By Jacque Ordner BSN, RN, IBCLC
Many moms feel a bit of anxiety at the thought of breastfeeding as a first time mom. That anxiety is often amplified for moms who are expecting multiples! It’s true that breastfeeding is natural, but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy. We’ve got six tips to help you get prepared for breastfeeding twins.
#1 Know that it’s possible! Yes, moms can make enough milk for multiples! Frequent milk removal and stimulation are the keys to building and maintaining milk supply. Feeding your babies on demand is the best way to encourage an adequate supply. Skin to skin is also vital to incorporate as much as possible. If nursing isn’t possible,frequent pumping is essential. Because multiples are at higher risk for being born prematurely, make a plan for how to pump if your babies are in the NICU or aren’t able to nurse. Communicate your desire to provide breastmilk for your babies to your healthcare team.
#2 Learn as much as you can BEFORE your babies are born! This tip can apply whether you’re expecting one, two, or more babies. It’s so important to take a breastfeeding class and to connect with an IBCLC before you’re overwhelmed with all that comes with the early days postpartum. Connect with an IBCLC who is experienced in supporting moms of multiples and consider joining a support group (in person or online) for moms of multiples as well.
#3 Enlist help! Newborns need us for EVERYTHING! Multiply that by two (or more) and it’s a recipe for exhausted and even exasperated parents. Identify friends and family members who are willing to help out with things like laundry, running errands, cooking, and even sitting with the babies so you can get some much needed rest. It is not weak or selfish to ask for help! Mamas, you are amazing, but that doesn’t mean you can’t ask for help sometimes! Make a plan, before the babies arrive, for who can help with what.
# 4 Supplementing doesn’t mean failure! It’s important to know that breastfeeding doesn’t have to be “all or nothing”. If your babies require a supplement of donor breastmilk or formula, that doesn’t mean you have failed! Breastfeeding multiples often comes with unique challenges, and many multiples require supplementation in the early weeks. Often, this supplementation is temporary.
# 5 Positioning is key! It is beneficial to practice positioning even during pregnancy. Try different holds with two teddy bears or two dolls. Practicing can lead to greater confidence in positioning once your babies are born. Investing in a breastfeeding pillow that is specifically designed for twins can be a game changer!
#6 Consider feeding both babies at the same time! It may take a few days to get accustomed to each baby’s feeding behaviors and preferences. Once you get the hang of feeding each of them, consider nursing them at the same time. Many twin moms report that feeding their babies simultaneously results in much more rest. Ultimately, you get to decide what works best for you and your babies!
We know that welcoming twins can feel a bit overwhelming, but we hope these tips help you feel a bit more prepared! We’re here to help as well. Schedule a free consultation with one of our IBCLCs here . Congratulations times two!