Thursday, August 18, 2011

Letting the guilt go

I realize my posts are kinda all over the place. I'm playing catch up from not blogging right after the girls were born, which is why I'm just now journaling about my attempt at breastfeeding.

I say attempt because honestly it was not a "success". During my pregnancy I always knew I would try to breastfeed the girls, and I really didn't foresee quitting so early on. That was my first mistake. I should have been more realistic. I should have read up on some real life stories of breastfeeding twins (not the twin books that make you feel like it's easy peasy). And I probably shouldn't have purchased such a nice (expensive!) breast pump.

But I thought it was going to work.. I reeeally did. I envisioned tandem feeding the girls on the twin nursing pillow that was given to me, and I pictured myself pumping in my office once I went back to work. I even used it as a reason to justify buying a mini fridge for my office. You see? There was never a doubt in my mind that it wouldn't happen.

Fast forward to the girls being born. Emma weighed 4lbs 14oz and we had major latch issues with her from the start. Because of my gestational diabetes, I had to feed the girls a bottle of formula soon after they were born. The rest of the 48 hours I was in the hospital were spent desperately trying to get Emma to latch. Using the tube feeder filled with formula, and the (painful) nipple shield. I had nurses & lactation consultants helping me. My obgyn and the pediatrician at the hospital told me just to make sure they get fed, even if that means formula. The nurses and lactation consultants were clearly pushing breastfeeding..big time. And I was so SO confused.

Fast forward to bringing the girls home. We quickly realized that breastfeeding Harlow AND attempting for long periods of time to get Emma to latch, was NOT going to work. I would literally have a baby on a boob 24/7. Within the first week of bringing them home I caved mentally & physically. We busted out the bottles of formula full time for Emma, and I got some sleep.

The plan was to formula feed Emma, but continue breastfeeding Harlow so that I could continue to pump enough breast milk for Emma. That worked for another week or so. I made the mistake of supplementing with formula for Harlow and once she realized how much easier it was for her to just take a bottle, she would scream bloody murder within 5 minutes of me putting her on my boob. The first time she did that I broke down crying. I cried and cried and cried.. while reluctantly feeding her a bottle of formula.

But then I realized.. WHY am I beating myself up? They got the colostrum, they got some breast milk, and I continued pumping so they could get more breast milk for the first month. I tried. But breastfeeding one baby with latch issues would be rough.. adding a whole other baby to the mix? Makes it DAMN hard. Any twin mama out there who was able to successfully breastfeed for any extended period of time should seriously get some sort of medal. Because that shit is HARD.

So, there you have it. I tried, it didn't work out like I imagined, I beat myself up over it, I let the guilt go. And now I'm a happier mama for it. Getting decent sleep for me, two healthy growing baby girls? Sounds like a win to me!

For all the future twin mama's reading this.. PLEASE don't set crazy expectations for yourself. Or mom's of singletons for that matter! You can have an ideal plan in place, but if it doesn't work out exactly like you imagined, don't let guilt consume you. If you're taking care of your babies AND yourself, you're doing your job. And I promise 20 years from now your kids won't remember or care whether they were breastfed or not. Promise.


  1. I'm glad you've made peace with it. Breastfeeding is so much harder than I ever imagined and I'm amazed you were willing to even try breastfeeding twins! I'm not sure I'd be so bold.

  2. *hugs* You did great, Lauren. Breastfeeding is crazy hard - physically and even more so emotionally!! I totally remember the hysterical crying on the boobs, too, and how heartbreaking that was. :(

    I cringe at the pictures taken of Severin during the time I was refusing to use formula even though breastfeeding was clearly not working... I felt so guilty, I just didn't want to give up, but sheesh the poor little guy was so SKINNY! :( I didn't see it then. Retrospect is 20/20. Having a healthy baby wins over guilt. Now I just feel guilty for not starting on formula sooner. I still think breast is "best," but for fuck's sake, it doesn't always work!! lol