After breastfeeding N for almost three years, I thought things would be a lot easier the second time round. I knew it would be challenging to breastfeed two babies instead of one, and my main worry was that my milk supply would take too long to kick in.
A month before I delivered, I received the Mummamia Nursing Herbal Soup, and I asked my mum to prepare it for me the day after I gave birth. She boiled it with some pork knuckle, and brought it to the hospital. I drank it for two consecutive days, and latched the babies as frequently as possible. By the second night, I became engorged and sore, and it was way too painful for me to latch the babies, so I had to pump instead. I was quite pleased to see that my milk had already come in, since with N, I couldn’t get more than a few drops until after about a week.
My first few pumps at the hospital
When we went home on the third day, I was in so much pain that I immediately contacted my usual massage lady, Arline (you can send her a DM to enquire about her charges and availability via her Facebook page HERE). Thankfully, she was able to come over in the afternoon to help me with my engorgement and blocked ducts. This time round, my pain threshold seems to be significantly lower, and I was screaming in pain as she massaged my boobs. It took three consecutive sessions to clear most of the blocked ducts, and a couple more after that for me to stop cringing whenever the babies latched on.
I had forgotten how painful breastfeeding can be, especially in the initial few days, and I kept praying for nipples of steel because that’s honestly what all breastfeeding mums need. The babies have relatively good latches, but I still had to take deep breaths whenever I nursed them, to prevent myself from screaming in pain.
Didi works himself into a frenzy when he’s hungry, and unlatches a few times before finally chomping down hard, just because he is too anxious, while Meimei likes to click her tongue when she’s drinking, which can really hurt. I admit that I started dreading nursing them, and even thought about just giving up because it was so painful. On top of that, my supply wasn’t enough for two babies, and I had to give them at least one or two formula feeds each day. However, I remember really enjoying my nursing sessions with N as he grew older, and I know that I will regret it if I gave up so quickly, so I trudged on, pain and all.
The twins aren’t really in sync with each other’s body clocks yet, so I can’t always tandem-nurse them. I’ve tried waking the other twin up when one is awake for milk, but the sleepy twin will either refuse to drink, or suckle half-heartedly before falling asleep, and I’ll have to nurse him/her again shortly after that, so I don’t bother trying to wake them up for milk anymore. I was quite hesitant about tandem-nursing initially, but my confinement lady is awesome at propping the babies’ heads up with towels when I’m tandem-nursing them (I use the My Brest Friend Twins Nursing Pillow), which makes it easier for me. Even though I feel very much like a cow during those tandem-nursing sessions, it saves me a lot of time, and I get to rest more. Unfortunately, Didi has been sick recently, so I haven’t been able to tandem-nurse them for a few days already.
I love these milk coma faces!
Tandem-napping after tandem-nursing
Snuggling after milk
When I can’t tandem-nurse them, I use the Haakaa Silicone Breast Pump (you can get it HERE) to collect my letdown from the other boob. Better than letting all that milk be absorbed by the breast pads and be wasted, since I’m still not producing enough for two babies! I don’t know how effective it is as a pump, but it’s useful if you want to collect your letdown from the other boob when you’re nursing.
My collected letdown in the Haakaa pump
The strange thing is that despite not having enough milk for both babies, I still managed to develop mastitis, complete with a fever, and huge lumps in my boob that wouldn’t go away, no matter how much I massaged, pumped, or latched the babies. I contacted Arline again, and thankfully, she managed to help me clear my blocked ducts again. It wasn’t immediate of course, but I took paracetamol a couple of times, and my fever went away by the second day. I latched the babies as frequently as I could, and kept massaging the sore spots as they drank, so that they could help “vacuum” the milk out. Arline reminded me to massage my boobs and nipples before latching the babies, so that my ducts won’t get blocked so easily, and I’ve been trying to be more diligent about it.
I’ve noticed that my supply dips when I don’t get enough rest, and honestly, there’s no way to really rest during the day, especially when I have to entertain N. When I get to sleep for 3-5 hours at night, I can get about 160-200ml, but I hardly get to sleep or rest for such long stretches, so I really can’t produce enough for the two of them yet. Anyway, 160ml still isn’t enough to feed both babies! If I were only feeding one baby, I’ll have enough to freeze by now, but with two, I wonder if I’ll ever be able to freeze anything.
At the moment, I ask the confinement lady to give them one or two feeds of formula milk each day, especially when I’m exhausted and my boobs are soft enough for me to know that I have very little milk at that point. One of the formula feeds is usually at midnight or 1am, after they’ve been cluster feeding for a while, because they need fuller bellies in order to sleep. I pick my battles. I know that latching is the best way to increase my supply, but the babies get really frustrated and cry when they can’t get enough, which was too stressful for everyone. Since I produce more milk when I’m well-rested, it makes more sense for me to skip one nursing session, especially when it’s an hour or less after I last nursed them, and let my body rest, in order to have enough for the next feed.
Even though it’s not my first time breastfeeding, I’m still learning and trying to figure out what works best for me and the babies. Hopefully, my supply will be enough for both babies soon, and I won’t have any more blocked ducts!