Expressing And Feeding Twins At The Same Time
Following on from my last post, I was open minded about how I was going to feed our twins. I had the intention of expressing so that others could also have the joy of helping to feed, whilst still giving them nutritious breast milk. However, I was realistic in the fact that feeding two babies solely on breast milk was not going to be an easy and straightforward option.
A friend advised me to pump very regularly and for long periods of time to get my body used to the demand of milk. I was trying to feed two mouths after all. So I started pumping after every bottle feed (which was every 2-3 hours) for half an hour at a time (even if I could only pump milk for 20 minutes, I would still continue to express for the full half an hour). Even writing that now makes me feel exhausted. I was very native to how tiring expressing would be. After every pumping session I felt like I had endured a mini marathon with two Dyson hoovers attached to me. Glamorous.
Expressed breast milk, using the Meleda double breast pump
As time went on, I could see the amount of breast milk increasing every few days. At the peak of expressing each baby would only need one feed of formula and the rest would be breast milk (very proud Mumma). The one down side I found with this routine was I was constantly feeding, either physically giving the babies their bottles or expressing. I was a glorified, exhausted cow.
How To Feed And Express Simultaneously
I was challenged with a conundrum. I wanted to try and figure out a way that I could be more efficient with my time so that I didn’t have to spend all of my waking hours (which happened to be all day and all night) feeding and expressing. I thought to myself: when I am feeding the babies, does it not make sense to pump at the same time…?
Was I joking? No. Was I mad? Possibly a tiny bit. Impossible? Not at all.
It was more about timing and organisation. I set up my own breast pumping pack so that everything was organised and ready to use for each expressing session:
My breast pumping pack that I put together so that everything was in the same place
All of the items that were included in my breast pumping pack
My breast pumping pack included:
- Medela swing maxi double breast pump
- Hands-free expressing bra
- Mama Mio Keep Calm nipple balm
- Kitchen roll paper for any spills / to wipe up as you detach the pumps
So this was how I successfully pumped and fed the twins at the same time (if you are going to try this, just to reassure you that this was not successful straight away. It took many attempts, a lot of wasted milk and numerous words of frustration, before I could do this effectively. Don’t be disheartened if it is not successful straight away, practise makes perfect).
- Have the breast pump set up and ready to use
- When it is almost time to feed your baby, put the hands-free breast pump bra on
- Prepare baby bottles ready to feed
- Put babies in curved cushions, attach the breast pumps to your bra, start pumping and feed babies at the same time
- Once you have finished feeding the babies, wind them, detach the pumps and store your milk in breast milk bags (A little tip: ALWAYS remember to use nibble balm straight after each pumping session to keep your nipples moisturised and sore-free)
Once I got the hang of it, this was the routine that I followed for every feed. In truth, I felt like super mum. I had worked out how to simultaneously express and feed the twins, which meant I could gain a little bit of my own time back (which, to be honest, was spent cleaning, bathing, food shopping, doing the laundry etc etc etc…but it was my time nonetheless).
However, after 2 months of feeding the babies on breast milk, I had to make the tough decision to move onto full time formula feeding.
Coming Up On My Next Post…
Read my next post to find out about my experiences of using formula to feed our twins.
To come: How I stopped expressing to move onto formula, how I pack formula to take out for the day and my experiences of sterilising MAM bottles.