Tips for Breastfeeding Twins
It’s important to realize that your breastfeeding twins may have different and distinct feeding personalities. One is probably bigger than the other, and one may want to nurse more often than the other. As the babies become more adept at latching on it will be easier to nurse them at the same time, at least for some feedings. (Feeding on both breasts at the same time will really boost your prolactin levels.) At times, you may want to encourage the less-demanding baby, or the one who is not very hungry yet, to nurse at the same time as his sibling, especially at night so that you can get some rest. There will be other times when you want to give each baby individual attention at the breast.
Mothers of twins need lots of pillows for everyone to be comfortable. When breastfeeding twins, a special nursing pillow that fits around your lap is a big help when there are two babies and you have only two hands. A nursing stool, or something else under your feet, will help raise your lap to better contain the babies. Try these positions for breastfeeding twins:
- Double clutch hold. Position the breastfeeding twins on pillows along each side or on a nursing cushion on your lap. Their heads go at the breast, their bodies extend along your sides, under your arms. Hold each baby in close to you with enough pressure against the nape of the neck from your hands. This helps them stay latched on. Use pillows behind your back and be sure to bring the babies up to the breast rather than to hunch your shoulders forward.
- Double cradle hold. Each baby lies in the crook of your elbow on their sides so they are facing toward the breast. Their bodies criss-cross in your lap. Use pillows under your elbows for support.
- Cradle and clutch hold. Nurse one baby in a cradle hold and the other in clutch hold. The head of the baby in clutch hold lines up with the feet of the baby in the cradle hold.
- Lying down. Lying on your back, put two pillows under your head and shoulders. Cradle a baby in each arm, with their bodies on top of yours, their knees meeting in the center. You will need pillows at your sides to support your arms.
Mothers of twins soon figure out a favorite position and a favorite place for their breastfeeding twins to nurse. This might be a big easy chair or a big recliner with wide armrests, or it might be a corner of the couch, where an older sibling can sit by mom and read a story while the babies nurse.
While the typical cue-(or demand-) feeding approach could be too tiring for mothers of twins, the babies may not thrive on a rigid schedule. Somewhere in between is a feeding routine that will work for your family, one that meets the needs of the breastfeeding twins and lets the parents get enough rest. Bringing babies into bed with you may be the only way to get enough sleep.
For more information on breastfeeding twins, read The Breastfeeding Book: Everything You Need to Know About Nursing Your Child from Birth Through Weaning