Breastfeeding Twins: 8 Tips For Tandem Breastfeeding
Expecting multiples? You have double the love to look forward to, and with the right tools, advice, and preparation you can successfully breastfeed each of your new babies.
Expecting multiples? Lucky you! You can look forward to double the love and bonding. With that in mind, we imagine that the challenges of breastfeeding multiples is just one of the concerns you may have. Yes, breastfeeding may be a challenge at first, but you can successfully breastfeed twins with the right tools, advice, and preparation.
How One Mom Manages Breastfeeding Twins
Julie Hamilton is a passionate mother of three - Ansley (6 years old) and twins Brycen and Olivia (3 years old). Her devotion to breastfeeding has helped her overcome challenges and struggles to successfully breastfeed all of her children, including her twins. She learned a lot along the way and even devoted some of her time to become a Certified Lactation Counselor. She talked with us about her experience and shared her best advice for breastfeeding multiples.
Julie could not stress enough the importance of being prepared for breastfeeding. So, we'll walk you through what preparedness means to her and share her lessons along the way.
Prepping for Tandem Breastfeeding
Take a breastfeeding class. This can help familiarize you with breastfeeding and help you become more comfortable with the basics before your babies arrive. Then, you'll have a good foundation to build upon!
Build a support team. Julie insisted, "Ask for and accept help." Specifically, Julie recommended making a "help sheet" to plan and assign tasks to family and friends. That way, you'll know you have the support you need, when you need it. Also, work to build an educated support team and include them in your research and learning experiences. The more they know about breastfeeding, the more encouraging they can be.
Ask for help. Julie knew she'd need help with late night feedings, so she and her husband worked together to develop a plan. She found that her husband could help most by getting the babies gently in and out of her arms. After breastfeeding, she'd quietly call her husband's phone so he could come back in to gently lift the sleeping babies back into their crib without waking them.
Breastfeeding Pillow, Hospital-Grade (Multi-User) Breast Pump, and Other Equipment
Research helpful supplies. Julie raved about how essential a twin-sized nursing pillow was to her breastfeeding success. Positioning was sometimes a challenge, so the pillow helped keep her comfortable and her babies positioned properly. She found that a football hold worked best because she could have both babies at her breast at the same time. She also found her breast pump particularly helpful once she returned to work. However, since everyone has different needs and lifestyles, be sure to do your own research to find what breast pump fits you best.
Breastfeeding and Pumping Schedule at Work
Talk to your work supervisor. Early and upfront communication with your employer about your pumping needs will help make returning to work easier. Take some time to understand the rights of working mothers and determine expectations with your employer.
Setting Breastfeeding Goals
Set realistic goals. Breastfeeding goals are a great way to inspire yourself to breastfeed for as long as possible. Set goals and celebrate when you achieve them.
Interview hospitals and pediatricians. Make your breastfeeding goals clear to your healthcare providers and come up with a plan for support after birth. Julie explalined that oftentimes if you're delivering twins, you'll automatically be placed in an operating room in case of complications during delivery. So, it's even more important that you stress your desire to breastfeed and come up with a plan.
...But be open to adjustments too! When Julie first began her journey, she had rigid expectations of what breastfeeding twins would be like. However, after a bout of engorgement and concerns that her babies weren't getting enough milk, she had to change her game plan. She got help from a doula, treated her engorgement, and learned that her babies had very different breastfeeding habits and preferences. Olivia consistently fed for 15 minutes each time, while Brycen would feed eagerly and vigorously before falling asleep quickly. Soon, she learned that both babies were getting enough breast milk despite their differences. So, she let Brycen guide the feeding schedule and let go of her rigid expectations.
As you watch your multiples grow and flourish, you'll always remember the closeness and the bonding time (and likely, some funny stories!) as you all enjoyed your breastfeeding journey together.