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7 Tips for Breastfeeding Twins

You just gave birth to two new humans, and just like that, it’s time to feed them. The fundamentals of breastfeeding remain the same whether you have twins or not, but nursing multiples comes with its own set of questions and particulars. After all, you’ll be juggling two babies with different breastfeeding schedules and abilities; and if, like most twins, they’re born prematurely, they’ll need extra help to learn how to latch. So what does it take to breastfeed twins?

“No one knows how to breastfeed twins overnight,” said mother of twins and founder of Twiniversity, Natalie Diaz. “Set small goals for yourself. Preparation is key -- not just having the right supplies, but also having extra hands to help you when you begin and finish breastfeeding sessions.”

There's no one way to go about nursing twins -- every baby is different. As a lactation consultant and founder of the on-demand breastfeeding consulting service boober, I know that there's a steep curve with breastfeeding twins. So here are 7 tips to set yourself up for success.

1. Start breastfeeding very soon after the birth.

One of the biggest concerns for twin parents is getting a milk supply big enough for two. To do that, our breasts require frequent, regular stimulation to make the right amount of milk for our babies. So if you can, initiate breastfeeding within the hour and allow the twins (either one or both) to suckle at your breasts whenever they show signs of hunger.

If your babies require time in the NICU and you are unable to room with them, you'll need to stimulate your breasts by hand expression or with a hospital-grade pump, which the hospital should provide. Also keep in mind that many twins are born prematurely and can thus need more time and help to learn how to properly latch -- all the more reason for you to pump or hand express to keep stimulating your breasts.

2. Room-in at the hospital if you can and sleep near your babies at home.

If you can, keep your babies very close to you at all times as you are learning to breastfeed and building milk supply. At home, you can use a co-sleeper or nearby bassinet so you can hear and respond to your babies’ feeding cues as quickly as possible.

3. Try tandem nursing early on.

Tandem breastfeeding means breastfeeding your babies simultaneously (one on each breast), which may actually buy you some time to rest and take care of yourself in between feedings! For most new parents of twins, this requires latching one baby on first and having someone else position the other baby on the opposite breast. If tandem is not working for you in the beginning, that’s ok. Practice really does make perfect. So take the time to work on the latch individually with each baby; and once individual latching and feeding is feeling easier, try tandem nursing again (somewhere in the 2- to 6-week mark).

4. Get support early on.

No one is meant to take care of just-born humans alone. As psychotherapist and parent coach Olivia Bergeron, LCSW, the founder of MommyGroove and mother of twins, says, “keep in mind the ratio is usually one breastfeeding parent to one baby. Nursing two infants while recovering from birth and getting your bearings as a parent can be particularly tough.” So if you really want to breastfeed, rally all the help you can get -- whether it’s a family member coming to help during the day or a postpartum doula bringing overnight support.

5. Hire a lactation consultant with twin experience!

Expert support can really make the difference when it comes to feeding twins. A lactation consultant who’s versed in breastfeeding multiples will give you all the tools you need to find the right nursing position, to help you make enough milk for both babies and to ultimately succeed in your breastfeeding journey.

6. Remember that each baby is unique.

Twins are two different people who happen to have been born at the same time. Your babies’ breastfeeding styles and needs may be quite different, so allow yourself the time and patience to get used to each one.

7. Be gentle with yourself as you learn how to feed your twins.

Breastfeeding does not have to be all-or-nothing. With support, practice, and flexibility, you will learn what is right for you and your babies.

When expecting a baby, there is a lot you can test-run in advance: Take that stroller around the block. Go for a spin with the car seat secured in place. Learn how to use the baby carrier with help from a doll. But breastfeeding? It's not exactly possible to practice before baby's arrival.

The absence of a trial makes it all the more important to prepare in other ways for breastfeeding success—and it can be as simple as adding a few of our lactation aiding favorites to your registry.

MilkBliss chocolate chip soft baked lactation cookies

MilkBliss lactation cookies

Studies have shown the top reason women stop breastfeeding within the first year is because they are concerned about their milk supply being enough to nourish baby. Consider MilkBliss Lactation Cookies to be your secret weapon. Not only are they wholesome and delicious, but they were formulated specifically for breastfeeding moms based on the science of galactagogues—also known as milk boosters. They also come in peanut butter and wild blueberry flavors.

$23

Evereden multi-purpose healing balm

Evereden multipurpose healing balm

Also up there on the list of reasons women stop breastfeeding: the toll the early days can take on nipples. Made from just five ingredients, this all natural healing balm is ideal for soothing chafed nipples, making for a much more comfortable experience for mama as her body adjusts to the needs of a breastfeeding baby.

$20

Lansinoh milk storage bags

Lansinoh milk storage bags

For a breastfeeding mama, there are few things more precious and valuable than the milk she worked so hard to pump—and it's the stuff of nightmares to imagine it spilling out in the fridge. With these double-sealed milk storage bags, you can be assured your breastmilk is safe and sound until baby needs it.

$12.50

Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Nursing a baby is a 24/7 job, which calls for some wardrobe modifications. Because Belly Bandit specializes in making things more comfortable for the postpartum mama, they've truly thought of every detail—from the breathable fabric to the clips that can be easily opened with one hand.

$47

boob-ease soothing therapy pillows

Boob Ease soothing therapy pillows

For nursing moms, duct can quickly become a four-letter word when you suspect it's getting clogged. By keeping these soothing breast pillows in your breastfeeding arsenal, you can immediately go on the defense against plugged milk ducts by heating the pads in the microwave or cooling them in the freezer.

$25

Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

A unfortunate reality of nursing is that it can really seem to limit the wardrobe options when you have to think about providing easy, discrete access. But by adding functional basics to your closet, you can feel confident and prepared for breastfeeding on the go.

$59

Bebe au Lait premium cotton nursing cover

Bebe au Lait cotton nursing cover

Nursing in public isn't every mama's cup of tea. But babies can't always wait until you've found a private place to get down to business if that's your preference. That's where a nursing cover comes in handy. This one is made from premium cotton and features a patented neckline that allows for airflow and eye contact even while you're covered.

$36

Lactation Lab basic breastmilk testing kit

Lactation Lab breastmilk testing kit

Curious to learn more about the liquid gold you're making, mama? The testing kit from Lactation Labs analyzes your breast milk for basic nutritional content like calories and protein, as well as vitamins, fatty acids and environmental toxins to help boost your breastfeeding confidence.

$99

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