Breastfeeding twins is much more difficult to organize than breastfeeding one child. The main difficulty is that both babies need the same feeding and mother’s participation in all their needs. And mother needs to put maximum effort, especially in the first few months, to keep breastfeeding for as long as possible, at least for 1 year, and preferably up to 1.5-2 years. Breastfeeding twins is not an easy task, but it is quite possible if certain rules are followed. Even prolonged twin breastfeeding is quite realistic.
Why Is It Important to Take Care of the Mother’s Diet?
Usually, mothers do not take their diet seriously. The matter of the first importance for them is to feed their children. But one is impossible without the other. Since a woman has to breastfeed twins, she must have a good supply of milk. Otherwise, her two children will not receive enough food. Food is directly related to the production of milk. A healthy diet ensures the production of a sufficient amount of good milk – from 23 to 27 oz. per day (650-750 ml). Every day about 500 calories are burned due to this. Therefore, if a mother who is breastfeeding twins does not eat well she will have troubles with her health. The body gives top priority to milk production. Still, in this case, the amount of milk may decrease.
How Many Calories Should a Mom Breastfeeding Twins Receive Per Day?
A mom of twins should consume 2,500 calories a day. This amount should be increased to 2,800 calories a day if breastfeeding lasts more than three months. At the same time, you do not need to consume this amount of calories at a time. Make up a five-time meal schedule, so regular calorie intake will be provided. The menu of the mother who is breastfeeding twins must include fruit, low-fat dairy products, and water during each meal.
Is There Enough Milk?
Very often moms of twins are worried whether it is enough milk for two children at once. It’s amazing but a mother can breastfeed two and even three children! After all, a woman’s organism is “optimized” for the corresponding amount of “dairy nutrition”. Here, Nature adheres to a wise principle: the more the need for breast milk is the more it is produced. It does not matter whether a mother puts her babies to the breast alternately, or feeds two at the same time, or pumps the milk out and offers it in small bottles. An experienced breastfeeding consultant or mother with experience in breastfeeding twins can suggest the best solution.
How to Check Whether There Is Enough Milk?
It’s very simple to determine this. The kids get enough milk if in the first six weeks of their life they moisten the diapers 6-8 times a day, void the bowl 2-5 times a day, and suck the breast 8-12 times a day. And each feeding lasts from 10 to 40 minutes.
Breastfeeding Twins: How Often?
The optimal feeding of children is “on demand” – that is, for every weeping or when searching movements appear.
How to Stimulate the Production of Milk?
With the correct organization of feeding, this is not needed. If the milk is still not enough it is worth talking to a breastfeeding consultant.
How to Breastfeed Twins?
There are two types of twin breastfeeding: simultaneous and alternate. You need to choose the one that suits you more.
To feed children at the same time, you will need an assistant who will bring the babies to be fed. Many mothers perfectly use special pillows for feeding twins. They exist in different forms and models. Sometimes you have to purchase several pillows to choose the most convenient. You will have to find positions for feeding two babies at the same time yourself. Sometimes, moms come up with the most incredible poses, telling that their back is less tired this way, or the kids are calmer, or the milk is flowing better. Talk to women who have nursed twins – they will share a lot of helpful information.
Experts claim that it is preferable to feed the kids simultaneously. This is how the mother’s body receives a signal about the need to produce a double dose of milk.
In addition, it is not desirable for the children to have their own breast. After each feeding, it is necessary to change the breast. In most cases, twins are different in their weight and development. One of the kids will be stronger and they will suck their breast more intensively than their brother or sister. Therefore, a woman can develop asymmetry of the breast. The way of feeding will depend on whether you have decided to breastfeed both at once or not.
Methods of Simultaneous Breastfeeding Twins
Nursing Twins Lying Down. This is such a helpful nursing position for a mom of twins! Lying on your side with a pillow tucked behind your back/bum one baby can lie on their side against you on the bed and the other baby lies across your body with their feet touching their sibling’s feet.
Football/Clutch Hold. Nursing in the football/clutch hold is common for twins. In this position, each baby is nursing while their stomach wraps around mother’s one and feet extend around her body to the side. With supportive pillows underneath your babies, it is easy to use your hands to help your babies latch on effectively without having hands or feet of the other baby in the way.
Cradle Hold. This is a classic nursing position whereby your baby nurses on one side and their body extends across you on the front with their feet under your other breast. When you nurse twins in this position, they may end up with their feet or arms on one another. This can be comforting as they feel the warmth and closeness of one another while they are small. As they get bigger and more interactive, this position could be more challenging as they may get easily distracted by one another rather than focus on nursing.
Clutch and Cradle. In this position, one baby is nursing in the clutch hold and the other in the cradle hold. Thus, both feet would be wrapping around the mother to either the left or right side.
Alternate Breastfeeding Twins
Some mothers complain that they can’t find a comfortable position for simultaneous feeding of twins – that’s why they feed the children in turn. Sometimes, when there is a lack of milk mothers alternate between breastfeeding and a mixture. During one feeding, one baby gets a breast, and the second one – formula or pumped out milk from a bottle. During another breastfeeding – vice versa. You can ask someone from the family to feed a baby. In addition, sometimes children wake up and ask to eat at different times. That’s why it is more convenient to feed one baby first, and then another one.
If you decide to breastfeed the kids individually you have to choose which of the kids should eat first. In this situation, it is necessary to give the pride of place to the weaker child.
Usually, twins do everything identically. They eat at the same time, wake up and fall asleep together. That’s why an assistant who will take the second baby for the time of feeding of the first one is necessary. A significant disadvantage of alternate feeding of twins is a limited time spent near the mother’s breast.
The situation is more difficult with night feedings. The methods of night feeding also depend on whether it is a simultaneous or an alternate feeding. Night feeding is very important because the active production of hormone stimulating lactation takes place at this time. It is better to feed the children at the same time at least at night.
Sleeping together with children is very helpful while establishing breastfeeding. It’s easier for the mother. She can feed children while sleeping, and the babies get the physical contact necessary for their full development. At night, you can also feed the children while lying down, or turn to one and then to the other baby. Do not forget that applying to the breast stimulates lactation very well.
Help of Breastfeeding Consultants
For successful breastfeeding, a nursing mother must have all the necessary information. It should be objective and touch all aspects of breastfeeding: how to feed, when, how to apply – together or separately, etc. The mothers with experience in breastfeeding twins can help a lot. Their experience is priceless because in most cases they have already faced the main problems, found ways to solve them and continue to practice the successful feeding of their babies. If such mothers are not around, then a breastfeeding consultant or a pediatrician can come to the rescue. These experts will help the mother correctly apply the twins, choose a comfortable pose for both herself and the kids. A breastfeeding mother should follow the rules – in the case of any difficulties, it is better to consult a specialist and not to look for her own solutions which can end badly.