Baby Ticker

Breastfeeding Class-Second Attempt

Agnes @ July 24, 2005, 3:31 pm -- [Week 36, Day 6]

Yesterday we went to our last pregnancy/baby-related class, and it was on breastfeeding. This was the make-up class for last week, where the instructor didn’t show up. As a pediatrician, I reinforce to many parents that breastfeeding is far superior to formula feeding, although, I have to admit, the prospect of breastfeeding twins, and going back to work full-time in eight weeks is quite daunting. The instructor was a registered nurse who has been a lactation consultant since lactation consultants first existed–about twenty years ago. It’s amazing to think that prior to the eighties, most doctors discouraged breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding begins ideally right after birth. With me, this might be difficult because I’m having a C-section and it will probably be difficult to get them onto the breast in the operating suite. In addition, the twins will be taken to the nursery by the neonatalogist probably in the first hour so that they can be washed and be given their vitamin K shots and erythromycin ointment, and be observed for temperature instability. Hopefully, I’ll be able to reunite with them when I’m in the recovery room, but then, I might be pretty out of it and on pain medication, and they might be in their “sleepy stage” already. (Usually newborns are the most awake in the first hour, then they fall into a very deep sleep for something like eight hours.) Oh well, I guess I’ll just have to see what happens.

I am going to bring this special twin breastfeeding pillow that I bought from a “multiples” website. It fits around the belly (protecting the C-section site), and it accomodates feeding two babies at once. One thing the instructor emphasized was that I definitely should try to feed both babies simultaneously; otherwise, I’ll be feeding constantly around the clock. Although she went over the three different positions for breastfeeding (crossover, cradle, and football), in my situation, the double football hold is really the only option. She also told me that I won’t be able to pump in the beginning because I’ll be too exhausted. This was useful information because I thought that I would have to pump just to help increase my supply of milk, but the instructor emphasized that just having two babies demanding milk would be enough to produce double the amount of breast milk.

She also went over common mistakes in breastfeeding technique, which was useful for me and Bernard to see. I’m hoping Bernard will be able to help me position the twins, keep my back straight, keep their bodies aligned, and observe for “sucking and swallowing”. She told us to get the more “difficult twin” to latch on first, and then put the “easy one” on second. Apparently, when we get good at it, I’ll be able have both babies latched on, and then, I can let go and my hands will be free! I’m not holding my breath for that. And anyway, what am I going to do with my hands? Read? Knit?