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Breastfeeding Twins - Part 1 of 2

Are you excited yet a bit scared of welcoming twins? Don’t worry! There are things you can do to make things less stressful, and we’ve got you covered. We’ll cover double the information across two articles.

  • Published on: 25 Feb 2021
  • 5 min read
Breastfeeding Twins - Part 1 of 2

Are you excited yet a bit scared of welcoming twins? Don’t worry! There are things you can do to make things less stressful, and we’ve got you covered. We’ll cover double the information across two articles.

The immune system of babies strengthens with the antibodies they get from breast milk, so of course you want both your little ones to get all the vital nutrients they need! Breastmilk is easier to digest, the least expensive means to feed a child, and it can ensure social and emotional interaction between the mother and the baby1.

Let’s explore some twin-specific challenges and solutions.

The Challenges and Solutions to Breastfeeding Twins

pregnant mom

Breastfeeding can be more convenient than bottle feeding, but it becomes challenging when breastfeeding twins. It means double the fun but double the work, too. Some moms find it overwhelming to take care of one baby, and it scares them to have two at the same time. Nursing twins can be a struggle, but it is possible if you prepare2.

With careful planning, efforts, and continuous help and support, parents may successfully overcome the struggles in coping with two hungry tummies to feed. Here are some challenges and their solutions.

Knowing How to Start Twin Feeding

You probably have so many questions. Most importantly, how?! It’s not so much different than having one baby.

You start by preparing before the babies come out. Starting with breastfeeding requires commitment and support. You will need help throughout the journey. You will need to discuss the possible scenarios with your partner, family, and other caregivers. There will be many conversations around resolutions, so aim to agree on how to go about it.

The first days can be crucial. Having twins is not usual for moms. That’s why it is essential to have an expert or a healthcare professional to assist you with breastfeeding your twins right after giving birth. Your knowledge about breastfeeding and your love for your babies can help you pull things together. It’ll be challenging, but try to relax as you empower yourself with knowledge - less stress on all three of you is a great way to start.

After birth, aim to have as much skin-to-skin contact as possible with your little ones. Let your partner or support person switch babies with you so you can breastfeed each child adequately. Alternate your breasts frequently for the first few hours from birth to allow your babies to get enough colostrum-rich immune factors.

Having Doubts About Breastmilk Sufficiency

bandana bib twins

Studies show that the more babies you feed, the more milk your body will produce3. Most women doubt this fact considering their body frame, weight, and other factors. The idea can be difficult to visualize, but easy to understand. A mother’s breasts are capable of giving plentiful supply, more than you can imagine, even with twins.

The rule is that your milk supply will meet the demands of your twins. The extra stimulation you get from more babies directs your body to produce more. Nursing often can also help because it will send a signal to your body that it needs to make more milk at regular intervals.

You will also need lots of water to get by. When mothers breastfeed their babies, the body releases a hormone called oxytocin, and this can cause thirst. To ensure steady milk production, offer your breasts alternatively to optimize milk production, or pump both breasts to empty.

Making Sure Your Twins Get Enough Breastmilk

There are ways you can gauge if your babies are getting enough, but if you feel unsure, consult your doctors or lactation consultants. Weight gain is the most common indication, but here are some other signs your babies are eating healthily. 

  • When you can breastfeed regularly at about two to three hours interval during the first month.
  • When your twins’ stool is yellowish and soft around the fifth day of their birth.
  • When they’re wetting their diapers about five or more times within the day.
  • The way your babies swallow milk can also tell if they are getting enough. You will hear them slurp and swallow continuously until your breasts turn soft and lighter.

Feeding in Tandem or Separately

Another challenge for mothers is determining how to feed their babies. Is it better if you nurse them at the same time or one after the other?

It’s ideal to begin with feeding your twins individually. Knowing how each baby latches is essential, and separate feedings will also allow you to see if there are any issues to address for each child. Some moms choose to breastfeed successively, offering the breasts alternatively on demand.

Tandem feeding is a method of nursing the twins together, simultaneously. It’s time-saving, and you will know for sure you’re offering both breasts for breastfeeding. However, it is not as easy to do in public, so tandem-feeding is not always ideal. Since tandem feeding will allow you to attend to your hungry babies by offering both breasts at a time, it is more convenient at home. On the other hand, tandem-feeding in public can be very difficult, frustrating, and unsafe. So remember, you do have the option to feed one at a time.

If you’re not sure which one suits you and your twins, try them both! Different means can be applied depending on the situation. Each of your babies may also have an individual preference, and you may as well. Determine which works well for everyone by observing how each feeds and how you feel.

Remember, there are no hard and fast rules. You decide how to do it and when to do it. Only you know how to keep your twins and your best interests in mind.

Nursing Two (or More) Babies Can Make Your Nipples Sore

twins

Getting sore nipples isn’t solely because you’re nursing more frequently. It can be a result of an incorrect latch and wrong breastfeeding positioning4.

In case this happens, the best treatment for this is breastmilk itself! You can let your breastmilk dry on your sore nipples for a few minutes, and it will heal your wounds or cracks and kill the bacteria around them. You can also try an all-natural and organic nipple balm.

Conclusion

Breastfeeding, no matter how many babies are involved, is a lot of work. Knowledge is truly powerful when it comes to feeding twins, especially for new moms who aren’t sure what to expect. Trust your body, moms! It will provide enough milk. Pay attention to each child to make sure their individual needs are met.

Be sure to check out part 2 where we cover the importance of having support when breastfeeding twins, tips for pumping for two, and some feeding schedule guidelines.

Sources:

1. www.mayoclinic.org

2. www.whattoexpect.com

3. www.verywellfamily.com

4. www.babycenter.com

 


Meet Our KeaMommy Contributor: Nadia Rumbolt

Nadia Rumbolt is a mom of many trades, including creative writing, blogging, van life, minimalism, veganism, the beach, nature, and the occult.

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