Are you about to get ready for breastfeeding twins? Here's five tips to get you ready!
5 Tips to Get Ready for Breastfeeding Twins
1. Do your homework on breast pumps
Not all breast pumps are made the same. Do your research and learn the difference between an open and closed system, different pumping styles, and options for suction levels. Read through user reviews on Amazon and baby store websites, not just on the company website, so you know the feedback isn't biased.
Be sure to check with your health insurance provider to find out your coverage for a breast pump, but be aware that not all plans offer a wide selection of pumps. Ordering your pump through a specialty breastfeeding store (like Yummy Mummy) can be helpful to get the breast pump you really want, as well as educate you on the breastfeeding benefits offered through your plan.
2. Find a great lactation consultant that has experience with twins
There is tons of breastfeeding support out there — breastfeeding classes, support groups, message boards, etc. — but nothing can truly compare to the guidance of a personal certified lactation consultant (LC). This person will be your guiding light through your breastfeeding twins journey.
Finding the right LC for you is key; you'll need someone who will match your personal views on breastfeeding twins, who has experience with twins, and who will support your decisions. Start your search early, around 24 weeks, asking personal friends and mommy group members who they really liked and why.
Interview a few final choices over the phone first and then book your selection. It's better to have someone waiting in the wings early on, just in case your twins come early. Even if your twins are preemies in the NICU, a lactation consultant will coach you through pumping and getting your supply up in those early days when breastmilk is most needed.
3. Invest in a hands-free bra (or four)
If you're breastfeeding for twins, you'll want to plan to pump in the early weeks to make sure you're getting your supply up. And if you've never pumped before, you wouldn't know that you need something to hold up the pump to your breasts. Investing in hands-free bras will really make your pumping experience easier and more convenient.
Don't just get one — they get dirty really quickly and you'll want at least 3 in your rotation. If you are really strapped for cash, you can make a DIY pumping bra with a tube top or a regular nursing bra and cut holes for the pump parts to go through. Voila! Instant pumping bra!
4. Get everyone on the same page
Whether you are 100% committed to breastfeeding your babies, or if you are going to try your best and see how it goes, make sure to include your spouse and close family/friends in your plans. You are going to need support from all of them to make this a positive experience and you should make your wishes known.
In the early days, you will need their help physically — handing you babies to feed, switching out the baby that's fed so you can switch to the next baby, practicing tandem feeds — and as the weeks progress you will need their moral support even more. Set up the expectation early that you don't want to be pressured about your breastfeeding choices (whether for or against it) and that you really need support in your breastfeeding journey.
5. Prepare yourself for 24/7
Nursing twins is a 24/7 job and you should prepare yourself mentally for this. Babies who nurse typically eat more often than bottle-fed babies. The 3-hour schedule that many bottle-fed twins are on when they come home from the hospital is really more like every 2 to 2 1/2 hours if you are nursing.
This doesn't mean you should be discouraged from nursing your twins; just set realistic expectations so you don't get burnt out and frustrated quickly. While tandem nursing is a huge timesaver, expect that your twins may have a hard time getting the hang of this for the first 2-3 months. Plan to nurse each baby individually until they are both latching and eating well, then tandem feeding will be more successful.
Here's a tip: Breastfeed one baby while simultaneously bottle feeding pumped milk to the other, then switch babies (and boobs) at the next feeding. Training your breastfed babies to also take a bottle early on will allow others to help with feedings and better prepare your babies if you go back to work.
Sign up for the Twiniversity Online Breastfeeding Twins Class! It’s perfect for moms expecting twins AND for moms struggling to currently breastfeed their twins. With 40+ on-demand video modules you can watch on your own time, ANYTIME from ANYWHERE, this is the perfect way to get ready for your twins or get some extra help if breastfeeding isn’t going so great.
Julie Burt Nichols is Twiniversity’s Dean of Parents, serving as Editor-in-Chief of Twiniversity.com, Account Manager, and Instructor for Chicago Twiniversity classes.