S.H. asks from Long Beach, CA on May 29, 2008
Pumping for Twins
Does anyone have any experience with pumping right after the babies are born just to get milk supply going? This may mean supplementing with formula during the process...I had a very stressful time trying to breastfeed and pump in between feedings with my first child. I want to make it easier on myself this time. Any suggestions?
J.L. answers from Los Angeles on May 29, 2008
I had to pump for several weeks after my twins were born to keep up my supply until they were able to nurse effectively. They were born a bit early. As the NICU had a rigid feeding schedule, they were supplemented with formula until my milk came in and a bit after as I was really not pumping enough to feed both fully. If you're already 8 months, I'm assuming that your concern isn't pumping due to premature twins. Is it that you need to build a stock supply for returning to work? You may be pleasantly surprised how different pumping and nursing will be with twins. Your body will naturally produce much more. You may not need to do any pumping right after the babies are born. If you do, I suggest having lots of help to entertain your older child and hold the infants. Since I was pumping, bottle feeding, and practicing nursing my twins in the early weeks, I found having my hands free while I pumped was essential. I purchased a strapless bra that basically had two holes at the nipples (available at nursing shops). The pump shields fit right inside the bra so that I didn't need to hold them in place. It left both my hands free. As far as the stress, having help for the kids was essential. I looked at my pumping time as my taking care of myself time. That was when I read a book or magazine or watched TV. I actually started to look forward to it!
L.M. answers from San Francisco on May 29, 2008
You shouldn't need to supplement at all. The first couple of days babies really don't need much so if they nurse often even if they aren't getting a whole lot it's ok. They can stimulate your milk production a lot better than a pump, but if your still concerned, by all means go ahead and pump in addition to the nursings just do it after feeding them both and don't worry if not much comes out, because they will have taken what you did produce, as they should. With twins your be nursing them twice as much as you did with your singleton so that shouldn't be a problem. Even the best lactator doesn't have milk for a day it's always just a tiny bit of colostrum until the second day at the earliest and often 3 or 4 days. Newborns have a reserve of nutrients from the womb to survive for a few days, that's why they often lose weight the first week and all doctors will say that a certain amount of weight loss is normal because the mom's milk doesn't come in, and they're just using up their reserve they always gain it right back in the next 2 weeks or so as long as they are otherwise healthy. If you still have concerns they have lacation consultants that will help you in the hospital and answer any more questions you might have. My mom is a midwife so she answered all of my concerns and questions. If you still have more questions you can e-mail me at ____@____.com Good luck with your delivery and don't worry, you can produce much more milk if you let yourself relax about it and just remember your body was made to do this so it will work.
M.S. answers from Los Angeles on May 31, 2008
LM gave you some VERY good advise! Good luck and happy pushing...
N.J. answers from Los Angeles on May 29, 2008
My daughter spent five days in the hospital for jaundice. During that time I was able to use the hospital's pump and since I spent all day there I would pump every two hours. My supply really increased and I could pump 8 oz. from each breast in about 20 minutes by the time I left. At home I used an Avent Isis hand-held pump and it worked fine for the next three months. The downfall with offering a bottle at two days old - she would not go back to the breast.
J.M. answers from Los Angeles on May 17, 2009
You can do it! I didn't have a 2 year old but it is do-able. I pumped for 10 months and supplimented with formula when my milk was low. You will need an extra set of hands if possible to begin with. I had an emergcncy c-section and needed my husband or family to take care of my two boys when I was in too much pain. I would feed each baby by bottle then pump right after. I pumped too long because I didn't know any better but try not to pump more than 30 minutes. I pumped for an hour most of the time, but I will tell you, I produced enough milk for 6 kids on some days. Try to sleep, eat and drink as much as possible at first. I took hot baths, and read a book while pumping to relax and more came out. You can do it!