I previously wrote about my experience breastfeeding through a pregnancy and tandem nursing my first and second children. At the time, I was entering the third trimester of my third pregnancy and – PLOT TWIST – unbeknownst to me, I was carrying twins (it’s a long story, but don’t worry, we knew prior to our home birth). In fact, it turned out that for my first trimester, I was feeding three of my children at once, as my toddler daughter was still nursing during that time. I would have been happy to nurse her for the duration of my pregnancy and in tandem with her twin sisters, but she chose to wean. And so, a year later, I am tandem nursing for the second time in my life.
This is not about the ins and outs of breastfeeding twins
Rather, this is a perspective from the (somewhat) more calm place I find myself at eight months postpartum. Nursing is often challenging at first. At the beginning of my breastfeeding journeys, I have appreciated the concept that while a mother may be an experienced breastfeeder, a new baby is always a first-timer. This is obviously intensified with breastfeeding twins. We muscled through a lot of obstacles at the beginning. Being an experienced mother is serving me well with twins in general, and having already tandem breastfed is benefitting me immensely while breastfeeding twins. I’m also really grateful for the perspective I gained from already having children, for the support of my husband, family, and friends, and for the resources I lined up ahead of time (including but not limited to our midwife, our chiropractor, and our wonderful IBCLC who makes house calls).
Nursing twins has challenged and changed me
I’m learning to breathe deeply (this is so true during the act of breastfeeding twins and in mothering multiple children in general). To relax amidst physical and emotional chaos (again, true of breastfeeding twins and beyond). To give into my children’s needs knowing that they will not be like this forever. I am doing a better job of soaking in the tenderness of mothering little children while maintaining some autonomy. I’m taking some parts from my prior mothering handbook and gaining some new tricks, too. I’m trying not to linger too much on how different the multiples experience has been from my singleton experience, and instead to give in to new realities without fighting the change so much.
On changing my inner narrative
I’ve given myself permission to exist in a space of being both undone by motherhood and fulfilled by it. (The concept of both/and, which goes beyond just the mothering space, has been revolutionary for me). I’ve allowed myself to stand unapologetically in that place of both/and, while not being swayed by the opinions of others. I’m practicing validating myself over and over again without needing external reassurance.
Repeating affirmations like these a million times a day is very helpful:
- My babies are healthy.
- I have an infinite capacity to grow and improve.
- My body is capable and strong.
I’ve been more vocal that raising and nursing babies is the work I know I was created to do; it is work that fulfills me more deeply than I can explain, and work that illuminates my soul. But it is hard. It can be slogging, lonely work at times. At other times, it might be a walk in the park, but neither experience is more or less valuable. I have felt more freedom than ever to meet myself and other women exactly where they are – regardless of the differences we have – with an eye to the challenges we each face and the tenacity it has taken us to overcome them.
Every birth experience is beautiful, but here’s a little more about ours…
Curious about our twin home birth? You can see some of our birth photos here, and our amazing birth video here (including my first ever latch while breastfeeding twins!). My endless gratitude to Micah, our birth photographer, for being there to capture this experience!
This was originally published August 2019.