Double the happiness and double the joy- are you a mother to twins? You always plan to breastfeed your little one, and then you come to know that you are having twins! You are just one, but now you need to provide your milk to two little ones. It can be a little daunting, but it is not impossible. You can easily breastfeed your twins and give them the benefits of breast milk.
Many women who give birth to twins or multiples, are concerned about providing breast milk to them. The main concerns revolve around not being able to produce enough milk. But our bodies and the milk production adjusts itself with the demand and supply of breast milk once you start feeding your babies. The more the babies feed, the more milk your body will produce.
Exclusive breastfeeding is the best option, but if you do not have enough milk supply then some breast milk is better than no breast milk at all. Here are certain tips that can help you in breastfeeding twins:
Developing a good latch at your breast is very important since day 1. It helps the baby to suck your milk properly and easily. Most of the time, twins are born prematurely or through C-section, which makes developing a good latch very challenging. After you deliver your babies, ask the nurse or your lactation consultant to help you show how to make the babies latch properly. This step is very essential in order to make the babies comfortable with your breasts and make that sucking movement to help feed themselves.
Learn the football hold, which is feeding both babies at the same time. For this, you need to first support the first baby’s head and neck with your hand and your forearm under her back to position your baby at your side. Guide your baby to your breast with your hand. Then use your other arm for your second baby on the other side and guide your breast to your baby’s mouth. You need to practice this hold quite often and not shy away from asking for help. Also you can support your babies and hands with feeding pillows.
Alternate each twin with each breast. This will help to equalise your milk production. Also, it will be good for the twins to change positions. When starting both the babies will get the heavy foremilk and when you alternate, the hindmilk will be given to each baby.
Do not be in a rush. Breastfeeding two babies at once should wait until you are ready. It takes time and practice and you should take your own time. Be sure at least one of the babies is latching on really well. The baby should be able to maintain the latch without much help from you. Only then move on to your other baby and latch her and let go of the first one who is still feeding; in order to help position the other one.
If you cannot breastfeed your twins then consider expressing and offer your babies expressed milk. This also helps when your babies do not want to feed at the same time. Remember, each baby is different and even though your twins might look identical, they have different needs and are two different people. Remember that prolactin levels are higher during night-time pumping (or feeding) sessions. Pumping at night is important in keeping your milk supply up.
Breastfeeding can be an exhausting task with one, and here you have two to feed. Make yourself a snack and have a drink of water ready each time you sit down to breastfeed. Breastfeeding to babies needs the utmost, high quality nutrition and you should be ready to eat well and eat healthy.
You should try to enjoy the process of breastfeeding your twins, rather than viewing it as an ordeal to get through. Try to stay calm and relaxed. It is a gift that you are giving your children to stay healthy for their entire life. Staying calm will make a difference to your breast milk supply and help you to look forward to feeding your twins. Try to avoid offering bottles of formula, unless it is really warranted. The more frequently a baby breastfeeds, the more milk a mother produces.
There is no shame in asking for help especially if you have two babies to look after. Find a nurse or someone to help you with other household chores and other chores for your baby, like doing the laundry, cooking or helping you with the baby. Ask your family members for help. Do not try to be a supermom and do everything yourself as you need plenty of rest to feed your babies.
Do not be rigid in your feeding schedules, especially in the early days keep a flexible schedule. Feed the babies as and when they demand milk. Do not be rigid as to feed them every hour, even if they are not hungry. Try changing the atmosphere with bright daylight in the day and soft lights at night- to help babies understand the difference between night and day. This also affects feeding habits and sleeping habits.
Also read: Breastfeeding Positions For Your Baby
Not all mothers produce enough breast milk. If you have thought of exclusively breastfeeding and now you are not able to produce enough breast milk for your babies, do not stress on this or be sad about it. Be confident, calm and sure that any amount of breast milk will help your twins to grow. Even if you cannot express the full amount of their feeds, a combination feeding with breast milk as well as formula is also a healthy option. The more stressed you are, the less milk your body will produce.
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