As a recent mom of identical twin boys, people often ask me what it’s like. And to be honest, my husband and I feel so lucky our boys were our firsts. We had nothing to compare it to and didn’t know any better! I’m also so thankful we made it through the first six months, what I honestly consider the hardest months of our lives.
Arriving eight weeks early, our boys were preemies. They spent their first two months in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). We will never forget the doctors and nurses who took care of our boys. Their dedication and hard work inspired us to be the best we can be—both at work and as parents.
I will also never forget the two months of intense breastfeeding “boot camp” in the NICU. Teaching two preemies to nurse is the hardest thing I have ever had to do. (And the feeding tubes in their noses didn’t help!)
The boys basically rejected me every day for two months. They would latch for a few sips, stop, let go and fall asleep. Preemies are so tired at this age, and it’s hard to keep them awake long enough to train them. I would spend about four hours each day training them to breastfeed and the remaining time pumping so they could get my milk supply. It was very tiring and so frustrating.
We started with a bare breast, but when the boys became frustrated with the effort of staying latched, we added a nipple shield, which (thankfully!) worked great for us! It triggered their suck reflex and gave them more to latch onto than just a bare nipple.
If you’re faced with a similar situation, my advice is to do your best, and try not to let it stress you out. These little preemies have a mind of their own! Persistence is key. Because when they finally got the hang of it, it was the most satisfying victory! A true accomplishment for the three of us.
From that point on, it was all about multitasking. How do you breastfeed one and soothe the other while they wait for you? It’s not easy—especially when it’s 3 AM and you haven’t slept in days! But my secret savior was the Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play sleeper. It was my second set of hands, and fostered my strongest memory from those first months at home: Breastfeeding one of the boys while I used my foot to rock the other, soothing him as he waited to feed.
Not only did the rocker allow me to juggle both boys, but it also allowed them to sleep comfortably at night. No one tells you that many newborn babies don’t like to sleep flat. (They can get uncomfortable due to reflux.) The sleeper sits at an angle and made their colic disappear. Truly magical. To this day, I carry this secret along with me and share it whenever I can!
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