Breastfeeding Twins: How to get Started

Breastmilk is best for babies. Breastfeeding provides all the nutrients your baby needs and it also contains antibodies from you which help them fight infections. Especially for premature babies this can be a great help to survive the first weeks.

Breastfeeding twins can be a real challenge. Although we parents know the benefits of breastfeeding our babies, it is not a natural choice for all parents. Especially when having more than one baby to take care of. Many twins are born premature. Sometimes the babies (or one of them) needs te stay in the hospital for a couple of days or weeks. So it can be much harder to make a good start.

Amber (2425g) and Jasmijn (2225g) (at this picture 5 weeks old) were born on June 28, 2010 after 37.3 weeks pregnancy

Breastfeeding your babies is recommended for at least six months, but in the twin situation this is rare: about 60% of all twin mothers start breastfeeding their babies after birth, but only 10% of them continues breestfeeding up to six months, some even longer. However there is no need to feel guilty or inadequate if you can’t or don’t want to do it. For a variety of personal, phisical or medical reasons, some parents of twins opt for formula milk of mixed feeding and that is OK!

If you are convinced to give it a try, you need to make sure you know all the ins and outs before your babies are born.

Get started

Succesfully breastfeeding twins usually takes some time, because breastfeeding is a skill that needs to be learnt. Most mothers need support and advice from professionals to help them get going. It usually takes about four to six weeks to get breastfeeding fully established. During the first weeks it is best to feed newborn babies ‘on demand’. But with more than one baby it is wise to adapt you approach, so you don’t spend the whole day feeding your babies.

Mothers of twins can breastfeed their babies simultanously, with a baby attached to each breast at the same time, or separately. In the beginning it is recommended to feed one baby at a time, until the babies are less vulnerable and you feel more confident about your feeding skills.

Tips:

  • Be well prepared. Try and find information about breast feeding twins at an early stage, preferably during your pregnancy. You can also contact a breastfeeding support group like La Leche League http://www.llli.org/ for advice.
  • Inform the medical staff about your desire to breastfeed your babies before delivery. Make sure that the medical staff won’t bottle feed you babies, but have them use cup feeding instead if necessary. You don’t want your babies to develop a preference for bottle feeding.
  • Ask for support when starting breast feeding. The medical staff can help you to hold your babies in the right position. Especially after a c-section it can be very difficult to find the right position with your tiny twins.
  • Purchase scales so you can measure the amount of milk. By measering the weight of your babies right before and right after feeding them, you can find out if they have had enough milk. Especially during the first weeks it is important to closely follow the growth of your babies.
  • Create a quiet environment to feed your babies. Especially when your babies grow older they can easily get distracted in a noisy environment. If the babies get distracted by each other it can be a good idea to start breastfeeding them turn by turn.
  • Be well organised when feeding your babies. Before you start feeding your babies you need te make sure that you are well prepared. So put your burp cloths, pillows, a drink for yourself, your phone, the remote control etc. within reach.
  • Mind your own nutrition. Drink lots of water and eat healthy. Make sure you take enough time for a healthy nutrition. Don’t drink any alcohol at all. Always contact your doctor before taking medication.
  • Take enough time. Feeding both babies simultanously really is ‘teamwork’. It usually takes some time before the mother and babies can manage this together.
  • Don’t give up! Even the most natural way of feeding your babies doesn’t always go naturally. Succesfully breastfeeding twins simply takes more time, because you need to find the right schedule and the right position for both babies.

If you have any questions about breastfeeding your babies, please feel free to contact me for personal advice suzanne@twinsvideoblog.com

 


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