Marcia Cross: Nursing Twins Is a ‘Big Job’

05/17/2010 at 02:00 PM ET
Flynet

As a former breastfeeding mom of multiples, Marcia Cross says that with hard work and dedication, the doubled task of nursing twins is doable.

“The fact that I was doing two was a big job,” she noted during a Friday appearance on The View.

“You had to prop them up on pillows and get them just right and then switch them!”

Fortunately, with the help of a “wonderful nurse” who encouraged Cross to keep trying, the Desperate Housewives star successfully breastfed fraternal daughters Eden and Savannah, now 3, for four months.

Asked whether she nursed the girls in public, Cross admitted she hadn’t, but not because she feared any sort of social stigma.

“I didn’t feel sexual about my boobs at that point,” the actress, 48, explains.

“I think there’s … this allure that it’s a sexual thing to other people, but I’d be like, ‘Walking through the house with my milk jugs.’ You don’t feel sexual at all.”

– Anya Leon

FILED UNDER: Multiples , News , Parenting

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Showing 40 comments

Jennifer on

Good for you! That does take alot of time and committment.

Mrs. R on

I can imagine that it is just physically DIFFICULT to nurse twins in public. It’s hard enough to nurse them in private… then if you try to add on a Bebe Au Lait cover, or any kind of hooter hider, it’s WAY too tricky. Not to mention trying to do it without the help of supportive pillows, and a good chair.
Even if she were just to whip it out and go for it, it would still be really hard, I can see why it just wasn’t worth trying to attempt in public for her.

Good for her for making it to 4 months! She and Rebecca Romjin (who went 6 months with her girls) should both be really proud of themselves for all that hard work!

Kathy on

You Go Girl!!!! It IS a hard job!! I’ve been doing it for almost 7 months!!!! Best thing that can be done for the babies we work soooo hard to get (IVF babies).

Siahandsam on

Only 4 months?!?!? I realize that any amount of nursing is beneficial, but come on, let’s set a real example, as Pediatricians recommend, to nurse for at least the first 12 months of life.

Nina on

Siahandsam, I’m going to assume you’ve never had twins or you’re completely oblivious to what you just read in the article. It can be difficult to nurse one infant let alone two. Until you’ve experienced it yourself, don’t berate her because she nursed for “only 4 months.”

Mia on

Siahandsam~ don’t be ingorant.

Heather on

I think it’s great she nursed twins. It’s a tough job. I did it for 2 and a half years. One a time. Never did get the whole tandem nursing thing.

J-Lin on

Siahandsam – I’m asuming your harsh criticism is because you breastfed quadruplets for five years.

My hat is off to Marcia for even attempting to breastfeed twins! And they are so cute. Starting to look more and more a like.

lily on

Mrs. R -good point. I never really thought about how hard it would be to nurse twins in public. I found nursing one difficult enough when I was out, two would be quite a challenge. Good for Marcia!!

twinmom on

I am on month 4 of breastfeeding twins. Any breastmilk we can give our babies is great. She deserves to feel proud of how long she went, especially since whenever she is in public she is being hounded by the paparrazi!!! I nurse mine in public one at a time. But I would never do it with a million cameras around- give her a break!

amyjoyfox on

Good for Marcia! I am still nursing my daughter at 23 months, but I think that any amount of time is to be congratulated, especially with twins. I have a feeling I wouldn’t be able to get much past four months with two, particularly as a working mom like Marcia.

lenea on

also, some women just cannot produce enough milk keep on nursing for so long. My mother stopped producing milk after a few months.

hayley on

Only 4 months?!?!? I realize that any amount of nursing is beneficial, but come on, let’s set a real example, as Pediatricians recommend, to nurse for at least the first 12 months of life.

– Siahandsam on May 17th, 2010

clearly person with out twins so there for we shall ignor this silly comment.

