Of course there are countless studies describing the importance of breastfeeding, but not to many describe what it is actually like to nurse a newborn baby. During my pregnancy, I read several books and went to a few seminars about the importance of nursing infants, so I figured that because I was armed with the knowledge there wouldn’t be much to it. At the same time though, I was a little unsure about breastfeeding twins simultaneously. Moments after my twins were born and the nurses put my babies on my chest, I froze.
“Ummm… how am I supposed to do this again?” I thought. With two babies in my arms I looked up at the nurse and asked for help, she responded that a lactation nurse would come by my room that day. Later that day I was completely out of it, my babies didn’t get much colostrum and I struggled with guilt. Looking back, I should have asked the nurse to hold one baby while I tried to feed the other because I felt overwhelmed.
On the day I was discharged a lactation nurse met me to stress that I pump every two hours. Well, ladies I did and I almost drove myself crazy pumping and trying to care for two newborns by myself. My initial start was difficult. When my milk came in about 5 or 6 days after their birth, it felt like my breasts were on fire the sensation and flow hurt.
Regardless of the pain, I was determined to continue. I stayed on speakerphone with my 24-hour nurse hotline, until my questions were answered. I drank Mother’s Milk Tea, ate oatmeal, and used hot towels to help get my milk flowing so that I could have a large enough milk supply to feed both babies.
Starting out, the best advice I was given that worked for me is:
- Feed on demand, every time the baby cries and isn’t wet or some other problem allow him or her to nurse. Exhausting, yes, but it works. In my experience, my babies’ natural sucking helped the milk flow quicker than my breast pump.
- Don’t give up, relax and drink something warm.
- Eat regularly and drink plenty of water. (If possible, during pregnancy freeze several meals so that you can quickly prepare them for yourself.)
- Be patient. You can breathe easy knowing that once you get the hang of it, the pain and confusion go away and the bonding and nutrition begin.
Read other breastfeeding articles I’ve written:
- How to be a Supportive New Dad
- 5 Reasons to Breastfeed, I’m Glad I Did!
- Breastfeeding: Ending it My Way
- How To Successfully Breastfeed in Public
- Breastfeeding Tips for New Moms