I knew I wanted to breastfeed long before I was a mom. Research has long touted its benefits, and I was determined to give those positive effects to my children.
After finding out we were pregnant with twins, I read several books and blogs on all things parenting multiples. I also took a breastfeeding class. I was the only mom of multiples in the room, but remember leaving feeling like an honors student. I committed to exclusively breastfeed our twins through their first birthday. Little did I know that commitment would be challenged after welcoming our twins, Moses and Elias, into the world. Shortly after they were born, I was hit with the reality check that despite my efforts to prepare for this endeavor, breastfeeding was going to be a challenge. Here are three things I wish someone would’ve told me about breastfeeding as a new mom: 1. It's Not All or Nothing. It takes a lot to make enough milk to feed two newborns. For the first few weeks of their life, all I did was breastfeed. And when I wasn’t breastfeeding, I was pumping. When I wasn’t alternating between nursing or pumping, I was trying to stay hydrated and consume foods that promised to boost or keep my supply healthy. I went back to work when the boys were three months old, and the stash I worked to hard to build in my freezer was quickly depleted. I pumped every two to three hours at work, but what I brought home each day was only a fraction of what the boys consumed the following day. I was crushed when I realized we were going to have to give the boys formula. I now realize how naive I was to think I could exclusively breastfeed my twins, especially after returning to work. I wish someone would’ve told me “It’s okay to supplement!” sooner. 2. Let Others Help. Newborns eat 10-12 times a day. Now multiply that by two. Two to get into position, two to latch and two to feed. My wife was incredibly supportive and helped me initiate feedings. But even with her support, it was overwhelming. I was reluctant to allow the boys to be fed with bottle. I assumed that if they were fed with a silicone or latex nipple, they’d never breastfeed again. As soon as I allowed my wife, family members and friends to help by taking turns bottle feeding one twin while I nursed the other, feeding time became a much less daunting task. 3. Everyone Has (and Often Shares) Their Opinion. If I’ve learned anything since becoming a parent almost five years ago, it is that it's almost impossible to make a decision that other people - even complete strangers - may disagree with and tell you about it. From judgemental stares to unsolicited advice, you’re bound to experience opinions that aren’t helpful, and in some cases, hurtful. Breastfeeding was one of the first challenges I faced as a new mom. For me, it underscored the need to have a trusted circle of friends to offer support and advice as a parent. If you’re looking for support or want to expand your existing circle, the Desert Moms Blog community is a great place to be