4 months is amazing, twins tend to be a little bit smaller than full term single babies so need feeding more often and myself as a midwife and a mother of a tiny single baby i can only imgaine what Its like with 2 babies at 4 in the morning!

any woman that can breastfeed and wants to should be proud, its not easy :) nd there is not always the support women need , i no where i work the women need far more help than they get. is pleased that this mummy got her win :)

Alya on

Good for Marcia for managing for the time that she was able to. She did what was best for her situation.

Anon on

Siahandsam – do you realise how hard it is for some women to breastfeed at all? I am training to be a paediatrician and we would NEVER criticise any woman that does not breastfeed for a whole year. Any attempt to breastfeed should be applauded, and those that can’t/don’t want to breastfeed should also be supported just as strongly – everyone is different. I really think that being that judgemental helps noone. Just because you might have breastfed for a year does not make you better than other mums out there who have not.

babyrama on

it is not ignorant to assume that a woman could be able to breastfeed twins for a year–it certainly happens; my sister did it, also one at a time. However, Marcia’s age and the IVF conception may have affected her milk supply (my lactation consultant told me, when I asked for the truth about if as many women can’t make enough milk as they claim, that older moms and moms who conceive through IVF are the most likely ones to be challenged by limited milk supply). As far as the general population of women, I think only 3-5% don’t make enough milk according to statistics.

babyrama on

as for the comment that women should never be pressured to breastfeed, I am a little baffled by that attitude. We know it is best for baby, and yet… nobody refrains from feeling that it is inappropriate to feed your kids inferior food because it is more convenient or less difficult to prepare, but when it comes to breastfeeding, everybody bends over backwards to act like it is a personal choice and not something that should be strongly encouraged for the baby’s wellbeing, and breastfeeding advocates are quickly denounced as too pushy. Bizarre. And yes, this is from a mom who knows fully well the challenges of breastfeeding children.

jody on

ANY length of breastfeeding is beneficial to both mom and baby, even if it’s only a couple teaspoons of colostrum in the first couple days after birth, and ALL efforts to breastfeed should be applauded, not criticized, no matter your personal opinions and experiences. I nursed my son for 13 1/2 months, and was able to do so mainly because of awesome lactation support in the hospital and in my community, the support of my husband, and the support of practically all of our family and friends. Not many first-time moms can say that they were able to nurse for the entire first year with no formula supplementation, and I know for a fact that I was very fortunate. So Congratulations Marcia! Well done!

babyrama – I have an acquaintance who was emotionally unable/unwilling to breastfeed due to being sexual abused as a young girl. In some cases, it really should be a personal choice.

Siahandsam on

Au contrere, my naysayers! My original comment stems from my intense devotion to and advocacy of breastfeeding. I breastfed both of my boys, now 6 and 2, until they weaned themselves. I worked full time when they were newborns, including pumping 2-3 times during my work day, freezing breastmilk, co-sleeping at night, and (shocker!) nursing in public.
I fully understand that nursing twins would be a tireless job, but I do believe that it can be done successfully. The American Academy of Pediatrics DOES recommend EXCLUSIVE breast milk for the first 6 months of life.
In the majority of cases, breast milk supply is based on demand. The more one nurses, the more milk she will make. I realize that there are women who, for individual reasons, choose not to nurse their babies. However, as was my initial point, I very strongly believe that celebs such as Marcia, who did as a wonderful thing by nursing, would just stay on the breastfeeding wagon LONGER and then use their celeb status to be better advocates, MORE women would follow and thus create healthier babies and mommies.

racmc on

yeah, sorry, 4 months is NOT “successful”. nice try, though

Kelli on

You say that it is all supply and demand huh? there are some women who physically CANNOT breastfeed. There are very legitimate supply issues that can happen. As women, we need to support each other in our quest for healthy babies no matter how a woman feeds them. It is that snide attitude that makes other women feel guilty for having to formula feed their babies. I personally loved breastfeeding, but I would never criticize another woman for formula feeding. Quit being such a Nipple Nazi. Seriously.

