Whether you’ve been blessed with a set of twins or you have two kids under two, you can still breastfeed comfortably and easily, with just a few tricks up your sleeve.
So many people think that because breastfeeding is natural, it’s easy. For some women, it is easy. For most, there’s a learning curve to get a baby in the right position, to latch properly and to eat heartily. Multiply that by two and suddenly it can feel a little overwhelming.
If you are breastfeeding twins, it can be easier to start with one at a time, eventually switching to both at once. Allowing yourself the learning curve of breastfeeding without the frustration of trying to get two newborns to latch at the same time makes a lot of sense.
For moms who are tandem feeding babies of different ages, it is easiest to get the younger one latched and eating first, before adding the older child, who already has the technique well in hand. It also ensures that, in the early days, they’re getting more of the colostrum that they need for immunity protection. They may not feed at the same time, making the process a little easier. That’s also true for twins: just because they’re twins doesn’t mean they’ll do everything exactly the same way, and that includes feeding.
Get the right equipment and positioning
Have a breastfeeding pillow that is large enough to accomodate two babies at the same time and make sure you have blankets or towels, rolled up, nearby in case you want to prop up one end or the other.
It’s easiest if you are seated where you can comfortably recline a little bit: if you have to lean forward, you can do some damage to your neck and back. That’s where the bolsters can come in handy, to help keep baby or breast at the right height!
Most moms find the football hold to be the easiest way to manage both babies at once. Tuck their feet under your arms and hold their heads steady in front of your breast, gripping them at the base of the head. It’s easiest if you do all of this on a bed, so that you can lay the babies on each side of you and pick them up one at a time, tuck their feet pointing behind you and bring them towards your breasts. A bolster can help keep the first one in place and latched on while you get the second one set up.
Are you producing enough milk for two?
Your body will adjust and begin to produce enough milk for two, as long as you are consistently feeding, to build up a solid milk supply. If you find you aren’t producing enough, try pumping between feedings to build up the supply even more. This has the added advantage of allowing someone else in the family, like your spouse, to help out with feedings.
You also need to remember to alternate sides that the babies are feeding on, preferably with each feeding. It can be tough to keep track of that but as babies suckle differently, you want to make sure that both breasts are being stimulated to produce milk consistently. There are apps that can help you with this, so you don’t have to try and remember!
If you decide to supplement with formula, continue using the pump to keep your milk supply coming in and so that you can feed them formula and breast milk.
Don’t forget to eat and hydrate!
When you’re breastfeeding, you need to eat and hydrate more. Your calorie intake increase while breastfeeding for one baby should be around 500 calories a day, so you need to double that with twins, to 1000 calories a day, over and above your normal pre-pregnancy intake. That can be tough to do but if you listen to your body, and eat when you’re hungry, you can manage it.
Not eating enough all of a sudden can slow down your milk production, so now is not the time to go on a crash diet to lose the baby weight! Drink plenty of water and put together a menu for yourself with a lot of whole grains, legumes, lean meats, fruits and veggies. A healthy dose of protein will help you to keep your energy up.
Need some snack ideas?
- Apple slices with peanut butter
- Pita or cut up veggies and hummus dip
- Yogurt mixed with fresh fruit and nuts
- Mixed berry smoothie with greek yogurt
- Hard boiled eggs
- A handful of nuts
Moderate any foods with sugar, fat, salt and caffeine. Remember that some of anything you eat gets to the babies through your milk supply, so while a cup of coffee isn’t a big deal, five will be.
Get some help
Establishing a milk supply for one baby is hard enough, but producing enough for two is practically a full time job. Particularly if you choose to stagger their feedings so that you can practice with just one baby at first, you will find that much of your day, for the first few weeks, is focused on feeding. That means little time for older siblings, household chores or even eating and drinking properly!
Having some help around the house, such as with a postpartum doula, will ensure that you can find the time to focus on what you need to do—eat, drink, feed your babies and rest— and leave the rest for a while, with zero guilt.