Breastfeeding Twins, Twice

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Tara Dew HeadshotTara is a former 2nd grade teacher who now spends her days at home with the “Dew Crew,” the loving term she has given to her two sets of boy/girl twins. She is married to her high school sweetheart and they reside in NC, where she stays busy homeschooling the children and supporting her husband in ministry.

I’m excited and thankful for this opportunity to be a guest blogger today. My name is Tara and I am the proud Mommy of two sets of twins. Our first set, Natalie and Nathan, are now 6 ½ years old and our second set, Samuel and Samantha, are 3 ½ years old. I’m very grateful to be a breastfeeding Mom that was able to nurse all 4 of my children for the first year of their lives.

3But, let’s rewind back to the beginning…When my husband and I found out that we were expecting twins, we were shocked! Never in a million years did we dream that we would have twins. (Turns out that I have fraternal twins three generations up on my father’s side, and the genes were passed down to me :))

As we began preparing for their arrival, one of my biggest fears was if I’d be able to produce enough milk for them. I so desired to nurse my children, not only for the bonding and nutritional factors, but also for the economic reason: We couldn’t afford 2 in diapers AND 2 on formula! My mom had breastfed my siblings and me, so I knew that breastfeeding was what I’d love to be able to do. But, would my small-breasted self really be able to produce enough milk for not one, but two babies?

Natalie and Nathan were born at 34 weeks gestation, and were immediately taken to the NICU. I was not able to nurse them for the first few days of their life (since they hadn’t acquired the suck/swallow/breathe reflex yet). So, my first experience with “nursing” was actually with the hospital breast pump. I can remember pumping that first time and NOT GETTING ANYTHING! I was so discouraged. But the sweet nurse reassured me that this was normal: My milk hadn’t come in yet, and we were just stimulating and “prepping” my breasts for what they were created to do.

Two days later, my milk came in… And then I acquired the nickname of “Dairy Queen.” I often cried tears of joy at how my biggest fears had subsided. My body produced all that my babies needed to eat! And even when I wasn’t in the NICU, the nurses would feed my pumped breastmilk in through a small tube in Nathan and Natalie’s noses and then down to their tummies.

2When they were several days old, I was able to nurse them for the first time and though it was an unusual feeling, it was not painful for me. I praise the Lord that I never dealt with cracked or bleeding nipples, and that my body was able to produce enough milk for both babies! The only “hurt” that I had with nursing came when the kids were 2 weeks old. I developed mastitis in both breasts and felt like I had the flu with a fever! It was terrible, but cleared up quickly with medicine.

During the first few weeks of their lives, I nursed them separately in the cross-body position. They were learning how to latch correctly and stay awake for a full feeding. But after the first month, they became excellent nursers and I began feeding them at the same time. I used a double-boppy pillow, which I fondly call “my boppy on steriods” because it is so much bigger than a normal boppy. I fed the children in a “football-hold” position. One child would nurse on one side, but then at the next feeding, they would get the other side.

I fed the twins’ simultaneously until they were about 9-10 months old. By this time, they were getting more and more interested in the world around them and would “lose interest” in nursing. I found it easier to nurse one at a time at this point. They were such efficient nurses though, so feeding one and then the other didn’t cause any issues. When they were 13 ½ months old, they weaned themselves and gave up the last early morning feeding/snuggle session.

1Samuel and Samantha have a very similar nursing story, except they were born at 37 weeks and didn’t spend a day in the NICU! They were “full-term babies,” who latched correctly the very afternoon they were born and were excellent nurses the entire time! I was so blessed to be able to nurse them until almost 14 months old as well. Though nursing required a lot of dedication for that first year, I am so thankful that I was able to produce enough for them and that I was able to share that special bonding time with my children.

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