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Emily Stott, Oxford, UK
Twin kangaroo care for my premature babies
My non-identical twin baby boys were born at 32 weeks and six days, after spontaneous premature labor. I had an emergency cesarean because the babies were in a transverse breech position. They were small but good weights for their gestation, 4lb/1.8kg and 3.5lb/1.6kg.
After delivery my babies were taken to the special care unit in incubators, where they stayed for three and four weeks, respectively, until they had grown and established breastfeeding. I stayed in hospital for three days after the birth, then traveled to the hospital daily and spent time giving my babies kangaroo care, cuddling skin-to-skin, expressing milk, feeding, and changing them. They were exclusively fed expressed breast milk through feeding tubes during their time in hospital, first hourly then two and three hourly.
I stayed in hospital for three days after the birth, then traveled to the hospital daily and spent time giving my babies kangaroo care, cuddling skin-to-skin, expressing milk, feeding, and changing them.
Some days I had to rush to the hospital with the milk I had expressed the night before, and a few times they were fed with donated breast milk as I struggled to keep up with their increased feeds. Gradually the hospital introduced bottles of my expressed milk at night and I breastfed them during the day, followed by top-ups of expressed milk.
One twin came home a week before the other but when we were all home, at 37 weeks, I cut out the top-ups, stopped expressing, and just breastfed on demand—much more relaxing and rewarding We have had several challenges to breastfeeding, especially with the smaller sleepier twin, who was diagnosed with reflux and who had trouble latching on. But the problems were gradually overcome with several visits to Baby Café breastfeeding clinics, extensive reading, and support from my local La Leche League Leaders.
Now, at four months, I feel things have settled down and I enjoy feeding my hungry smiley boys (now 9.7lb/4.4kg and 11.9lb/5.4kg), both together and separately and in all combination of positions, even if it does take up most of my days!