Tips and Tricks for Breastfeeding / Pumping

Increasing milk supply:

  • Lactation cookies (recipe)
  • Oatmeal
  • Fenugreek
  • Mothers tea
  • Brewer’s Yeast

Washing / Storing

  • Breastmilk can stay good in the fridge for up to 6 days
  • Freshly pumped milk can stay out up to 6 hours – if you pump in the middle of the night, you can leave it out until you wake again (because who actually gets 6 hours of sleep!)
  • Pump parts, if kept cold, can technically be used over and over again for up to 6 days, though I recommend cleaning them every few days
  • Put the entire pump part in two coffee mugs in the fridge after using
  • I pump directly into my Dr. brown’s bottles, this way I don’t have to clean/lose milk when transferring
  • Heat whatever you pump the milk into before transferring as to not lose the fat thT builds up on the side when stored in the fridge
  • Put all of your bottles and pump pieces in the dishwasher – I like to use an empty dishwasher on the sanitize setting. I put the small pieces in a separate container. I also use the honest company dishwater pods
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The 6 Products I can’t Live Without #Twins

Here are the six products we absolutely can’t live without for our newborn twins:

Rock n’ Play

Before the twins arrived, I spent cIMG_1102ountless hours setting up and decorating the nursery.  I loved the look of my cribs and couldn’t wait for the babies to sleep in them.  I also purchased the Arms Reach Co-Sleeper so we could have the babies in our bedroom.  However, after a few weeks of spitting up every time they laid flat, we purchased the Rock n’ Play and boy was this the best decision we could’ve made.  The twins have been sleeping in them for the past 8 weeks.  We move them from the nursery to the bedroom and we even brought them to Aruba.  They are by far the best things for our babies to sleep in and I highly recommend them!

 

Table for TwoIMG_0280

A fellow twin mama told me about this one. My girls sit in the table for two most of the day.  It’s also great for bottle feeding them at the same time with only one person.  The patterns are super cute and although the price tag is a bit steep, it’s well worth it!

 

Snap n Go Double:

IMG_0108This is the #1 stroller for twin mamas. It’s inexpensive, light, easy to take in and out of the car and practical. It fits most car seats (just double check to make sure it works with yours).  Be aware that some of the older models don’t fit all of the car seats.  The stroller positions the twins front to back (as opposed to side-to-side). I bought a fancy stroller (the Bugaboo Donkey, which is side-to-side), which I haven’t used yet.  The only criticism of the Snap n Go is that the wheels aren’t made for navigating sand or snow. But, it’s perfect for almost everything else!

Chicco Keyfit 30 Car Seats:

These car seats are great! Plus, almost every other mom (both singleton and doubles) have these seats. They are priced mid range ($199), are light weight and safe. The bases are super easy to install and the seats just click in and out.  In addition, you can use the seat without the base, say for example you are on vacation. They come in a variety of colors.

My Brest Friend Deluxe:

This is a must have for any nursing mother of multiples (and the single version for mothers of singletons). I’ve tried many other nursing pillows, including the Twin Z (more on this later) and this is the easiest to use. What I like about it is that it is easy to set up and position the babies. It can be used in bed, on a couch or on the ground. The only thing is that it is sometimes tricky in chairs, as there’s sometimes not enough space. No need for pillows underneath or beside, it works well on it’s own.  The problem with the Twin Z is that my babies were too small and I would need props to properly position the babies. It’s also big and cumbersome and it just didn’t work for us. Perhaps if you have larger breasts it may work better.

 

Boon Soak 3-Stage Bath Tub:

Let’s talk bath timeIMG_1223 (1)– the first two weeks we were nervous to bath our twins so we would do sponge baths on their changing table. Next we tried showering them; my husband would stand in the shower and I would hand him one baby at a time. It was a bit scary as the babies would be slippery (we would use a towel which helped).  We wanted a solution where we could bathe both babies at the same time and feel more safe. Plus, they loved the warm water so we wanted them to be able to enjoy it for longer. Introducing the Boon bath… our girls love it. It feels safe, it’s easy to fill and the girls sit and play at the same time.  I highly recommend getting two so that they can bathe at the same time.

The honest truth about breastfeeding from a new twin mama

Here’s my top 10 advice to any new mamas out there who are getting frustrated with breastfeeding:

  1. I urge you to at least try and breast feed. If it doesn’t work, who cares!
  2. Even if one feeding per day is breast milk, that is good enough.
  3. If you haven’t yet BF in public, do it with another mom until you feel comfortable
  4. Invest in a cute BF cover.
  5. When pumping, don’t keep track of how much you pump. I would stare at the pump the entire time and be discouraged and upset when I only got 2 ounces. Once I stopped tracking it in my phone and staring down the whole time, my supply increased.
  6. Invest in a good pump – I rent the Medela Symphony hospital grade pump. It was free for 2 months through my insurance and now I pay $70 month (it’s worth it);
  7. As a follow up to #6, buy extra pump parts so you don’t have to wash them all the time;
  8. As a follow up to #7, put your pump parts in the fridge after you use them so you don’t need to wash them each time (I only wash mine 1x day, if that).
  9. Invest in a good BF pillow – I prefer the My Breast Friend Deluxe
  10. DO WHAT WORKS BEST FOR YOU!!!