Jean on

Four months was a real turning point for my twins and I where it got much, MUCH easier. They’re still nearly exclusively nursed at 8 months. They hate solids and won’t take bottles anymore, but I cannot claim exclusive nursing since they have had a few bites of food now. Oh well! Never a drop of formula and two bottles total each when I had to be apart from them briefly.

Nicole on

I was only able to “successfully” breastfeed for 4 months. It wasn’t because I chose to quit, I physically could not produce enough milk to exclusively breastfeed. I cannot believe how mothers can judge other mothers based on how long (or short) they were able to breastfeed. Any amount is good for the child.

KD on

Out of four children, I only made it to the six month mark with one, the youngest. My first, a big strapping boy of 9 lbs, latched on really well from birth and ate and ate and ate and ate and ate…..I stopped producing enough milk when he was six weeks and he began losing weight. I tried everything, lactation consultants tried everything, my body just said enough. My oldest daughter was nursed through pumping for four months along with supplemental formula feedings. She was a preemie and once again I never produced enough milk to really sustain her. My middle daughter, my independent child proved this from birth. Although I nursed her from the moment she was handed to me (well, tried to) she refused to latch on, she refused to suck, the lactation consultant (after four days of this) consulted with the pediatrician and the conclusion was she simply did not want to. I did pump milk for almost four months and bottle fed her, but once again my body said enough. My baby nursed for six months exclusively and with pumped milk after I went back to work for another few weeks. She latched on, my body said okay and we were good.
Funny enough, all of my children are happy, healthy, intelligent, wonderful kids. They did not suffer or become damaged from limited breast feeding. Nor did they suffer when they went to day care or because 14 years ago my son was given solids at 3 months as per the times. My thought on parenting is that we all do what is best for our kids, our families, and ourselves and we have the right to make those decisions. Women need to quit criticizing each other for personal choices.

laura on

Well, it all depends on how you look at it. If you, culturally, have been trained to believe that formula is the standard, then, yes, 4 months of breastmilk seems a moderately good amount of “bonus” time. However, if you, more accurately, see breastmilk as the biological norm for our species and any deviation from that as substandard, then that’s months/years of missing the mark.

Technically speaking, there are no “benefits” to breastfeeding. A benefit is measured against a norm. It’s a “plus”, above and beyond what is normal. Breastfeeding IS the norm for the human species. Choosing to use formula is a deviation from normal and therefore it’s formula that brings “risks”. It’s inaccurate to say that BFing lowers the risk if breast cancer for example. The accurate way to say it would be to say that not breastfeeding increases the risk of breast cancer. We don’t say that not smoking increases the risk of lung health, do we? No, because smoking (like formula feeding) is the unnatural and foreign process, on a physiological level. Human babies are designed to drink human milk for the entire time that they need milk, and formula is a crude approximation of human milk that can never replicate the myriad antibodies and immune factors present.

So, if you are one that sees BFing as the norm, not some bonus, but just what all babies need and deserve, then, yes, “only” 4 months seems like a glass half empty, not half full.

Yes, some women do run into supply problems after initial success, but that can almost always be managed/corrected.

hayley on

babyrama

its comments like yours that upset so many women and to be hones make me furious, the sheer amout of women i deal with weekly than can’t and mean can’t breastfeed for medical reasons, or like the other poster emotionally unable to or you no what some women just plain don’t want to, its their body and they get a say and that does not make the a bad mother and to some how try an push the issue with these women takes away their rights as a person and before any one start with the rights of the baby , the mothers rights come first, always have always will and that is the way it should be.

step back a bit, it ok for you, no matter how hard it was you did, other could not and your comments just makethem feel like they failed when its not your place to.

