The Best Way to Breastfeed Twins

The Best Way to Breastfeed Twins

Expecting twins and want to tandem breastfeed? There are so many questions, right? Like what are the logistics? What is the best way to breastfeed twins? I got you. Keep reading to find out how I made it work.

Breastfeeding one baby can be an awkward learning curve, especially when they’re newborns and you’re just establishing the breastfeeding relationship. Even more so when tandem breastfeeding. When there’s more than one it’s even more important to be clear on the best way to breastfeeding twins.

(Just an FYI this post might contain some affiliate links to my favorite products.)

The Setup: The best way to breastfeed twins (even if you’re alone)

What you’ll need for the best way to breastfeed twins

Now that my twins are toddlers and still breastfeeding, I can just whip out a boob and they happily latch on.

But when babies are newborns and don’t have head control, it’s a lot trickier to get them to latch on properly and comfortably for all three of you.

Set yourself up for success by having just a few items around that will make it so much easier for you.

How to get in position by yourself

It isn’t always easy to get two babies into position to breastfeed easily, but I figured out some ways to make it work for myself. It’s hard to exactly describe, but hopefully, it makes sense for you.

Here are my steps:

  1. Put babies in the pack and play.
  2. Get my snacks/drink/remote/phone all ready and within reaching distance to where I’ll be sitting.
  3. Prop a pillow on the couch where my lower back will be and put on next to where I will sit so it’s reachable.
  4. Strap the Brest Friend to me. I love this pillow because it actually has a waist strap with velcro so you can strap it on and walk around with it on. It won’t support a baby’s weight, but it helps you keep it in place.
  5. Once the pillow is strapped to me I would scoop up one baby in each arm with football hold. This took some practice, but after a week or so I got it down. Before I was able to do this I would take the babies one at a time and place them on the couch next to wear I would be sitting. They weren’t able to roll yet, but I would put a pillow or something next to them so they couldn’t roll off the couch. This isn’t a safe place to leave a baby, but I was only leaving them there for a few seconds.
  6. Next, I would sit down and get the babies positioned on the pillow in a football hold. If I had one in each arm it was pretty simple to just set them down on top of the pillow, and if I had them laying on the couch next to me I would pick up one at a time and place them on the pillow, ensuring to keep them positioned in ways they wouldn’t fall off the couch or the pillow.
  7. Once I had them positioned on the pillow I would put another throw pillow underneath the Brest Friend pillow to bring it higher and close to the breast.
  8. Then I propped their heads a little with a receiving blanket if necessary.
  9. The Brest Friend pillow has a little pocket so I liked to stash my phone, the TV remote, and my drink or snack if it fit too.
  10. After all of that, I’d be ready to go! Whip ’em out and let the feast begin.

Why this is the best way to breastfeed twins (specifically newborns)

Once your babies get a little bigger, you won’t need a whole bunch of steps or special props in order to breastfeed them.

But when they are teeny tiny, they’re cluster feeding, and you know you’ll be stuck there for a while, you want to be as comfortable as possible.

I binge-watched the entire series of Breaking Bad in this position. Propped with two pillows plus the Brest Friend pillow, snacks and drink on hand. I didn’t find any positions that worked as well as this to both keep the babies happy and me happy.

How do you burp them?

I see a lot of moms asking how do you burp babies when you’re tandem breastfeeding twins, and it’s actually pretty easy.

I keep talking about the Brest Friend pillow, but it seriously is so helpful. It is pretty solid and sturdy and the way it’s formed makes the baby roll into you a little instead of off the edge. So between that and a receiving blanket you can prop one baby up, allowing them to continue nursing, while you carefully pull the other one up on your shoulder to burp.

Or, you can always leave them on the pillow and just turn them onto their belly a little to burp.

You’ll find what works for you, but it was really easy for me to either bring them one at a time up to my shoulder to burp or once I got more adept, I could just burp them both at one time. One on each shoulder.

You’ll find what works for you mama. But for me and a lot of other twinmoms, this is the best way to breastfeed twins. For more breastfeeding twins tips, check out this article all about I learned after breastfeeding twins for two years!

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Do Twins Run in Families?

Do Twins Run in Families?

As a twinmom, people always ask if there are twins in the family. It’s common knowledge, but how do twins run in families?

We’ve all heard twins run in families, but few people really know why, how, or if twins are genetic.

So let’s answer the question, if and why do twins tend to run in families?

The answer depends on a few variables, and the first of those variables is whether the twins are identical or fraternal. While there are some outliers, like semi-identical twins, most twins will fall into two categories: identical or fraternal.

