The Boob Group
Breastfeeding Twins: Waning
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ROBIN KAPLAN: When breastfeeding twins, each child often has his or her own style and needs and this is not different when it comes to the weaning process as well. Do twins typically wean at the same time? What is the process of weaning two children?
Today I’m thrilled to welcome back to our show – JonaRose Feinberg an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant in private practice in the Seattle area and the owner of Twins in Mind Consulting and the editor of BreastfeedingTwins.org. Today we’re discussing, “Weaning Twins.” This is The Boob Group Episode 79.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Welcome to The Boob Group broadcasting from the Birth Education Centre of San Diego. The Boob Group is your weekly online on-the-go support group for all things related to breastfeeding. I’m your host Robin Kaplan. I’m also an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant and owner of the San Diego Breastfeeding Centre.
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Today, I’m joined by one lovely panellist in the studio. Stephanie, do you want to introduce yourselves?
STEPHANIE ADAMS: My name is Stephanie Adams. I’m 33. I work as a Doula and I’m a stay-at-home mom. I have three children. I have a four year old who’s very proud to be four – a little boy and then I have twins that are 21 months today, a little boy and a little girl.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Awesome! Well, welcome to the show.
STEPHANIE ADAMS: Thank you!
ROBIN KAPLAN: Also, I just want to say, “Hi to Mj our producer and she’s going to tell you about herself.” She’s going to tell us a little bit about herself as well as about our Virtual Panelists Program.
MJ FISHER: I’m Mj – a stay-at-home mom to Jason who is 27 months old. Thanks to Robin, I have this wonderful opportunity to help and support other mamas through their breastfeeding journey. I’m really passionate about breastfeeding and passionate about helping others so I’m really thankful to be in this position.
One of my duties as the producer is, “To bring you into the studio but also to bring the other mamas that can’t get to the studio over the internet to join our conversation.” Our Virtual Panellists Program is a way for anyone to give their opinions and share their experiences even if you can’t be here physically.
So, if you like our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter using the hashtag #boobgroupvp – on recording day, we post questions so you can join the conversation. We may even read your comment in the episode and you may even win a one-month subscription to The Boob Group Club.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Awesome, well thanks Mj.
MJ FISHER: Thank you.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Today on The Boob Group we are discussing, “Weaning Twins.” Our expert JonaRose Feinberg is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant in private practice in the Seattle area. She’s also the owner of Twins in Mind Consulting and the editor of BreastfeedingTwins.org. Hello Jona and welcome back to the show.
JONAROSE FEINBERG: Thank you, it’s always fun.
ROBIN KAPLAN: So, Jona how does a mother of twins figure out when is the good time to wean her twins? Is it something that she decides, something the kids decide or somewhere a combination of both?
JONAROSE FEINBERG: You know it really depends on the family. So, some family decide to be nurse under a specific age. Maybe they set a goal of six months or 12 months or for twins sometimes its 12-month adjustment age – or sometimes they want to keep breastfeeding through a particular season through the winter because of the colds and flu. It really varies from family to family. I think that some families set goals early on and then revise them. Maybe most of us the goals are already been revised. That could mean breastfeeding longer than they planned or weaning earlier. I think it’s really important to just be really flexible.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Do moms of twins tend to wean earlier than mothers of singletons?
JONAROSE FEINBERG: There’s not much of data one way or the other. But in a certainly, I think that breastfeeding should be more challenging with twins. I think it’s likely that many moms to start out tending to breastfeed might wean very early. But, once you got past any early hurdle – I don’t know if the ways are too different especially in twins will make people like a super mom. It’s the power to pump two babies at once and that’s really powerful. So, I think maybe that helps keep moms going even though it’s kind of a juggle with the two babies – they’re super mom.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Supermom, I love it. So, Stephanie how old was your twins when you started the weaning process and was this something you initiated? Something they initiated or a little bit of combination of the both?
STEPHANIE ADAMS: My twins were 10 months when we started the weaning process and it was a combination of the two. It was a bit of a back and forth struggle for I would say a good eight weeks until we’ve finally made the decision, “We need to start the weaning process.”
