I had a planned Caesarean section, and luckily, my recovery went smoothly. Breastfeeding twins, on the other hand, was a pain in the arse. Here are some pointers I wish I had known before giving birth.
At the hospital
I gave birth at Gleneagles Hospital, where the nurses weren’t pushy about breastfeeding, but they weren’t particularly helpful, either. There was also a lactation consultant who visited me daily, 5-10 minutes at a time. Not surprisingly, I didn’t leave the hospital feeling too confident about breastfeeding my twins.
Tip 1: Research breastfeeding before giving birth. My childbirth course barely touched on breastfeeding. Watch YouTube videos on latching and practice the motions. Read Kelly Mom and other reliable blogs.
From the first night, the nurses would wheel in my twins (who were sleeping in the hospital nursery) one by one so they could latch and stimulate milk flow. It was amazing to see them suck immediately at the breast, but boy, did it hurt! My nipples were extremely sore, neither of us knew how to latch, and the whole experience was unpleasant. By the third day, I had developed a cracked nipple.
Tip 2: Your milk will probably take a few days to come in. Don’t stress if you can’t lactate right away. Stress will suppress milk production. If latching is painful, try nursing over longer intervals so you don’t develop an aversion to nursing. Pack lanolin cream (I recommend Lanisoh since it is 100% lanolin) in your hospital bag to soothe sore nipples and to prevent them from becoming cracked. If nursing is too painful, try pumping instead.
The hospital offered me an electric pump so I could stimulate milk flow in between nursing sessions. My colostrum (concentrated milk full of antibodies and other nutrients) came in on the fourth day. I was thrilled but felt very uneasy about how to manage at home.