One of the most, if not the most important thing a mother does when the baby is brought home is to nourish them for at least the next 6 months solely on breastmilk. Everyone knows that babies drink breast milk and doctors recommend that they continue to do so as long as possible. This is because breastmilk is essentially a superfood for babies as it contains all the necessary nutrients, vitamins and minerals they need, while still keeping them hydrated and full (1). But the breastfeeding journey isn’t always a breeze.
Some women struggle with producing enough milk for their baby and some babies find it hard to latch onto their mother in order to breastfeed effectively. Even when things do go smoothly, being your baby’s primary source of nutrition can be exhausting. Now can you imagine that times two, or with multiple babies? Sounds overwhelming doesn’t it? But you must never underestimate a mother’s body and will. So, if you’re expecting multiples or twins and planning to breastfeed them, this is everything you need to know for the process to go smoothly.
Is Breastfeeding Harder With Twins?
Yes, of course it is. Taking care of a newborn and ensuring that they are drinking enough milk is hard work. And breastfeeding twins or higher multiples requires more work and more dedication than handling a single baby. However, you must keep in mind that it is perfectly possible to successfully breastfeed more than one baby at a time. It helps to be realistic and plan ahead. Make sure you get support from your doctor, a lactation consultant, your family and friends. Go through the breastfeeding plan with your partner. Do you want them to be involved, how would you like them to help and are you planning on asking them to bottle feed the babies at night? These are all important questions that need a tentative answer before the babies arrive and the chaos begins.
Remember that newborns have small bellies and therefore need to be refed often. So you may get to a point where you feel like your entire life consists of feeding babies, burping, spit up and repeat. That’s okay and very normal. However, if you are starting to feel very overwhelmed, don’t hesitate to hand a bottle to your partner and ask them to take care of a few feeds. You’ll also experience common problems like cracked nipples, low milk supply and engorged breasts which can be uncomfortable and painful. The important thing is that you are trying your best to feed your little ones without completely exhausting yourself. Keep in mind that your health matters too!
How Often Do You Have To Feed The Babies?
During the first month, your newborns will have to feed around 12 times a day, each. So you’ll probably feed them every two to three hours. But this will gradually decrease to about 7 to 9 feeds a day during the next month. As time goes by your babies will start drinking more milk and will need to be nursed only 2 to 3 times a day around the 9 month mark as they will start to eat solid foods as well.
Some women choose to feed their babies on demand, that is, feeding them whenever they show signs of hunger. But this can make you feel like you are stuck breastfeeding throughout the day. To avoid this, you can simply nurse all your babies at the same time. There’s nothing wrong with allowing both your babies to nurse at the same time even if only one of them showed signs of hunger. This will help you keep track of the number of times they fed and help you get some down time while your babies have full tummies.
How To Nurse Two Babies At The Same Time?
If you’ve got twins, getting a nursing pillow that is specifically designed to accommodate both your babies is a life saver. Although, if you can’t get your hands on one, you can use rolled up towels as well. The point is to support both your babies when they feed. It’s also a great idea to set up a designated space that is big enough to accommodate all your babies comfortably. A football hold is also a great position to consider while nursing both babies at once. You can get them to face each other in this hold to make things easier for yourself.
At the end of the day, feeding multiple or twins is a challenge. But it can be done successfully and you don’t need to run yourself ragged trying to accomplish this task. So, take it easy, plan ahead and let your body take its natural course. Reach out to professionals if you need help and stay healthy!