6 Tips for Breastfeeding Twins

17 August 2016

On August 6th, my boys and I attended our second Big Latch On. It was a great day and I am happy to be continuing on in our breastfeeding journey. Last week I made a feeble attempt to break from social media. Although I did manage to keep from the constant communication I did pop in to share breastfeeding week pictures with some of my pals. I do plan to pop in again at the end of the month to celebrate black breastfeeding week as well. Breastfeeding means so much to me because I am the first woman to breastfeed in my family. A few have attempted but not one has done it full time and successfully. I am honored to pick up the torch for my family and to reteach the generations new and old that breastfeeding is necessary and can be done.

I take tremendous pride in the breastfeeding relationship I have established with my twins. When I was pregnant with them many did not think I would make enough milk to feed them without supplementing. We have done that now for 20 months and they thrived on my milk exclusively for 8.5 months. The beginning of my breastfeeding journey was filled with distrust for my breast. After I struggled to get my oldest twin to latch all those negative things I was told about breastfeeding came in like a flood. Thankfully God helped me by putting determination in my heart and I knew my boys would receive breastmilk by any means necessary. I pumped almost exclusively for 5 weeks. After getting so frustrated with pumping every 2 hours I contacted a lactation consultant who helped me to wean my babies from the bottle and to feed them from my breast at every feeding. This transition was so successful that both of my boys refused bottles when I was not with them. So much of my frozen breastmilk was donated for this reason.

Along the way I have learned so many things that could have made all the difference had I known them in advance. 

So here are 6 tips that I believed helped me to breastfeed my twins, successfully.

Seek Help - even if you have read all the books and attended all the classes let a Lactation Consultant help you to make sure your breastfeeding journey is off to a good start. In the mean time do not pump or use nipple shields without guidance, sometimes they can create an even bigger problem for mom and baby. If you are doing great in your journey and run into a rough patch later on know that you can call on a LC at any time, whether its 3 weeks, 3 months, or 3 years. My LC and I still remain in communication even after all this time. Beside the obvious skill of helping you to breastfeed your LC can also steer you in the direction of the support you need to continue breastfeeding if no one else is supporting you.

Get a Twin breastfeeding pillow  - let me be clear, Boppy pillows suck. They don't support the baby and they don't support the mama. The last thing you want is a slouchy mama and a slouchy baby. If you slouch, your back will hurt and if your baby is slouching, your nipples will hurt. A new baby is guaranteed to have a bad latch in a poor position. I personally recommend the breastfriend twin pillow over everything else in the market.

Breastfeed on Demand - multiple mamas thrive on schedule. Scheduled breastfeeding is not something I would recommend because it can negatively impact your supply. I do however believe that when one baby roots around you should offer the breast to the other as well. Breastfeeding both babies at the same time works twofold. When both breast are stimulated you produce more milk and when you breastfeed both babies together you can sync their feeding times. It worked out for me to offer the breast before the second baby was hungry so it didn't feel as if I was breastfeeding all day long.

Breast over bottle - As a twin mom I know how easy it is to feel overwhelmed especially where feeding is concerned. Many people will encourage you to pump so they can relieve you of your feeding duty by giving your babies a bottle. Pumping is in no way the easier route. When you pump someone else has to care for your baby, you have to clean the pump, and your pump can't empty you as well as your baby can. While I know the offer may be tempting the easier route would be to feed your babies from your breast. Afterward you can allow your helper to do diaper changing and hold the baby on a full tummy. At which time you can take a nap, shower, or eat a "hot" meal. Also many times moms put themselves through pumping just so their husbands can feed the baby. Don't buy into the hype, feeding is not the only way a Dad can bond with the baby. Once my boys were able to latch my husband rarely fed them because it was more work on me. He bonded with the babies by bathing them, changing their diapers, holding them on his chest, and dancing gently with them before rocking them to sleep.

Eat Well - in the 20 months that I have been breastfeeding I have found keeping up with my nutrition to be the hardest. I wish that I knew what a challenge it would have been so I could have planned ahead. If anyone offers to do anything to help you make sure it includes food. My hunger and thirst were out of control in the beginning of my journey and I still get super hungry and thirsty now. Make sure you stay hydrated and snack as much as you can to keep up supply.

Pump - I know I stressed feeding your babies from your breast in tip number four but lets face it sometimes you just need to pump. Often times multiples are born prematurely and if that happens to be the case for your babies breastmilk is the best thing you can offer to them - so pump like their life depends on it because most of the time it does. You may also need to pump because your baby has latching issues that may be caused by prematurity, tongue tie, or extreme fatigued after birth. If your baby is in the NICU have a LC show you the right way to pump. Then proceed to pump as much as you can and do skin to skin with your baby when allowed, this will also help your supply. If you are a working mom and you need to pump at work pump around the same times that the care giver will be giving your baby your expressed breastmilk. Keeping on this schedule will help you to provide the milk your baby needs while you are away.

So there you have it, 6 tips for breastfeeding twins. I would be happy to answer any questions you may have about breastfeeding in general. Feel free to email me anytime.

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