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.
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.)
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.:
- 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!!!!
- I also think it helped them not have nipple confusion. They had no problem going back and forth between bottles and breast.
- 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.
- 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
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.)