Congratulations! Your babies have arrived and you've chosen to breastfeed. Breastfeeding twins or multiples is not always easy. You know it might be difficult and frustrating at times, but you're determined to make a go of it.
Here are some tips to get you through the rough patches and make the most of your experience breastfeeding twins or more.
Breastfeeding Twins Tip #1: Get pumped!
Invest in a nursing pump. Pumping stimulates your milk production; moms who are worried about producing enough milk for all of their babies will find it tremendously useful. It also allows you to collect and stockpile extra milk in the event that it's necessary to provide a bottle to the babies.
Many mothers of multiples suggest using a heavy-duty electric double pump that allows you to express milk from both breasts at the same time. (Moms of twins are good at doing two things at once, right?!) Some recommended models are: Medela Pump-in-Style, Medela Lactina, Avent Twin Electronic Pump or Ameda Egnel Elite.
A good pump can cost hundreds of dollars. One option to consider is renting equipment from a hospital or medical supply company. If you are successful with the pump, you can always buy one later. But if you find you don't need one down the road, you can return it and save the money. (You'll need it for diapers!)
Breastfeeding Twins Tip #2: Relax.
Try to relax. Remember, feeding your babies is your ultimate priority at this time, and nothing else matters. Find a quiet place where you won't be distracted. Turn off the phone. Let someone else do the dishes and the laundry. If you have older children, keep them occupied with snacks, books, their own baby dolls, or even the TV if it works.
Tune out anything that makes you worried, stressed, uncomfortable or unhappy and focus on feeding those babies. Focus on your babies; look at them, touch them, sing to them and enjoy them.
Breastfeeding Twins Tip #3: Help! I need somebody...
Accept any and all help. This is not the time to be a martyr. Enlist the help of an encouraging friend. Allow your mother-in-law to do the laundry. Say yes when the neighbors offer to bring over dinner. Let your husband or partner help out by bringing you the babies, changing their diapers and burping them after they're fed.
Your most powerful asset at this time is the support of other parents of multiples. Your local twins club can be an invaluable resource when you're breastfeeding; fellow nursing moms will have lots of advice. Ask them what worked, and try it with your babies.
Don't hesitate to consult your hospital, doctor or midwife or the La Leche League for professional help. A lactation consultant can assist you over the phone or in person, and will help you overcome a myriad of problems.
Breastfeeding Twins Tip #4: If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.
Experiment with logistics to find what works. Some moms of twins nurse both at the same time; others prefer an individual approach. There is no "right way" -- the right way is what works best for you and your babies, so that's what you have to figure out.
Explore different positions to find a comfortable situation. Lay down, sit up, prop yourself and the babies with pillows. Try a nursing pillow like the EZ-2-Nurse Pillow.
Breastfeeding Twins Tip #5: Take care of mommy, too.
Remember, all this won't work without you. Don't let yourself suffer during this hectic and tiring time. By neglecting yourself, you neglect your babies. Nurture yourself so that you can effectively nurture your babies.
Drink plenty of water, and then drink more. Your body needs extra hydration to make milk; make sure there's enough leftover for your own needs! Keep a glass of water at hand at all times, refill it constantly, and sip, sip, sip!
Refuel with plenty of nutritious food: fruits, vegetables, proteins. Even though it feels like you're doing nothing but sitting around and nursing, your body is hard at work. This is not the time to worry about weight gained during pregnancy.
Rest when you can. Many mothers suggest sleeping whenever the babies sleep. (They do sleep sometimes!) Some are even able to doze off while breastfeeding, provided they have a trusted caregiver available to keep an eye on things. Nap periodically throughout the day; even a few minutes of sleep can feel refreshing.
Breastfeeding Twins Tip #6: Give yourself a break.
Give yourself a break. Tell yourself every day "I'm the best mommy for these babies and I'm doing the best that I can." Breastfeeding multiples is an awesome challenge. Remind yourself that you're giving your babies an optimal feeding experience -- even if you supplement with bottles, even if you choose to use formula, even if your house is a wreck, even if you never get dressed during the day. What matters is that your beautiful babies are nourished and loved.