Breastfeeding twins or higher multiples requires more work — and more dedication — than breastfeeding a single baby. And the responsibility of feeding more than one can be overwhelming. You may worry that you won’t produce enough milk to nourish more than one baby.
The key to success in breastfeeding more than one baby is having a good support network and time. Breastfeeding twins is hard work, but it does get easier. Plus, you’ll save a lot of money instead of using formula.
- Make sure to have a support network in place. Breastfeeding is hard and if you don’t have someone to help motivate you, you may feel like quitting. Also, make sure to research resources, such as lactation consultants, who can answer your questions when you first start nursing. Many moms find it useful to have household help during the early days — either a family member or a postpartum doula — who can take care of minor household duties, help care for older children, prepare food for you and encourage and support you while you focus on feeding your babies
- It takes the same amount of time to simultaneously bottle-feed your babies as it does to breastfeed them at the same time. Yet bottle-feeding also requires additional time for washing and sterilizing bottles and preparing and warming formula. According to calculations from La Leche League International, breastfeeding during the first year saves a mother of twins about 300 hours and more than $1,200.
- Feeding your babies at the same time is the most economical use of your precious time. However, babies are individuals, so one twin may want to nurse every three hours, and the other, every two hours. Some mothers find that letting the hungrier baby dictate the time of the next feed for both works best. Some mothers nurse on demand during the day and follow a schedule at night..
- Use rolled-up towels or a nursing pillow to support your babies. You can buy nursing pillows designed specifically for nursing twins (some nursing moms recommend the EZ-2-Nurse Twins pillow or the NurseMate pillow because they have large, firm surfaces that will support two babies at once, freeing your hands to reposition or burp each baby). With the help of a pillow, you can vary your nursing positions. For example, you can rotate from the cradle hold (across your chest) to the football hold (along your side), or you can use a combination of the two. It’s a good idea to alternate breasts with every feeding, especially if one twin is a stronger feeder. If it’s hard to keep track of who was on each breast last, try alternating breasts every 24 hours instead of after each feed. Switching back and forth regularly helps produce equal amounts of milk in both breasts and lessens the chance of blocked milk ducts. Alternating breasts also helps your babies’ eyes get equal exercise and stimulation..