Tips for Breastfeeding Twins

Breastfeeding Twins Tips written by Guest Blogger: Candice of M.O.T. Bits. 

WOO HOO!! I made it! I breast fed both babies for a whole year! Sorry I’m tooting my own horn, but I just remember at the very beginning hearing the latest from the American Academy of Pediatrics encouraging mothers to breastfeed for a whole year and thinking, there is no way I can go that long. I had short-term goals-”If I can make it to 6 weeks, that’s a good start for the baby…ok now if I can make it to 3 months…”, then 6 months and then the year just came and it definitely got easier as the babies got older.

I’m NOT against supplementing or formula, but besides the health benefits of a the natural way, I like to think of how much money I saved. I think I probably bought less then 10 cans of formula the whole time. Plus the extra bonus it’s the BEST DIET EVER!! I lost all my baby weight with in a few weeks, and an ADDITIONAL 30 lbs this last year. I’m smaller then I was in Jr. High and I eat twice as much. (Hopefully, since I’m done nursing, I’ll be able to keep it off!!)

Here are some breastfeeding tips that worked for me:

First Don’t Stress! As long as your body does what’s it’s supposed to, you can do it!!!
The most important thing is getting enough milk supply for both babies.

PUMPING

In the hospital they had me pump every 2 hours. I really do recommend faithfully pumping for the first 2 weeks. They told me this helps the part of the brain that controls the supply. It’s so hard, but it was worth it. I would just nurse the babies, wait a half hour and then pump. They told me to take a break from pumping at night.

When you get home, if you are going to rent or buy a pump remember to ask your doctor to see if it’s possible to have a prescription for one so you can submit it to your insurance to see if they will pay for some- especially if the babies are still in the hospital, or have a low birth weight.

I LOVE my pump, it is the Avent Twin Electric Pump. You can get it from Amazon  here.

I was totally fine with supplementing with formula until I got my supply up, but you just have to make sure that you still trying to nurse first and supplement after if they are still hungry. Then keep PUMPING!!

After I came home from the hospital, the Pediatrician was a little worried about the babies’ weights. For the first 2 days she had me pump and then feed with a bottle so that we could know how much the babies were getting. This was SO HARD, but I think it helped get my supply up.

Herbs to help increase milk supply:

My lactation specialist recommended FENUGREEK and BLESSED THISTLE taken together. Check out this article for information about these herbs and dosage.

17 Health Benefits of Fenugreek : If you’re a nursing mother, it goes without saying that it’s really important you make sure you have proper milk flow for your baby. Not only that, but it’s also important that you do what you can to protect your own personal health.

(Despite what your Dr. may tell you, the birth control pill may decrease your milk supply. I went on the one that is supposed to be okay when nursing and 7 days later my milk supply had decreased. I called the Dr. and they insisted it wasn’t the pill, but when I called my lactation specialist she said she has seen it happen several times. I wasn’t going to take any chances! I needed all the supply I could, so I went off it and within a week I was back up to what I needed.)

Nipple Shields

My sister recommended I ask for Nipple Shields in the hospital. (She had inverted nipples and they helped her baby latch on.) I asked a couple different nurses in the hospital and they were against them, but couldn’t give me a good reason why. Finally I asked the Lactation Specialist in the NICU and she gladly gave me some.

I read the reviews online about nipple shields and I’m not the only mom that LOVED them!!! A lot of the reviews were from moms who had smaller, preemie babies and said they helped so much!!! I didn’t see any negative reviews. Honestly for me, there are a few reasons I think they helped.:

1. It made it easier for the babies to latch on and stay latched on, which is hard when you are trying to nurse two babies and don’t have 4 hands!!!!
2. I also think it helped them not have nipple confusion. They had no problem going back and forth between bottles and breast.
3. Since with twins, your nipples never get a break, it helped them not be so tender and helped so I didn’t crack and bleed.
4. As I mentioned, the pediatrician was having me do SMS (feeding them what I had pumped or formula through a syringe and tube, while they are sucking on the breast.) This was easy with the nipple shield because I could put it on and put the little tube through the nipple shield and the babies would suck on my breast and get rewarded.

