nursing-twins

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  • #10680624

    i-am-pregnant
    Keymaster

    Contrary to what some may think, nursing twins is possible. Even though nursing two babies may take a little more patience, planning and perseverance. Most women who have breastfed their twins say it is worth all of the extra effort. Breasts are designed to produce as much milk as needed, so nursing twins is as normal as nursing one infant.

    Why Nurse Twins

    Nursing your babies will provide them with all the important antibodies and immunities they need. This is especially beneficial for twins, who are often born prematurely. If the twins are premature, the mother’s milk will be higher in amino acids and proteins than the milk of a mother of a full-term baby. This richer milk helps the babies gain weight quickly. Although having premature twins can be a stressful experience, providing breastmilk for her twins while they are in the hospital can be a positive experience for the mother and provide her with a feeling of doing the best for her babies.

    Advantages of Nursing Twins

    Most women find that breastfeeding twins is easier than giving bottles of formula. Breastfeeding saves time and money. When babies are nursed at the same time, one on each breast, that is called Tandem nursing. Tandem nursing solves the problem of who to feed first if both babies are hungry at the same time. Tandem nursing also increases milk production since both breasts are being emptied at the same time. Making bottles of formula and sterilizing bottles for two babies takes a lot of time. Nursing provides a relaxing time for the mother to sit down, relax and get to know her babies.

    Getting Started

    Nutrition: A mother who is nursing twins needs extra nourishing foods, extra rest, extra liquids and possibly extra pre-natal/lactating vitamins. Breastfeeding twins requires more daily calories than being pregnant with twins. Nutritionists recommend that women nursing twins eat 3,000 calories daily. This is not the time to try to lose weight. Most women find they can eat lots of nourishing food and still gradually lose their pregnancy weight because of the calories expended by nursing two babies. Many doctors recommend that mothers who are nursing twins not try to return to their pre- pregnancy weight until the twins are at least six months old.

    Sore nipples: A mother who is nursing twins needs to be careful about preventing sore nipples. Positioning the babies correctly on the breast in the beginning will avoid sore and cracked nipples. If you find that your nipples are cracking or bleeding, try some lanolin cream. It is very important to change nursing positions, air-dry nipples after nursing and also to maintain a good diet and get lots of rest. She needs to be extra careful that her babies are latched on properly in a good nursing position. Nursing should not hurt.

    Household help: If at all possible, mothers of twins would benefit from some household help in the early weeks, especially if there is a toddler or other children in the house. It is unlikely that a new mother of twins will be able to do more than nurse her babies and take care of herself in the first few weeks. She should not hesitate to ask for specific household help, such as, "Here’s my shopping list, laundry to fold, etc." Although it may be difficult, if there are older children it is important she also schedule some individual time with them during those busy first few weeks. She should rely on family, friends, or hired help to take care of housecleaning, meal preparation or taking older children on outings. Fathers can be quite helpful in the early days by changing diapers, bringing the babies to the mother to feed, and burping and rocking the babies. A father’s support, assistance, and patience are extremely important for successful breastfeeding of twins.

    Outside support: A pediatrician who is supportive and knowledgeable of nursing twins is also quite important. New mothers should interview pediatricians before her twins are born, and she should select a pediatrician who supports her breastfeeding goals. She should talk to other mothers of twins or even join a local Mothers of Twins club to help her find support from the medical community. There are also publications available about caring for twins.

    Tandem Nursing Positions

    Breastfeeding twins at the same time is a real time-saver, but many mothers find it awkward in the beginning. As the twins become stronger and the mother more confident, tandem nursing becomes easier. If the twins are full-term and healthy, it is a good idea to practice tandem nursing at least once a day, so both the mother and the twins become comfortable with it. In the beginning, the mother will need help getting the twins positioned. It may be easier to position the less vigorous nurser first, then put the more vigorous nurser to the breast. New mothers should experiment with different positions to see which is the most comfortable. The two nursing positions which work well for tandem nursing are the double clutch or "football hold" and the cradle/clutch.

    The Double clutch or "football hold": The mother has each baby tucked under an arm in the football hold. The mother is seated comfortably on a couch, bed or even the floor with lots of pillows or blankets under the babies so she does not have to hold their weight or lean into them. Some Mothers of Twins clubs will loan a "U" shaped pillow, designed for nursing twins in this position.

    Cradle/clutch hold: One baby is in the cradle breastfeeding position and the second is in the football hold. This way each baby can have equal exposure to left and right visual stimulation (which comes from looking up at the mother’s face), even if they have favorite sides to nurse from. The mom can simply alternate cradle and clutch positions.

