I recently found out that I’m expecting twins! After a very hard loss last year, it feels like a miracle to get to have two tiny miracles at once. After the shock of seeing two little beating hearts on the ultrasound finally wore off, I began to think about all of the things that needed to be handled in twos. The one idea that kept circling in my mind was, How on Earth was I going to breastfeed two babies? Do I do it at the same time? Will I be able to keep up with my supply? Five years ago, when I had my son, I loved every beautiful second of nursing and I knew I wanted to nurse these little ones just the same. So I began to search out every resource I could to determine the logistics of nursing two babes! And it turns out there is a ton of information and support available for mothers of multiples. People have been having babies for centuries and they’ve passed their information down along the way. Thankfully for us, the breastfeeding world really is our oyster. People just love moms of multiples so at every turn someone will be there to lend you some advice or let you borrow a bassinette. A friend of a friend actually just donated her twin library to me complete with a book that I haven’t been able to put down. The book entitled What to Do When You’re Having Two by Natalie Diaz, the founder of Twiniversity, has become my best friend and my constant confidant. Her advice about breastfeeding felt real, practical and totally manageable for me. Here are some breastfeeding tips I learned along the way:
Tip 1: Let go of the ideal image. Diaz tells moms that the reality of feeding twins is much different than a single baby. While a mom of one may be able to flawlessly feed her child at any time and place, a mom of two will always have a more complicated time. Once you accept this fact and let go of the dream, you can really get to business.
Tip 2: Start with colostrum. Twin babies are more likely to be born ahead of schedule and sometimes may have trouble with feeding in the first few days. Even if your babies are in the NICU, make sure you don’t waste that precious colostrum. It’s full of antibodies and nutrition for your babies entries into the world. For twins, Diaz says have the amount equally between the two and apply a dab to each of their lips if you can’t get enough out.
Tip 3: Decide on Solo or Tandem. Tandem, like the bike, means you breastfeed them at the same time as opposed to feeding each one separately. Diaz suggests that for time management reasons alone (especially in the newborn days) that it’s better to try feeding at the same time.
Tip 4: Seek Help. While you’re spending a few extra days in the hospital, take advantage of the staff that’s there to give advice. It’s not their first rodeo, so listen to their suggestions for the best ways to feed two at once. Also, check with you insurance to see if you may be covered for an at-home lactation consultant visit.
Tip 5: Choose a hold. There are different poses you can choose to nurse your twins and they actually look more comfortable than you would imagine. If you’re looking for ideas, check out the football hold for two, double cradle hold and criss-cross hold (my favorite!) and then I imagine it’ll take a lactation consultant and some trial by error to pick the one that works for you.
Tip 6: Gather all your belongings. Before you sit down to nurse, Diaz suggests you have everything you need to help the process run smoother without you having to get up. Keep water handy, a book, a magazine, Netflix and whatever else you may need.
At the end of the day, the goal is to feed your two beautiful babies. So if that means you need to supplement one feeding because your body just won’t make enough to fill their bellies or if you need to pump so your husband can do the 1 A.M. feedings, it’s okay! You do whatever you need to do to be a healthy and rested mama. Happy Feeding times Two!
Submitted by Tracy E. Brown.