The first 3 months was so bittersweet for me. As much as I enjoyed my babies in the first 3 months of their lives, it was the hardest season ever trying to get adjusted to their feeding and sleep schedule, let alone getting adjusted to having 2 additional humans move in to our home.
Feeding issues at birth
From birth, we had feeding issues. The boys would inconsistently latch while we were at the hospital, so I had to use the hospital breastpump. I remember I would pump for 15 minutes or so, only to find that there was just 1 or 2 drops that came out. I would use a syringe or use my pinky and place that 1 drop in each of their mouths. Obviously, this amount of breastmilk was not sustainable and my boys needed more. I had to supplement with formula.
But even with that, I desired so much to breastfeed, so I would put one baby on my boob and syringe-feed drops of formula at a time while trying to get babies to latch.
On the first day and half, I tried to breastfeed, then formula feed the boys about 3-10 ml of formula at each feeding. I had no idea what I was doing, and I had no idea that they needed more. They were crying so much that first night, and I understood the next morning, when our doctor came to see us, that I was not feeding them enough. I literally cried in front of the doctor because I was overwhelmed with guilt for pretty much starving my few-hours-old babies.
Immediately, we increased their formula intake to at least 30 ml, or 1 ounce. From this doctor, I found out that my boys were considered low birth weight because they were under 5 pounds. I also found out that mothers who give birth prematurely don’t get their milk right away especially since their body is saying that it’s not ready to give birth, hence not ready to make milk. On top of our premature birth, my boys were induced into labor, meaning the labor was forced–it was mechanically started with medication and the dreaded foley balloon. Either way, my milk was pretty nonexistent that first couple of days.
That morning with the doctor was a complete wake-up call, and for the health of my babies, I was so happy to get them going on their formula bottles.
I love our lactation consultant!
But like most mothers, I really wanted to still to try breastfeeding and getting them access to breastmilk.
The morning after I gave birth, a lactation consultant came to our room. Apparently I was able to receive a consultation due to giving birth to twins.
At the hospital, our lactation consultant was super helpful, and I learned so many things about breastfeeding from her. She went over latching for babies, different breastfeeding positions (both single and tandem), and she also helped us try to create a feeding plan for the boys.
Let me tell you, lactation consultants are so great. We continued to see the lactation consultants pretty often the first 3 months to help us with breastfeeding. We went once every 2 weeks to get coaching and consultation on our feeding plan. We saw continued success in increasing their weight and saw slow progress in the whole breastfeeding thing.
Feeding issues after coming home from the hospital
I was allowed to take that heavy-duty, hospital-grade medela breastpump for free for the first month. My pumping schedule that first few months was a bit insane, but I worked hard to try to breastfeed my boys.
Every 3 hours I fed my boys–sleep or awake. I know you should never wake a sleeping baby. When I attended a breastfeeding class while pregnant, it was recommended that you should NOT feed on a schedule but feed on hunger cues. If you are a twin mama, let me tell you this: DON’T FOLLOW IT. This rule totally does NOT apply to twins because not only are you dealing with their feeding issues but also sleeping issues on trying to get them on the same schedule. Last thing you want when you are already emotionally drained and physically exhausted are babies who are on different schedules, wanting to eat and sleep at different times. This means I’m awake all hours trying to feed and trying to put to sleep 2 babies. This will only lead to me becoming more and more zombie-like and an unpleasant person to be around, which I was. Due to this reason, I decided to NOT feed on hunger cue but to stick to routine and wake them if necessary, with a goal in mind of getting them on the same schedule.
I felt like I was a robot trying to get them fed and doing the same thing. I would follow 3 steps:
- FIRST breastfeed (sometimes attempt to breastfeed)
- SECOND bottle feed pumped milk (day time) or bottle feed formula (night time)
- THIRD pump for 15 minutes.
This whole process was necessary as I had a low milk supply and I would do all this extra to try to increase my milk supply. Doing these 3 things with 2 babies would usually take about 1 hour, and I would do this on repeat every 3 hours. It would also take 1 hour due to the fact that both my boys had feeding issues as they would simply not want to eat. I would try different breastfeeding positions and make them relatch with the latch was sucky. Sometimes they would suck on the boob for a few minutes and sometimes it would be about 20 minutes or more. When giving them the bottle, we would have to be prepared for a cry session as they just did not want to eat. It would take different bottles, singing, and trying to feed at different locations to get the boys to finish a single 3-oz bottle. I couldn’t let them not eat, though, because I didn’t want them to starve and I knew that they weren’t getting enough at the breast.
At night, I would only follow steps 2 and 3 for bottle feeding and pumping, because I did not want to deal with breastfeeding issues. I would have 6 bottles ready to go in the fridge for the 12 am, 3 am, and 6 am feedings. Thankfully the night feedings weren’t too bad because my boys were able to learn the difference between night and day, and it was just dreamfeeding all the time.
I would also record everything on my handy little baby daybook app, which I relied on. I literally wouldn’t be able to remember who ate what when and how much without this app. The best thing about the baby daybook app is that you can add multiple children, unlike other baby apps I tried out.
Improved feeding after tongue tie
My boys immediately started to feed better after we got their frenulum clipped for their tongue tie when they were about 2 months old. Pretty much, their frenulum, which is the part that connects the bottom of your tongue to the bottom of your mouth, was too short so we had breastfeeding issues.
We also had issues with insurance the first month, so we weren’t able to get that for them sooner, but finally got to see an ENT doctor for the tongue tie evaluation and procedure in the second month. It was seriously the saddest thing in the world. The doctor and nurse literally clamped the frenulum and did a quick snip. There was blood all over my sons’ mouth but it shortly stopped with some breastfeeding/ bottle feeding. I was so scared and wanted to cry so bad.
We continued to monitor their feeding, and it was so amazing how much their feeding had changed. The whole tongue tie procedure was completely worth it. They were able to drink their milk faster and were latching so much better. They were able to stay on the breast much longer and I felt so much more at peace knowing that they were finally getting fed well.
From drinking only 10 ml the first day, to 30 ml at first week, the boys increased their intake to about 100 ml by the end of the third month in their bottle feeding. I suppose they were getting about the same or a bit lower than that for each breastfeeding as well. But thankfully, by their 4 month well baby check up they had tripled their birth weight! Granted, they were less than 5 pounds at birth, but it was still a pretty big deal to see them make great strides!