    Mothers should feel free to experiment until they find a position that works for them. As long as each baby is well positioned on the breast and they each receive equal visual stimulation, any position is acceptable. The goal is to be comfortable while nursing. Individual Nursing

    Tandem nursing does require more of the breast to be exposed and is difficult to do discreetly. Mothers should not hesitate to ask visitors to leave the room if they are uncomfortable tandem nursing in front of others. When out in public, she may want to nurse her twins separately since it is more discreet.

    Some women prefer to breastfeed each twin individually. While this requires more time, some mothers feel they need time with each twin to aid with the individual attachment process. Other mothers feel that time alone can be given in other activities and breastfeed individually only occasionally. Mothers who tandem nurse need to take into account the differences in their twins’ nursing styles. One may be a vigorous, fast nurser while one may be a slow, un-hurried nurser. Therefore nursing times may not be the same for each baby, even when they are nursing together.

    Helpful Tips

    Which breast is whose? There are many ways in which mothers breastfeed twins. Some women prefer to assign a breast to each infant and always nurse the twin on that breast. More and more women seem to be more comfortable switching breasts at each feeding.

    For example: Twin A nurses on the left breast at one feeding, then nurses on the right breast at the next feeding. Switching at each feeding will even out the milk supply if one twin is a more vigorous sucker and will provide each twin with equal visual stimulation.

    Demand or schedule? Although the babies should be fed on demand when possible, twins may need to be awakened and nursed more frequently if they were small at birth. Nursing every one to two hours is not too frequent for newborn twins. A little manipulation of feeding times may be necessary for the mother’s needs, especially if she is tandem nursing. A more rigid schedule may even be necessary for a mom with older children to take care of. Even if she is nursing separately, she may still want to awaken the sleeping twin and nurse him or her after nursing the first one. This will allow the mother to get the maximum amount of rest between feedings.

    Relief bottles: Relief bottles can be given, but preferably after six to eight weeks, to ensure a plentiful milk supply and establishment of the breastfeeding routine. In the early weeks it is important that the breasts are frequently stimulated by the babies’ sucking so that the supply remains adequate. Many mothers of twins collect milk while breastfeeding one baby, by placing a clean bottle or cup under the free breast. Mothers of twins need to avoid using too many relief bottles, since babies can start preferring the bottle over the breast, which can lead to breastfeeding difficulties. Giving too many bottles can also lead to plugged ducts and breast infections because the breast is not being emptied regularly.

    Having and nursing twins can be a wonderful, fulfilling experience. Mothers are encouraged to relax and enjoy this special time in their lives.

    #10680894

    vinessalynn
    Member

    I’m nursing my 4 mo twin girls and also pump and give them bottles. My girls are still very tiny so I’ve had to feed them bottles after nursing during the day. I can definitely say these first few months have been the hardest months of my life. My husband is deployed and it’s been me and my five kids under 10. The oldest helps out alot, but I’ve had a rough time. I’m sure my life would be alot easier if I gave them formula, but I’ve never given formula to any of my kids. For now I operate my own dairy farm for my beautiful twin girls.

    #10680895

    Emmie26
    Member

    I am 22 weeks pregnant with twins and am going to nurse them. Any advice or suggestions would be great i nursed my daughter for a year and two weeks, so i know all about nursing one but i know two is going to be a lot different but i am up for the challenge.

    #10680896

    ABCsMommy
    Participant

    My girls will be 6 months old on the 14th. They have been exclusively breastfed with the occasional bottle while out up until a couple of weeks ago. I now give them 1 bottle a day and am just starting to give them 2 bottles of formula as I would like to wean them between 6 and 7 months. I am weaning them as I would like to get my body back etc but to be honest, I can’t imagine the last 6 months any other way. Breastfeeding (other than while out) is sooooo much easier. They are fed at the same time and after the first couple of weeks only took 12- 15 minutes to feed and since they were 3- 4 months old only take 6-8 minutes per feed. It is so fast and easy. I am dreading the bottles, mixing the formula, cleaning, added expense of formula for 2 so please, if you want advice or support message me. I am all for breastfeeding twins!!! Go Mamas!!!

    #10680897

    mandarae
    Member

    I agree with abcsmommy – BF twins is the only way to go! My girls were born almost 2 months early, so I experienced the pumping, making and washing bottles. I don’t think I would have kept as much of my sanity as I have so far if I wasn’t nursing. I couldn’t imagine all the extra work – I mean, really, we’ve got twins~ Who’s got time for extra work! (My girls are now 4 months old and can drain a boob in about 5-7 mins – NO time at all!)

