Today I’m excited to welcome Trisha of Intoxicated on Life and the recently launched Breastfeeding Place. She is passionate about helping moms discover the tools they need for a positive breastfeeding experience.You’re having multiples! Twins? Triplets? More? You’re excited…or maybe you’re terrified? I was the latter when that 10 week ultrasound showed two little bean-shaped babies on the screen.
1. NICU and Time away from Mom
If you are having two or more babies, statistically, the chances that your babies will have to spend time away from you after birth are quite high. Because multiples are much more likely to be born early, they have a greater chance of spending some time in the NICU or a special nursery for monitoring.
Familiarize yourself with your hospital’s NICU beforehand if you are given a chance. Find out about policies and procedures. Every hospital is different.
Realize that your time with your baby in the NICU will be more limited than if they were rooming in with you and they may limit the time that you breastfeed your baby as well. Health care workers want to make sure your baby isn’t expending too much energy eating.
If baby ends up in the NICU or away from you, start to pump! Do it as often as is feasible. It is ideal to be pumping as often as your baby is being supplemented. This will signal to your body that it’s time to make more milk.
Pumps do not remove breast milk from your body as well as baby does. If you see little or no milk, do not despair. Do not give up. Keep pumping!
The act of pumping will keep giving the appropriate signal to your body to produce milk even if you don’t see it. When you have babies that are born early and when you have more than one baby, it’s even that much more important to pump.
3. Vitamin D
Adequate intake of Vitamin D is important for you and it’s important for your babies. Vitamin D impacts a number of the body’s functions. Mainstream medicine is even beginning to recognize its importance, so much so that many pediatricians are recommending vitamin D supplements for newborns.
It’s best that baby get Vitamin D naturally. What are some things you can do to make sure this happens?
- Make sure you have plenty of Vitamin D. Get your Vitamin D levels checked while you’re pregnant and continue to follow up until they’re in a great range.
Shoot for having D levels that are at the upper end of the range (80-100). When you have plenty of Vitamin D you’re able to pass more along to your baby via breast milk. If you are deficient, then baby will be deficient too.
A note from Shannon: This point really hit home for me! My vitamin D level was only about 17 when I was 28 weeks pregnant! I tried really hard to get it up since I knew I’d be tandem nursing my newborn and toddler.
- Get your baby out into the sun! Too much sun isn’t good, but too little sun isn’t good either. Our bodies were created for sunlight.The more fair complected you are, the less amount of time you need to spend in the sun for your body to synthesize Vitamin D. Aim for getting your baby out in the sun with skin exposed for 10-15 minutes a day.
4. Plugged Ducts and Mastitis
I experienced my first bout of mastitis just 6 weeks after my twins were born. It was no fun. I dealt with mastitis two more times after they were a year old as well.
If you are nursing more than one baby, you are much more likely to deal with mastitis and plugged ducts. Why? You’re sleep deprived. Stress levels may be higher. You’re making more milk and maybe dealing with oversupply (I did!). Yes, all of these put you as a mom of multiples at a higher risk for mastitis.
5. You Can Do It!
Finally, I just want to encourage you to try it out! Give it your all. It’s ok if it doesn’t work out, or if you have to supplement your babies. Breastfeeding has advantages for babies and benefits for moms that you don’t want to miss out on just because you are having multiples.
Surround yourself with positive helpful people, not those who will discourage you and look at you like you have 3 eyes when you tell them you’re going to breastfeed your twins, triplets…or more! Trust me, I’ve seen those looks. Arm yourself with knowledge.
Trisha Gilkerson is a wife and homeschooling mom to 4 rambunctious, lovable boys. She and her husband blog at IntoxicatedOnLife.com where all of their interests on healthy living, faith, family, and homeschooling collide. Trisha has also recently launched BreastfeedingPlace.com with the help of 18 other bloggers. If you’re looking for breastfeeding support and encouragement, this is the place to be. They also have a very active BreastfeedingPlace facebook page. Be sure to come see what Trisha is doing on IntoxicatedOnLife, BreastfeedingPlace, facebook, twitter, pinterest, and google +.