I don't mean mah babies.
I'm taking 'bout mah tatas.
Boy, am I abusing them!
This will be short because my time doing it was short. You are warned.
There are breastfeeding pillows specifically for twins, the most popular ones are "EZ 2 Nurse Twins Nursing Breastfeeding pillow" and "My Brest Friend Twins plus". I got a less expensive version from Amazon and I'm glad I did because it worked perfectly and well I'm not using it anymore. This being said you don't really need to buy one, you could just prop pillows on either side of you and you are good to go. It really isn't that much different. I'm not getting into details on the how-to because its long and its easier to see on a video so if you are interested just CLICK HERE and enjoy!
Now, this is where things get interesting. I can only share what was helpful to me but I'm sure there are a lot more tips out there that I just haven't read. It's not too easy to come across info on this, yes there is a lot out there, but you really have to dig to find. Mainly you have to know what you are looking for in order to find out about it, which isn't helpful if you've never done this before and don't know what to look for to begin with. The best website I found was Kellymom.com, it has information about everything but like I said you have to dig for it... unless you have time to read the whole thing then you clearly don't have your baby yet =). I also found information on ivillage.com, Lalecheleague.com (whom you can contact for support), and Lowmilksupply.org. These are the most helpful tips I found: (Funny enough, I always did my research on my cell while pumping)
- First, you have to know this is a big commitment. It's not easy. It's tiring. It can be painful from the soreness. And it takes away from what little time you have for yourself. I definitely understand why so many women quit doing this. That being said, so far "quiting" is not in my vocabulary. I'm doing this and even when my supply was low I kept at it and increased it. I keep telling myself that I will not go down without a fight, so far it has worked.
- Supply and demand. The more you demand from your body the more it should produce. Not everyone will be able to increase supply or make any milk no matter what you do because of the way our bodies are. Luckily we live in times where formula is advanced and we can confidently feed our babies with it.
- Feed and pump a lot. If you are doing both, the best thing to do is to pump for 10 to 15 minutes after you breastfeed. You are telling your body to make more.
- Pump 6 to 12 times per day. Every 2 to 3 hours, especially in the first weeks. Basically, you are pumping as many times as your baby would have normally been at your breast. Again, this is telling your body to make more. I did not know this. I pumped twice a day in the beginning and my body just didn't know it had to make way more milk. I figured things out when they were already 4 weeks, better late than never. I will never get back those days so I will never know how much my body was actually capable of producing. Yes, you can increase it after but the first weeks are crucial.
- You should pump at least for 10 minutes. 15 minutes is better. But no more than 20 minutes. I sometimes do go over if milk is still coming out. I used to pump for 30 minutes in the beginning but for some reason its not good, I honestly forgot why.
- When your milk flow stops, continue for an extra 5 minutes to let your body know that you need more. (This contradicts the above tip if you've already pumped for 20 minutes, no? I found it so I'm sharing it)
- Drink lots of water, at least 64oz per day.
- Have a healthy balanced diet. Eat lots of protein. Be careful with too much veggies so you don't make yourself and baby gassy.
- Do not go on a diet, it will affect your supply. You are supposed to eat extra without worrying because the pumping will burn the calories away. I'm not sure about this, I don't eat extra but I'm not losing any weight, when I upped my intake of calories I gained weight and it did nothing to increase my supply. This is just my experience so don't go by it, I'm just sharing my bad luck =(
- Eat oatmeal. Not the instant ones. Most women have it for breakfast every morning, some have it twice a day. Also you can make oatmeal cookies and snack throughout out the day, yum!
- Drink beer. Seriously. You can drink with or without alcohol, the yeast or barley in it is a big booster, plus it relaxes you and helps that way too. You shouldn't go over 2 beers per day, don't worry it shouldn't affect your milk or the baby. I have not done this, I can't really believe the alcohol doesn't affect the baby and I'm not a big fan of beer.. now if it was wine... then maybe lol
- Ovaltine is also supposed to be good. I'm not sure if it really helps or not but I drink it every so often to "trick" my boobs and to satisfy a little sweet tooth.
