Preparing for breastfeeding twins is a daunting prospect. Today I’m welcoming a guest to share her experience with successfully breastfeeding her twins, despite a difficult start. I have previously shared why I opted for formula, but I would have loved to breastfeed and am always keen to share success stories to encourage others. You can do it!
Without further ado, I hand over to fellow blogger Stacy, from The Crazy Outdoor Mama.
Hey fellow twin mama! Whether you’re brand new and wondering “How in the WORLD will I be able to feed TWO Babies!” or a seasoned mama who has already nursed one, breastfeeding twins is a whole different game. I had successfully nursed my son for 18 months, and only quit due to my pregnancy. I was under the impression that two couldn’t be THAT much harder, right?
The good news is that I’ve made it through an early birth, the NICU with initial bottle usage, to 10 months so far nursing my twins! Upon being born at 35wks, they had immediate problems breathing and ended up being life flighted to a NICU nearby. They were given bottles with formula, and I was only able to hold them every 3 hours for their 2 week stay.
It’s safe to say that, based upon all the breastfeeding recommendations that are given to us – no bottles to reduce nipple confusion, no formula to let your supply adjust, immediate skin to skin – my nursing journey was likely already at an end.
Thankfully, with persistence, my twin girls were not as affected as professionals might tell you. While I’m not sure if it was more luck than anything I did, I do want to let you know that you shouldn’t stress if these things happen to you too; breastfeeding success is totally doable for most despite difficult circumstances!
Breastfeeding Twins Successfully – FAQ
Will I be able to make enough milk for two babies?
Under most circumstances, yes you can. It’s all about supply and demand; keep pumping and trying, and it’s likely your milk will keep up. Contact a lactation consultant for help if you feel your baby is not getting full – some women aren’t able to produce enough, and it’s important to get any help you can and go from there!
What if my babies get transferred to the NICU?
Depending on how early and stable your babies are, yes! Every 3 hours, “cares” are performed in the NICU on your baby. This includes a temperature check, diaper change, and food. The nurses may perform more things, but this is when you get a chance to be involved! If you wish to breastfeed your twins, you often can do so during these times.
Will supplementing with formula at the start make my babies not want to nurse?
As much as it’d be amazing to be there every 3 hours to participate, sometimes there are other obligations such as other children or work that need to be taken care of as well. My babies were given bottles with formula for almost their whole first week of life, and when they were finally allowed to try to nurse, did great! This isn’t to say my experience will be the same for everyone, but don’t lose hope if you see the nurses giving your baby formula!
What if I can’t nurse because he/she is too small? Will my supply still come in?
For most, yes! The hospital (or sometimes, insurance company) will provide you with a pump you can use in the hospital, and will allow you to keep in the “room” with your babies. Though the rooms are not often actual walls, but rather large curtains, it is enough privacy that you can sit near your babies and pump. Just looking at your baby can seriously help your supply! And even if you can’t nurse, you can give your pumped milk to the nurses in the NICU who can later feed it to your babies via a bottle or tube. Pumping milk is the next best thing you can do for your baby if they are too fragile or small to be able to nurse successfully!
Which Nursing Pillow is Best for Tandem Feeding?
There are two that I absolutely love, and it’s up to you which would fit your lifestyle more:
“My Breastfriend” Nursing Pillow for Twins
- Made of dense foam, so it’s very supportive for babies and doesn’t lose its shape.
- Has easily adjustable straps that accommodate all different body types and sizes.
- Has a “ridge” of sorts built into the pillow to prevent rolling in the early stages; this is amazing because it can allow you to be hands free!
“Twin Z” nursing pillow
- It’s multi use! Due to its design, it can be used to lay the babies in for bottle feeding, used to tandem nurse, and used for tummy time as well.
- The back support is really great, and conforms to your back.
- The pillow does lose its shape a little, but it will take a LONG time. My babies are 10 months, and it’s only now showing a little of an indentation where their heads go.
Either pillow is good, and if you have the means, I’d suggest getting both! I own both pillows, and there have been circumstances where I’ve been really glad to have each one.
how do I use A twin Feeding pillow?
In the beginning, it will be a little more difficult to get them in position to tandem feed – they are so floppy, and need so much support! As the babies get bigger, this will get easier.
- This pillow is easiest to use in a chair, but can work on the ground too. Flip up the middle pillow part so as to provide a back rest and a spot for yourself!
- Buckle the front together so that the pillow stays tight against your body.
- Put your 1st twin on one side of the pillow (assuming your shirt is already up)
- Maintaining balance, as this pillow has no ridge and is much easier to have a baby roll off, lean over and get your 2nd twin on.
- Now you’re ready to nurse your twins!
F.Y.I – Yes, you can choose to use normal pillows, no pillows, or two single Boppy pillows to nurse your twins! It just isn’t as supportive, not as comfortable, and sometimes a hassle, especially when they are little. I definitely recommend getting at least one of the pillows I mentioned if possible!
More helpful tips For Breastfeeding Twins
- After a month or two, your supply will start to even itself out. This is especially true if you nurse first, then pump any extra! Don’t be concerned if it seems less, or your breasts seem less “hard” or “full”! This is normal, and it’s likely you still have enough milk.
- If you would like to nurse in public and not let it “all hang out” wear two shirts – a tank and your normal t-shirt. This way, if you need to feed both babies you don’t have near as much tummy and breast exposed because the shirts will cover most of it!
- If you are concerned about your supply, contact a lactation consultant to make sure there’s no latch issues or tongue tie, or you can try some natural ways to boost your supply! I encourage you to try my amazing No Bake Peanut Butter and Chocolate Oatmeal Lactation Cookies! They are healthy and taste good!! In fact, I sometimes eat them just because I like how they taste!
- Somewhere along your journey, you may need to supplement or transition entirely to formula. That’s ok! Please don’t stress about it! I supplement; I simply don’t have as much time to marathon pump and nurse as I had hoped, and my babies are still thriving!
Do you feel a little less intimidated?
I hope so! If you just take it a day at a time, and don’t psych yourself out (I found the stress about not making enough milk makes you produce even less milk!) it’s likely you too can breastfeed your twins, despite any early setbacks. If you’d like more information on how to use the Breastfriend pillow and tandem nursing positions, check out my full guide on how to tandem nurse twins!
I hope you enjoyed our guest…
Stacy Bressler is an avid outdoorswoman, wife, and mother of three under three, the youngest being 10-month-old twin girls. She writes about all things motherhood, including surviving it with (most) of her sanity intact as well as raising mini adventurers. Navigating life through the lens of humor and positivity, she chronicles it all in her blog, The Crazy Outdoor Mama.