While extensive searching on what to anticipate when expecting twins may be tempting, sometimes too much knowledge is a hindrance to peace. You can’t possibly know and be prepared for every eventuality regarding your twins’ entry into the world.
And if you desire to breastfeed your twins, there are many variables to consider. Twins are often premature and it is possible they may visit the NICU. But that does not mean you have to rule out the possibility of successfully nursing your twins.
What you can prepare yourself for is a lot of work. The reality is you will need help. So gather around a team of people that love and support you. Additionally, work closely with the hospital staff and lactation consultant to get a manageable breastfeeding plan in place.
Once your babies are home and are ready to feed them without the expertise of professionals, it’s easy for anxiety to set in. Know that it will take perseverance and endurance, but also trust that you will get things figured out and one way or another you will feed your twins.
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Tips for Breastfeeding Twins
1. Discuss the options with your pediatrician, but generally speaking, keep your twins on a two to three hour feeding schedule. This will aid in instituting a sleep schedule that will pave the way for the babies to sleep through the night. While it may go against every instinct to wake a sleeping baby, keeping both on the same schedule will help them synchronize their eating and sleeping rhythms.
2. Keep yourself hydrated. Keep water next to you when you are nursing and get plenty of water throughout the day.
3. Have a comfortable spot that has everything you need including a nursing pillow that accommodates twins (you will be spending a lot of time here for a while). Settle in and enjoy the precious bonding time.
4. You will most likely need to pump to keep up your supply, especially if the babies are in the NICU and you want them to have breast milk.
Renting or buying a hospital grade breast pump to bring home with you is imperative to efficiently pump. To aid in efficiency, having a hands free bra will be a lifesaver. Having 2-3 on hand will save you from frequent washings.
Continue working with a lactation consultant to help you work out a plan for feeding and pumping. It may feel like you are always either nursing or pumping, but you will get into a manageable rhythm eventually.
5. Be aware that feeding your twins simultaneously may not happen for 2-3 months. For some it works right away, but others need to make sure that both babies are latching on well and able to hold themselves on the breast.
6. An alternative to breast feeding both at the same time is to have one baby with a bottle and the other on the breast. Next feeding switch babies and switch breasts.
7. Keeping track of everything is a must. Find an app (such as Baby Connect) that records everything from diapers, to sleeping, to which side you nursed on last.
8. It also needs to be said that if, despite all your best efforts, breastfeeding doesn’t work out, YOU ARE NOT A FAILURE! Don’t give into the notion that if you don’t breastfeed, you are a bad mother. There’s no question that breast milk is designed for baby’s nourishment, but there are numerous reasons why it is simply not always feasible to breastfeed.
It’s easy sometimes to focus on the struggles instead of the blessings. If you are feeling particularly anxious about being a mother to twins, Pam Vredevelt, licensed counselor, best-selling author, and Babywise writer has some wonderful perspective-gaining articles.
While having twins certainly has its unique challenges, remember, it also brings double the joy!
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