Tandem Breastfeeding Twins–Resources

During World Breastfeeding Week this year, I’m answering a few questions, sharing my resources, and telling my story.

PLEASE note: I’m not a lactation consultant. I’m not a doctor. I’m just a mom. I’ve probably spent 5,000 hours breastfeeding in the last 2 years (well, maybe close), and I’m breastfeeding after breast reduction surgery, have breastfed through a pregnancy, and am now tandem nursing an infant and a toddler. I’ve only missed 2 La Leche League meetings since Anneliese was born, and I’ve read a few books and tons of websites about breastfeeding. I don’t know nothing, but I certainly don’t know everything. My advice and ideas aren’t medical advice, and you should seek the assistance of an international board certified lactation consultant (IBCLC) if you’re having trouble.

Julie N. asks

Having twins in 3 months or so. Had low supply with my daughter what can I do before they arrive to boost it, if anything. Also curious about tandem nursing twins..anything I should know?

All I can tell you is that just because you had low supply the first time doesn’t mean you will again… breast tissue (and mammary glands) develops with each pregnancy, so who knows? You could be in the clear! In any case, setting yourself up for success by finding  great support groups (La Leche League and moms of multiples group) is a good place to start.

I haven’t heard of any galactagogues that have any effect during pregnancy, and some warn pregnant women not to take them at all, but you can get some in advance so that you can start taking them right away if you want to once the babies are born.

As far as tandem nursing twins goes, I obviously have no experience with that…and tandem nursing a toddler and a baby is a completely different story. But I know some twin mamas who have found that it’s much more comfortable for them to nurse one baby at a time for the most part. So if you find simultaneously nursing them to be awkward or uncomfortable, you don’t have to do it!

 International Symbol for Breastfeeding, modified for twins tandem nursing by Robby Poore

Here are some other pages that might help you out:

  • Crunchy Twin Mom lays it all out in her post about breastfeeding twins. Getting past the NICU schedule, bottle/nipple confusion, booby traps, the dangers of scheduling babies, and tons of helpful tips for nursing twins.
  • Tandem Twinning has an excellent and detailed post about preparing to breastfeed twins. I love the tips about creating a “nursing nest” and connecting with a Mothers of Multiples group for support.
  • Best for Babes has two excellent posts (as always!) about booby traps for moms of multiples, and how to avoid them. Booby Traps for Twin moms Part 1 and Part 2.
  • Theresa at High Heel Hippy Mommy has a breastfeeding category on her blog, and describes her nighttime tandem nursing “twin mom moves” here.
  • Woman With a Hatchet has some pointers for preparing to nurse twins. A huge reminder is that nursing 2 babies can take about 1000 calories a day to maintain, so you need to make sure to eat enough (and drink plenty of water).
  • Close at Hand Baby has an awesome picture-heavy post of tons of different positions to nurse twins in.
  • Jessica at The Mommy Dialogues shares her twin nursing story here and here, with lots of encouragement for moms in the same situation.
  • Twin Parenthood has tandem feeding tips, and I definitely agree with the tip to have help positioning the babies in the beginning. Even though one of my nurslings is an experienced toddler, it still helped significantly to have a hand when getting settled with both of them for the first couple of weeks.
  • Nursing Mothers Counsel has a page of the ins and outs of nursing twins. I like their tips for either switching “assigned” breasts between feedings (baby A nurses on the left one feeding, while baby B is on the right. The next time they nurse, A is on the right and B is on the left) or for alternating cradle and “clutch” (football) holds, if you don’t switch breasts. The idea is that both babies will have a chance to have balanced left/right visual stimulation this way (from looking up at mama while nursing).
  • Pregnancy Info has a page with twin tips, including this gem, “Remember that your twins have different personalities, need, and nursing patterns, and you shouldn’t try to treat them identically.”

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3 Comments

  1. Theresa
    Aug 07, 2012 @ 13:21:53

    Hey Emily!

    Great compilation of resources. I also love Breastfeedingtwins.org!

    It’s so true that twins don’t necessarily have the same nursing needs. For months at a time, one of my babies would actually take in a whole extra feeding!

    Reply

  2. kristen
    Aug 04, 2012 @ 23:27:26

    Thanks for featuring my blog post Emily! I was worried about being able to breastfeed my twins too. I was even looking into making homemade formula in case I had to supplement. I pumped a ton (my babies were in the NICU), took lots of fenugreek, drank mother’s milk tea, and have been able to breastfeed my twins for 16 months now. It was so much easier to make milk the second time around and I hear that that’s normal. The best thing I can tell you is to be determined and to question everything negative that is said about breastfeeding your twins.

    Reply

  3. Ashley
    Aug 03, 2012 @ 11:54:35

    I tandem fed my twins. My biggest tip is to get a twin nursing pillow. It was a huge help. I saw a lactation consultant immediately to help me. My girls were little and had some trouble latching so I started pumping and feeding with aids and such. Once we got the latch I would feed then pump to help with my supply. I never had a full supply but I think that was bc I stressed too much! I got every ounce of milk in them i could then had to supplement i figure the more i got them the better. Getting everyone latched on when tandem feeding was hard and it just took practice. The pillow helped and my husband help keep one baby in place while I latched the other. Once they got the hang if it and I did it was easier. It only took a few days. My husband was a huge help! Stick with it. Football hold worked best for us but try lots. My local mother of multiples club was a huge help. So was getting the girls on the same schedule- fed, napped changed at the same time. Poor kids still poop on schedule at 3yo! You’ll survive I promise

    Reply

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