Building a Better Health Service


Sligo mother of twins praises breastfeeding benefits

 Laura Tighe, mum to twins Neasa and Cullan and Lynn Cunningham, the Infant Feeding and Lactation Clinical Nurse Specialist at Sligo University Hospital


“Breastfeeding creates these intimate moments with your baby that I can’t really explain - it’s just a really lovely connection,” according to Laura Tighe, mum to twins Neasa and Cullan, born in Sligo University Hospital at 37 weeks and 5 days. “You become so proud of yourself, you are literally their lifeline. It’s so special, it’s not going to last forever, and in the grand scheme of things it is a short amount of time.

“Breastfeeding was always something I wanted to do because of the benefits. Having done my research, and being a first-time mum, I looked into what was available in Sligo. I attended antenatal classes, some of which were specific to twin mums. Eventually, I was able to tandem-feed the twins, which was lovely. But of course, I had some concerns. Like other mums, I worry, and one of the worries I had was whether the babies were getting enough milk. You can’t measure it so you don’t know how much your babies are getting, and this is worrying for a first-time breastfeeding mum.”

Laura met Lynn Cunningham, the Infant Feeding and Lactation Clinical Nurse Specialist at Sligo University Hospital before her twins were born.

Lynn’s support was of great benefit to Laura, especially in the beginning: “I told her I wanted to be able to express milk and she advised me on products that worked well.

“She guided me through colostrum harvesting and was always available for advice when I needed it. She would say to me that my body knew that I had had twins, so it knew to produce enough milk for two babies. I had to trust that this was going to be the case.

“Lynn was a huge support because if I questioned myself, she would confirm that I was doing the right thing and she would give me advice on how to do it better. There were huge benefits to having her in the hospital. She made it all easier.

“Many people thought that it wouldn’t be possible to breastfeed twins and most encouraged me to bottle-feed, but I knew what was best for the babies and I wanted to try my best to do it. I was conscious it may not have worked out for me for multiple reasons - if the babies had had to go to the NICU (Neo Natal Intensive Care Unit) or if the babies didn’t take to breastfeeding or if it was too sore or if  I did not have the supply and so on.”

Speaking openly about her journey, Laura now encourages all mums to try breastfeeding: “You hear about many women who attempt breastfeeding and they might stop between 6 to 8 weeks. I really feel if you can keep going for another couple of weeks it becomes so much easier, I can’t even describe how much easier. It goes from being tough, where you are sleep deprived, where you’re worried and a little bit stressed about whether they are getting enough milk, to things getting much easier. After you pass that 6 to 8-week mark, all that hard work pays off and all of a sudden you are not worrying about your supply and you can go anywhere and give them the best food that you can give to your baby, on tap, with no organisation or preparation work prior to leaving the house. It becomes much easier.”

Laura returned to work in September as a PE teacher and is continuing to breastfeed her twins, with support from her workplace.