Are you hoping to breast feed your multiples when they arrive? It can be done! Many breastfeeding moms of multiples also pump their milk to get their supply up. And some mamas go back to work and pump there too! Some moms supplement with formula if their milk supply isn't providing enough for two or more. And some moms are never able to breast feed (for many different reasons) and exclusively pump without putting babies to breast. And then there are moms who choose skip breast feeding altogether, and that is OK too! There are SO MANY WAYS to feed your babies and there is no one right way. Whatever works best for you and your family and keeps you sane is the right way for YOU!
Pumping breast milk ain't easy! We collected the best tips from moms who pump and are passing them on to you! Hopefully some of these tips will ease your mind and make your life a little easier (and what mom doesn't love that??)
- Make sure you are properly fitted by a lactation consultant for flanges. If you really need to boost or maintain production, pump in the middle of the night when your prolactin is at its highest.
- Pump as soon as they go down for a nap, then you have the best chance of an uninterrupted session.
- Don't skip late night and early morning sessions. They were great payloads. Made me feel better about the small amounts I would get during shorter day sessions.
- Get a double electric pump with the hands-free bra!
- I pumped every day after their evening feeding to keep my supply up and have a freezer full because I was worried what would happen if I got sick with the flu. I rented a hospital grade pump and had Medela's hand pump which was great for travel and also clogged ducts. It was actually stronger than electric pump and great in case of power outages. I nursed until 15 months, they self weaned with pumped milk in sippy cups (I had one baby who refused all bottles and pacifiers.)
- Get a hands free bra and keep to a pumping schedule. Put it on your calendar and don't stray too far from it. That way your body will know to continue to produce milk.
- Rub baby lotion on your chest before you pump – the smell will help you relax and think of your babies – best smell in the world!
- Hands-free bra (I made one from a sports bra I bought at Goodwill), try not to skip pumping sessions, take Fenugreek capsules and Lecithin, keep an eye on the bottles and/or the time so you don't overflow the bottles (lol), and try to relax!
- Keep on a schedule and keep at it. I started skipping pump times and it really impacted my supply. And go hands free! There are some great bras that can accommodate double pumps.
- Relax and the milk will flow. I always had a picture of the boys also to help with the milk flow.
- I brought a cover with me since I was pumping in a shared office and I brought a big Tupperware to put all my used parts to clean at home…I didn't trust the bathrooms at work! Good luck and you can do it!
- For the first couple weeks apart, I brought a piece of clothing one of the twins slept in the night before. The smell helped with my letdown. I am now back at work for over a month now and pumping strong! You got this!
- Please do not let your family pressure you into using formula. If YOU want to do it, then that's fine. YOU are the Mama and YOU decide what you want for your baby! My hands-free pump was a Godsend, and yes a big water bottle…and your smart phone with lots of pictures of your little ones to keep you flowing!
- Ask your HR at your work about a lactation room. Our office has a beautiful lactation room with a key card entrance and none of my co-workers knew about it!
- Definitely have open communication with your boss on where/when the pumping will happen so they can make sure to have a private area for you. I bought 2 hands-free bras because 1 wasn't enough — I always managed to spill on it and I had a hard time finding the time to wash it between pumpings.
- If you use Dr. Brown's bottles you can just pump into them….I just fill 4 oz in each bottle and if any left over pour into bag and freeze or keep in case if they are hungrier. A good thing to show your babysitter is the paced bottle feeding video. It helps baby get back to breast easier.
- I keep a separate pump at work so I don't have to lug it back and forth. Many insurance providers cover 2 pumps a year. To me it was worth the leg work of getting another one approved. Then all I have to carry are the bottles each day.
- Totally agree its doable if you want. I managed to BF for almost a year by pumping at work. Don't let your family make your decision for you. If there's a private area bring pics/videos of your babies on your phone to help.
- I put my pump parts, assembled, in a gallon ziploc bag, in their own lunch bag in the fridge shared with students. No one knew, and keeping it assembled sped up the process. I also loved my phone full of photos to help me relax. Also take that time to eat! You can do it!
- I pumped twice a day at work. About an hour after eating. Drink tons of water. Try not to work on your phone while pumping. It's OK to take two 20 minute breaks. The more relaxed I was the more milk I produced. Set pop-up reminders on your work calendar to pump and to remember your milk from the fridge at the end of the day. If you can swing it get a refurbished (cheaper) pump to leave at work. It saves the hassle of dragging the pump back and forth. And have extra parts at work too. Forgetful twin mamas have enough to worry about!
- Pictures of babies. A private place to do it. Storage bags. Know your shelf life of frozen breastmilk – it's a lot longer than most think. I use electric no matter what easier and hands free with nursing bra.
- I prefer my manual pump for on-the-go that way I don't have to search for an outlet & worry with cords & tubes. I use the electric pump at home, & try to pump after each feeding.
- Relax! Working is stressful. Taking some deep breaths while pumping make it come faster. I also did several 10 min sessions in the day. I worked in my own office- so I just locked my door every other hour for 10 min.
- I loved Freemie – a hands free, concealable pump
- The best advice I can give is to do your best to pump as long as you can, but listen to your gut to know when it's time to stop. I didn't expect to be able to breast feed at all but I was surprised that I had quite a lot of milk — though we still had to supplement with formula. I pumped for 4 weeks and that was longer than I ever thought I would go. I chose to stop at that point because I was so sleep-deprived and I was stressing out because I couldn't handle all the time and energy that went in to pumping along with caring for the babies. But that was my choice. Other women have gone a lot longer and that's their choice and that's OK too! The hardest part was being honest with myself that it was OK to stop when I was ready to stop. That I wasn't a bad mom for it.
Check out these other great articles on breastfeeding twins…
* * *
Are you a new twin parent? Check out Natalie Diaz's new book “What To Do When You're Having Two: The Twin Survival Guide From Pregnancy Through the First Year”, available in stores now!
The rate of twin births has risen 79 percent over the last three decades, and continues to increase. A mom of fraternal twins and a national guru on having two, Natalie Diaz launched Twiniversity, a supportive website with advice from the twin-trenches.
What to Do When You’re Having Two is the definitive how-to guide to parenting twins, covering how to make a Birth Plan checklist, sticking to one sleep schedule, managing double-duty breastfeeding, stocking up on all the necessary gear, building one-on-one relationships with each child, and more.
Accessible and informative, What to Do When You’re Having Two is the must-have manual for all parents of twins.