ROBIN KAPLAN: What kind of struggle was going on?
STEPHANIE ADAMS: I’ve been struggling with recurring Mastitis over and over for about eight weeks straight. I’ve tried everything to carrot and finally we kind of figured out that one of the twins was sort of gnawing on me as he was nursing and causing just injury to the exit which kept causing clogs and infection.
So, I was just really sick a lot and exhausted and kind of went down to that sort of, “Wore me down a little bit” to keep going in. I just really didn’t know what the solution was to stop the gnawing that he was doing. So, and then they also started backing off on feeding until the middle of the day and really taking into the sippy cups.
So, we just sort of – I took that as a sign of like, “I need some good energy to help all my kids.” They’re starting to back off and this is becoming really painful. So, that’s sort of where the process ended up for us.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Jona are there times when moms of twins might just breastfeed one child and wean the other and if this is so, why would this happen?
JONAROSE FEINBERG: Well, it certainly happens. It actually happened early on but sometimes there’s one baby that has some health issues or a really hard time latching and that mom might decide that she’s going to breastfeed one baby and wean the other early on to express milk or the formula.
Once the babies are older, they definitely differentiate into separate little people. So, it’s not really common for one baby to be ready to wean before the other. So, they tend to kind of purge each other on to [inaudible 00:08:31]. It’s not really common – so there could be one that’s really active avid and the other is just kind of a follower. You know? So, yes
ROBIN KAPLAN: Stephanie, did the weaning process happen with both of your kids at the same time or were you finding that maybe your daughter was on there a little bit more than your, “The gnawing son?”
STEPHANIE ADAMS: The weaning process – it happened at the same time because I sort of set a schedule for it and initiated it. However my daughter would have preferred to keep going. So, there were times where I did allow her to keep going because she wasn’t the one that was injuring me. She was happy with it but she was also kind of okay, kind of go either way.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Jona, what are some tips on for weaning when one child wants to wean and maybe the other one doesn’t?
JONAROSE FEINBERG: Yes, bouncing the different use of multiple is always a challenge. So, in the case – I think it’s always depends on mom’s wants to do. So, it might be that having one twin former in one encourages the other to continue and if mom isn’t ready to wean that can be really useful force.
If she’s letting, sometimes she wants to use the twin pressure in the opposite direction to wean both babies at once. If one twin does wean for the other – it’s important to remember that weaning from breastfeeding doesn’t mean weaning from cuddling. You want to be sure that you continue to have snuggle time with those even if they’re both breastfeeding. It could be story time or back rubs or massages – I don’t know even wrestling in some families is a kind of physical behaviour that does people that kind of connection that they need.
ROBIN KAPLAN: I would have imagine snuggle time as not ended in your house Stephanie.
STEPHANIE ADAMS: No.
ROBIN KAPLAN: I’ve seen pictures of her kids, “They’re edible.” Not that the cutest only get the cuddles but men, they are pretty yummy.
STEPHANIE ADAMS: It’s a pretty constant irritation in my house. I’m always holding someone.
ROBIN KAPLAN: All right, when we come back Jona will discuss ways to gentle wean twins and we’ll be right back.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Welcome back to the show. We are here chatting with JonaRose Feinberg over the phone. She is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant in private practice in the Seattle area – so Jona how does weaning twins differ by age? Can you kind of break it down for looking at a sixth month old versus a 10 month old and a year and 18 months and beyond?
JONAROSE FEINBERG: It’s definitely different. Any kind of weaning from breastfeeding under a year, you’re going to need to replace the breast milk that pumps milk throughout to fill their mouth with formula. In those ages, breast milk or formulas are the primary source of nutrition – that’s really important if we’re still talking about the nutritional relationship and not just an emotional one.
After a year, I think weaning becomes more about the emotional process. It’s not – breast milk continues to have benefits for as long as you’re breastfeeding. But, after a year you don’t need to see worrying about that one-to-one replacement with another food source. But then you start talking about replacing one of the emotional connections. So, that’s introducing a levy or a small snuggling to help transition that process.