Anon on

Babyrama – actually, more people than you think have difficulty and it is quite rude to those mothers that do have problems to just throw statistics at them – it simply compounds a feeling of inferiority that shouldn’t exist. I have worked quite a lot with women whose babies are premature and have had to spend time in a neonatal unit, for example, and it can be extremely difficult to establish breastfeeding after a baby has had an NG tube\bottle for a while in that environment.
Secondly, who said anything about pressure? Here in the UK we obviously do advocate the breast is best rule. We do ENCOURAGE all new mums to breastfeed (not “pressure” them) and a breastfeeding nurse does go and talk to everyone, but ultimately, if someone decides that it is not for them, do we label them a bad mother and cast them off? of course not! You offer any advice and help that you can. As others have pointed out on this site, people have different reasons for choosing bottle over breast – I wish that women were more supportive of each other over this issue.

Dani on

Breastfeeding does not necessarily equal healthier babies. My mother who has Asthma and Eczema breastfed me for over a year havig been told this would improve my health etc but only breastfed my younger twin sisters for about 4 months. Guess who has severe eczema and asthma and who is perfectly healthy? Yep me!

jazzy jeff on

I hate breastfeeding. I don’t care what anyone else says or how they want to push their views on me. That’s their right. Babymama thinks she’s perfect which is her right and it’s my right to ignore her. All those moms who feel like bf wasn’t right for them for whatever reason should stop trying to explain themselves or to change the minds of unhappy women like babymama. Just embrace your choices and realize that some people are so lousy at life they must force their views on others to make their lives feel meaningful. If bf was so great, they would talk about how great it is, not be so negative to those who don’t follow their lead. They’re grumpy women and grumpy women can only be dealt with in one way – by ignoring them. Engaging them in any way only encourages them because they like drama and anger and grumpiness because those nasty feelings give them warmth. Stop feeding the fire and stop explaining. I will never tell why I hate bf because I don’t have any desire to encourage the babymamas of the world. Let her fester in her drama and grumpiness while I enjoy the quiet that comes from not trying to please those who can not be pleased.

Paige on

I am currently breastfeeding my 8.5 month old son, and plan to continue until he is at least a year old. We had an extrememly difficult first month of nursing, and I considered quitting multiple times. Now, 8 months later my son has never tasted formula, and I’m a breastmilk donor.

While I am proud to have perserved in breastfeeding despite obstacles, I would NEVER judge other women who either supplement with formula or choose not to breastfeed at all. I have many friends who simply do not produce enough milk and therefore supplment – are they to be demonized for this? Also, as a working mother, I know full well the challenges of pumping milk for your baby, and many women simply cannot pump enough to keep up with their baby’s demand. Are these women terrible mothers as a result?

Quite simply, breastfeeding is a very personal choice, and those who use the decision to nurse-or-not-nurse as a barometer of good parenting should be ashamed of themselves. Being a mother is challenging enough – women should support each others’ choices, whatever they be.

mareezy on

“We know it is best for baby, and yet… nobody refrains from feeling that it is inappropriate to feed your kids inferior food because it is more convenient or less difficult to prepare…”

This quote is amazing. So after you ween and breastfeeding is no longer on the table, what then…do you have the same passion about not giving your kids processed foods or is that less important because you’re not receiving a benefit?

Maybe you should focus on how you raise your own children and let others worry about theirs.

Kitty on

When did all the negative posters become MD’s? I didn’t realize you had access to Marcia’s medical records and didn’t realize you made a diagnosis that she can still indeed breastfeed. And to think people say we are short on doctors.

Amy on

I had B/G twins, I tried to breastfeed them as long as I could. But just like Marcia, I was only able to do it up to 4 months. It was not easy at all especially the first few months when they need to be fed every 2-3 hours. Siahandsam, you have no idea how difficult it was to feed two babies, and spend time to burp them and by the time I finished breastfeeding him I had to spend time to burp him, then I had to feed my daughter and then burp her. When I’m finally done with both, it’s time to feed him AGAIN and it goes on and on! Yes, I’ve tried to feed them both at the same time but they don’t always cooperate which makes things more difficult. At one point, I burst into tears because I was over exhausted without enough rest. So before you make comments like that, put yourself in other people’s shoes and just imagine how difficult it can be to breastfeed one baby let alone twins! I wasn’t able to keep up with the milk supply, it just gradually decreased. I wish I could have kept going but I couldn’t…so don’t be ignorant and make ridiculous comments like that! Any amount is good, at least we all tried our best!

