine it'd stress me out more.

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  4. 18 months is amazing! Congratulations!

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  5. 18 months is a massive milestone hun. You are are flipping awesome especially given all the challenges you faced along the way xx

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  6. This is a huge achievement and you deserve to feel like a proud mumma. To be able to feed our babies for as long as we can is a beautiful thing indeed. x

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  7. Wow, you are an awesome mom! Having all those tiny ones at the same time! I know that must be hard,but they sure are adorable! Thanks for sharing your story. I'm sure a lot of moms would love to read this!

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