“Breast is best” or so they say now a days, although my wife reminds me “fed is best.” Any way you cut it, feeding your child will be your new life goal. If your wife is lucky enough to be able to develop a milk supply and sustain it for your multiples, begin worshiping her immediately. She is about to endure one of the most grueling, tiring, soul sucking jobs any one person will have to go through. Also, it’s now 2017 and most women will be back at work after maternity leave to help pay those daycare bills. When she gets back to work it will not be your beautiful babies attached to her nipples but her new partner, the pump. So Dads, where do we fit in? Mom’s got this, am I right? Don’t make me slap you through this screen. Here are my tips for breastfeeding all twin dads should know.
Your first and most important job is to encourage, cheerlead, support, and feed her.
She will need you when she gets frustrated and it may happen a lot. Her milk isn’t coming in, she can’t keep up with the kids’ milk demands, she had no time to pump at work, and you may have to make decisions about supplementing. These are all things you might hear and you know what, you cannot fix all the problems. Encourage her and listen to her. I know these things can be hard for us dads, but remember she’s doing this for your kids so remind her of that. Tell her you’re proud of her no matter what. She needs food ALL THE TIME; she is burning thousands of calories now, so keep the kitchen open.
The nipples will change and her boobs will get larger.
So they get bigger (yay), you see them multiple times a day (yay), but oddly you don’t quite look at them the same, and yet you’ll be saying yay for a different reason. You realize the things that attracted you earlier now serve a purpose. The nipples will begin to resemble baby bottle nipples making it easier for your children to latch. The boobs in general get bigger as they fill with milk. If your wife’s boobs begin looking out of control, it may be time for her to pump. Also never, I repeat NEVER, touch her boobs unless instructed to, because everything feels so sensitive for her now.
Be her alarm clock.
In the beginning it felt like she had to pump every 2 hours until her milk came in. It’s tough especially at 1 am after your wife just went through an emergency c-section and is now attaching this machine to her breasts for a half hour while your twins are in the NICU and she has no milk yet. It will be exhausting for her, so wake up with her, be her alarm clock when she ignores hers. When you leave the hospital don’t stop; her pump times may not be as frequent but still be there to remind her. She will probably be annoyed that you woke her up, but her boobies will thank you, and so will the fed kids!
Learn what a knot is and every technique you can find to help get rid of them.
Knots occur when she has a clogged duct. To put it in simple terms, she has multiple ducts that the milk funnels through, eventually exiting the nipples. When one clogs, it’s painful. Sometimes mamma bear can get the knot out herself with some heavy massaging. There are times where she can’t get them out, which is a major issue because moms can develop mastitis, which is as ugly as it sounds. You can read up on a lot of techniques, but the ultimate fix is to put a baby to the boob, those little rascals are magic workers. But maybe momma chose to be an exclusive pumper rather than attempt to tandem feed. Repeatedly bringing her hot wash cloths for her to compress on the knot seemed to help us a lot. For more information about mastitis clear here.
You will be all alone when she pumps.
This is a big one. When she is pumping she will be stationary and more or less will not be able to use her hands much. So you’re on your own to watch over the babies. Good luck! If you want to get on the wife’s good side, offer her snacks or fresh water while she’s stuck in one spot.
There is a lot us dads need to know, so read up and listen to your wife. And NEVER EVER refer to her pumping as a break (it takes a lot of energy and calories to pump!) You will already be aware there are never breaks anyway for parents of multiples, just small windows you learn to survive in.
Michael Ackerman is married to a loving, hard working momma bear and has 10 month old twin boy/girl cubs. He works full-time as a Gas Leak/Boiler Technician in NYC schools. He has a love for sports, video games, and chimichanga’s. He spends most of his time now chasing around his two maniac children and his two dogs Link and Sabre. You can follow him on twitter @twinnadodad
Are you a new twin parent? Check out Natalie Diaz’s new book “What To Do When You’re Having Two: The Twin Survival Guide From Pregnancy Through the First Year”, available in stores now!
The rate of twin births has risen 79 percent over the last three decades, and continues to increase. A mom of fraternal twins and a national guru on having two, Natalie Diaz launched Twiniversity, a supportive website with advice from the twin-trenches.
What to Do When You’re Having Two is the definitive how-to guide to parenting twins, covering how to make a Birth Plan checklist, sticking to one sleep schedule, managing double-duty breastfeeding, stocking up on all the necessary gear, building one-on-one relationships with each child, and more.
Accessible and informative, What to Do When You’re Having Two is the must-have manual for all parents of twins.
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