Breastfeeding Twin Toddlers…
You read that right… We are still going strong.
Breastfeeding twins was something I didn’t read up on and honestly I was so focused on not going into labor for 4 months, that I never really knew what I was getting into. I went on bed rest at 21 weeks and therefore we didn’t even finish our birthing class. I knew I wanted to try breastfeeding but I didn’t know just how hard it would be and trust me it was hard.
I can sense there is an end in sight but for now we are still nursing. The girls are almost 13 months and right around their 1st birthday we introduced cow’s milk for when I’m at work and I stopped pumping. I’d been pumping between 2-5 times daily since the girls birth and I was just over it. So I stopped – pretty much cold turkey. It was emotional and I was depressed about it for a number of days. I felt like I was letting them down by not providing as much breast milk as I possibly could. Like I was being selfish. But I despised pumping and decided if they didn’t hate the cow’s milk (which they don’t) we would move forward.
The pumping initially was to increase my supply and it worked. Harlowe didn’t learn to really nurse for a few weeks and so we used the pumped milk to supplement her initially. I would nurse the girls together and follow each nursing session with around 5-10 minutes of pumping and end with breast milk bottle supplementing for Harlowe. I continued with this for months. Along with tons of water, fenugreek and persistence. I was able to exclusively breastfeed our girls nearly their entire first year. I went back to work when the girls were 6 months old. We started using what I would pump at work but eventually we needed to break into all the milk I pumped/froze over their first 6 months. This supply lasted until around 10.5 months and seemed to line up perfectly with when they started drinking a little less.
Now my kids aren’t huge, but neither am I at just over 5’1 but I will always wonder if they would have thrived more with some additional calories but I think we all did just fine. They got sick maybe 1 time each within their first year and are absolutely thriving. I think I’m still just self-conscious by how often people try to guess the age of the girls and are a number of months off. Let alone we met a set of twins last week who weigh more than our duo at just 6 months of age. But our girls are healthy, happy and both on the charts for weight. Harlowe in the 60th percentile and Ainsley in the 10th and both in the mid 40-50% range for height. They have hit/exceeded every developmental milestone by/before expected age.
I’m proud of nursing our girls as long as I have. I’m proud that we can still pile onto our breastfeeding pillow and all just mesh into each other. I’m proud of not giving up when Harlowe was losing weight and everyone was pushing formula. I’m proud that my girls still cuddle up in the morning and nurse. I’m sad Harlowe has decided to be done with night time nursing but she was always the one who only nursed because it was the thing to do. She loves her food. Loves how fast and easy cow’s milk comes from the straw Sippy and was never into nursing for comfort. Ainsley still nurses around twice a day. She has taken to sitting up to nurse if we are solo. She doesn’t like to be kept away from the action. She walks up to me and pulls my shirt up to insinuate it’s time and leaves when finished. But sometimes she still snuggles in to nurse and it’s sweet and touching.
My girls are growing so fast and this bond that has always been just ours is shifting. I’m hopeful both girls will continue nursing once a day for the next few months as I’m just not ready to be done. But since the beginning they’ve called the shots and I will accept and work with whatever they decide. This has been a journey. Well worth every tear, every struggle and every amazing ounce. I’m blessed to have the ability to provide this for my babies and I will never take for granted how wonderful it’s been for all of us.