So you want to breastfeed your twins?  Let me start by saying that my twins are 11 weeks old and are now almost exclusively breastfed (outside of one bottle for their late night feeding). However, it was not easy to get to this point and I debated giving up many times.  BF works for some and not for others and the most important thing is that you do what’s best for you and ignore societal pressures and the stigma’s that come along with BF vs. Formula.

My twins were in the NICU for 5 days. Right after I gave birth, the nurses were urging me to pump every 3 hours and at least one time between 12AM-6AM.  As a FTM, I didn’t know what to expect; I grew frustrated the first few days that nothing was coming out of the pump. My girls were too fragile to BF as it would burn too many calories and the most important thing was that they gain (or at least maintain) weight.  The NICU started them on Enfamil for babies born prematurely. I continued to pump but got very little. Finally, on day 5, my milk came in.

Once the girls came home, we would spend about 1 session per day trying to BF. They had great latches but I would feed them one at a time and each feed would take over an hour and they would still be hungry after; we’d have to give them a bottle after they BF. I continued to pump every 3 hours but I never got enough to feed both of them.  I drank every concoction and ate lactation cookies to try and increase my supply – it wasn’t working. I began to get very frustrated and wondered why I should even bother with BF when formula/ bottle feeding is so much easier – it took only 15-20 minutes and my girls were much happier after, plus I would know how much they were getting.  Also, I spent so much time pumping and feeding that I felt like I didn’t really get to spend much time with the babies outside of this. I would often pass them off after I was done feeding so I could get other things done around the house.  My husband was much more into the BF than I was – it was really important to him that I stick with it. Sometimes when preparing the bottles, I would make bottles of formula and tell him it was BM just to satisfy him! 🙂

After the girls got stronger and put on more weight, the breast feeding got easier.  I preferred to feed them 1:1 as I felt a stronger bond with them individually, yet tandem feeding was far more efficient. I could only tandem when someone was next to me to help. I tried every pillow on the market — including the Twin Z and the My Breast Friend Twin Deluxe. My vote is for the latter – the Twin Z was not comfortable for me – my twins kept falling through the sides and I had to always use pillows for support. Once I got the Breast Friend at 8 weeks, my life changed! I could tandem feed them myself and it was comfortable and easy (as easy as tandem feedings twins can be).

My girls ate every 3 hours so that was 8 feeds per day.  Finally, by 9 weeks, 6 out of the 8 feeds were from my breast, while I used formula for the remaining 2. I actually prefer to give the twins formula for their feeding before bed because I find that it helps them sleep longer.  I was also surprise (and happy) that my twins didn’t get confused between the bottle and the breast – they would happily go from one to the other.

The first few weeks I was petrified to BF in public (mind you I always cover up using my trendy nursing scarf). However, my twin mama friend (not a FTM) told me that she would take me out and we could do it together and once you do it once, you feel more comfortable.  She was right — I love to BF when I’m out, especially at restaurants before or after the meal comes.

When I’m at home, I use the Breast Friend pillow either on my bed (with no pillow behind me), on the couch or on the ground – the ground is easier when you are alone because you can lay one baby down while setting up.  When I’m on the go, I’ve experimented with different ways to feed the babies without a pillow; if there is a chair with arms, I can do it, though it can be challenging.  Sometimes, when I’m out at a restaurant, I’ll feed one baby at a time, or, if I’m with friends and they are both hungry, I’ll BF one and hand a bottle to someone else to help.

The moral of the story is that you need to do what’s best for you. I went into this un-afraid to use formula. I went from formula feeding, to mixing BM with formula to almost exclusively giving the girls BF. I figured that although they are getting some formula, they are reeking the benefits of having some breast milk. I’m glad I didn’t give up on BF because it really did get easier over time.  I’m not sure how long I will BF for. I’ve set a goal of 6 months. If that extends to 9 months or 12 months that’s great.  We’ll take each week at a time and see what works best for our lifestyle!

Here’s my top 10 advice to any new mamas out there who are getting frustrated:

  1. I urge you to at least try and breast feed. If it doesn’t work, who cares!
  2. Even if one feeding per day is breast milk, that is good enough.
  3. If you haven’t yet BF in public, do it with another mom until you feel comfortable
  4. Invest in a cute BF cover.
  5. When pumping, don’t keep track of how much you pump. I would stare at the pump the entire time and be discouraged and upset when I only got 2 ounces. Once I stopped tracking it in my phone and staring down the whole time, my supply increased.
  6. Invest in a good pump – I rent the Medela Symphony hospital grade pump. It was free for 2 months through my insurance and now I pay $70 month (it’s worth it);
  7. As a follow up to #6, buy extra pump parts so you don’t have to wash them all the time;
  8. As a follow up to #7, put your pump parts in the fridge after you use them so you don’t need to wash them each time (I only wash mine 1x day, if that).
  9. Invest in a good BF pillow – I prefer the My Breast Friend Deluxe
  10. DO WHAT WORKS BEST FOR YOU!!!