Feeding two babies at the same time is a big challenge for parents of twins. With two hungry babies that need to eat every few hours, it makes sense to keep them on the same schedule and feed them at the same time. Some families make the choice to breastfeed their babies.
The benefits of breastfeeding are numerous, and many moms find it convenient and economical to nurse their multiples. Since most women have two breasts, feeding twins simultaneously seems a natural choice. However, it can be a bit tricky. In the beginning, it may require an extra set of hands to manuever infants on and off the breast, and position them correctly. Some women find that a nursing pillow provides added comfort and support for arranging babies at the right height, but regular pillows can serve the same purpose.
Mothers have several options for positioning their babies for breastfeeding. While it may be comfortable to nurse lying down, especially for those middle-of-the-night feedings,it is not as adaptable for feeding both babies simultaneously. Most women find it easier to feed twins while sitting up and holding the babies. Experiment with different positions to determine which works best and feels most comfortable. The picture above illustrates the football hold, where the mother holds the babies' heads in front of her chest, with their bodies extending back. Her hands support their heads and her forearms support their bodies. Depending on the babies' size, their legs may fall under or outside her arms. The football hold works especially well with infants as it provides support to the babies' wobbly heads. It is also recommended for moms who delivered via cesarean section, positioning the bulk of the babies' weight away from the site of the incision while it's tender and healing.
As babies grow bigger and develop more head and neck control, other positions may be more suitable.
- Double Cradle or Cross Cradle Hold: This position combines the football hold and a cradle hold. The babies lie across the mother with their bodies and feet pointing to the side, in the same direction. Moms' hands and arms cradle the babies' heads and upper back. One baby's legs extend under Mom's arm, as in the football hold. One baby's head may rest on the other's body.
- Criss-Cross or Front-V Hold: The babies' heads rest on Mom's forearms as her hands cradle their bodies from underneath. Their bodies cross on Mom's lap, with legs pointing in opposite directions.
- Saddle or Parallel Hold: The babies are upright, facing mom's chest. Best for older babies who are capable of sitting up.
Tip: A bed, sofa, or large comfy chair are good spots for breastfeeding twins. Before you begin, gather everything you'll need while you nurse. Arrange the babies within reach and then settle yourself into position. Keep a glass of water handy, as well as bibs, towels or burp cloths for clean-ups. Be sure to alternate the babies on each breast, so that both babies access each side.