Breastfeeding and Pumping for Twins
by Susie Hamilton
Breast Pumps Direct
Successfully breastfeeding twins is possible because breastmilk production is based on a supply and demand principle. This means that the more milk your babies drink from the breast, the more milk your body should produce. Signs of a Good Milk Supply is a good article to reference while nursing if you are concerned about your milk production. While breastfeeding more than one child at a time is possible, it can be an overwhelming and exhausting task in the early stages.
Working out a schedule or routine that works for you will help make breastfeeding your babies more manageable. You can choose to nurse both babies simultaneously or nurse them individually. While simultaneous nursing is the most practical option because it helps to minimize the amount of time you spend breastfeeding. However, nursing each baby does allow you to spend some quality one-on-one time with each baby, and it can be helpful when the babies have varying feeding schedules. Most mothers of multiples find that a combination of simultaneous and individual feedings work best.
Helpful Tips for Pumping
If your twins are born pre-term and are unable to nurse right away, a breast pump can be used to initiate lactation and build up your supply. If you will need to express milk for your babies, a hospital grade breast pump will be the best option for you in the beginning.
There are several ways to make things a little easier for yourself if you will be pumping. Find a comfortable pumping spot a home where you can keep all of your pumping necessities setup. Doing so will save you a lot of time since everything will be ready for you and you won’t have to search the house for missing parts. Pump straight into feeding bottles and rinse the pump’s breastshields with hot water then store them in the refrigerator to eliminate any extra and unnecessary dishwashing throughout the day.
Comfortable Positions for Nursing Twins Simultaneously
- Double Clutch - The double clutch or football hold with pillows for support works well for many mothers.
- Double Cradle - You can also hold both babies in front with their legs overlapping (they’ll make an X across your lap).
- Cradle/Clutch – With this combination hold, one baby is nursed in the cradle position while the other nurses in clutch or football hold.
Develop a Support System
Having a support system in place before your babies are born can help to contribute to your breastfeeding success. Arrange to have help around the house from dad or other family members during the first few days after returning from the hospital. Your focus will be on nursing and resting so you shouldn’t be worrying about other household chores.
Attending La Leche League or other breastfeeding support meetings prior to delivery is a great way to meet other breastfeeding mothers as well as mothers who have successfully breastfed twins.
Breastfeeding twins can be a challenging situation for a new mom, but reminding yourself of the Benefits of Breastfeeding can help to keep you motivated through rough times. Having to supplement a few feedings does not mean you have to give up breastfeeding or pumping because your children will benefit from any amount of breastmilk that you are able to give them.
Once you have decided to wean your twins from the breast, you will follow the same guidelines as a mother weaning one baby. Based on the effect of supply and demand, if both babies are receiving less milk, less milk will be made. Subsequently, if one twin seems ready to give it up yet the other is still nursing strong then your milk supply will respond (in time) to the adjustment in demand. There are healthy ways to attempt weaning so brush up on the facts with our article Weaning:Helping Your Baby off of the Breast.
Return To: Breastfeeding Basics