By 15 to 18 months, it’s more of a communal process right have enough in fact your brain has ability to understand setting some limits on breastfeeding which is part of making a really gradual process for weaning but also more accelerated one. When you talk about much older twins, it’s most likely that we’ve already set someone to your breastfeeding relationship. Maybe it’s breastfeeding with certain places or you have already done some night weaning.
In some part you’re kind of continuing the process that you probably already started and you’re building on those prior elements in those negotiations.
ROBIN KAPLAN: A lot of moms of singletons will talk about that, “They start weaning when baby starts to seem really distracted.” So, does the fact that nurslings that are twins have a partner to help kind of twin’s power through these destructible ages? Do you find the peer pressure makes the – does it more destruct the one decides that they want to get back hop off gone on the booby train?
JONAROSE FEINBERG: Sometimes they do. It’s also really good if you have one twin that’s hugging the nursing site – you’ve got another one to maintain your supply so that’s very handy. They’re suggesting that they’re kind of popping on and off. Sometimes they are pretty good at distracting each other but they’re also really good at turning each other out.
So, sometimes they really motivate each other or sometimes it’s like they’re just above the other and that’s really depends on the circumstance. Sometimes it’s really funny though because they keep at one baby as actively nursing and they’re triggering a lot down and the other baby’s distracted from looking across the room, they can suddenly end up with milk in the eye. It’s absolutely funny and it totally happened. It’s kind of above your way.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Stephanie, you’re laughing. Can you tell or do you picture a time when that happened?
STEPHANIE ADAMS: Yes, I was angry.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Stephanie, what did the weaning process looked like for you in your children and how long does this process take?
STEPHANIE ADAMS: The weaning process – you know totally look was, “We finally came to a point where I was having these reoccurring infections and I kind of just I had to say that they’ve tried everything to stop it and that weaning is the next best thing.”
So, what I did was, “I listed out all the feedings in the day and their times and sort of rank them by priority and which one I thought would be the easiest to go.” So, we dropped the easiest ones first. So, we dropped the before the afternoon nap one and replace that with snuggles, books and other things – and then waited about three to five days and drop the next one and then the next one after that.
So, it was about a month long process of dropping the different feedings and then replacing it with the sippy cup, the formula, the snuggles – lots of just re-adjustment. The one that I was worried about dropping, “The 4 AM one” the one that I wanted to drop the last. It was interesting because I heard them sort of whimpering at 4 in the morning and I thought, “I’m going to give it five minutes.” They stopped whimpering and that’s was it.
ROBIN KAPLAN: That’s was it. They were done.
STEPHANIE ADAMS: They were done.
ROBIN KAPLAN: So, the hardest one to actually end up being probably the easiest one to get rid of.
STEPHANIE ADAMS: It was the smoothest.
ROBIN KAPLAN: That’s too funny. Jona, what was your weaning process?
JONAROSE FEINBERG: I weaned a lot later than that. Once I got through – it’s really a rough start adjusting but once we got through that, I sort of like, “This is working out okay. I guess I don’t need to do anything right now. I just kept weaning and nothing – we were not having “late challenges” that’s motivated that kind of change.” So, we were half way to it.
So, nursing with buddies looks totally different. It was just be the occasional. It mostly has to deal with sleep and so, that was around the age that we started making sure. I started like extracting myself from the sleep process. I was going on not going to be home for the nap time. Somebody else is going them for their nap which didn’t happen before.
But it’s hard to seeing that could happen and enabled me to kind of cut back on those – what time is it that I was at a conference at that point. So, I go back three days and just depending do they last – okay, we can get through these [inaudible 00:15:40] out without nursing, I guess we’re done. There is a really gradual process – feeding up to that.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Did you have to pump it all towards the end or you were just down to kind of that one feeding?
JONAROSE FEINBERG: We caught back gradually enough that I didn’t have to pump. You know a couple of days I’m like, “I’m going to go stay on the shower for a couple of minutes.” It was just so gradual that it wasn’t really an issue by that point.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Stephanie, did you find that – did you feel uncomfortable like physically during the weaning process or was it a fairly smooth transition as well?
