Guide to Breastfeeding Twins

April 20, 2015

Guide to Breastfeeding Twins

Model is wearing: Chic V Neck Nursing Dress in Fresh White, £45, Free Delivery

If you’re expecting twins, you may be feeling slightly daunted by how to breastfeed and care for two babies simultaneously. If so, you’ll be pleased to hear that breastfeeding twins is perfectly plausible and there’s plenty of support out there for mums of multiples. Breastfeeding not only provides great nourishment but creates a beautiful bond between you and your babies.

If your babies are born very small or sick, they may need to receive extra medical attention before you can put them to the breast. In this instance, you may need to express breast milk that can be fed to them by syringe or a thin tube. Your doctors and nurses will guide you through the process and ensure you can breastfeed as soon as is possible. Our guide to breastfeeding preemie babies offers advice on this. 

For when the moment comes to get the twins latched on for their first feed at the breast, we’ve put together a basic guide to help get you started.  

1. Ask for breastfeeding support asap:
Breastfeeding is new to both you and your babies and you’re not expected to be perfect at it straight away. Make sure you ask your breastfeeding counsellor to come and see you as soon as possible. They will use their expertise to ensure each baby’s latch and position is good and that they are feeding well. 

2. Establish each baby’s individual feeding rhythm:
The general is advice is to start by feeding each baby separately on cue to ensure you establish a good latch and position with each baby. This will help you determine their individual feeding patterns such as frequency and length of feeds. These may differ from sibling to sibling. One may feed faster or get hungrier sooner. One may need more help latching on than the other. As a general guide, it’s recommended that you should be feeding your newborn babies 8-12 times every 24 hours.

3. Decide if tandem breastfeeding is right for you:
Once you’ve established their individual needs, you may wish to feed both babies together. You may find they naturally sync up to feed together or that you respond to the hungriest baby’s cue for feeding both, even if it means waking one baby.  Some mums find this very helpful in reducing the time they spend nursing, giving them more time between feeds for attending to other matters. Whether you feed your twins together or one at a time is up to you. There is no right or wrong, only what works best for you and your twins. 

4. Latch on the baby who needs most help first:
When tandem breastfeeding, you may find it helpful to latch on the baby who needs the most help first as it allows you to use both hands to establish a good feeding position. After which, you can latch on the more competent feeder alongside their sibling in whichever hold suits most. During this process, make sure your other baby is safe nearby and within reach. Read our step by step guide for creating a successful latch and check they're feeding well  can be found here. 

5. Most popular tandem breastfeeding positions:
Take a look at our illustrated guide of the top four most popular tandem breastfeeding positions: The Double Cross Cradle, The Double Cradle, The Double Rugby Ball Hold & The Rugby/Cradle Combo.   As the first image demonstrates, the great thing about twins is that they are used to being close to each other so don’t worry about crossing limbs or bodies! Creating a good latch and position is key.

6. Keep siblings safely within reach:
If feeding twins one at a time, you'll need to pop the other sibling somewhere safe close by so that you have your hands free. One good tip is to sit on the floor with your back resting against the sofa with the second sibling laying on the floor or sat in a bouncer chair next to you. Once you've latched the first baby on successfully you should have a hand free to reach the second sibling or amuse them by wiggling a toy if necessary. This too is a very useful tip if you are tandem feeding to avoid a baby rolling off the edge of the sofa or bed when you’re busy latching on the first sibling. 

7. Alternate each baby on each breast at every feed:
Whether you are breastfeeding each baby one at a time or tandem feeding, it’s advised that you alternate each baby on each breast at every feed so that your breasts are equally stimulated by each baby. Their feeding style and length of feed may differ from one another so it’s important to alternate breasts at each feed to encourage milk production.

8. Build up your milk supply:
If you would like to build up your milk supply,  use a breast pump after every feed to express and stimulate extra milk production. Don’t worry though about the quantity you produce as pumps are not as effective as a baby on the breast but the stimulation is the key to sending your body the message. Pumping during the night is especially helpful as your prolactin levels (hormones for milk production) are at their highest for producing milk.

9. Create a comfortable feeding spot: 
Wherever you find yourself feeding the babies, it’s advisable to have a handy bag of essentials within easy reach. For the babies, we recommend including some spare baby clothes, nappies, wipes, nappy rash cream and some muslin cloths for winding. For you we suggest packing nipple cream, fresh breast pads, a small bottle of water, some small sealed snacks and some form of light entertainment like a book, tablet, mobile phone or tv/music remote control. 

10. Wearing something comfortable with easy access: 
Unlike breastfeeding one baby, tandem feeding twins means that both breasts are exposed at the same time. Wearing a nursing top with lift-up nursing access allows you to feed both babies whilst keeping the rest of you covered up. So whether you’ just want a little less on show or simply want to stay warm,  these tops will help you achieve that. The soft integral bust support of our soft scoop nursing vest may even free you from wearing a nursing bra, taking away that extra fuss.

nursing tops for breastfeeding twins

Shown left to right;
Sweetheart Nursing Tee £30.00
Nursing Vest Scoop Neck Indie £29.00  Twin Pack £46.40 2pc PJ Set £49.60
Nursing Top Round Neck Belle £33.00 

11. Surround yourself with supportive friends and relatives:
As with all new arrivals, it’s helpful to have a support group of friends or relatives to help see you through the early days of breastfeeding. They may not be able to nurse the babies but they can help get you comfortable, make meals, pass you drinks, change nappies, help with winding or look after the babies whilst you use the bathroom or take a nap. If for nothing else, gentle encouragement from them will lift your spirits as you establish a feeding routine and overcome any breastfeeding challenges. The important thing is to remember they are there to support you and that you don’t need to be their host.

12. Above all, enjoy! 
The first few weeks can be fairly exhausting for any new mum, particularly if you’ve experienced a hard birth or cesarean section and are recovering yourself. Rest assured it does get easier and the fatigue should pass. Take the opportunity of breastfeeding to put your feet up and relax. Enjoy the quiet moment to bond with your babies and have a few minutes to yourself - whether that’s catching up with the outside world or relaxing with a book or film. 

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