3 August 2022

When I was pregnant with first set of twins, William & Elizabeth, I didn’t know how I was going to feed them. I liked the idea of breastfeeding but I thought, ‘how is that even possible?’. I always had it in my mind that I would probably combi-feed. When I got to 30 weeks pregnant an infant feeding lead midwife came to see me at home to talk about feeding options. She explained how breastfeeding worked, the benefits and that it was totally possible to breastfeed twins! From there I was determined and I joined at the @bftwinsuk Facebook group, and found a wealth of support and knowledge that would help me along the rollercoaster that laid ahead.

I harvested some colostrum prior to my planned c-section, to be used in case me and the babies were separated for any reason. We were really lucky that everything went well and they were both healthy weights with no reason for us to be separated. I didn’t have an easy start to breastfeeding. It was painful and both babies dropped more than 10% so we were put on a triple feeding plan (formula, expressing and direct breastfeeding) every 3 hours, 24 hours a day. This was really tough. It was exhausting, I was hormonal and felt like I just wasn’t enough for my babies. We eventually dropped the formula and top ups with the help of the @bftwinsuk and went on to exclusively breastfeed.

Annie with newborn twins, Will and Lizzie

When I found out I was having another set of twins I just couldn’t believe it! I was determined that this time around I would not be triple feeding. My partner is a farmer who works long hours and I was determined to make life as easy as possible and not have to use bottles or formula this time around. I did lots of research, and loaded myself up with all the evidence based facts before my planned c-section. I decided against doing the colostrum harvesting, as I felt it was counterproductive to me increasing my supply the first time around. Feeding them the syringes of colostrum in the hospital was meaning they weren’t taking direct breastfeeds from me - and the more milk you remove, the more you make! I decided if the worst were to happen and we were separated I could hand express colostrum for them. Luckily they were also born at great weights and with no problems and from day one we exclusively breastfed.

Annie breastfeeding Will and Lizzie

The hospital advised me to do top-ups of expressed formula, but as there was no medical reason (such as low blood sugar or jaundice) I decided that I didn’t want to do and I’m so pleased I did. It was a blissful experience in comparison to the first time around! I fed responsively, to babies cues with lots of cuddles and skin-to-skin. I was just so content, and as were the babies!

Annie breastfeeding Henry and Eadie

I decided I wanted to use my experience to help others and while I was on maternity leave trained at a breastfeeding peer supporter.

To anyone reading this, my words of wisdom would be… educate yourself on normal newborn behaviour, seek professional support from a qualified breastfeeding counsellor or IBCLC, be responsive to your baby and follow your instincts. The association of breastfeeding mothers offer a free antenatal course called ‘Team Baby’ which I would really recommend. And of course the amazing @bftwinsuk which I definitely have to thank for my success! I went on to breastfeed Henry and Eadie until just after they were 1, after having aversion again for 3 prior.

Breastfeeding gave me and my babies so much comfort and connection.

It made the night feeds so much easier, and dealing with two toddler twins, and newborn twins, and not having to worry about going to prepare bottles made life so much simpler!

Annie Burton holding William, Henry, Eadie and Elizabeth

I will cherish my breastfeeding memories forever, it was my quiet and calm time in a very chaotic world having 4 babies under 16 months in a pandemic. For 3 years I was either breastfeeding twins, or pregnant with twins, and for that I’m so proud of my body.