Photos by: Given Ideas Photography
Before I start, I just want to disclose that this is my personal journey and testimony to why breastfeeding has been such a blessing to me. This is not meant in any way to shame those who chose not to or were not able to breastfeed. I am a firm believer that fed is best, and do not want to have anyone feeling shame for their decisions. This is just my encouragement to those feeling fear of breastfeeding their baby/babies.
Breastfeeding is the most extraordinary thing I have ever had the privilege to accomplish. The beginning was hard, painful, exhausting, rewarding, connecting, and beautiful. It took hours for me to feed both babies, as I couldn't figure out tandem feeding two tiny 5 pounders, so as each would feed for 45 minutes, the next feeding would be just around the corner again. I was sore, sleep deprived, and no one could take the responsibility of feeding my children but me. We have now reached 1 full year on our breastfeeding journey, and this is the story of our experience this far!
We used formula in the hospital while I pumped due to the girls' low glucose levels, but I know in my heart we probably didn't need to. I was just too tired and full of hormones to really stick to my guns. Once we returned home I realized the lady I bought my pump from sold me a broken pump, which had me thinking I was screwed for breastfeeding. They received a bottle or two a day for about two weeks, but I was determined. My $400 pump was broken, my babies were tiny and needed to gain weight, I hadn't slept more than a 2 hour stretch in weeks, but I was determined.
I let the babies do the work and let the pumping dreams go. I realized on my own that pumping would really only cause me to be strapped to a milking machine for much longer than I ever needed to be, so I decided that buying another would be silly. I'm not sure why I thought that in order to breastfeed I needed to have a pump, but if that's what you're thinking right now - it's not true. Let your baby/babies do the work. Let them drink for as long as they wish, and more, so that your body will make enough milk on it's own. The most important thing that I've learned is that you have to trust yourself and stop scrolling through pages and pages of breastfeeding forums before you go completely mad. Your body was made for this, and if you're having issues, talk to someone. You are not alone, and you are capable of more than you know.
If you're pregnant with twins right now and are thinking that breastfeeding will be the harder option, I urge you to really look at the facts. Even after the clogged ducts, blisters, cracked nipples, engorged breasts, a bout of mastitis, and lack of sleep, breastfeeding has been so much easier for me than pumping/formula feeding ever would have been. Here are the reasons why:
- You have to wash so many bottles for formula feeding, not to mention, if you're exclusively pumping, you have to sanitize your pump pieces AND bottles all. the. time.
- Fussy babies? Whip out the boob. Once I mastered tandem feeding, life got so much easier when I was on my own with the girls. I knew that if they both started crying and there was nothing else I could do, I would just sit down and pop them both on and voila, two happy babies.
- The money, honey! I can't imagine paying for formula for two... honestly, it's saved us so much money to breastfeed and that has put my mind at rest, knowing that we'll be able to save that money to put towards our future with these little girls.
- The bond. Yes, this is the cliche, breastfeeding experience reason, but it's true. There is no one who can do what you do for your babies when you breastfeed them. They need you. And though some days you might really not want to feel so dang needed all the time, most days it is the most beautiful, validating feeling. Not to mention it's so hard to bond with two babies all at once, breastfeeding offers an incredible group bonding experience between the three of you, or between each one of you if you decide tandem feeding is not for you.
I feel so incredibly blessed that I was able to breastfeed my twins, because I know that it isn't that easy for some people. Don't get me wrong, we had our trials, tough times, and painful moments during our breastfeeding journey, but I wouldn't change this experience for the world. I just want you to know, that if this is something you want and feel committed to doing for your baby or babies, it is worth it. You CAN do it, and we all need help sometimes. Find someone who supports you, and don't let anyone who doubts your abilities to nurse stand in your way.
Thanks so much for reading lovelies, take good care!