Dear Mom Who Decided To Stop Breastfeeding Her Twins,
Its OK! Repeat that over and over. You are enough, your babies are getting enough. With the ever growing amount of “Mommy Shaming” on the internet it can be SO hard to make public that you have decided to stop breastfeeding your child. As a mother of twins myself, it is HARD with one baby, let alone two. I had all these scenarios running through my mind, I read all the right books, I purchased all the necessary equipment etc. I kept telling myself that I had done this twice before with my singletons. There was no possible way I couldn't do it again! I mean, I was about to have two babies, I have two breasts, why not? Seems like a no brainer right? Wrong!
Hours after delivery I made it clear to the nurses to not give my twins a bottle because we couldn’t risk nipple confusion. I invited lactation consultants to help me along the way, spending another 45 minutes after nursing to pump, in hopes that eventually my body would just get it….It didn't.
I was exhausted and I felt like a shell of a human. My twins cried constantly and the guilt felt like a sharp-edged sword being plunged into this new part of my soul that, prior to 20 hours of labor, had never existed before. I wasn't a new mom per say but new to having two newborns. I felt like I was failing at the most basic of all maternal tasks: nourishing my babies. And you see, I don’t fail at things. I've always been determined and hard working enough to achieve what I want. I thought eventually I’d make enough milk and the twins would sleep for more than 40 minutes at a time. Eventually they would gain weight and it would get easier. It did not.
It wasn’t until I was at the twin's one month check up where our children's pediatrican, and a long time family friend, looked over at me and said “Something has to give, you as their mother can not continue like this.”
She handed me some formula samples and reading material about transitioning from breast to formula. It was such a relief to hear her say “Fed is best”- not “Breastfed is best”. This was a trusted professional that gave me a level head in the midst of my sleepless breakdowns. She knew that I was being too hard on myself and in turn, not the happy mother that I was capable of being.
So if you’re struggling with guilt, STOP. There are many reasons women can’t nurse — poor milk production, painful latch or let’s be honest: it’s just not for everyone. But this doesn’t mean you’re going to harm your babies. They will make it through just fine. Just remember that you need to take care of yourself first in order to care for your little ones. Happy mommy= Happy babies.
My twins are now spunky four year olds who have recently started pre-k. They've never been seriously ill and making this decision helped me be a better mom. When asked by other moms if I was breastfeeding my twins my go to answer was always “We tried. It didn't work out.” and just left it at that. Every family is different and we must make the decisions that will work for our families. So please, hold your head up high. Not being able to breast feed your twins is not a failure. Don't allow others to tell you otherwise.
About the Author:
Sheila Guthrie has been happily married for 13 years to her husband Brian. Together they share 4 kids. Carson 12, Preston 8 and 4 yr old boy/girl twins Ella and Ellis. She resides in Slidell, Louisiana, a suburb of New Orleans. She works from home doing freelance marketing jobs. In her free time she enjoys her role as PTA president, running and spending time with friends volunteering in her community.