Expecting multiples? Lucky you! You have double the love and bonding to look forward to, but we can imagine that the challenges of breastfeeding multiples is just one of the concerns on your mind. Yes, breastfeeding may be a challenge at first, but with the right tools, advice and preparation you can successfully breastfeed twins.
How do we know? Because we talked to a mom like you.
Julie Hamilton is a passionate mother of three: Ansley (6 years old) and twins Brycen and Olivia (3 years old). Her devotion to breastfeeding has helped her overcome challenges and struggles to successfully breastfeed all of her children, including her twins. She learned a lot along the way and even devoted some of her time to becoming a Certified Lactation Counselor. She talked with us about her experience and shared her best advice for breastfeeding multiples.
Julie could not stress enough the importance of being prepared for breastfeeding. So, we’ll walk you through what preparedness means to her and mix in her lessons along the way.
To her, getting ready to breastfeed twins means:
- Taking a breastfeeding class. This can help familiarize you with breastfeeding and get you more comfortable with the basics before your babies come. Then, you’ll have a good foundation to build upon.
- Building a support team. Julie insisted, “Ask for and accept help.” Specifically, Julie recommended making a “help sheet” to plan and assign tasks to family and friends. That way, you’ll know you have support when you need it. Also, work to build an educated support team. So, include them in your research and learning experiences. The more they know about breastfeeding, the more encouraging they can be.
- Asking for help. Julie knew she’d need help with late night feedings, so she and her husband worked together to develop a plan. She found that her husband could help most by helping to get the babies gently in and out of her arms. After, breastfeeding she’d quietly call her husband’s cell phone, so he could come back in to gently lift the sleeping babies back into bed without waking them.
- Researching helpful supplies. Julie raved about how essential a twin-sized nursing pillow was to her breastfeeding success. Positioning was sometimes a challenge, so the pillow helped keep her comfortable and her babies positioned properly. She found that a football hold worked best, because she could have both babies at breast at the same time. She also found the Medela Pump In Style Advanced particularly helpful once she returned to work. However, every mom and baby is different, so be sure to do your own research to find what products fit you best.
- Talking to your work supervisor. Early and upfront communication with your employer about your pumping needs will help make returning to work easier. So, take some time to understand the rights of working mothers and determine your expectations from your employer.
- Interviewing hospitals and pediatricians. Make your breastfeeding goals clear to them and come up with a plan for support after birth. Julie explained that often times, if you’re delivering twins, you’ll automatically be placed in an operating room in case of complications. So, it’s even more important you stress your desire to breastfeed and come up with a plan.
- Being open to adjustments. When Julie first began breastfeeding, she had rigid expectations of what breastfeeding twins would be like. However, after a bout of engorgement and concerns that her babies weren’t getting enough, she had to change her game plan. She got help from a doula, treated her engorgement, and learned that her babies had very different breastfeeding habits and preferences. Olivia consistently fed for 15 minutes each time, while Brycen would feed eagerly and vigorously then fall asleep quickly. Soon, she learned that despite their differences, both babies were getting enough breastmilk. So, she let Brycen guide the feeding schedule, and let go of her rigid expectations.
- Setting realistic goals. Breastfeeding goals are a great way to inspire yourself to breastfeed as long as possible. Set goals and celebrate when you surpass them.