STEPHANIE ADAMS: I did because the clogging continued to happen through the weaning process because my son continued to just gnaw as he nursed and so, there was really no stopping that process. So, he continued to injure so that I continue to have the clogs and everything. So, even we were officially done with the nursing – I still have to pump to kind of move it all out as it healed.
ROBIN KAPLAN: How long do that take?
STEPHANIE ADAMS: About a week but I was taking the No More Milk tea to help slow everything down and that really did help slow my flow.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Here’s the second person who has talked about that today. So, earth mama Angel Baby has a “No More Milk Tea” which I can’t believe I knew nothing about. Jona, does the “don’t offer, don’t refuse” work for twins?
JONAROSE FEINBERG: That’s a good weaning technique when babies are older. It is not as straight forward as I did with a singleton because if you have one twin requesting to nurse then the other is really likely to follow through even if they didn’t [unclear] might not problem with of their own. Sometimes they do sort of jealous nursing thing. Like that one is getting and I am going to jump in there.
So, I think a lot of moms were gently weaning at older twins used like – or no, rarely offer and sometimes misuse kind of a protégé to like modified some of the [unclear]. So, maybe they sometimes they invite the second nursing to join in that they think that, “That baby doesn’t want to nurse. Five minutes later they’re like, they’ll just put them without the one” or they might set some limits about not nursing. Nobody’s going to nurse right now. I think that a lot of the ways that moms have twins limit breastfeeding in general work really a lot with twins. Maybe the living the length proceeding to a certain stroke. You want to nurse to the count of 10 or they nurse with a count of 20. Nobody nursing at certain locations which could be anything from – we’re only going to nurse when we’re home. We’re only going to nurse in this one specific chair. Note that it could be as big or as specific as it needs to be in the family -- and that can be really useful tool.
Actually combining those two approaches is often really useful in somewhere changing into encourage along a jump-sitting in-process. Feels like it’s there – if you have someone that’s on location then if the child has to extract himself from the playroom or the room with the activity is to go her in that kind of “offering and refusing approach.” But they have to leave the playroom to nurse. Only because you really want to is going to leave [unclear] and so maybe the other can – won’t tag along as much as they might – you just put down in the middle of the room and everybody’s kind of climb done. So, you play it on a little bit.
ROBIN KAPLAN: So kind of following what you were discussing – Jona, what are some weaning tips that are unique to twins that can be helpful?
JONAROSE FEINBERG: Before I talked about weaning, I want to back up for just a second because one of the things that I think shall impact weaning twins is if you have – previously only nursed on one side and then when you start to change how they’re breastfeeding – we can get a little uncomfortable. So, even before weaning I was saying I want to encourage a little bit of variation and position so that your babies in, might be more willing to go back and forth from one side to the other in case you’ve got one twin who weans earlier than the other.
You can of course – you can breastfeed from just one breast – if that’s how it turns out but my right side, the baby is going to keep nursing when the left side baby is done. Your body is fabulous and it will adjust but for comfort, you can rotate things a little bit, that helps.
So, later weaning – you would want to give yourself a little bit times to talk about weaning with your nurslings. Maybe I’ve been talking about before they introduce we routines to get comfort from the other parents to – I was definitely talking about, “transitioning that we’re going to get out and we’re going to have a meal instead of nursing either way or somebody else’s going to do the nap time.”
That’s pretty much true for a single parent of twins. I think this is also true for everyone but I think the most important thing is to just follow your own heart. I think that moms should breastfeed turns but it’s already a pretty small and overly awesome group. There aren’t any rules because you don’t have so many role models. You just kind of chase your own way.
So, there out with the right age is, “Review all the right methods for yourself and then seek out support when you need it.” Especially for mom’s twins and especially if you’re weaning older twin – that department really come from an online community. It tends to be that we don’t know a lot of other women in our immediate communities are making the same parenting choices. Whatever the parenting choices that is just because it is just as a smaller community.
