breastfeeding twins

  • I am wondering about breastfeeding my twins when they are born around Thanksgiving.  I have a pump to help me but I am a little nervous about having energy and the milk supply to feed both until at least 1 year.  Does anyone have suggestions?

  • Congrats on your twins! When they are born, you will want to feed them both every 2-3 hours and then pump afterwards for 20 minutes for at least the first week or two. I would really recommend renting a hospital grade pump for that time period from the lactation consultants at the hospital. That will establish your milk supply in a way that your personal pump can't. Once the babies get the hang on latching on and feeding, you can begin to tandem feed - feed them at the same time. I'd call the hospital where you are delivering or talk to your OB and ask if there are any classes on caring for mulitiples and they will often discuss breastfeeding mulitples. You can hold them both in football hold or one in football and one in cross cradle hold. You can do it, though! You have two breasts and you can easily make enough milk for two babies. Take it one day at a time. :-)
  • i dont have multiples i dont think but i would imagin that u can take turns ur hubbie or another person have one eith a bottle and the other on the brest and alternate it will b kinda difficut to have them to both but they will get use to it and as long as u drink and eat plenty ur body will come up with the milk to feed them both it will just take most of ur time for a long time id imagin

  • Original poster:  I'd recommend contacting your local La Leche League for some helpful, accurate info.  There is a great book on this.  I think it's "Mothering Multiples."  I forget the exact title. I'll follow up.


    @PediNurse  May I ask why you recommended pumping?  My experience is that it's generally unnecssary.  Most women produce more than enough milk in the beginning.  Then, based on how often the mother empties her breasts (by feeding her hungry baby or babies) the mother's body figures out the true amount that the baby (or babies) need.  Pumping sounds like a tiring & unnecessary bit of additional work for a new mother.


    @jaylee  Bottle feeding too early usually disrupts the mother's ability to produce the accurate amount of milk and requires the mother to pump.  Feeding the babies directly from the breast is usually less work than getting pumping equipment, warming bottles, etc.  Also, a baby feeds from the breast differently than he feeds from the bottle.  Introducing an aritificial nipple may cause the baby to prefer the bottle...and again interfer with the mother's ability to successfully feed her babies and to produce the right amoutn of milk.

  • Dawn- Congrats on your pregnancy, and twins none the less! :) That is very exciting. I want to start by offering you some reassurance in that breastfeeding those babies for any duration is very beneficial to their health. There is good literature that shows that babies benefit hugely from any duration of breast feeding. If you are able to feed them this way for several weeks that is great. You do not have to stick to it for a year if that doesn't work for you. Do what you feel you can and want to do. You very much have to take care of yourself first, as you will not be able to care for those babies if you are not well physically or mentally. I would let your mind rest regarding feeding issues until those babies are closer to being born. If they arrive early their feeding needs will be very different than if they are born full time. I don't want to see you spending energy worrying about things until you know more about how they are going to be. You may need to pump, you may need to supplement breast milk and feed them via bottle, you may be able to feed them purely breast milk, you may have to feed them formula. You just don't know yet. There is nothing wrong with any one kind of feeding so long as those babies are growing and gaining weight. You are most likely learning that there is a lot of controversy around feeding issues with infants. What you need to focus on is what works best for you and for your babies personally. In regard to the poster that was discouraging pumping, as suggested above there are different ways of feeding that work for different families. For some families pumping is life sustaining. For some it is unnecessary. There are many different reasons that mom may need to pump. In the perfect world she won't have to. In regard to bottle feeding and bottles causing nipple aversion there is lots of good long term data and studies that show that babies are able to transition back and forth between breast and bottle without trouble. Some mom's find that babies do a bit better with this if they use avent bottles. Some mom's find that they have to use a Dr Brown as the baby needs some help regulating volume. It's all very individualized, h/e there are (as i mentioned above) a lot of studies done with large populations showing that babies can transition back and forth with ease. Keep us posted on what you are thinking and with how things are going. I'll look forward to hearing all about those new babies when they make their debut! :) Jess
  • Hi Dawn,

    I'm expecting twins in late Nov too! My doctor suggested a combo of pumping and using formula. He said pumping gets the job done faster and allows others in your family to help with the feedings. Since breastmilk isn't as filling, he suggested formula for the night feedings so they will sleep longer. That's my plan for now, of course we'll see how things go once the girls arrive.

    As for breastmilk for the entire first year, I guess your body will let you know if that's possible. You are a Milk Goddess if you can do this for a year. Lots of my friends with singletons stopped around 8-9 months due to their milk supply.

    Good luck!


