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First, this is not a guilt trip. This is a warning that bottle-feeding was not nearly as awesome as I thought it would be. In fact, it was harder than breastfeeding.
Let me guess. You gave breastfeeding your best shot, but—since you’re reading this—you’ve reached your breaking point. Your twins nurse constantly, you haven’t slept in weeks (or months), and you can’t possibly continue on like this. I’ve been there. Those are the reasons I stopped breastfeeding my twins at 4-months-old, and I regret that decision.
I know. You don’t believe anything could be worse than what you’re experiencing right now. If you just bottle-fed you could do crazy things like wear shirts, leave the house, and sleep for more than one hour at a time. That’s what I thought, too. However, that wasn’t my experience. At all.
This is what you should know before you stop breastfeeding twins:
Bottle-feeding two babies at once is hard. I immediately missed the days of sitting on the couch with my Brest Friend Twin Nursing Pillow, Netflix, two free hands, and a bowl of ice cream. What was I thinking? I had given that up just to spend hours each day with my arms outstretched and burning while I attempted to hold two bottles. Unable to swipe the hair out of my eyes or scratch the itch on my nose.
They might stop eating and sleeping at the same time. I could never find a comfortable way to feed both boys together. After a few days I ended up feeding them one at a time, and they ended up on—gasp—offset feeding and napping schedules. My advice . . . DO NOT LET THIS HAPPEN. If you decide to stop breastfeeding, do whatever you have to do to feed them at the same time. (Here is a good post on tandem bottle feeding.)
UPDATE: I just discovered there is a such a thing as a hands-free bottle feeding system! Total game changer! This didn’t exist in “my day”, so if you try it please let me know how it goes.
There is no guarantee that they’ll sleep better or go longer between feedings. My boys didn’t. That’s all I have to say about that.
They will probably spit-up constantly and everywhere. Babies puke on people. Of course, I already knew this, but I didn’t understand just how much babies can vomit. My boys had trouble regulating how much they ate when we stopped breastfeeding, so the frequency and volume of spit-ups increased. A LOT. Sure, it was gross, but it was also stressful. Feed them less and they scream. Feed them more, they scream and vomit. It took months for us to get this straightened out and stop being constantly worried. The babies just needed time to adjust.
Washing bottles gets old. As hard as breastfeeding is, there is a simplicity to it that I took for granted. Feed the babies and you’re done until next time. Now I was stuck in the infinite loop of bottle-feeding: feed baby A, feed baby B, clean up vomit, rinse the bottles, repeat. But hey, at least I was wearing a shirt while totally miserable and full of regret.
So what can you do about any of this? If you think there’s still a chance you can continue breastfeeding, get yourself the best twin nursing pillow you can find (I used the My Brest Friend Twin Nursing Pillow) and check out Nursing Nurture, a website with lots of info about twin nursing positions. If you just can’t, then just don’t! This article is meant to manage the expectations of moms, like me, who hope bottle-feeding will make their life significantly easier; not belittle women who stop breastfeeding. It’s ALL hard, but it does get easier. Hang in there!
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