Becoming a new mother comes with a wide range of strange obstacles many women aren’t prepared for. Nursing is, of course, one of the most trying of these challenges. From struggles over how to increase your milk supply to questions about how to get a good latch, the list of possible problems is quite long.
However, when you start talking about breastfeeding twins, triplets, and multiples, the phrase “breastfeeding difficulties” takes on a whole new meaning.
Luckily, MamaNatal is here to help.
As one of the premier online lactation counseling platforms in the industry, our team of lactation specialists is here to guide new moms of multiples through their breastfeeding journeys.
We’ve got five great tips and tricks to streamline every aspect of your nursing experience.
#1: Figure Out How to Breastfeed Twins and Multiples
Whether you have a singleton pregnancy, twins, or triplets, the basic idea behind breastfeeding remains the same – simply bring your child to your breast and let them feed.
When you’re dealing with more than one baby at a time, however, creating a functional nursing relationship can be daunting. The best way to tackle the impending struggle of tandem nursing and breastfeeding multiples is to educate yourself before they arrive.
Just as you’re learning about what to expect during labor, delivery, and the postpartum period, gathering information on how to breastfeed twins is equally important.
You can read books on the topic, such as Mothering Multiples: Breastfeeding and Caring for Twins or More!, published via Le Leche League International.
Or you can also take courses geared explicitly towards exclusively breastfeeding twins, like these offered by TwinMom:
- Milk supply for twins – how the body works for two
- Nursing nutrition
- Feeding strategies, including latch
- Tandem positions
- How to maintain/increase supply
- Troubleshooting – cues, signs, and responses
Which Tandem Breastfeeding Positions Work Best?
Just as there are tons of breastfeeding holds for singleton pregnancies, the same can be said for tandem feeding. If you’re looking for advice on breastfeeding positions for twins, consider these suggestions:
The Football Hold
Not only is the football hold one of the easiest ways to help breastfeed twins, but it’s also one of the most popular. To achieve this position, cradle your babies on opposite sides with their feet near your elbows and ribs, with their heads at your breasts.
The Stacked Hold
Bring each of your little ones to one of your breasts and have one of their bodies stacked on top of the other. This is great for small newborns and helps simulate their position in the womb.
The Cradle Hold
Another of the most popular options, this tandem breastfeeding position has each baby on a breast while you cradle them on opposite sides with their bodies lying against your arm.
Whichever position you choose, be sure to also purchase a twin breastfeeding pillow for added comfort.
#2: Establish a Twin Nursing Schedule
HealthyChildren.org, an organization powered by the American Academy of Pediatrics, suggests that the best way to establish a workable twin nursing schedule is to feed them simultaneously.
Per their suggestions, this means that if one twin wakes up and is ready to eat, your best option is to go ahead and wake up the other baby (-ies), as well, to keep them on the same schedule.
#3: Learn Everything You Can About Latching
Latching is just as important when nursing twins and multiples, if not more so. By establishing a good latch with each baby, you’ll ensure they are feeding as effectively as possible and that your nipples don’t suffer undue pain and discomfort.
#4: Build Up Your Milk Supply
Whether you have twins, triplets, or more, you’re going to need a lot of milk. That’s why it’s essential to build up a good milk supply, especially if you’re going to be pumping for twins.
The best way to increase your milk supply is by letting your little ones nurse as often as possible. If you’re still having trouble satisfying your little ones or getting enough pumped milk during a session, there are other things you can do to help naturally enhance the amount of breastmilk you’re producing. These include:
- Prolonging your nursing sessions
- Massaging your breasts before breastfeeding twins
- Drinking mother’s milk tea
- Taking galactagogue supplements, i.e., fenugreek, blessed thistle, or goat’s rue
- Drinking more water
Treat Your Body Right
Did you know that the number of calories burned by breastfeeding twins is approximately 1,000 a day? While this can certainly contribute to the weight loss seen by breastfeeding mothers, the more important takeaway is that you need to replenish the energy sources lost during a nursing session.
When you’re exclusively breastfeeding twins and multiples, you must take care of yourself throughout your nursing journey. Get plenty of rest, drink lots of water, and eat small snacks throughout the day.
#5: Ask for Help
When it comes to tips for the successful tandem feeding of twins and multiples, the most important bit of advice we can offer is to seek out the breastfeeding support you deserve.
Whether you’re having trouble with latching, milk supply, or establishing a good twin nursing schedule, find a reliable resource that offers in-home and online lactation counseling to guide you through your breastfeeding difficulties.
If breastfeeding twins is part of your parenting plan, don’t lose hope. Hiring a lactation specialist or taking part in TwinMom’s classes can bring you the guidance and support you want and need.