What I Learned from Breastfeeding Twins for Two Years

What I Learned from Breastfeeding Twins for Two Years

Breastfeeding twins has been major accomplishment. I have reached my goal of nursing twins for two full years. This is what helped me get there.

The odds are stacked against many moms when they start their journey of breastfeeding twins, but after recently reaching the 2-year mark of nursing my twins, I’ve learned a few things that might make your breastfeeding journey a little easier.

These are the key tips that have been essential in my success in breastfeeding twins for over 2 years now.

A couple quick disclaimers though. I am not a lactation consultant, midwife, doctor, or have any professional credentials. I am just a mom who has breastfed a singleton and breastfed twins for a combined 6 years now.

I also have included affiliate links to products and services I love, which means if you use my link and make a purchase I get a small commission at not extra cost to you.

I was a veteran breastfeeder

I need to get this one out of the way right off the bat. When I got pregnant with my twins, I was actually still nursing my daughter who was 2 at the time.

So not only did I have experience breastfeeding, but I had already successfully breastfed one child to natural term.

She finally weaned somewhere in the first trimester, though at that point we were down to only nursing 2-3 times per day. I was able to wean her fairly easily just by redirecting her to snacks, cow’s milk, and her favorite yogurt.

During those 2 years of breastfeeding, I learned most of the lessons that I’ll share here, and then those lessons were reiterated and strengthened during my journey with breastfeeding twins.

Though there were some new tricks I picked up, and tips that are a little unique for twins that I’ll share too.

Do your research

Breastfeeding is natural, but it doesn’t necessarily come naturally. I don’t think I have ever met a mom who didn’t have at least one stumbling block when it came to breastfeeding whether that was sore nipples, latch issues, biting, low supply, tongue/lip ties, or even pressure from family to quit.

While I’m sure formula moms face many challenges as well, breastfeeding presents its own set of challenges. Even if you and baby establish your breastfeeding relationship smoothly, chances are that you will need some sort of knowledge before giving birth so you are prepared.

There are a few resources that I LOVE and recommend wholeheartedly for learning more about breastfeeding.

Books on Breastfeeding:

The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding

This book is from La Leche League (LLL), which is one of (if not THE) foremost organization supporting breastfeeding moms. It was created by breastfeeding moms who needed support, so banded together to create what they needed. 90% of what I learned about breastfeeding was from this book.

Mothering Multiples

La Leche League followed up the above with a book specifically designed to help mamas with multiples, as the title implies. This isn’t only about breastfeeding, but definitely goes over breastfeeding more than one baby.

Websites and Online Resources for Breastfeeding:

KellyMom

If I had to choose ONE single resource for moms to know about, it would be KellyMom. This website has an answer to just about any and every breastfeeding question you might have. Including, a section about breastfeeding twins or multiples.

La Leche League

The LLL website is a great resource for getting answers to your breastfeeding questions, but also a place to find local LLL groups so you can find in-person support from other breastfeeding moms.

LactMed

Have a cold and want to know if that decongestant is ok to take while breastfeeding? Head over to this website. This is a database of medications and their known or unknown interactions while breastfeeding. I always recommend checking this even if you have gotten a doctor’s advice because sometimes their info is out of date, while LactMeds should be the most recent info.

Online Courses for Breastfeeding:

Milkology: The Ultimate Breastfeeding Class

This is an online course that is super affordable (only $19!). It was created by a mom of 3, and Certified Lactation Educator, Stacey Stewart. She has helped thousands learn how to breastfeed, and this course is an amazing resource to have at your fingertips.

Milkology: The Ultimate Back to Work Pumping Class

Because tons of moms go back to work after giving birth but still want to breastfeed, Stacey also created a course on pumping milk.

La Leche League for Moms of Twins/Multiples Facebook Group

It takes a village, right? This is my favorite breastfeeding group. Tons of other moms to tap into when you need support.

To tandem or not to tandem?

I planned on tandem nursing my guys from the very start, and I was tandem feeding them within the first day of their birth.

However, if you are first-time mom or have never breastfed any babies ever before, you might want to consider nursing separately until you get the hang of it.

Even though I was a pro at breastfeeding when I had my boys I DID take some time to nurse them individually before switching to tandem so that I knew they were good to go and had no problems latching on.

