When I discovered that I was pregnant with twins, I was instantly enveloped in an array of emotions. I was joyful, grateful and hopeful for my babies’ future, their development and their birth. I also worried about several things that we would face in the road up to my delivery. But if I had to go back and sift through the emotions that washed through me in those early days, nowhere would I find even the slightest quiver of doubt about my ability to breastfeed. I hadn’t considered that it could ever be a challenge. I had assumed that like my sister before me, I too would have a plain-sailing journey through breastfeeding.
My twins, Heshvi and Heian, were born on 30th August 2016. In the days that followed, amidst the euphoria of new motherhood, I quickly discovered that while Heian had learned how to latch onto my breast, Heshvi proved to be a little rebel. Still, I supposed that this phase would be temporary and that my little girl would get acquainted with my breast in good time. Apparently not, for even after the first week-and-a-half, Heshvi continued resisting my feeds. By now, I was bordering on hysteria.
My worries were only compounded by my relatives’ pleas to switch the babies over to formula. Breastfeeding twins was not practical, they insisted. It would drain me, they said. I wasn’t convinced. I decided to dig for information online and what I found was only encouraging. There were dozens of articles on the web that provided valuable tips about breastfeeding multiples. As I delved deeper, I found an archive of information that suggested how breastfeeding multiples was no different to breastfeeding singletons.
Just as I thought. Heshvi was one-and-a-half months old when I visited Sister Ruth for the first time. I had resorted to formula by then, having surrendered to my tiny baby’s massive rebellion. Heshvi had begun to lose weight and I was deeply concerned. Sister Ruth was like a breath of fresh air. Having been bombarded by advice that tipped the scales in formula’s favour until then, Ruth restored my faith in natural feeds. She taught me the ropes of tandem feeding. Of course, the transition took time. It took a fortnight for Heshvi to become comfortable with breast feeds. Through it all, Ruth encouraged me, willing me to be patient. She shared tips on how to manage both babies simultaneously, how to fortify my body to supply milk for two babies and postures I should adopt while breastfeeding.
Many women don’t realise how straining it can be to not be able to breastfeed right after delivery. We all take it for granted, I suppose. I took out my frustration on my husband and on my mother. They were my sounding boards, absorbing my anger as it shot out in pointed shards. I vented my disappointment by yelling at them, whereas I was really just upset at myself, for no fault of my own, mind you.
One month into motherhood, I was terribly short of confidence. I had stopped believing that I was capable of breastfeeding. Ruth was my saving grace. She infused positivity in me, drawing me out of my gloom.
I’m proud of my progress. I exclusively breastfed Heshvi and Heian until they were six months old. I ticked the same milestones as moms of singletons. I didn’t let anyone tell me otherwise. Today, my twins are a year old and I continue to breastfeed them once a day. It’s incredible what a little faith and a helping hand can do.
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