Expecting twins? As a new mom you’ve got a lot in store for you… double the fun and double the love, but you’ll also have double the number of little ones that need to be fed. Undoubtedly, you’re wondering how you’ll master this daunting task. Take confidence in knowing moms have done it before and moms will do it again. You, too, will figure it out.
So, how do you choose...exclusively breastfeeding, exclusively pumping or a combo of pumping and breastfeeding? It all comes down to what will fit your lifestyle once the twins arrive.
- If you work away from the home, exclusively breastfeeding may not be for you and pumping may be best.
- If you are a stay-at-home parent who sometimes has the flexibility to nurse on demand, but needs to be on their feet to supervise other little ones, then a combo of breastfeeding and pumping for bottle feeding may be best.
- If you are prepared and open to feeding your multiples during the day and night, without the use of bottled breastmilk, then exclusively breastfeeding may be best.
In this post, we’ll cover the basics of pumping for twins, as well as strategies for breastfeeding twins successfully — from getting ready before they arrive, handling feeding while at home and everything in between!
BEFORE YOUR DELIVERY DATE
- Contact the team at 1 Natural Way to secure a breast pump and accessories – possibly at no cost to you (depending on your insurance coverage). We’ll also help you choose the best breast pump for your feeding needs.
- Once your breast pump and accessories arrive at your home, take the time to learn how the pump works, how to clean it, and what type of nursing bras will work best with your pump.
- Order extra pumping supplies – breast shields of various sizes, additional tubes, membranes, valves, power adapters, and batteries. Also, stock up on breast milk storage bags, bottles and nipples. You’ll need more supplies for feeding than your singleton mom friends, so stock up!
- Research and purchase a breastfeeding pillow specifically designed for feeding twins. Make sure the pillow is large and firm enough to support the babies, fit comfortably around your body and free your hands for baby re-positioning and burping. Nursing pillows are especially important for moms recovering from a C-section.
- Purchase nursing and pumping friendly clothing. This includes bigger bras, hands free nursing bras, clip on/off nursing bras, nursing tank tops, and clothes that are comfortable and easily removed or lifted.
- Create a system for organizing bottles, nipples, bottle brushes and breast milk storage bags. Establish a place where dirty bottles will go, where and how you will clean them, and a place to dry them.
- Devise a labeling or tracking system for bottled and stored breast milk. This involves keeping track of which side you pumped on, how long you pumped for, and dating milk to be stored.
- Stake out a place for setting up your primary breastfeeding and pumping station. Create a comfortable environment (a cushy chair with armrests, foot stool, snacks and water within arm’s reach!) where you can pump, but also keep yourself busy - think Netflix, magazines, books, and sanity keepers.
- Learn the rules and guidelines for breast milk storage, refrigeration, freezing, thawing, carrying around in an insulated cooler, etc.
- Purchase cold packs and a durable insulated cooler for when you need to store milk while pumping away from home or keep bottled milk cool while out and about.
- Purchase/download any apps or handheld devices to help you track pumping schedules (reminders and alarms), time pumping and feeding, which baby drank what amount, etc.
- Add your pump to your hospital bag. Twins are more likely to spend time in the NICU, so pumping may be your best bet for ensuring your babies get breast milk in their first few days.
- Join local and national breastfeeding and moms of multiples groups (Facebook, forums, in-person meetings). A support community can provide answers for questions and help you through similar journeys.
OFF TO THE RACES
While your little ones may start their newborn journey in the NICU, mothers have the opportunity to pump shortly after their birth (barring any medical complications or medical advice). Some moms may even be able to breastfeed their babies shortly after birth
If your twins are born prematurely, your milk may not be ready to come in, but do not worry, it will soon enough! Pumping helps establish your breast milk supply.
Even if you get a small amount during those first few pumping sessions, your effort and the nutrition it will supply your twins is immeasurable. If you are able, skin-to-skin contact can help with your letdown, while providing much needed bonding time.
PUMPING AT HOME
Begin by establishing your supply by pumping every 2 to 3 hours - this is about 8 to 12 times in a 24-hour period. Pumping will take up to 30 minutes each session, although times will vary.
BREASTFEEDING AT HOME
Since each twin has their own personality, they may decide to be on a completely different feeding schedule than their sibling. This may lead you to nurse one child at a time and not in tandem.
Remember to write down pertinent information each time the twins breastfeed (which breast was nursed, length of time, etc). In the beginning, infants need to breastfeed 8 to 12 times per day, once every 2 to 3 hours, all day and all night. Each feeding session should run around 20 to 30 minutes.
Have someone help you position your breastfeeding pillow and both babies when initially starting to tandem feed. If needed, have them help guide baby to your nipple to begin the latch. If you do not have any help and need to set up for a tandem feeding, stay low to the ground. It is a bit intimidating to handle two little ones while in a chair. Sitting on the floor, with your back to the couch, surround yourself with pillows and your breastfeeding pillow.
Until your twins are several months old, breastfeeding will more than likely be on demand and not to schedule.
1 Natural Way offers a complete array of products and services to make moms more comfortable and confident throughout their pregnancy and breastfeeding journey. We provide mothers with name brand breast pumps, monthly breastfeeding supplies, maternity compression stockings and postpartum recovery garments, as well as expert and compassionate advice and top-notch customer service. Click here to start the qualification process to find out if you qualify for a breast pump at no cost to you.