5 December 2020

“Do your breastfeeding research before you have your babies,” is the advice from Lucy Brown whose twins Arwen and Emrys were born at 37 weeks. 

“I always expected to breastfeed and had done some research into how to feed successfully with twins, but I would have liked to have been more clued up on where to access support once they arrived,” said Lucy who is now one of our NCT trained breastfeeding peer supporters. 

Lucy breastfeeding her twins

Lucy was fortunate to have an uneventful pregnancy and a relatively straightforward birth, but what she hadn’t banked on was being hooked up to an oxytocin drip afterwards. 

“They did this to stop any potential bleeding but unfortunately it made me vomit for the first four hours after they were born.

“Because of this, even though the twins were a good weight (Arwen was 5lb 11 and Emrys was 6lb 6) I missed out on skin-to-skin contact initially and Emrys was whisked away to neonatal as he came out rather floppy.

“He perked up very soon after arriving at the neonatal but due to the way the system works, he wasn’t discharged from neonatal for 12 hours, so my two babies were on different floors in the hospital.

“Luckily I had read about the benefits of antenatal expressing colostrum so I had a little stash I brought in from home when I came to be induced - they were able to syringe feed this to the babies whilst I was unwell.”

Wanting to breastfeed, Lucy said she was lucky to have the support of the midwives who, after a tearful discussion 24hrs following their birth when neither twin was latching, arranged for her to stay on the transitional care ward where one of the hospital's lactation consultants could come and spend time with her over the next two days.

“She was brilliant, reassuring, and very patient, she helped me express by hand and finger feed with a syringe. I was taught about cup feeding, but this can be messy, and I was worried I would waste the expressed milk. 

Breastfeeding Peer Supporters

“They were latching on after 3-5 days, but we still had to top up after each feed. When we were discharged home, I got calls from the infant feeding team to check how we were all doing. The community midwife was slightly concerned about the syringe feeding as there is a worry about milk going into baby's lungs, but they were reassured after speaking to our lactation consultant.

“The first two weeks were difficult – I stayed at home a lot of the time except for attending the myriad of midwife and health visitor appointments. We were triple feeding - breastfeeding, then expressing, then topping up with expressed milk - every 3 hours; by the time we had finished it was time to start all over again. It was very tiring, but I reminded myself it wouldn't last forever (I hoped!)

“People can help you by cooking meals, doing the dishes and washing and helping tidy the house; it is worth organising online food deliveries before the babies arrive.

“Coming up to week 3 I started to think about going out to baby groups as I became more confident feeding them together (tandem feeding) and we had been able to reduce top-ups as well which meant feeds were a lot quicker. 

“We began baby-led weaning at 6 months, which they both really took to. Unfortunately, I got mastitis a couple of months later as their food intake increased, and they started breastfeeding a bit less frequently.” 

Lucy had antibiotics then got back to feeding and expressing, making sure her milk flow was more regulated. 

“I gradually cut down the feeding over the next 12 months and was looking to stop earlier this year but then Covid-19 hit so I decided to carry on. 

“In November they started preschool and I was down to once or twice a day with feeding.

“I hope people will consider breastfeeding, it was an amazing experience and I especially appreciated being able to not get out of bed during the night to feed them!

There was lots of support out there once I knew where to look and I made some great friends along the way. 

“Twins Trust has a group of NCT trained breastfeeding peer supporters, who offer one to one phone, email and text support as well as breastfeeding webinars and booklets. 

“Join the Breastfeeding twins and triplets UK Facebook group - I found this a huge resource for information and support both before and after the babies arrived. 

“And before you have your babies, make sure you find out what support your local hospital has – I went to (pre-Covid) a seminar at my hospital with a lactation consultant, which was so useful and she was incredibly supportive when I said I wanted to breastfeed my twins. 

“Seek out local breastfeeding support groups or baby cafes in your area, and my final tip would be to do all of this way before you are due to give birth so you are not as tired and can take it all in.”

Our NCT trained breastfeeding peer supporters can offer the opportunity to talk about feeding challenges whether fully breastfeeding, fully formula feeding or anything in between.

We now offer an online feeding drop-in  for all parents to come and chat with other mothers and parents of twins and triplets and gain support through their feeding journeys, from pregnancy right through to ending milk feeds. The drop-in is informal, and you can attend anytime between 10 am to 11.30 am every Monday

There will also be an NCT Breastfeeding Counsellor available for an hour of the session.

Contact Breastfeeding Peer Support

Lucy with her family