The hospital should have them, but you may want to just buy them on Amazon..

Nursing 2 at same time

Although nursing both babies can be a HUGE challenge at first, to me it was worth it to save time. The Mothering Multiples: Breastfeeding book gives lots of different ways to nurse, or at least feed at the same time. What worked for me was using a bobby pillow and nursing while holding them both in the
Football hold.

Switching Breasts
People would always ask, “So with one baby, you nurse on one side, and then if they are still hungry offer the other. What do you do with twins?” Well you nurse each baby on one side until they are done. I do have one side that produces more, but to solve that problem, I would switch what breast they nursed on each time. If Baby A nursed on the left side last time, then she gets the right one this time. It worked for me. See the The Mothering Multiples: Breastfeeding book for other suggestions.

(I’ll write a review of the book I’m referring to: Mothering Multiples: Breastfeeding and Caring for Twins and More and post it soon.)

Check out this other MOT’s Blog for some of her breastfeeding twins tips. Thanks Dana at Surviving 4 Kids!

~Candice

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Did you breastfeed your multiples? What tips do you have for our expectant parents?

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Tips for breastfeeding Twins

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17 comments

  1. MandyE (Twin Trials and Triumphs)

    This is a great post! I'm passing it along to a couple of moms I know who are expecting twins. Thanks!

  2. Way to go on making the year mark!

    Breastfeeding has been the hardest and the most rewarding thing I've ever done. I'm in the 8th month of nursing my twins and I've tried to be really open with my struggles (and triumphs!) here on my blog. http://bumblebeegrace.blogspot.com/search/label/Breastfeeding

  3. My advice is Stick with it! It takes a while for both babies and mama to learn how to latch and breastfeed. It can also take a little while for them to learn how to tandum. Just keep practicing!

  4. Kimberly & Alex

    I tandum breastfed my twins in the football position for a year, it was so rewarding. Now I just finished pumping with my quads for 9 months. Not as rewarding, but just as important. Would love to discuss with anyone at thekingsquad.blogspot.com

  5. Kimberly & Alex

    I tandum breastfed my twins in the football position for a year, it was so rewarding. Now I just finished pumping with my quads for 9 months. Not as rewarding, but just as important. Would love to discuss with anyone at thekingsquad.blogspot.com

  6. Kimberly & Alex

    I tandum breastfed my twins in the football position for a year, it was so rewarding. Now I just finished pumping with my quads for 9 months. Not as rewarding, but just as important. Would love to discuss with anyone at thekingsquad.blogspot.com

  7. Thanks for the great tips! I'm 34 weeks pregnant with twins and have a 2-year-old at home. I nursed my daughter for 13 months and really, really, really want to nurse my twins for a year. It's hard to find success stories out there! So thank you for sharing yours.

    Kara
    http://www.pleiadesbee.com

  8. I breastfed my triplets for 3 months. That's all I could handle mentally and emotionally and I'm ok with that. Yes, we ended up spending nearly $400 a month on formula for the next 9 months, but I'm ok with it. I did the best I could.

    Oh, and the weight loss thing? Not everyone loses weight while BFing. I thought for sure I would considering all my friends said they did. I didn't actually lose anything until I weaned the boys.

  9. I'm on month 11 of breastfeeding my twin girls. I would second the recommendation of taking fenugreek as a supplement…it really helped increase my milk supply. Also, I found that I can't stand to do tandem nursing. I don't enjoy it and when I was in the hospital after the girls were born I discovered that it was making me dread nursing. (I had nursed 5 children before the twins, so I knew that I was having an unnatural reaction.) I just wanted to mention that it is possible to exclusively breastfeed and not tandem nurse. It just means you spend a lot more time nursing. For me it was worth it and I could really focus on each girl at a time that way.

