Breastfeeding Tips For Twin Babies, Including How To Establish Your Milk Supply, Dealing With Sore Nipples And Different Techniques

Breastfeeding is the most natural thing in the world, but most moms and babies experience a learning curve in the early days and weeks after birth.  Successfully nursing one baby takes time and support, and if you’re expecting twins, you may be wondering how to get breastfeeding off to a great start. Here are answers to some common questions about nursing multiples.

Ami Burns

 

How do I get started nursing twins?
“Have lots of body contact with the babies and make the breast accessible as much as possible”, says Nancy Mohrbacher, IBCLC, FILCA, co-author of Breastfeeding Made Simple: Seven Natural Laws for Nursing Mothers (www.breastfeedingmadesimple.com) and The Breastfeeding Answer Book. “Typically babies want to feed nearly nonstop for the first few days, which gives them the milk their tiny stomachs can handle while increasing milk production. Having the babies on the mothers body also releases hormones that increase milk production.”

What are the best positions for breastfeeding my babies?
There are many positions to try, and you’ll discover what works best for you and your babies. Mohrbacher says, “A good way to approach positioning during the early days is ‘laid-back breastfeeding.’ The mother leans back far enough so that her babies can lay tummy down on her body with her body supporting the babies' weight (hospital beds allow mothers to do this easily).  The mother can position the babies at any angle that works for them--lengthwise along her body, perpendicular to her body with their legs on the bed, or anything in between.”

Cheryl H., mother of three in Illinois, “When I was only holding one baby, I generally used a cradle-hold or side-lying. It took me some time to get used to the football hold, but when nursing the twins together, it was easiest to use that hold with a twins nursing pillow,” she explains.

What if my babies need to stay in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU)?
Breastmilk is particularly beneficial for premature babies. If your baby is unable to breastfeed for medical reasons, the hospital can provide you with a pump to express milk. Your milk can be given to your baby through a feeding tube if necessary. Your baby’s doctor may also recommend supplementing with formula.

One of Cheryl H’s babies spent a week in the NICU, and was supplemented with formula in addition to the milk Cheryl pumped for him before he was discharged. If you are unable to nurse or express milk for one of your babies, you may want to learn more about feeding her donor milk from a human milk bank through websites like Human Milk Bank at www.hmbana.org.Talk to your doctor about your options so you can decide what’s best for your baby’s particular needs.

Should I nurse my babies at the same time?
“In many cases, mothers breastfeed babies separately at first while they’re learning,” explains Mohrbacher. “However, breastfeeding the babies together is a huge timesaver, so most mothers do this more and more as they get more practice with breastfeeding.”

Where can I find support?
Once your babies are born, if you have questions, concerns, or simply want to be around other nursing moms of multiples, there are many resources available to you. Find out more information about local mothers of twins clubs, new moms groups, or nursing mothers councils. Our Pregnancy & Baby message boards are another great place to find support from other breastfeeding mothers. The National Organization of Mothers of Twins Clubs (www.nomotc.org) is another great resource for mothers of twins.

Will I be able to make enough milk for my babies?
“Mothers can make enough milk for triplets, quadruplets and even more,” says Mohrbacher. “Back in the old days, wet nurses were told to limit themselves to six babies at a time! The key is draining the breasts well and often. The more a mother of multiples breastfeeds, the more milk she’ll produce.”

Cheryl H. offers this mom-to-mom wisdom: “Trust your body to be able to provide for the twins.”

 

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