We took so many classes preparing for these babies. We took infant CPR. We took a 4-night class on childbirth that talked about breastfeeding. We took a twins-specific class that talked about breastfeeding twins / multiples.
At none of these classes - and both the childbirth class and the twins class were taught by lactation consultants - and NONE of these classes did anyone ever mention how. damn. HARD. breastfeeding is.
Sure, at one of the childbirth classes a woman asked about having an alcoholic drink while breastfeeding. She mentioned "should I pump and dump" as part of her question.
The response: No, as long as you don't feel tipsy, you're fine to breastfeed.
Do you want to know what the response *should* have been??
First of all, fireworks and party streamers should have shot out of the lactation consultant's ass.
Then, from atop her speaking pedestal, she should have said:
NO! YOU DON'T PUMP AND DUMP. THAT SHIT THAT YOU PUMP IS LIQUID FUCKING GOLD. IT WILL BE HARD TO COME BY AND YOU PROBABLY WILL NOT BE ONE OF THOSE LUCKY WOMEN WHO PRODUCES MORE THAN SHE OR ANY OF HER FOURTEEN BABIES NEEDS. SAVE THAT SHIT.
This response should have been followed by:
BREASTFEEDING IS HARD. Really REALLY REALLY hard. You know those movies you see where beautiful women have their beautiful babies brought to them for a quick and easy latch and a full meal immediately? Well, that probably won't happen.
Instead, you'll have one or more of the following happen. Not necessarily all at once, and not necessarily at the beginning. But you probably will deal with one or more of the following:
--- raw, sore nipples
--- bleeding nipples
--- thrush (on your nipples and / or in baby's mouth)
--- tongue tie / lip tie (baby's condition, easily fixable but often overlooked)
--- low supply / no supply
--- preemie who is too sleepy to latch and / or suck hard
--- preemie who hasn't learned how to suck / swallow / breathe yet
--- a fussy baby who can't deal with either (1) your low supply or (2) your fast flow so s/he chokes
--- food allergies with your baby so s/he is literally allergic to your breast milk (and you will have to cut out almost everything in your diet to slowly add it back in to hopefully see what the problem is)
If you have low supply and you want to build it up, you'll have to do something like this (if you're hard core about it, which I was):
Step 1: nurse baby
Step 2: supplement baby (with bottle of formula or previously-pumped liquid gold)
Step 3: pass baby off to someone or leave baby sleeping while you furiously pump after every. fucking. nursing session.
Step 4: repeat. repeat. repeat.
You get it.
If you're lucky, which I was, your body will respond to the message you're desperately trying to send and you will start to produce more. But it doesn't happen overnight. I was pumping 8-10 times a day since day 1 and it wasn't until week 6 or 7 that I was producing enough breast milk to feed both babies.
Many women, however, are not so lucky. They sweat and cry and perhaps bleed trying to get more milk but it never happens.
And nobody mentioned this to me: as a final punch to the gut on its way out of dodge, infertility can cause problems with breastfeeding and supply. Mother f'er!
This question was asked at most classes: "Who plans on breastfeeding?" Most, if not all (this is Portland, Oregon after all!), women raised their hands. You know what should have come next?
Same fireworks and streamers, same pedestal. Then: WELL YOU MIGHT NOT BE ABLE TO.
Or you might get so upset and stressed that you quit after a short period of time.
And even if you are so diligent about breastfeeding and pumping, you might STILL have to become best friends with Gerber or Similac or some other formula company because you will need it.
I have mentioned it here before. I threatened to quit breastfeeding no less than 6 times a day, probably more, the first few weeks. The monotony of it. The regularity of it. The stress of it. The only reason I am still - at almost 8 months post partum - breastfeeding is that my darling husband helped me / urged me / pushed me to continue. He had a right to express what he wanted for his babies, and it was that they get breast milk.
I am glad I continued.
Even still, though, some days I cannot wait to quit and think I'll quit tomorrow / next week / next month / when I go back to work on September 2. Other days, I think "oh, I can totally do this until they're 2 years old."
People. Breastfeeding is a total mindfuck and chances are your insurance company will NOT cover an in-home lactation consultant's support.
That said, if you have the funds (or if you don't, ask for it at your showers / from your family), get an in-home lactation consultant to come in.