    If you really want to breastfeed, just keep trying. Sometimes it takes a while for you and the baby(ies) to get the hang of it. Remember that in the beginning you can't nurse too much!

  10. I think the key to breastfeeding depends completely on your determination. With my first baby boy, I tried breastfeeding with no success (I lasted about 1 week). I remember pumping for almost an hour when I got home from the hospital and only got a half an ounce out! I threw in the towel at that point with no guilty feelings. Formulas are wonderful and so good/nutritious these days!

    When I found out I was pregnant with twins, I felt really determined to breastfeed them. I don't really know why I was so enthusiastic about it–again I had no guilt about formula-feeding my first. I followed all the tips on this post: I pumped every three hours in the hospital and began taking fenugreek and blessed thistle. Very quickly (within two weeks), I had milk in abundance! I had to start freezing it.

    My twins were very little (one was only 3 lbs 11 oz), so I had to fortify my breastmilk and give them bottles five feedings a day. Because of this I pumped five times a day until they were about four months. I hated this, but in retrospect I feel very proud of myself and I'm glad I did it. Now, my twins are seven months old and I only pump twice a day. I don't need to fortify my milk now, so I probably don't have to pump at all anymore, but I got spoiled with bottle-feeding at night–it's just faster!

    Yes, you could say breastfeeding and pumping is a lot of work and maybe not worth the effort, but for me, it's been pretty second-nature since my twins were about four months. I think it's worth it! If you want to breastfeed you can do it!

  11. A year! I'm jealous. 🙂

    This is a fantastic post. I was fortunate to have two models of successfully feeding multiples when my daughters were born, but I can't tell you the number of moms of twins who've said, "I wish I'd known it was possible." You're an inspiration.

    I recently wrote about my own breastfeeding experience; we only made it to 5 and 7 months, although my goal was a year.

  12. I'm so grateful for this post! Thanks for all the great information. I nursed my first and second children (singletons) for 15 and 20 months, respectively. I feel good about breastfeeding but also am apprehensive about the way that having two at once will change the game. The beginning was a challenge both times but like other mothers have mentioned – I just stuck with it and it did become much easier within a few weeks.

  13. Hi there~! Gosh I wish I had found you a lot sooner. I have 9 month old triplets and attempted to nurse the. Unfortunately 1 latched on solid. One of my girls latched on some of the time and my other didn't want anything to do with it. I'm thinking it's because the girls were in the NICU a lot longer. Where my son Kai came home after two weeks. I had more practice with him. What I did do was nurse him and pumped for the first 6 months. I ended up stopping at that point only because I then suffered my 4th infection. So for my sake, my hubby's sake and my babies sake, I ended up calling it quits. But I feel good at least doing it for that long.
    Anyhoo, thanks for the tips. I know they'll benefit any other mom that's wanting or IS nursing.

  14. I nursed my twins until a year without any formula! I fortified at the beginning. I almost quit at 6 weeks, only to discover we all had thrush. I am currently bfing #4. I made enough milk with the twins to feed 3 at times! Thanks for sharing

  15. Dianna@KennedyAdventures

    Great job! My boys just turned 2, and we're STILL breastfeeding. My husband was/still is instrumental in encouragement and support for me.
    Congratulations!

  16. Great article. I am still nursing my 9 month old twins. It was a struggle in the beginning, but well worth it to me. I pumped and pumped and pumped to get my supply up and before I knew it I had a freezer stash. I don't think I could have done it at first without my twin nursing pillow. Before I knew it, we had packed the pillow away and were tandem nursing without it. Now we only tandem nurse at night and periodically during the day. I love how my kids interact and hold hands while tandem feeding, but I also love the one on one attention I can give them while nursing one at a time.

  17. I don’t have much to add, but I know breastfeeding one is hard enough, I can’t imagine two!

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