Feed and pump. Pump and feed. That has basically been my existence for the last 6.5 months. I don’t share all that much about my breastfeeding journey because I know this is something that a lot of women struggle with and I want to be sensitive to that.
Before I begin, let me say this… I believe that fed is absolutely best. Moms are just trying to do what is best for their babies and every single baby is different. What works for one probably won’t work for the other. That has been my experience at least and it’s even more apparent because I had them at the same time. From the beginning, I decided that giving my babies breast milk was very important to me. Blake is a type 1 diabetic and after talking with his endocrinologist, she ensured me that there isn’t a direct link between breastmilk and diabetes but that the longer I could give it, the stronger their immune systems would be. That was all I needed to hear. At that moment, I decided I wanted to commit to a goal of a year of breastfeeding as an investment in my boys’ future health. There are no guarantees but if there was a chance it would help prevent them from getting diabetes, it was worth it to me. I knew going in that the journey wouldn’t be easy and I had many conversations with the people closest to me about encouraging me to keep going when it got hard. I knew there would be moments I wanted to give up. And I knew I would need support to make it to my goal. I am happy to say that we have made it 6.5 months on exclusive breast milk. Not a drop of formula. As much of an accomplishment as that feels, I am only halfway and that can feel very daunting at times.
Another reason I wanted to be able to breastfeed as long as possible is that we are on such a tight budget and I knew it would help cut down on monthly expenses. The thing about giving your baby breast milk is that it’s free financially, but there is actually nothing free about it. It has cost me A LOT over the past 6 months. I have no life. Like none. I am either nursing or pumping about every hour and a half to two hours to produce enough milk for two. I can’t go anywhere without my pump. I feel like I live my life attached to it. Providing breastmilk for your baby is a sacrifice and it is another thing about motherhood that requires complete selflessness. It is a gift to your child that they will likely never thank you for. Until walking this road, the thought has never even crossed my mind to thank my mom for nursing me for any amount of time that she did.
Overall, my breastfeeding journey has been easy comparatively. I haven’t had mastitis. It doesn’t hurt. My supply dipped once when I got a cold, but I was able to get it back up pretty quickly. I don’t say any of this lightly because I know so many women have a rough go at it. After our battle to get pregnant and making it through twin pregnancy, I am so very thankful that the burden of nursing hasn’t been all that heavy.
My biggest struggle throughout my journey is that I am pretty much exclusively nursing one and exclusively pumping for the other. I had a lot of guilt over this for a long time. But I have had to pray and learn to walk in freedom that my boys are TOTALLY different babies. As opposite as they come. Eli latched on the first try and has been a good nurser ever since. He would eat all day every day if I let him. He loves food (if you can’t tell). Stish on the other hand…. feeding him has been a struggle since day one. He was my smaller baby and I am not sure if that has anything to do with it or not. But for the longest time, he was such a lazy sucker and wanted you to drip the milk down his throat. He has had moments of eating well, but overall he is very difficult to feed. Even still. He’s just not all that interested in food and we have no idea where he gets that from. I do try to nurse him some before naps, but he never does very well. I have to remind myself in the moments that I start allowing the guilt to slip in that I am working twice as hard to feed Stisher and that they are getting the exact same thing. Pumping is twice the work. It’s definitely easier (for me at least) to nurse.
Because my boys are so very different, it has taken a lot of trial and error to figure out a system that works and allows me to produce enough to feed them both. I will be sharing more on what works for us soon. Twin mamas and all you nursing mamas, hang on because it does get better. Something that I have learned over the last 6 months is that you just do what works and it’s ok if what works looks totally different from everyone else. Do your thing and once you figure out what works FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE DON’T ROCK THE BOAT. Still working on learning that part.
Lots of love,