Since I was 12 I dreamt of having twins - and my wish came true! To me it's the perfect example of being careful what you wish for! I loved them before I even knew them, and as every mother, I wanted to do what was best for them.
I did my research on breastfeed vs bottle feed considering both the pros and cons, and I decided I really wanted to breastfeed my twins for at least 6 months.
As a joke, when people asked me why I would even bother to breastfeed them (and they always ask!), I would tell them that I was too cheap to buy formula... as if any mother needs to explain why they feed their babies a certain way?!
Even though my goal was to breastfeed my twins, I truly don't judge anyone else who has a different feeding journey. I am a big believer that every Mom does the best she can for her baby! This was and still is what's best for my babies and I want to share so other (twin) Moms also see that it is possible to breastfeed twins as well.
Once I had decided that I wanted to breastfeed, I informed the hospital as well. They were completely on board and even encouraged me to do so. Together with the staff at the hospital we decided that I would be induced at 37 weeks (because I had gestational diabetes) and try for a natural birth, because the boys were in good position head down. It didn't go according to plan and after 4 days of contractions but no progress I had to have a c-section. They were born healthy, almost 3 kg each and didn't need any extra care. Because of the gestational diabetes their first meal was 5 ml of formula so that they could regulate their blood sugars. Afterwords they haven't recived any other milk beside mine for the whole 3 days that we stayed in the hospital.
The nurses at the hospital helped me as much as they could but they weren't really informed on the subject. After we left the hospital I found out I could have asked for a lactation consultant to come and help out. Luckily for me, my milk came in just hours after birth (this is not always the case for every new mother). I read official information on the subject and joined a tandem breastfeeding group online which was helpful. Most importantly, I tried as much as possible not to stress and let nature take its course.
At home we had some bumps along the road; tongue ties that led to refusal to feed, some postpartum depression, insecurities about my ability to care for 2 babies, but with the help and care of my husband I managed to pull it through and continued till this day, 2 years and 10 months later.
The first month was rough: hours of sitting on the couch, feeding them, pumping, worrying that I wasn't giving them enough, I didn't know their cues, they didn't know me, they were two and I was only one Mama they had to share. The first month I breastfed as much as possible, but from time to time when I felt insecure or really down and tired we also gave them a bottle (of pumped milk). As the time went by, I started to feel better and got comfortable with them.
I relaxed a bit, I purchased a twin breastfeeding pillow that made things 100% easier in terms of comfort, and they were also thriving and gaining good weights so it came naturally to lose the bottle and continue only with breastfeeding.
I had rough patches were I wanted to stop. I also experienced what is called breastfeeding aversion were you don't want your baby feeding off of you anymore, but with the help of my husband I continued because I saw how they calmed down when they were at the breast, how every cry was healed when they feed. At every fever or cold (luckily there weren't many) the breast was their consolation and their safe haven. Even though it was hard for me at times I knew it was what they needed in that moment.
I breastfeed them anytime anywhere: walks, shopping, supermarket, church but they stoped breastfeeding anywhere else but at home or rather say, inside of a home when they were around 1.5 years old.
I would like to say that none of it would have been possible without the help and support of my husband. Even though he couldn't physically 'help' during the feeds, his support and encouragement was still incredibly helpful and it's important for all Dad's to know that you can still be of help when your partner breastfeeds (especially with twins)! Unfortunately we live abroad, without the help of our families, so we rely on each other! It is hard but I wouldn't change anything!
They are now 2 years and 10 months old and are still breastfeeding, but we are in the process of gentle weaning.
What I learned from our breastfeeding journey is that, if it hurts you are doing it wrong! I thought that it is normal to hurt when they feed, but actually it is not! A good latch is esential, but it doesn't come natural for every one and you have to work together with your baby/ babies to find the right position for you and him/ them.
It is hard but also rewarding knowing that your baby gets everything that he needs from you.
Breastfeeding is more than just food, it is comfort, love, play, safety and much more; for everyone something different.
Either way you choose to feed your baby you are doing your best and you are giving him the best that you can!
If you choose to breastfeed and worry about breastfeeding in public, do invest in a ergonomical baby wearing sistem and you won't be having any more problems with the feeding on the go. I also recommend it for non-breastfeeding moms, babywearing (also with twins) is so helpful.
The most useful information I got online was from Dr. Jack Newman (he has I clinic specialized in breastfeeding, has really good information and clips that show you how to latch your baby) and La Leche League also offers an abundance of great resources.
http://www.e-lactancia.org/ is also a really good web site to inform yourself if anything you consume is compatible with breastfeeding or if it is dangerous.
Just remember, whatever feeding path you choose, you are the perfect mother for your baby and you are enough! Don't be afraid to ask and seek for help when you are feeling down, you definitely do not need to do it all alone.
Ioana, Romanian Mom of twins, living in Germany