- Massage your breast while pumping. You will get a lot more milk. I didn't know this. I, like many others, thought that the pump alone will do the job. Not true! Massage those bad girls! I've gotten double what I would normally get by only pumping. If I knew this in the beginning it most likely would have helped build up my supply more since I would have emptied my breast more.
- Put a warm towel/rag over your breast while pumping to help release more. I haven't done this, I really do not have an extra 2 minutes to get a warm towel, I'm not even kidding.
- Get a double electric pump. Faster and more effective. If not you can nurse baby on one boob and pump the other breast and switch sides for next feeding.
- I have the Medela Pump In Style Advance pump so I can only give you a review on this one. Its good, its one of the best ones to buy but there is definitely a big difference between this and the hospital grade pump. It seems to be the most popular one,I like it and do recommend it..... but.....
- Did you know that you can actually get a prescription from your doctor for a hospital grade pump? As far as I read, most insurances should cover it or at least part of it. I would recommend you call your insurance up and find out if they do before you go spending money on either buying or renting a pump, they are very very pricey. (Now, this is one of those pieces of info that is hard to come across and is so helpful, I'm upset I didn't know it before)
- Even if you have your own pump, you can rent (or call in a prescription) for a hospital grade one to help bring up your supply. Use it for a week or so and it should bring and keep it up. I have not done this, if I try it, I will let you know.
- The pump setting does NOT have to be on the highest level. If you are in pain you wont relax enough to let down a lot of milk. Comfort is key.
- You can put Lansinoh on the nipples before pumping, its safe and helps avoid soreness.
- Or you can use olive oil on the nipples instead, works the same and its antibacterial.
- Rest up, the more rest you get the more milk you'll let down. Stress really affects it.
- When I'm done pumping, I wait 10 minutes and I pump again. I usually get about an ounce more.
- When you feel like your supply is weaning or if you are still working on increasing you can do "power pump", or do a Pump-a-thon (pump marathon, in case you didn't figure it out)
- Power pump is when you pump for 10 minutes on and off for an hour. Personally, I go for 1 1/2 hour because I find that I still have milk. And if I'm even more honest, I do 15 minutes off and on. I just can't stop if I see milk flowing.
- You can also power pump while watching TV by pumping during the show and take break during the commercials.
- Pump-a-thon is when you pump every 2 hours for 24 hours straight. Some women do it for a whole weekend.
- You can also pump 10 minutes per hour for 4 hours straight. Morning is best, this is when most women have the most milk.
- Get extra parts for the pump.
- Keep the parts clean! Wash them immediately after each pump so the milk doesn't get hard in it. Separate each part (very important) and wash in warm soapy water... or..
- You can keep the breast pump parts in the refrigerator in a Ziploc bag so you don't have to wash after each pump. I tried this and it works fine but I do have 3 different sets of parts so I wash after each pump. I just can't leave it in the refrigerator, it bothers me. But it works. And I'll probably do this when I go back to work.
- Also, keep pump clean. The top face of my Medela comes right off. Clean with baby wipe and make sure the whole face snaps back on. Sometimes, this part losens up, if you feel less suction, you have to snap it off and again make sure all four points are snapped in.
- Call manufacturer of pump if you think there is a problem. Mine was giving me issues I called and they helped troubleshoot it on a weekend when they were closed. The Medela assistant called me from her personal cell to help me out. Gotta love it.
- For storage, if you are lucky to be an over supplier and are able to freeze milk (I don't like you), you can use Glad (most recommended) freezer bags. The "special" bags that are sold for freezing breast milk are expensive and these do the job just the same. Just make sure you write when you pumped and how many ounces are inside.
- Don't microwave breast milk. Let it sit in warm water so you don't kill off the nutrients.
