This third pregnancy was a planned one, in fact all of mine are – our miracle IVF babies. Third time’s a charm they said, it was indeed. We were blessed with a pair of twins. We knew our life is going to change 360 degrees. I was really hopefully that I’d be able to breastfeed my twins.
I knew breastfeeding is going to be a challenge. But how hard can it be right? It’s my third time anyway. I did it once…successfully. I did it twice…also successfully. Well, just that now it’s gonna be with two babies. Take turns or simultaneously. To prepare for having to breastfeed twins, I bought a twins nursing pillow, read and watched videos on anything related to breastfeeding twins.
To prepare for the upcoming breastfeeding journey, I bought a twins nursing pillow, read and watched videos on anything related to breastfeeding twins.
Going into preterm labour
Little did I know, I went into preterm labour, unexpectedly, at 29 weeks. My twins, Lakayla and Athena, were born into this world, resuscitated and intubated the moment they were out from my womb, and wheeled directly into NICU. My world was shattered. I was not prepared at all for this.
All the picture-perfect plans I had went straight right out of the window. The first meeting – OUT. First skin-to-skin – OUT. First feed – OUT. My mind was all over the place. How do I feed my babies in NICU? Can I even feed my babies? I did not know what to do, what can I do, or what should I do.
I did power pump – 20 minutes pump, 10 minutes rest, 10 minutes pump. And all I get is a little bit of colostrum.
Getting my thoughts together
It took me a day to get my thoughts right in place. My babies are in NICU, fighting very hard to survive. The least I can do is to provide them food which is milk. I did power pump – 20 minutes pump, 10 minutes rest, 10 minutes pump. And all I get is a little bit of colostrum. I remembered clearly, feeling so embarrassed when I passed the bottle to the nurse, so that she can help to send to NICU. I even asked her if it is sufficient for my babies. All she said was “Yes, enough. Better than none.”
That’s the moment when my pumping journey began. Day by day, I pumped and pumped and pumped. Eventually, the pump became my best friend. We were inseparable. Trips and trips of sending milk to NICU for my babies. That became my joy because sending more milk was an indicator that my babies were growing.
Trying to breastfeed my twins for the first time
Day 37 and 38 was the very first time I was allowed to hold my twins. I was then encouraged to try to breastfeed them. Being premature babies, I was warned that they would have difficulties sucking. I tried and tried to direct latch them. Sometimes we were successful, but 90% of the time was a failure. Why was it so tough? Why did they reject the breast? What can I do better so that they will latch? Why do they drink so well when it’s bottle-fed? How can I bond with them without a direct latch? There were so many questions, without any answers.
Being premature babies, I was warned that they would have difficulties sucking. I tried and tried to direct latch them.
I was upset that they rejected the direct latch. I was upset that they preferred bottle feeding. Mostly I was upset that I failed to breastfeed my twins. I did not stop trying to try to latch them directly after they were discharged from NICU. Back home, I tried again and again, and each time it became tenser and tenser. I was losing my temper. It came to the breaking point that each feeding time became a war zone. They cried, I cried. They struggled, I struggled. And it wasn’t healthy for them, for me, nor it was for us.
Coming to terms with my journey
It took me weeks to come to the terms with the fact I did not have a perfectly planned breastfeeding journey. It is okay that I don’t get to experience the same breastfeeding journey as I did with my previous two kids. I know I won’t have any memory-sake photos of me breastfeeding you both. Yes, we won’t get to bond through breastfeeding but there’s so many other ways to bond. It is okay that I chose to have a healthier relationship with the babies and my mind.
It took me weeks to come to the terms with the fact I did not have a perfectly planned breastfeeding journey.
This is definitely not how I envisioned my breastfeeding journey, and it is okay. We didn’t have the traditional way, even from the start. It is really okay because at the end of the day, most importantly their tummies are happy and we are happy.
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