So, it’s nice to be able to look beyond your immediate community to get the support and resources and guidance for moms that has been there whether that, “How do I physically juggle weaning twins at six or eight months because up until now, I’ve been kind of resting and so how do I transition to the bottles?” Whether is that age or whether and say, “How to do toddlers and which one wants to and that one doesn’t and how do I get through that? What have other people done? So, really seeking advice from moms who have been there wherever you can find those moms – I think that’s really important.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Do you have any tips on where to find these because I know I was doing some research before but while I was coming up with the questions I was going to ask – and there’s so few resources out there for moms of twins especially breastfeeding moms of twins – so, any online resources that you generally love?
JONAROSE FEINBERG: Well, I think probably I should compile some of the best feeding trend sites so that there and easy to find. There are some people who have blogged about their experiences and they kind of – they and some, “We hit six months which is my goal and I’m done now. I want my body back to I’ve got this three-year-old and like I guess we’re kind of weaning now.
So, it’s nice that some of these to sort of read those stories in that range of stories. I think that for – especially people who are making extended breastfeeding kind of choices – looking for transition babies on some place like mothering.com or there are a couple of attachment parenting and national parenting twins group on Facebook and otherwise but excuse me.
There are a couple of other groups – seize books for naturally parenting twins and their resource that you can start to find the community like-minded people.
ROBIN KAPLAN: All right thank you so much Jona and to Stephanie for helping us understanding the unique circumstances around weaning twins. For our Boob Group Club members, our conversation will continue after the end of the show as Jona will discuss options for mom who wants to partially wean. For more information about our Boob Group Club, please visit our website at www.TheBoobGroup.com
So, here’s a question from one of our listeners. This is from Heather and this is what she wrote: “My baby is four weeks old and ever since he was born, I have nursed him. But, at the hospital – they suggested to me that I should give him formula because he wouldn’t nurse for very long, usually about 15 minutes every four hours or longer and that I was having a hard time waking him up. They also said that since I had a caesarean that my milk would be delayed.
Now, my baby is four weeks old and I still nurse him but he nurses for an hour then he will pull off. He won’t go back on then he cries and cries and acts like he is still hungry so then I will give him about three ounces until he’s satisfied. When I pumped, I’m only getting about two ounces at of both breasts which is about one ounce per breast. I pumped every two hours as well and I’m on go through milk feasel, Fenugreek and then the medicine my doctor gave me. I take these three times a day and I have never felt full. What else can I do to help make my milk completely coming? Thanks Heather.”
ANDREA BLANCO: Hi Heather, this is Andrea Blanco. I’m an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant out of South Florida. First, let me say that your baby’s very lucky to have such a dedicated mama like you who’s persistent in her efforts to breastfeed her baby and increase her supply.
A few things jumped out when I listened to your concerns – the first question I have is, “If you’ve been able to get to have the breastfeeding evaluated in person by a knowledgeable International Board Certified Lactation Consultant?” Some things that I would look for is, “How effective the baby is at transferring milk?” Sometimes it isn’t a supply issue at all and is more related to baby’s inability to move the milk effectively from the breast which can then in turn cause a supply issue.
The second question I had is, “Whether or not you may have other markers for low milk supply and/or insufficient gradual tissue?” I think in general, health care providers who may not understand how breastfeeding works tend to think it’s always the mama who’s having the difficulties but in reality – it can be the baby or at the very least a combination of both mother and baby. I encourage you to seek out professional help from an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant in your area who can help you assess things like Milk Transfer and rule out any possible causes for low milk supply. Congratulations on your baby’s birth. Thanks so much.
ROBIN KAPLAN: That wraps up our show for today. We appreciate you listening to The Boob Group. Don’t forget to check out our show, “Preggie Pals for expecting parents” and our show, “Parent Savers for moms and dads with newborns, infants and toddlers.” Thanks for listening to The Boob Group, your judgment-free breastfeeding resource.”
This has been a New Mommy Media production. Information and material contained in this episode are presented for educational purposes only. Statements and opinions expressed in this episode are not necessarily those of New Mommy Media and should not be considered facts. Though information in which areas are related to be accurate, it is not intended to replace or substitute for professional, Medical or advisor care and should not be used for diagnosing or treating health care problem or disease or prescribing any medications. If you have questions or concerns regarding your physical or mental health or the health of your baby, please seek assistance from a qualified health care provider.
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