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Everything you need to know to prepare for nursing with multiples.
Every mom’s breastfeeding experience is totally unique. We all face our own set of obstacles and reach milestones at different times. The key to setting yourself up for success is to prepare for breastfeeding during pregnancy. Especially if you’re expecting twins.
When you find out your family is getting even bigger, two things will happen. First, the love you thought couldn’t grow any more will double. Then, you might start to worry about your breastfeeding plan, but there’s no need. We’re breaking down everything you need to know about breastfeeding multiples.
What to Expect When You’re Expecting Twins
You’ll produce enough milk
Many moms worry that they won’t be able to keep their breast milk supply up, or that they won’t produce enough milk to successfully feed both babies. The fact of the matter is that the more you breastfeed, the more milk you’ll make. Breastfeed or pump frequently to maintain your supply. If you notice a dip in your production, don’t panic–your supply will naturally fluctuate during the first year of breastfeeding, and there are ways to restore your breast milk supply.
You’ll want to consider a nursing pillow
The Mayo Clinic recommends feeding each baby individually when you first start nursing so you can get a sense of how they latch. Once you’re comfortable nursing each baby, try to get in a routine of feeding both infants at the same time. Yes, it’ll be so hard to wake up a peacefully sleeping baby, but you’ll be stuck in a never-ending breastfeeding cycle if you nurse one at a time.
The best way to nurse simultaneously is with the help of a comfy nursing pillow. Each twin gets his or her side of the pillow so you can nurse them in the football hold position. You might need help positioning each baby when you first start, but as you continue to use the pillow you’ll become more familiar with how to set yourself up.
You’ll need a good breast pump
Because twins are more likely to be premature, you might have to provide your babies with milk through a bottle to start if they’re receiving treatment in the NICU. Plus, whether you plan on heading back to work or pumping on the go, you’ll want to find the perfect pump for your lifestyle. Bonus, get your pump covered by your insurance!
For a little extra help boosting your milk supply, consider renting a hospital-grade breast pump. While there is an out-of-pocket cost, it’s worth the investment and you don’t need to commit to any time frame. Use the rental to get your milk supply up, return it when you’re ready and transition to your regular breast pump.
You’ll burn a lot of calories
Breastfeeding naturally burns about 500 calories every day, but breastfeeding two babies burns around 1,000 calories a day! That’s math we like and can get behind. You’ll be able to shed the baby weight faster than you may have expected, but you have to be sure that you’re eating enough throughout the day. Optimal nutrition while breastfeeding is essential to keeping your milk supply and energy levels up. Drink plenty of water and eat a well-balanced diet to keep both you and baby happy and healthy.
You’ll want to build a backup milk stash
When you’re out of the house on a little me-time excursion, you’ll want to be sure that whoever is watching your babies will be able to feed them just as you would. Work towards building up a backup stash of breast milk, and invest in a bottle that baby will take without fussing. Introducing a bottle to a breastfed baby can be tricky, so get the right gear to make it a smooth transition.
You’ll want to try different nursing positions
While you get comfortable feeding both babies at once, have your partner or a nurse help you position the twins. There are a variety of breastfeeding positions you can use to simultaneously nurse both babies, so try them out to find the position that works best for you. If you’re struggling to successfully position and latch both infants, schedule a lactation consultation. IBCLCs are the experts in breastfeeding and can offer you one-on-one help to set you up for success.