More work upfront, More reward for a long time to come!
Before having my twins, I had a singleton, whom I breastfed exclusively for 13 months. When I found out I was expecting twins, I knew I needed to give it my all to breastfeed them, too. I did it for their sister, they deserved the opportunity, too! But, I did always have the thought in the back of my head that two babies was going to be entirely different than one, and that maybe, just maybe it wouldn't work this time.
My girls were born via scheduled c-section at 37 weeks. It took longer for my milk to come in after the c-section than it did after my singleton's vaginal delivery, but I wasn't going to give up. While in the hospital, I fed the girls every 2-3 hours, although not always successfully. They were much smaller than their big sister (6lb 10oz & 5lb 2oz vs. 9lb), and we often had trouble waking them to eat. I pumped after each feeding, too.
It was miserable, to be honest. I was exhausted, in pain, and constantly feeling the demands of needing to provide food for my girls, either through nursing them or pumping for them. Pumping seemed futile. I'd get a drop or two here and there, but nothing substantial at all!
I felt defeated when the nurses told me we needed to start supplementing the girls with formula after each nursing session because they were losing weight and there wasn't enough milk yet...but I think this motivated me to keep up all the hard work, too.
For two weeks I nursed each baby (it took me a couple weeks to get the tandem feeding down. They were so tiny and needed help to latch), fed each baby an ounce of formula, then pumped. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
Once my milk came in, and the girls returned to their birth weights, we were golden. The girls were latching well, doing better at nursing for longer periods without falling asleep, and we were all getting more coordinated so that tandem feeding became possible! I could not have tandem fed, however, without my foam EZ2Nurse pillow. It was a necessity for me!
Over the next months, we got into a groove and I continued to exclusively nurse the girls (although they would get the occasional bottle of expressed breast milk so mommy had the opportunity to leave the house every once in a while!). It wasn't without problems, though. While I never had any issues while nursing my oldest, I was constantly getting painful clogged ducts and blebs; and even had mastitis twice! I assume this was because of the volume of milk I was producing, but I wasn't ready to give it up.
I had always planned to wean my girls at their first birthday, but then we learned they had dairy allergies! I ended up nursing them until 14 1/2 months, at which time we finally saw the allergist and were given a suitable milk alternative for them and I felt comfortable weaning them.
Both times I nursed, weaning was a very slow process, which worked out great for both my body and the babies! There were no requests to nurse after their last nursing session, and my body knew it was time to stop producing milk!