As soon as babies are able and you feel comfortable, I do strongly suggest tandem feeding when possible. Not only does this save time for you, but it also helps get the babies on the same schedule.

I never push or force my kids onto a schedule. Instead, I follow their cues and allow them to get into their own routines. The only thing I did to really encourage my boys to be on the same schedule was also trying to tandem feed. If one showed signs of hunger, I offered to both. Within a few weeks, they were pretty synced up.

The one product I think is essential for tandem feeding is the Brest Friend Twins nursing pillow. Some moms love the Twin-Z, but I love the structure and support of the Brest Friend. (Plus it has a pocket to store your drinks, snacks, remote, phone, whatever you need for those long nursing sessions.)

Protip on using the Brest Friend, have extra pillows for propping. You CAN use this pillow on its own, but I found that what was most comfy for me was to sit on a couch with legs criss-cross applesauce, a pillow or two behind my back and one underneath the Brest Friend to raise the height up a little. Propped like that I could Netlflix and Chill while nursing comfortably all day.

Have a plan for night feedings

When they were newborns I would also wake both at the same time to feed, but as time went on I let them each wake as they wanted to feed.

To make things easier for me, I had a sidecar crib, which is a crib without the front section attached to the bed so you can have the best of both worlds, bedsharing and separate space for the babies and you. So when one would wake I would grab him, latch him on, and then do the same when the other woke.

If both woke at the same time I would sit up in bed and nurse them tandem.

Deciding on where baby sleeps can be a bit overwhelming for parents. I choose to bedshare and/or use a sidecar because it is the safest option for me and my family, and it also means I get more sleep!

Here are a few resources for you to decide what might work best for you:

Sweet Sleep from LLL

A guide on co-sleeping from Mattress Insider

AAP sleep guideslines

Safe Co-Sleeping with Multiples from the Badass Breastfeeder

How to breastfeed twins in public

Unless you plan to never leave your home, you will at some point have to decide how you’re going to feed your babies while away from home.

Tandem nursing can be a bit awkward when you are doing it at home, let alone in public.

Some moms are able to manage tandem feeding in public right from the beginning. Some cover, some use the two-shirt method, and some just let it all hang out. Whatever you’re comfortable with is what you should do.

For me though, I just knew I wouldn’t be able to get it right without a pillow or something to help me prop the babies up. So when they were tiny infants I usually brought a bottle of pumped milk with me and if both were hungry at the same time, one would get boob, and one would get a bottle of pumped milk.

Once my boys were bigger and had better control over their heads and bodies, I just tandem nursed them wherever we were using the two-shirt method.

The one way I was able to comfortable tandem feed when mine were newborns was while babywearing. I used a size 8 woven wrap in a front wrap cross carry to wear both of them and was able to nurse them easily that way.

Know where to get support

I’m going to be honest. In my experience, pediatricians have not been the most helpful when it comes to supporting me breastfeeding. Many times they were poorly informed about the basics of breastfeeding mechanics and were very quick to tell me to supplement with formula even though I had an overabundance of breastmilk.

This isn’t to say to never take your pediatrician’s advice or to just ignore them, but be clear on where you’re most likely to get the support you need.

Most times this will be with the help of an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). There are a few different certifications that can fall under “lactation consultant” or some variant of that phrase, but an IBCLC is like the gold standard of certification.

So when my doctor recommended I supplement with my twins, which I didn’t personally feel was necessary, I wanted to also get the backing of an expert to ensure I was actually doing the right thing. That’s when I sought out the opinion of the IBCLC.

Doctors generally have little to no training on breastfeeding, while IBCLC’s are basically specialists in that area. For me, the IBCLC’s recommendations trumped the pediatricians.

Your opinion might be different. You might also have a much different situation than I did. Maybe if my twins were premature and had complications I’d lean more heavily on the pediatrician’s opinion, maybe not. But the point here is not to tell you who to listen to, rather use your own judgment and do your own research on where you think you can get the best answers for you and your baby.

Breastfeeding twins is exhausting but so rewarding. I am so happy to have been able to nurse my twins this long. Hopefully, these few tips can help you do the same if it’s your goal.

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Know What Kind of Twins You are Having and What That Means

I was suprised that while I was pregnant with my twins, many moms were kind of clueless on the in’s and out’s of having twins.

