Sunday, May 29, 2016

Breast feeding the twins

When I first started this post a few months ago, I had just stopped nursing Landon and Zachary.  So many thoughts and emotions sat heavy on my heart.  So many life lessons.  So many triumphs.  I needed to write this post, knowing I'd forever regret it if these thoughts never turned into words. 

While I was pregnant with Landon and Zach, I prayed so hard that breastfeeding would come naturally and that I would be able to exclusively nurse my two babies.  I read tons of articles, I talked with other moms of twins and I attended the breastfeeding class at the hospital.   One of the best take-aways I got from all this information was that it can be tough but if you stick with it you can have success.  I felt quite prepared and ready to go!  I was thrilled with the prospect of nursing and honestly couldn't wait. 

Once the twins were born, I had tons of help since the first 6 days were spent at the hospital.  Right off the bat, I could see that I didn't have a sufficient supply for two babies, but I accepted that I could give them donor milk and felt like I'd be able to get my supply up eventually.  I nursed and nursed and pumped and pumped what seemed all day long everyday, but like I said we were still at the hospital so I had help with the babies.  

Then we went home.  My first full day of being home with the boys was so hard.  Lance was there to help but it was still overwhelming.  I decided long before I delivered that I'd tandem nurse--meaning nurse both babies at the same time.  I tried to hold both babies up to me and nurse.  I would get one attached then try to attach the other to only have the first baby come detached.  I keep trying and trying to attach both babies at the same time, but preemie babies and small breasts make for a very difficult situation when it comes to nursing.  By the end of that first day home I was so completely overwhelmed, exhausted, confused and left feeling as if I had completely failed breastfeeding.  

As feelings of complete failure flooded over me, I sat holding my hungry babies and cried and cried and cried.  Being only 7 days post pardom the tears came easily and plentifully.  Lance came upstairs to check on us and upon finding me such a mess kept reassuring me that I was doing great.  I barked back at him, "I can't even feed my babies.  How is that great."  I felt like I had failed my children and myself. 

Lance took over and I went to wash the mascara off that was all over my face.  As I stood in my bathroom, I had one of the greatest spiritual experiences of my life.  One that taught me so much and continues to do so.  The spirit whispered to me-you can do this.  It will be hard, but if you keep at it you will find success.  Celebrate what is going well, and don't get caught up on the rest. 

The prompting was both amazing and overwhelming.  I felt like I didn't have a clue on how to nurse these two helpless babies, but more than anything it's what I wanted.  The Lord had just promised me that I'd be able to, and I put my trust in Him.  I took a deep breath and walked back into my living room where lie my two babes.  

All at once, the thought flooded my mind-feed them separately.  Still feeling helpless, but now having a promise to hold on to, I picked up one of my sons and attempted to nurse him.  And a miracle happened-it came completely naturally for both of us!  I fed him!!  Once he was done, I fed his brother-and likewise it came naturally and beautifully.  

I had been so caught up on tandem nursing that I imagined individually feeding them would take too much time and wouldn't be a good idea, so this whole idea of feeding them one by one never resonated with me.  I'm so grateful to a God who knows everything and loves me enough to teach me lessons that I wouldn't otherwise learn.  His way is always better.  

My boys and I only needed a few good nursing sessions and we were well on our way with tandem nursing!  I nursed them until they were 9 months old!  I wanted to go longer, but they fought me on it so bad that I knew it was time.  And just like the original prompting I received in my bathroom the day they were a week old, I celebrated what went well, and didn't worry about the rest.