9 weeks in and the questions and advice are aplenty – Are my twins sleeping through the night? Maybe you should change formulas? Are you breastfeeding? The list goes on. So this week’s update is all things feeding, from start until now and where we are up to.
As a paediatric dietitian naturally I wanted to breastfeed my baby’s. As a paediatric dietitian I was also well aware that breastfeeding does not always come easily, nor does it always suit a mum and / or a baby for that matter so I was open to what happened naturally. Since I had always had a Size A boobs I was also not sure how that situation would work out with twins either. So I was pleasantly surprised that I did get milk 3 days after the twins were born and that my bigger twin Harry had no issue feeding. The twins had been formula fed immediately after birth on advice from the neonatal paediatrician and I started to supplement these feeds with as much breastmilk as I could get.
I was also very lucky that the amazing people at Avent had sent me a breast pump so I was able to continue expressing for my smaller twin Gus once I arrived home. I thought that I had been doing quite well with roughly ½ the twins food coming from me, and ½ formula and to be honest in the midst of sleepless nights and the excitement of two tiny baby’s I did not notice that was I getting smaller and smaller amounts of breast milk. It was not until I went to my 6 week check with the bubs and was asked if I had any questions that I mentioned I would like to be giving the boys more breast milk and as there any medications to help with this. Immediately I was told that I could definitely boost my supply with a medication called Motilium did I realise that I probably should have taken this drug immediately following the birth.
Not only had the twins been born almost 4 weeks early, but I had a Caesarean and also with twins it was highly likely that I would have got a lot more milk had this medication been suggested much earlier. It has been disappointing to think I was not told this earlier but at least I have it now and have now enough breast milk to give my boys at least ½ their feeds coming from breast milk. Mostly I express simply as it is much quicker than breastfeeding and as a mum of twins time is the one thing I have very little of but I do try and give an actual breastfeed to at least one of the twins each day. So for any mums to be, especially if you are expecting twins or deliver early, make life easier and ask about this drug if you are struggling with your milk supply. Don’t wait for someone to suggest it as they may not, based on their personal belief systems around breastfeeding.
My bigger twin, Harry suffers badly from colic and will spend at least a few hours each afternoon and evening uncomfortable. This can be quite challenging but it is also pretty normal for young baby’s and as I had colic as a baby too, I am sure he will grow out of it. I also need to pay huge amounts of attention to how much I am drinking and eating, much more than I would have ever thought. Now knowing this it is an area of education I will now spend much more time on when educating new mums about the importance of their own self-care in the first new months of being a new mum. And this really comes down to the basics of good nutrition.
The twins are definitely not sleeping through the night lol – at most I get them down for 4-5 hours at a time. If I am honest though, unless I am exceptionally tired I don’t mind. I see it as a really special time. I like the quiet of the hours of the early morning and I love the closeness I feel to my tiny baby’s who are growing up so quickly. This process has been really useful as a cognitive re-framing exercise in my current studies in psychology. So often we talk about the negatives of new parenthood – the sleep we are not getting; the cries that disrupt us from our life and sleep; how hard this time is. Of course at times it is hard – 2 loud baby’s screaming is not pleasant but I have tried from the beginning to enjoy this time. Looking at it as a short period of time that will not last forever and savouring as much of it as I can. And when I get a gummy smile at 2am while Celine Dion is playing it does not seem hard at all.