Breastfeeding twins – when you choose to nurse your babies you are providing them with the best possible food, the best nutrition, and the benefits of your immune system to protect them.
Did you know that breastfed babies generally have less allergies and excema ? Breastfeeding twins also allows you to spend time bonding with them in a special way.
Many mothers assume that breastfeeding will just come easily , just as nature intended, but when nursing twins – well you are dealing with two very different babies at the same time.
Breastfeeding is something you will need to learn and practice at first- even if you have successfully breastfed a baby before as each child is different. Try to be patient while you learn how to respond to your different babies’ needs, how to position two at a time, how to have them both successfully latch on to the breast, and how to know if they are getting enough milk.
How often should you nurse your babies ?
Your babies growth will depend on them getting enough of your milk. A newborn baby will want to feed 8-10 times per day, and will drink about 760ml to 840ml at a time! Now multiply that by two! Know that this is the only food that your babies need for the first 6 months of their life – your milk will provide them with all the nutrition they need to grow and develop normally. Some mothers worry that they won’t make enough milk for their twins, but if you feed them on demand when they are hungry your breasts can actually produce up to double the amount of milk your babies need !
Expect to feed your twins about every two to three hours – the more you feed them, the more milk your body will produce.
How long should you nurse your babies for ?
Your twins probably won’t have the same feeding demands and not all breasts produce the same volume of milk, or have the same milk ejection reflex so it’s important to know that there is no one right answer for how long.
You’ll want to make sure that your breasts are emptied at each feed – so if you do have one baby who eats more and one who is more of a nibbler – switch breasts to let the bigger eater empty the other side. The foremilk – the milk that comes first is to provide the fluid needed for your babies to hydrate them, while the hindmilk, that comes later during a feed is higher in fat content and more filling.
If you need to increase your milk production.
Make sure that you are feeding and completely emptying both breasts , either by breastfeeding or by manual or pump expression at least 8 times a day. When you drain all the milk from the breast it will improve the amount of milk produced the next time – you are essentially teaching your body how much milk it needs to produce for your twins. It will feel like this is all you do in a day at first , but it is so important to milk production.
Some helpful hints for breastfeeding twins.
Offer your hungriest baby the breast that is the most full. Experiment with different ways to tandem feed your twins so that you are maximizing your time – remember 8-10 feeds a day! If you do all of those feedings separately, that is 16-20 per day ! The hardest part of breastfeeding twins comes if you feed them one at a time. Keep pillows handy to adjust babies as needed. Sitting in a big recliner with their heads in front on your lap and their bodies along side either side of you can be the most comfortable, and hands-free. Keep the phone nearby and a big glass of water and settle in!
If your milk comes out too quickly for a slower eating baby, it can cause them to sputter and choke. Make sure you burp the baby often if this happens as they probably will take in too much air. To prevent it, manually express a little bit of milk first, to even out the strong let-down reflex.
Sometimes breastfeeding moms will stop feeding too early because their baby has dozed off. Give your baby a nudge or pick them up to burp them so they finish a good feeding, otherwise you’ll have a nibbler on your hands!
Your babies should just release the nipple on their own when they are satisfied, usually with a silly smile on their face ! ( we used to call it the milk-drunk – they really do look satisfied and silly!) If you do need to unlatch your baby , don’t yank! Use a finger to break the seal between your breast and your babies mouth.
Breastfeeding twins, the first three weeks.
You will know you are breastfeeding twins well if:
– they each have 4-5 very wet diapers in a 24 hour period.
– their urine is clear or pale with no odor.
– they are having about 2-3 bowel movements every 24 hours that look like mustard – either brownish or yellow.
– each bowel movement is at least the size of a one dollar coin.
– you can see your babies jaws moving up and down while nursing.
– you can hear swallowing sounds during feedings.
– you can see milk in your baby’s mouth.
– your breasts feel hard and full before feeding them, and soft and empty afterwards.
If you feel you are having trouble or are worried , talk to a public health nurse , lactation consultant or your doctor.