- Don't shake breast milk. I didn't know this. It also damages the nutrients, the milk is composed of live cells so you want to be careful with it. Just swirl gently when warming it.
- Invest in a hands free pumping bra/bustier. I just got mine a week 1/2 ago and I love it. I get to free up my time because I'm able to pump and feed the babies simultaneously. I got the "Simple Wishes Hands Free Bustier" but there are other brands. Most women go on the Internet while pumping to relax and help time fly.
- You can pump while driving. Many moms pump on their way and from work. They use the handsfree bustier and cover themselves up. I'm not sure how this will work nor am I sure I will try it but I am curious.
- If you are away from baby, look at their picture while pumping and/or a blanket with their scent. Apparently this helps, I can't say either way.
- For plugged ducts (I haven't had this) you can place raw grated potatoes on your breast covered with towel until it dries.
- Or you can take Lecithin to treat plugged ducts.
- There are teas and supplements to increase milk supply. Mother's milk tea is popular but I don't think it makes much difference unless you drink a LOT throughout your day and it doesn't taste good. Fenugreek and Motherlove More Milk Plus are supposed to be the best. I'm taking both and I've seen an increase of about 2 extra ounces per day. Most women take one or the other by itself and swear they get extra 5 ounces per session, some get even more (I don't like them).
- There are drugs also to increase milk supply. You can get Reglan to help but it has a side effect of depression, no thank you. Also there is a drug called Domperidone that from what I've read, works for every single woman that have tried it BUT its not sold in the US. Most get it from online pharmacies from Canada, no prescriptions needed. I can't take this because of my pituitary tumor but I would so have been taking it if I could.
- The amount you pump can vary throughout the day. Most get more milk in the mornings.
- The normal amount to pump is 1/2 to 2 ounces per session NOT per breast. According to Kellymom.com most women think it should 4 to 8 ounces but even 4 ounces is a large amount and is considered an oversupply. Ummm, yeah I pump between 2 and 4 ounces per session and I think its not enough. I know its not enough. I need to make for 2 babies and I want to be able to freeze some but nope, not happening...... Yet. I'll keep trying.
- (update) After you finish pumping you can get some more milk by hand expressing. I've tried it but I don't get much, maybe I'm just not good at it yet, I can tell you that it definitely works when I'm full. Oh, and I would recommend expressing into the opening of the collecting bottle instead, less messy. Here is a video link that shows how to do it: Click me!
I make a sad amount of 17 ounces per day so far. I've increased it from 12 ounces. How? Mainly by seriously abusing my tatas. Pumping some days up to 10 times have helped while making me very sore. The More Milk Plus and Fenugreek have given me about an extra 2 ounces... its not a lot but I'll take it. I've made a commitment and I'm sticking to it. They need the best I can offer (especially Noah) and I'll give it to them as long as I can. Since I bought the hands free pumping bustier I've saved a lot of time.
For "Powerofwater" I actually just read your comment when I came to write this post, I hope it helps, if not let me know and I'll email you if you have any questions and congrats on your twins! Here is a pic of my station:
I use towels or blankets to keep the bottles up. Please do not flame me for doing this, I am sitting right in front of them and I'm able to burp one baby while the other one still feeds. It saves a lot of time. It may be selfish but imagine feeding one baby after the other when each feeding takes an hour and they eat every 3 hours and I have to pump, it will be an all day thing with absolutely no rest. For twins the most important advice I can give is to get them on the same schedule or you will never EVER have the time to even pee. Trust me I know, I tried it. Even with this, my time is very little but either its getting easier or I'm getting used to it, I don't know. All I know is that my babies are loved and are being taken cared of, they are happy and I'm happy. You can also just hold the bottles to both of them like Jeff does (this kills my back). The downside is that while he burps one baby the other one cries for more food but this is what works for him. Again in the end, they get fed, they are happy and he is happy... and I'm even happier because if that's going on, it means I'm sleeping!