Whether you are becoming a first-time parent or you are a veteran mama, you might have some concerns about breastfeeding multiples. Lots of moms are nervous about being able to provide enough milk for two babies (or more!) Luckily, there’s lots of information online about how to boost your milk supply. Everyone has different challenges in providing enough milk, so different solutions will work for different mamas. Hopefully, you can learn from my experiences and succeed in boosting your supply.
Before my twins were born, my mother told me stories about her overabundant milk supply, so I hoped for (and was counting on) having an overabundant milk supply as well. When my babies were born at 24 weeks and 4 days, they were unable to nurse, so I began pumping. I pumped huge amounts of milk that my babies were able to consume through feeding tubes while they were growing in the NICU. When I started nursing, however, things changed, and it was a struggle forever after that. The fact of the matter is, your body adjusts to how much milk your babies need, so my milk supply immediately started to adjust to them and even with pumping, I think nursing confused my breasts.
The first thing I did was talk with the lactation consultants at our NICU. Lactation consultants are great resources and are available at many hospitals. In addition, many larger healthcare systems offer access to lactation consultants or will cover an in-home visit from a lactation consultant. There is also an amazing non-profit called Baby Café, where you have access to free lactation consultants and are in the presence of other mothers who are working on nursing. The lactation consultant at our NICU encouraged me to be very consistent with pumping (my pumping schedule changed once the babies started nursing) and try to stay relaxed while nursing. They also reminded me to continue the good pumping habits I had been doing, such as making sure to massage my breasts to stimulate let down before pumping and drinking lots of water.
When we got home from the NICU however, I again began to have trouble, probably because it’s hard to stay relaxed with two infants at home! I was sleep deprived and not eating regularly. I tried going to a Baby Café and they suggested I try some lactation teas and milk boosting supplements. This led me to a hurried internet search to try and find which supplements work best and where I could buy them. I ended up buying the Mother’s Milk tea and the Motherlove More Milk Plus supplement.
Many moms say Mother’s Milk tea helps them create a routine and helps them relax, which helps create more milk, but they don’t necessarily feel it actually increases production. While it may help some moms get a good routine going, it did not work for me. On the other hand, I feel like the Motherlove supplement did increase my milk supply, though not by much (maybe about an ounce a day), that was enough for the time being. Things were going well, the babies got to be better nursers, and I got comfortable with the process and took some things for granted. And then I went back to work!
As you might imagine, going back to work changed our routine and increased the importance of pumping. I almost immediately started having supply issues again. I ended up needing something more than just the Motherlove supplement.
I also learned about power pumping, which is where you pump for 15 minutes, take 15 minutes off, and then pump again. When my supply was at its lowest, I tried power pumping and it worked. I would say power pumping is impossible to do unless you have someone taking care of your babies and you do not nurse during the day or two you do this. Power pumping got my supply back to a good place, I adjusted my pumping schedule while at work, and finally, I chugged one full dark beer upon returning home from work each night. These changes got my supply back up and consistently back to where it needed to be.
Things were going great, and nothing in my routine had changed, but all of sudden my supply started dwindling again and I couldn’t figure out why. My nanny asked me when the last time I boiled my pump parts was. I knew I should be doing it weekly, but had definitely let that slip. I boiled my pump parts and voila! Pumping problems resolved. So remember ladies, it is very important to sanitize those pump parts regularly.
Breastfeeding is not easy! Everyone’s experience is different. What worked best for me may not work for you, but try not to get discouraged. Remain open-minded and try different techniques that make sense for you and your family. Using good pumping and nursing habits, along with making sure you are taking care of yourself, are essential to making enough milk to nurse your babies. If you need additional support, there is a lot of information out there. Consult your pediatrician and lactation consultants for help. Remember that whatever you are able to produce is better than nothing, so don’t beat yourself up if you are forced to supplement. Good luck mama!
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Maya Mason lives in the Twin Cities, MN and works as a Juvenile Probation Officer. Maya is the mom of 6-month-old boy/girl twins named Theo and Teia who were born at 24 weeks. Maya has Lupus and this diagnosis has led her to become passionate about natural health and wellness. Maya loves to spend time with her family, play volleyball and travel. She also is an avid writer and is in the process of writing a teen fiction series.
Got twins? Us too! The Twiniversity Podcast with Natalie Diaz is created by parents of twins FOR parents of twins, from expecting times through the teenage years and everything in between. This podcast is all about parenting twins, offering plenty of tips, parenting hacks, and of course, humor. Just know that we are laughing WITH you every step of the way.
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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.