If you’ve been following this blog for a while you might recall that breastfeeding did not come easily with the twins. Initially Balthazar’s tongue tie was missed at the hospital, and they then forgot to send a community midwife out to us for four days whilst he slowly grew sleepier and yellower and had less and less energy with which to even attempt to feed. By the time that he was rushed back to hospital he had lost 11% of his bodyweight and was rather a poorly little boy with parents who had lost most of their confidence in those boob things.
Whilst we were in hospital we borrowed their Medela Symphony whenever we could as Balthazar was on a strict feeding schedule and I didn’t dare feed Lysander directly from the breast as it felt important to monitor exactly how much milk he was getting. When we came home, we decided to continue with what was (mostly) working for us and rented a Symphony of our own.
I can’t say that it was not without challenges or that I didn’t resent being hooked up to a breast pump rather than snuggling my babies, but at the same time it was tremendously rewarding and quite satisfying to fill those little bottles and know that I was feeding my babies myself. We did move to formula eventually but not after spending several months expressing, during which time I watched more Grey’s Anatomy than I ever thought possible and learned an awful lot about my breasts and how they work.
This time round I am returning to work when the twins are two weeks old, leaving them in the very capable hands of their incredible stay-at-home mummy. We’re very comfortable with formula feeding but two weeks seems so very young to leave them as it is, I know that I will feel better if I can at least give them a kiss goodbye in the morning and know that they have a stash of my milk in the fridge for when they get hungry.
Of course we are going back to what we know and I’m looking forward to partnering with Medela this year and being a #MedelaMum, an opportunity that I could only have imagined twenty months ago when I was sobbing over my defective children and possibly-insufficient milk supply. I have already started expressing and freezing colostrum for when the girls arrive, just in case I’m not able to feed them right away for any reason. I’m told that you mustn’t try to express before thirty-six weeks just in case the nipple stimulation triggers contractions that induce labour now that I am overdue I can’t think of anything that I would like more. Thus far it hasn’t started anything off but it feels really good to look at those little frozen bags and know that I’m doing something active to prepare for the girls’ arrival if not actually induce it.
I really feel that as first time mothers especially we put ourselves through the wringer, tying ourselves in knots trying to do what is best for our little ones. The reality is of course that so long as the baby gets fed it doesn’t matter much whether they are nourished by the breast or the bottle (or both!). You just have to do what feels right for you and your family. For us that means me working and Kirsty staying at home, because I have the privilege of gestating them and being their biological parent and she has the privilege of raising them into the amazing little people they are becoming. We both feel so fortunate to be able to fill the roles that are best for us and though some may disagree, our non-traditional set-up feels like the absolute best thing for our children.
Medela is a brand that recognises the merit of alternative families like ours and whose products benefit various non-traditional parenting lifestyles – not only two-mum families but working mothers and adoptive mothers (did you know that adoptive mothers – and fathers sometimes – can induce lactation?). We think that this is super and for this reason above all we are extremely excited to announce our partnership and to represent them as #Medelamums this year.