Wisecat on

I had pre-e and was induced at 37 weeks. My son was 5lbs…but perfectly healthy. I was not as healthy…unfortunately. My breast milk didn’t come in for over a week. What would you have suggested I do? Of course we supplemented with formula. There were no other choice. While I was in the hospital recovering I used a hospital grade pump and spent time with a lactation consultant. Her advice was to keep pumping and it would eventually come in. And it did…but it was minimal. My son was still using formula. He latched on perfectly. He’d suck and try for a few minutes but by this time he was used to getting a lot of food and I just wasn’t producing enough for him to keep sucking. He’d be furious. I again went to see lactation consultants…but they couldn’t offer much since his latch and suck was fine. He was just very hungry and I wasn’t producing a lot. So I exclusively pumped and bottle fed. But still had to supplement with formula 2-3 times a day. I continued pumping for four months but my supply never improved. I took all the supplements that was recommended with no more success. I even went back to work and pumped 8x a day…(as suggested by the consultants) with no more success and my little guy (he’s still a small guy) had the biggest appetite. After four months of pumping and trying to produce more I finally gave up. The stress and lack of sleep were counter productive. I wasn’t enjoying my time with my son and I was becoming more unhealthy.
My reason for telling my story is to say that there are may be reasons beyond your control. Yes, breast milk is best and I would also encourage everyone to try. But not to judge other women. Especially when you have no idea what their story is.
As I prepare for my next son, I hope to breast feed as long as physically possible. But will not continue to stress out and become unhealthy again.

Rebekah on

I think that’s great that she nursed twins for 4 months! I wanted to give up so often during the first 3 months, but luckily it had become a habit for me and I perceived that it was harder for me to give up at that point than it was to continue. I breastfed for 11-12 months for both babies. I did breastfeed in public, but not both at the same time. It is very time consuming to breastfeed multiples, so I can understand how some women can only do it for a few months. I think being a mother of multiples has additional difficulties that mothers of singletons just won’t be able to understand.

Z's mom on

I bf my kiddo for 6 months, do I wish I had gone longer? yeah, I do. I am happy to have done it though, it was NOT EASY and there were many times in the beginning that I thought I just couldn’t do it. Thankfully, I have a super supportive husband and family. I tell all my expecting friends who are considering or planning that it will not be easy, you will have to work at it and if it is something you really want for the baby than stick with it – and look for support before the fact!! We (as parents) do the best we can for our babies and we need to support each other on this no matter what – build each other up people!! We are raising the next generation!

I thing opinions and beliefs on BF rank up there with politics and religion – they run just a deep and people can be really ignorant, rude, and disrespectful discussing them if they are not careful.

Molly on

Actually the Ped association recommends exclusive breast milk OR formula for the first 6 months, meaning that babies should not be starting solids before that. I can tell you that Im nursing 11 monts old but ever since she was born we struggled and we still do but we still keep trying. She does get bottles, too from about 3 months (I pumped up until 6 months I think) I also believe that supply comes with demand, but its not as black and white as it says. I could pump for an hour and got maybe half an ounce. Baby didnt want to latch for a very long time. It would be sooo easy to give up but we didnt. Everyone in my husbands family kept nagging that we must give her formula that breastfeeding is gross. They kept showing me the formula commercials and articles (as if I have never seen any) There was lots of pressure becuase the older generation grew up with “formula is the best”. I no longer think that every woman can breastfeed. Some really cant and some can but its so hard that they just cant go on. My friend ended up on anti depresants because all that nursing pressure she felt caused her a really bad depression. So there is lots of pressure on breastfeeding mothers and lots of judging, you cant do anything right, either you nurse or you dont, alwyas someone will judge you. But there are other benefits of breastfeeding that people are not really aware of, did you know that only 4 % of babies that die from SIDS were breastfed? The rest of 96% was either bottlefed breast milk or formula.

