Find connection and inspiration in the stories untold.
Join us as we delve into the inspiring journey of Leila Armour, a twin-breastfeeding mother and renowned author of Village For Mama.
Leila emphasises the importance of a confinement period, a time where the mother and baby can rest and recover while also establishing breastfeeding. During this tender time, the mother can learn about her babies feeding cues, how to position and latch them correctly, and also get support from healthcare professionals if needed.
Leila also shares her personal experience with cluster feeding, a common phenomenon where babies feed frequently and intensely in a short period, which can leave the mother questioning her milk supply and feeling emotionally and physically drained.
Furthermore, Leila's boys were impacted by tongue and lip ties, which can affect their ability to breastfeed effectively. This added an extra layer of complexity to the already challenging experience, requiring professional intervention and a feeding plan to ensure that the boys were getting enough milk and that Leila didn't lose her will to continue.
Overall, Leila's experience highlights the importance of the support from our village, patience, and perseverance when it comes to breastfeeding twins. While it can be tough, with the right resources and mindset, it's a rewarding experience that can benefit both mother and babies in countless ways.
Leila, you’re six weeks into life after a twin delivery now and you’re in the depths of the breastfeeding haze, how would you describe the totality of your early breastfeeding season with two hungry little boys?
Breastfeeding is an ever-changing journey, and just because you've done it before doesn't mean it won't be challenging the second time around. With twins, you're faced with double the learning curve, making the postpartum period a crucial time to establish breastfeeding and learn about your babies. This is why confinement is so important, not only for the mother's rest and recovery, but also for bonding and establishing breastfeeding. During the first week, things may seem to be going smoothly, but the arrival of cluster feeding days can quickly throw you off balance. You start to question your supply and feel restless after hours of being stuck in one position. Ties, such as tongue and lip ties, can further complicate the feeding experience and require professional help and a feeding plan to ensure you don't lose your motivation. My experience with feeding has been varied, including tandem feeding, single feeding, bottle feeding, line feeding, pumping, and even donor milk. Despite the challenges, I'm grateful for the opportunity to nourish my babies and see them thrive.
What would you say to mothers who are struggling with breastfeeding?
Sometimes, things that are worthwhile in life aren’t always easy. For me, learning about breastfeeding, breast milk and how incredible the mother’s body is, made me decide that I would do all I can to breastfeed my babies.
I believe that breastfeeding is a decision that requires dedication, patience, and support. It's important to decide what works for you and your family, without letting others influence your decision. If, like me, you choose to breastfeed, know that it can be a challenging journey, but you're never alone. It can definitely feel like a solo journey and that it’s all on you as the mother, but that’s not the case, you can use a village to support your breastfeeding journey. As my midwife said to me ‘before you know it, you’ll be able to breastfeed on your head, but for now it's a learned skill and it takes, time, patience and practice’
If you're feeling unprepared, having difficulties or just have questions, I urge you to seek out the right resources, whether that's family, friends, specialised products or lactation consultants. It's also essential to take care of yourself by staying hydrated and well-nourished.
How can family members and friends support a mother who is breastfeeding, especially when navigating a twin-feeding demand?
Firstly, I think it is so important for your friends and family to understand your expectations and goals around breastfeeding. You want them to be on your team and help you achieve the feeding outcome you want. In order to breastfeed, mamas need support, rest, hydration and proper nourishment. Friends and family can help by making sure you always have a drink on hand and are well fed. This is especially important for twin mamas because you cannot move once you are set up on a tandem feeding pillow. They can also step in to make all the accessory activities more manageable: washing and sterilising bottles and pumps, collecting donor milk etc. Lastly, just being there to talk can be incredibly valuable. Sometimes, you need to process your thoughts and feelings and identify what is or isn't working, and having someone to confide in can make all the difference.
Leila, when I became a mother to Poppy, I discovered there were many topics that hadn’t been discussed prior; the overwhelm, loneliness, postpartum depression, mastitis, baby not latching, baby refusing breast, lactose intolerance with formula, lactose intolerance through breast milk, baby vomiting, colic, exhaustion, vaginal pain, hair loss - my goodness, all the things no one had told me about! What have you found to be the most challenging or unexpected notion of early motherhood with twin babies?
Because of my line of work, I really don’t think there is a stone left unturned in the world of postpartum for me. However, the reality of it has been far more challenging than I could have anticipated. I knew it would be challenging with two but not to this extent.
Every aspect of my day is centred around logistics, and it often feels like I'm missing out on those quiet moments of connection with my babies. The nights are long, and the lead up to bedtime can be anxiety-inducing as I prepare for the challenges to come. Feeding twins is a full-time job, doing everything twice takes twice as long, and then some. It can mean cluster feeding for nearly a whole day. It can be overwhelming and lonely, and at times I’ve really struggled. But even with all of these challenges, I wouldn't trade this experience for anything. Motherhood has been a catalyst for growth and inspiration, and every day, I'm learning more about myself and my capacity for love and resilience.
