Breastfeeding twins or multiples

Having twins or multiples can be a challenge – and this certainly applies to breastfeeding. Milk supply is not an issue, since there is usually enough. But establishing a routine can be more of a challenge.
The challenge

The feeding challenge

It is possible to breastfeed twins, sometimes even multiples. The key to success is the same for any breastfeeding mother: you need to understand the basic principles, such as the concept of supply and demand, and the importance of correct positioning and latch-on.

The biggest problem faced by mothers of multiples beside the milk supply is lack of time. To deal with this, you should learn to feed your babies simultaneously. Ask your lactation consultant to show you the different positions that allow you to feed your babies in a comfortable manner.

There are some basic tips and techniques that can help with the unique challenges you face. For example, if your babies are different weights or one has a health concern and the other (or others) does not, you will usually need to feed them at different times or in different ways for a while. If your babies have different temperaments that require different settling techniques, you will learn what works best with each one.

The importance of positioning

When breastfeeding twins or multiples, you may need to support and position your babies on a pillow while they are small, which will also take the strain off your wrists, arms, back and shoulders. It is usually easier to master breastfeeding one baby after the other before trying tandem feeding, which is where both babies feed at the same time. A couch, bed or floor will provide the most space for this type of feeding.

With multiples, it is best to seek professional lactation advice in the early days of feeding, as good attachment and feeding comfort is vital for ongoing success. Keeping up your breast milk supply can be difficult, especially if your babies were born prematurely. You may need an infant formula ‘top up’. But do not worry: taking away some of the stress of supplying enough milk can actually help increase your milk production.

The first months home from hospital are going to be tough. Breastfeeding twins or multiples can be an overwhelming responsibility, so employ all the help you can get and give yourself time to adapt.

 

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