Kudos to Marcia, and and haha @ J-lin and her comment about breastfeedding quads for 5 years

Molly @ http://www.marhababambinas.blogspot.com

Stacey on

Siahandsam-you’ve never had twins, so I don’t care if you nursed 20 single babies, it’s not the same. When you’ve nursed twins then you can talk…until then don’t act like you know what it’s like to have twins when you have no clue.

twinboyz on

Personally, I think Marcia did a great job for nursing till 4mths. Nursing twins is so difficult and draining but the first 4mths are the hardest.

My twins were born 8wks premature, spent 2wks in the NICU and then some time in a step down nursery. I too had issues after their birth due to a hemorrhage, had to have a blood transfusion b/c my hematocrit was 15%. Left the hospital with a hematocrit of 19% and with two premature infants. Breastfeeding was a hard fought battle for me b/c I had so many health challenges to overcome. My twins and I worked on bfing forever, I thought I would never get them to feed. I had supply issues, had flat nipples, the twins were too weak to latch properly, would tire easily, etc. Finally at 8wks they were able to get full feeds (their true due date) before that I pumped like crazy and fed them bottles.

Before they were born my goal was to make it to 6mths bfing them. Once I hit that goal I moved it to 1 year. When they were 1, my new goal was 2yrs like the WHO (World Health Organization) recommends. After we made it to 2yrs then I decided to let them self wean. At 4yrs they finally weaned.

Am I proud of my accomplishments? Yes, VERY!!! Breastfeeding my twins was the hardest achievement of my life. The hardest part was all the people around who would tell me I should give up b/c they would be fine…or they would say, “you can stop now b/c they were finally 6mths, 1yr, 2yrs, etc.” I think if people really looked and discussed the benefits of nursing for both baby and mother, people would start to view nursing differently. Most of America is clueless to the numerous benefits of nursing. I just wish for once pediatricians would give handouts and good information about the benefits of nursing and stop giving out free formula samples.

I am not a nursing nazi but it is amazing to me how little positive information about breastfeeding is given. A few times, I actually had to defend my nursing after my boys were over 1yr to my ped b/c he was saying they needed cows milk. Even our medical community is clueless about the true benefits of breastfeeding and extended breastfeeding.

I applaud anyone who nurses for any length of time. Yes, women can truly have supply issues or have lactation problems for those mothers, yes formula is an options but most of these women are never even presented information about milk banks they are just handed a sample formula packet. The education is so limited which makes the breastfeeding debate so one-sided and inaccurate. Even, our medical community is ignorant to this topic…hence why LLL and women who are passionate about breastfeeding seem so radical. No, they are not radicals they are just fed up with the misinformation and are finally taking a stance and are presenting facts.

Now for the question from a previous poster about what we feed our kids after they are done bfing…For me I can honestly say, “yes, I am a radical in that regard also.” My kids eat very well…when they started eating solids at 11mths, I made all my own baby food. I used the Super Baby Food book as a guide and taught myself how to make their foods. Today my twins are 7 and they still eat natural minimally processed foods as does the whole family. They only eat dye free, preservative free, organic foods. My twins are very healthy, very active, very fit and have minimal signs from their premature start….which I credit to their current diets and their years of breastfeeding.

Now for the facts that I mentioned above…Here is a link to some great facts about breastfeeding: http://www.promom.org/101/

Kuddos to Marcia…and kuddos to all who nurse but especially to those that nurse multiples :):)

bocaburger on

I nursed my twins 14 months, 99.8% of the time tandem. I attempted once, in public to do tandem, but I only nursed them in public 2-3x ever in the 14 months.

It takes a lot of time, and I spent hours and hours on the couch. I say hats off for trying even. It’s not an easy task.

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