What has motherhood taught you thus far?
Each child is a unique individual with their own personality, needs and desires. It doesn’t matter how much you predict or project, they show you how you are going to mother them and exactly what they need from you. You just have to love and surrender. Motherhood is such a beautiful catalyst for change, growth, inspiration and helping you rediscover and find yourself.
Do you have any rituals or routines that help you through breastfeeding?
Preparing for breastfeeding with twins requires a bit of planning and preparation to make sure you have everything you need at arm's reach. For me, getting ready means making sure I've taken care of my own needs beforehand, like going to the bathroom and having a big drink bottle and snacks nearby. I like to have a warm cup of the Bosom Ritual infusion, which not only tastes amazing, but also helps with milk supply. I also invested in a high-quality twin feeding pillow to help support me and the babies during feeding. When I sit down to feed, I take a deep breath and mentally prepare myself for a few hours of being in one spot. Having everything prepared and within reach helps me feel far more relaxed - which is so important in protecting my milk supply.
Which Mammae product has helped you navigate early motherhood? What did you love about it? How would you recommend using it?
I absolutely adore the Bosom Ritual Elixir. Breast massage is such an essential part of both the antenatal and breastfeeding journey, and this elixir takes it to a whole new level. The luxurious texture and heavenly scent of the oil turn breastfeeding care into an indulgent experience that I look forward to each day. I'm thrilled that this product exists as it didn't before, and it has become an integral part of my breastfeeding routine. The infusion of galactagogue herbs adds to its effectiveness in promoting milk supply and flow, and I appreciate the thoughtfulness behind its creation. I am grateful to have discovered the Mammae brand and this amazing product during my breastfeeding journey.
Furthermore, I just wanted to add that taking time to give your breasts some love and attention through gentle lymphatic massage is not only beneficial for your milk production but also for your own general wellbeing. It is a wonderful opportunity to connect with your body and acknowledge the incredible work it does in nourishing your little ones.
How can mothers learn to lean on one another more?
Sharing our experiences can be incredibly powerful in creating a sense of community and connection. It helps us to see that we're not alone and that others are going through similar challenges. When we open up and share our struggles, we often find that others are more than willing to offer support and encouragement.
One way to foster this sense of community is to invite a friend and their children over to join in on the dinner, bath, and bedtime routine. Not only does it give you a chance to catch up and connect, but it can also be a helpful way to share the load and make things feel less overwhelming.
When we do things together, we often feel more capable and less isolated. It's a reminder that we're all in this together and that we can lean on each other when we need it most. So don't be afraid to reach out to a friend and invite them over to share in the chaos and beauty of parenthood.
What is the most precious part of your day?
The dinner, bath, and bedtime routine has become a lifeline for me amidst the chaos of having newborn twins. While it may sound crazy to some, it's the one time of day where our family of five can come together and spend quality time. We do it twice - once with my daughter while I'm feeding the boys, and again with the boys once Billie is asleep - and it's become a cherished tradition. Despite the occasional wild night, there's something magical about this routine. As the boys tandem feed and snooze, I get to sit with Billie and listen to her talk about her day. We share dinner, watch TV, and just enjoy each other's company. It's a moment of connection that helps me remember what life was like before the chaos of twins.
So, if you're a new mum feeling overwhelmed by the demands of parenthood, I urge you to find your own lifeline. Whether it's a daily routine like mine or something completely different, find those moments of connection and cherish them. They may just help you hold onto your sanity and rediscover a sense of normalcy amidst the chaos.
Any final words of wisdom for mothers who are in the throes of early motherhood?
As a new mum, it can be easy to lose yourself in the chaos of postpartum life. However, it's important to remember that you will find yourself again. These precious moments with your baby won't last forever, so embrace them while you can. Don't let ‘mum-guilt’ weigh you down - it's unnecessary and unproductive. Instead, surrender to this magical time and trust that you're doing an incredible job.
But remember, it's also important to take care of yourself. Don't forget to prioritise small moments of self-care and self-love. Whether it's taking a relaxing bath, going for a walk, or treating yourself to a brunch date, find something that brings you joy and make time for it.
And don't be afraid to lean on the support of those around you. Asking for help doesn't make you weak, it makes you human. Reach out to loved ones, join a mum's group, or hire a postpartum doula. Whatever it takes to make your life a little easier and more enjoyable during this special time. Remember, this too shall pass, but the memories will last a lifetime.
Author \ Erin Deger
Contributor \ Leila ArmourPublished \ May 14, 2023.