    #10680898

    Emmie26
    Member

    Thank you ladies for posting i check this page like crazy and there is never anything on it. I am now 26 weeks and feeling a lot more confident about nursing my babies

    #10680899

    vinessalynn
    Member

    I’m still breastfeeding my girls who are now 8 months old!!!! I can say that I have received ZERO support. Everyone, including my husband and former La Leche League leader mom tried to get me to quit and even last night my husband took them and gave them a bottle and had a talk with me about quitting. But the girls are just happy nursing. They are of course eating baby food now and my husband gives them a bottle every once and a while, but they still love their boobies. It’s definitely been the hardest thing I’ve ever done because they were 6 weeks early, 4 lbs 1 oz and 4 lbs 2 ozs, and were in the NICU where I was NOT allowed to breastfeed them. I love looking at my little angels doing what God intended. It’s truly the most wonderful experience in the world.

    #10680900

    mandarae
    Member

    Hello all – I have a question for you… I am EBF the girls, they are now 5 months old… to any mom’s who have been here before, when did you get AF back?

    (vinessalynn: my twins were born almost 2 months early, Sept 25 and didn’t even begin to TRY nursing until Nov 10th -their due date. They were 4 lbs and 4lbs 6 ozs – crazy similarities! KUDOS to you, I know personally how hard that is, but my hubby has been supportive and I am thankful for that)

    #10680901

    Redheadmama
    Member

    my sister-in-law is scheduled to have B/G twins in just over two weeks. she really wants to BF both of them but is clueless — I am going to refer her here. if anyone has specific tips for my s-i-l, please comment on my page. these are her ‘first’ and she is excited but nervous! (obviously, haha)

    #10680902

    I breastfed both my other children but am terrified of nursing twins…I will definately give it my best hot because I have seen the benefits in my sons….

    #10680903

    mandamay
    Member

    Hi ladies. I have just stopped BF after almost 10 months. Many reasons really, more a combination of all rather than just one thing… I’d quite like to have my boobs back although I loved being able to BF…. the little rascals are pulling each others hair, scratcing each other by accident and really not fitting too well on the BF pillow now when I feed them together…. it will be easier for me to give them a bottle now rather than BF, top up with bottle of formula, and then give solids (takes rather a long time!)….. AND… it will mean that I can have the option of sleeping in once in a while now that I can get Dad up to give a bottle. So as you can see, quite a list. I didn’t have quite enough milk for both babies so was on pills to increase my milk, and also topping up with formula each feed. I feel quite good about the start that they have had. You can only do your best whatever you decide to do… so don’t beat yourselves up whether you BF till they are 3 or give them the bottle from the start. Having twins can be exhausting and you need to look after yourself whichever way that means.

    #10680904

    this is funny all i see is 90 days ago comments we are busy moms huh. Well I’m nursing and bottle feeding mom. i nurse because I know the importants of it and I bottle feed because my husband works I have a 3 yr old so I cant find peacful nursing times and I have no help with my home I get sooooo tired that I dont even have the energy to feed my 3 yr old properly let alone myself. it’s usually a bowl of cereal, rice and eggs or some kind of snack bar. I’m just sooooooooo tired. But I do drink alot of mother’s milk tea. My twin boys are now 2 month and actually breastfeeding more and I am getting alittle more help from their dad since he’s afraid I’ll stop breastfeeding . Ladies if you have twins and you want to breastfeed which is really the right thing to do If you have friends and family that want to help let them HELP YOU like in cooking or cleaning it’s soooo necesery allow yourself to be pampered while trying to get to know your little ones because breastfeeding takes alot of practice , energy and time. I started only breastfeeding them for the first 2weeks then I became very depressed tired anemic you name it . I dont have anyone helping me because I’m new in town no friends or neighbours established yet and my family live 6 hours away. So I try my best with my twins and my 3 yr old . I can only say WOW thank god I’m not an OCTO MOM

    #10680905

    mandarae
    Member

    My babies are now 8 months old. We are still nursing as they totally REFUSE to take a bottle. It is getting hard because I am constantly trying to hold down 4 little hands that want to grab each others face or pull the boob out of sister’s mouth. Not sure how much longer I will be able to nurse them at the same time ;o( That makes me sad because it is such a time saver…

    #10680906

    Emmie26
    Member

    I am nursing my 8 week old twin girls and am so glad everything is going good it gets hard at times because i have a two year old and don’t have much help my hubby works seconds but when thinks get hard i remind myself its worth it.

    #10680907

    Emmie26
    Member

    Still nursing my 9 week old twins yea me

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