For example, are your twins di/di, mo/di, or mo/mo? Do you know which of these are guaranteed to be identical? Are di/di twins always fraternal, or are some identical?

What do those types of twins mean for your pregnancy and birth?

Each of the three types of twins have different risks associated, and that may create complications for your pregnancy or birth. It may also limit your birth plans and what your doctor or midwives may be comfortable with as far as your hopes for your birth go.

Do your own research, talk to other twin moms, and of course consult with your medical professionals. This is also a great article explaining chorionicity of twins.

Do You Need Two of Everything?

Maybe, but probably not.

You can forgo doubling up on most things when it comes to twins beyond the obvious, like car seats, diapers and clothes. Two high chairs also comes in super handy for feedings once they start solids.

The rest will depend on how you intend to parent.

For example, if you are bottle-feeding with either formula or pumped breastmilk, then it might be worth it for you to go ahead and invest in double the bottles. However, if you are planning to exclusively (or nearly) breastfeed then you’ll probably just need a few spare bottles around just in case.

For all major purchases though, I would wait until the twins are actually here to decide what you might need double up. You might buy two swings or two bouncy seats only to find out that only one or neither twin likes them!

When it comes to cribs, bassinets, and other sleep surfaces, the next point will need to be answered first, and how to prepare for twins sleep.

 

Where Will They Sleep?

Will they sleep in one crib together? Will each have their own space? Or do you plan to bed share? (Check this out to learn how to safely share sleep with your babies.)

There isn’t one right way to do it, and different babies and parents will have different needs. Some babies like the comfort of being as close as possible, while others need some space and can’t sleep due to their dad’s snoring. (Seriously this has happened.)

We chose to bedshare with all of our kids so far. It wasn’t what I planned to do, but after much research, it actually was the safest option statistically for our family.

When my boys were tiny I had a crib side-carred to the bed. It was nice because they were super close for night feedings, but we all had our own sleep space for comfort. Now that they are toddlers we all just share a queen-sized floor bed. My husband and 4-year-old are next to us in a king-sized mattress pushed right up against our mattress.

Some people would scoff at our setup, but it works really well for us.

Planning for a Good Routine/Schedule

The best thing I ever did as a twin mom was to make sure my twins were on the same schedule. I do not enforce a strict schedule, but rather watch their cues and gently encourage them to get onto the same schedule.

They do of course get off their schedules from time to time, but really being mindful of keeping them as in sync as possible at the beginning will help your sanity so much!

The only thing I really did to promote them being on the same schedule was to always feed them together. I knew my babies’ cues for hunger, and when one seemed hungry I would offer milk to both of them even if the other seemed content. They almost always both ended up having milk, even if only one showed the cues.

It was really only a matter of days then that they got onto the same schedule and routine.

Even when they were sleeping, if one woke to feed at night, I would wake both to feed for the first few weeks. Though they were never fully awake, just enough to get them to latch on and start eating.

My twins fed every three hours give or take around the clock. So just getting them to eat at the same time was enough to then have them follow a similar routine during those three-hour blocks. This isn’t something you can do ahead of time for how to prepare for twins, but keep it in mind.

 

Just Shoot for Survival

It’s hectic. Having twins is so rewarding, but it is also pretty hard. Here’s the thing though, you will rise to the challenge. Sure there are days when you don’t know how you’ll make it because there is not enough coffee this side of the Mississippi to keep you awake… but somehow you’ll do it.

It’s like riding a bike. One day you realize no one is holding onto you for support, but you’re still doing it! You find your rhythms, routines, and personal twinmom hacks. (And definitely become familiar with baby developmental leaps!)

My twins are currently 22 months old, and the closer they get to two, the easier things become. Sure we have tantrums and whatnot to deal with now, but that pure survival mode is a rare occurrence nowadays.

I still can’t go to Target without at least one comment on how I have my hands full, but instead of resenting that comment, I now feel kind of proud when people say that. My hands are full, but I’m still holding it all together.

Being a twinmom will stretch you and challenge you, but you can do it mama.

 

When it comes to how to prepare for twins, know that no matter what you won’t be fully prepared, but you already have all you need if you’re reading this article; a willingness to learn! Become bff’s with Google, find some great twin mom groups, and of course consult experts as needed.

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