It is absolutely possible to breastfeed twins, or even more! Find out about the benefits of nursing, and how to make it easy for you and your babies.
Once you’ve recovered from the surprise of finding out that you’re expecting twins (or more!), you’ll probably start to consider all of the equipment you’ll need to buy. The double buggy, the cot, the nappies as well as countless baby gros and onesies. The list is endless!
But have you thought about how you’ll feed your twins? If you are considering breastfeeding, it’s useful to do some research on how to make it work. Don’t be put of breastfeeding because you’re having more than one baby.
Nursing is a great way to soothe your little ones and helps to strengthen your bond.
Also, a multiple baby can sometimes be born at a low birth weight and breastfeeding can give them a wonderful boost.
What are the benefits of breastfeeding?
1. It’s always ready to go
Breast milk is always ready, is the right temperature and it changes to meet baby’s needs. In cold climates, human milk contains more fat, whereas in warm, climates, more water. Even when your baby is unwell, you should continue to breastfeed. In some circumstances, you might be advised by a medical professional to give extra fluids or add rehydration therapy. However, for mild illnesses, breast milk alone is fine.
If your baby is premature, or unwell and in hospital (for example, in the neonatal unit or special care baby unit), breast milk is still best for your baby. You may be asked to express some milk and can be shown how to do this.
2. It helps with the bonding process
The skin-to-skin contact during breastfeeding gives you a physical connection with your baby and stimulates hormones that help with breastfeeding. It also provides security, warmth and comfort for babies. Skin-to-skin promotes a growing attachment between the two of you that will continue to play an important role in your baby’s development for years to come.
3. It has major health benefits for your baby
Human milk contains enzymes, hormones and immunoglobulins. These play an essential role in baby’s immune system that cannot be duplicated.
The health benefits of breastfeeding for babies include less risk of:
- Stomach upsets
- Coughs and colds
- Ear infections
Mother of three-year-old twins and an eight-month-old baby, Kear shares her advice on nursing twins.
- Obtain, and read a copy of La Leche League’s Mothering Multiples: Breastfeeding & Caring for Twins or More by Karen Kerkhoff Gromada (available to borrow for free from your local La Leche League Group).
- Attend a Breastfeeding Education/Preparation course, ideally one that focuses on feeding multiples. The Twins & Multiple Births Association (TAMBA) in the UK offer a specific session on Breastfeeding Multiples in person and via webinar, more info here
- Consider employing a doula, who has particular expertise in breastfeeding support and who can come into the hospital to help you in establishing tandem breastfeeding before you bring your babies home.
- Clearly state your intention to breastfeed, highlighting how important it is to you.
- Hand express some colostrum into 1ml or 2ml syringes, that can be given to your babies if they are unable to latch or are separated from you for any reason following delivery. Midwives are happy to help you with this, if you request it.
- Invest in a decent twin breastfeeding pillow, like the Twin-Z or My Best Friend. Be sure to bring it into the hospital with you when you give birth as it will really help in establishing tandem feeding (Feeding both babies simultaneously…and essential skill for breastfeeding mamas of twins).
- Drink lots of nettle teas in the later stages of pregnancy, and postnatal to help build your milk supply.
- Attend a local La Leche League or Cuidiu meeting while still pregnant. They will probably be able to connect you with another mother who has successfully breastfed her twins, and she will be an invaluable source of support.
- Befriend another mother who is/has breastfed her twins, ideally someone living in the local area, or who you can ring for support and advice.
- Try to find a Breastfeeding Support Group you like while pregnant, as it’s easier to suss things out before your babies arrive.
- Join the Breastfeeding Twins and More Facebook Page.
- Join the Irish Multiple Births Association (IMBA) Facebook Page (you can do this even if you’re not a paid member of IMBA).
Finally, trust yourself and trust your body (and your boobies). You grew and birthed your babies, so of course, you can feed them too.
For further information about this, or other areas of emotional and mental health, please contact Kear on: 086 3842616 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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