  • APmomma - I recommend pumping just in the first week or so because twins are rarely born at full gestation and do not stimulate the breasts the way a full term baby does. The late preterm baby has been shown in multiple breastfeeding trials to not transfer an adequate amount of milk in the first week of breastfeeding and can be at risk for re-hospitalization for a number of complications due it's propensity to tire easily at the breast. Pumping, especially for twins, ensures your milk supply is established so that you never have to give formula if you don't want to and you can have that "break" that so many mothers of twins tell me they need where dad can give a bottle of expressed breast milk. Hope this explanation helps!
  • @PediNurse  Thank you for that great explanation.  I'm sure it will be helpful for the orginal poster.  I certainly learned a lot.  It sounds like you'd recommend pumping for pre-term twins who seem to not be transferring milk effectively.

    @chicagotwinmomma  The content of breastmilk is "lacking" something that formula has.  Breastmilk is the standard by which substitutes should be measured.  So breastmilk isn't "less filling."  It's perfect as it is.  Formula could be considered "more filling."  That's not necessarily a good thing, though.  I think mother nature had it all figured out.  :-)

    Also, there's research that shows that formula does NOT cause a baby to sleep longer at night.  Also, as parents we may need to adjust our expectations.  Given the way that babies' sleep cycles work and their nutritional needs, they should NOT be sleeping through the night.

  • Hi Dawn Congrads on your twins!! I have 2 month twin boys. What a blessing it is. I breastfed exclusivly for 4 weeks and then started supplementing 50/50. It is not easy!!! Im not going to lie. But a great bonding expierence!!! I too bought a pump but honestly have not used it that much. You will be feeding those babies soooooooo much that your milk WILL come in and it will be more than enough and your not going to want to pump. My boys ate every hour for 4 weeks ----thats why i started giving them formula. They were born at 37 weeks and 4 days and weighed 5.10 lbs and 6.8 lbs. The last 2 months are the worst--just hang in there and keep thoses babies in as long as you can. Congrads and Good Luck 

  • les7alexander-Congrats on such healthy and busy twin boys. :-) Sounds like you've had your hands full but done such a great job. Your picture is adorable!
  • I'm sorry if it seemed that I was "discouraging" pumping.  That was not my intent.  It is very helpful to know when pumping might be helpful.  I think that PediNurse did a great job of explaining why pumping might be helpful.

    It's also good to know that pumping is not always needed.

  • Congratulations! I have 4 month old twin girls I'm breastfeeding, They were born at 35 weeks and were in the NICU for 2 weeks and were primarily bottle fed but over time I've worked hard with a lactation consultant and am now exclusively breast feeding. Don't let any body worry you about switching from bottle to breast. For the most part now I have them alternating, although sometimes I tandem nurse them.  I pumped after every feeding for the first 2 months and now I pump 1-2 times a day for those times when they are both starving in the evening and my husband gives one a bottle of pumped milk while I nurse the other.  Good luck. You can do this!  Your supply will last as long as the babies keep demanding it from you!

  • congrats on your twins!! my husband and i just became first time parents to identical twin boys 5/12/2011 (their 3 months now)-it is absolutely amazing-double the fun/joy/blessings :) i just recently started breastfeeding and formula feeding due to their reflux but for the first 2 1/2 months i strictly breastfed. i found it easier to breastfeed them both at the same time and then i would also pump and store it in the fridge and freezer. i have A LOT frozen now. that way if i could put in a bottle if we were going out. sometimes i would even breastfeed and then pump afterwards or vice versa because i'd get so full. i found it easier to do it this way b/c it allowed me to keep them on the same schedule. i hope this helps some :) congrats again.  good luck!

  • I just had twins 7 weeks ago and I am breastfeeding both.  Your body will make the milk your babies need, it's what we moms do  .Now that we are all on a good schedule, I feed them for about 20-25 minutes, burp them and then I pump for about 10 minutes on both sides.  I don't get a lot but, it adds up and it helps build my milk supply.  What I do is feed them at the same time, it takes some practice and took me about 4 weeks to master.  I hold one in the football hold and one in a cradle hold and use my nursing pillow.  I even have my hands free once all 3 of us get situated.  

    My best advice is to stick to a schedule, take all the help you can get, don't worry about laundry and dishes just take care of yourself, and nap when they do.    Good luck and congrats on your little miracles, it is a great adventure and you should enjoy every second of it.  Let me know if this helps, I am available if you want to chat. 

  • I have tiwins(they are preemies,a few months old)I have been nursing a few months,mostly pumping and feeding them in a my supply has dropped and will be forced to supplement and switch over to formula.