Identical vs. Fraternal Twins

The first thing to tackle is explaining how identical and fraternal twins are formed in the womb because this has a big impact on the genetics of twins.

Identical twins started out as one single egg that split into two.

Fraternal twins were always two separate eggs that were released.

So a woman only needs to release a single egg to have identical twins but would need to release two eggs to have fraternal twins.

This distinction is important and something to keep in mind when talking about whether twins really do run in families.

The simple answer is when it comes to identical twins they are never due to genetic factors. Whether a single egg splits into two, creating twins, has not been shown to be linked to anything genetic.

When twins *might* be genetic

Fraternal twins however might be related to the genetics of the mother only. Whether twins run in the father’s family is immaterial to the question of whether twins are genetic. Why?

The genetic factor that impacts fraternal twins is if the mother tends to hyperovulate.

Hyperovulation, or releasing more than one egg by ovulating multiple times in one cycle, IS known to run in families.

This hyperovulation is what creates the necessary environment for fraternal twins, multiple eggs.

So yes. Twins are genetic… sometimes.

Fraternal twins are sometimes genetic when hyperovulation runs in the mother’s family. But just to reiterate, identical twins are NOT genetic.

Also, the dad’s family history has no impact on whether a couple will have twins. Remember, it’s because of the mom’s hyperovulation that twins might be born due to a family trait in genetics. So, only a mother’s genetics can impact whether she has twins.

There you have it. Know you know whether twins are genetic. The answer to the question, do twins run in families, is solved. And in case you wondered, my twins are identical. So NOT genetic. Just lucky.

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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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Once you get past the shock of having twins, you can start to go a little bonkers with figuring out how to prepare for twins. To be honest, you will never be completely ready for becoming a twinmom, but these are the five best tips for how to prepare for twins.

 

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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What Kind of Pregnancy Test Should I Buy?

What Kind of Pregnancy Test Should I Buy?

Think you're pregnant or trying to conceive? You're probably wondering what kind of pregnancy test should I buy? These 5 questions will help you choose which is best for you, and we'll give you our pick for the best one. So you can answer the question for yourself on...

Paced Feeding Your Breastfed Baby

Paced Feeding Your Breastfed Baby

Want to give your breastfed baby a bottle, but worried about them starting to prefer the bottle over breast? Paced feeding is a great way to initiate bottle feeding, and I'll share how and why I chose paced feeding with my breastfed babies. I've breastfed for over 6...

3 First Month Pregnancy Tips to Start Off on a Good Foot

3 First Month Pregnancy Tips to Start Off on a Good Foot

Just found out your pregnant, or maybe wondering if you are? These first month pregnancy tips will help you get started. The first few weeks of pregnancy can be stressful and also blissful. These are three tips to help you get started at the very beginning, and I've...

Our 10 Most Viewed Posts of 2019

Our 10 Most Viewed Posts of 2019

Another year over, and a new one about to begin. As I write this it is 8:21pm on December 31, 2019. We are about to start a new decade. Like so many others, we are taking a minute to look back first. These are our top 10 viewed posts of 2019 here at Mom Uprising. They...

Perfect IG Posts for Self-Care Inspiration

Perfect IG Posts for Self-Care Inspiration

Tired? Stressed? Ready to let it all go and start putting yourself first? Let's do it, mama. Get started with these 10 self-care inspiration posts we totally love. It's easy to get stuck in a rut, and sometimes just a simple image can break you out of your stickiness...

The Best Way to Breastfeed Twins

The Best Way to Breastfeed Twins

Expecting twins and want to tandem breastfeed? There are so many questions, right? Like what are the logistics? What is the best way to breastfeed twins? I got you. Keep reading to find out how I made it work. Breastfeeding one baby can be an awkward learning curve,...

6 Self-Care Blogs Moms Should Follow

6 Self-Care Blogs Moms Should Follow

In a bit of a self-care rut and need some inspo? These 6 self-care blogs will give you a little push to get yourself back into some super helpful self-care practices that work for you. I thought my self-care game was on point, but just perusing through these blogs I...

Breastfeeding Newborn Tips to Make Breastfeeding Easier

Breastfeeding Newborn Tips to Make Breastfeeding Easier

Planning to breastfeed? It can be tough, mama. But you're tough too. These newborn breastfeeding tips are what I found helped me the most in my 6+ years of breastfeeding. When you're just starting to breastfeed with your newborn, whether this is your first or tenth...