Monday, June 11, 2012

Breastfeeding Twins

I have to be honest with you. When I read that this week's Monday Mother's of Multiples topic was "Feeding & Schedules" I was underwhelmed. I don't believe in schedules...routines, yes, but schedules no. As a breastfeeding mom scheduling feeds can really screw up your supply and with twins that may already be a concern. It also ignores growth spurts and developmental leaps. So if you are planning on breastfeeding your twins steer clear of the scheduling booby trap! Trade that mindset out for a more laid back routine .

That being said my twins did spend time in the NICU and the NICU did have them on a schedule. They came home programmed to eat every three hours, which I did stick with for the first few weeks. When we were finally all home from the hospital F had nipple confusion. So with the "feed F with a bottle, nurse D, then pump for F's next bottle" routine I had going on, every three hours even felt like pushing it. Once I was finally able to get F breastfeeding well, and gaining, it was much easier to get off schedule into more of an on demand lifestyle (which is what is best for building & maintaining milk supply).

But let's start at the beginning. Forget schedules, let's talk about breastfeeding twins. It's possible! It may be a lot of work at the beginning but defiitely worth it. I could write an entire blog post about how
"worth it" it is to breastfeed twins  but for today lets just stick to the how....

It all starts before your baby is born. It's a fight you choose to fight. It's not easy and there will be booby-traps. (I didn't make that up...they do call it that...I'm not that cheesy.)

and Part 2

The first thing that I recommend that you do is get a book on breastfeeding and read it cover to cover. I read The La Leche League's Womanly Art Of Breastfeeding . Study up as much as you possibly can...this will give you the best possible chance at a successful breastfeeding relationship. Then find a LLL group near you and go to a meeting... or if you are not that mobile, connect with the leader...either through email or phone, so she knows who you are and can help you if it comes to that.

Be sure to have all of your supplies together and ready to go. I recommend a nursing pillow, nipple cream (mother love makes the best!), some nursing tanks, nursing pads (I never needed these but a lot of women do...better to have a few ready just in case), fenugreek, and mother's milk tea. Also a breastpump can be handy but not always a necessity. If you don't plan on buying one at least have one picked out and set aside some money for it just in case.

The best thing that you can do is to nurse your babies within the first hour that they are born. Unfortunately I was not allowed to nurse or hold my babies until the next day even though there were no real problems. So I pumped like crazy and started taking my fenugreek and drinking my mother's milk tea to get started. I was very lucky that my NICU had donor breastmilk so we used that until my milk came in. (Colostrum is actually the best thing for newborn babies to have but our NICU would not allow just that.)

I actually had a horrible time with our NICU. I ended up bottle feeding them both (pumped breastmilk) just so we could get out of there. I was terrified of nipple confusion from the bottles and it did happen. But I decided that I would rather deal with nipple confusion at home than convincing the nurses that I could breastfeed them both in the NICU. Also my lactation consultant was very unhelpful... so don't go into the hospital thinking that you can rely totally on their LLC's. Some may be great but many are sub par.

As for tandem nursing it took us a while to get to that. F had nipple confusion so he took extra effort to get to nurse. But even when tandem worked for us sometimes I would choose to take turns nursing just because I liked doing it that way better. So just know that you don't have to tandem do what you like best and what is best for you.

The last thing that I am going to touch on is percentiles and pediatricians. All of my babies (even my singleton) have been small and grow more slowly. This worries pediatricians (especially one's using outdated or formula fed percentile charts) and they may pressure you to supplement. Supplementing can be really detrimental so use your best judgement. (Our ped asked us to supplement, I took the samples & left, and never did it. I don't tell our ped everything. Most of them have very little training when it comes to nutrition. When we came back for our next appointment he was pleased with their weights. He probably thought I supplemented.)

Anyway here are some articles to help you through that situation if it ever becomes a problem:

La Leche League Healthy and Petite

I wanted to leave you guys with some good resources to do your breastfeeding research. Supprisingly there are a lot of video's on YouTube that show tandem nursing. Here is one of them but look around because there are more. I wish I had known about this before my boys were born.


Here are some articles on how sleep schedules (especially Baby Wise) are  linked to dehydration, failure to thrive, and premature weaning.

General Breastfeeding Twins Info

and a whole website dedicated to it 

and this fabulous post on breastfeeding in general
Timeline of a Breastfed Baby

Good Luck and please let me know if there is anything I can help you with or questions you would like answered. I have been successfully breastfeeding my twins for almost 15 months now. If I can do it so can you!

I almost forgot! Linking up with the for MOMs by MOMs on feeding & schedules


  1. I started to write a comment and it ended up being a book so I took you up on your advice to be the voice of the alternative and transferred it as a post on my own blog.

    I'm glad you went into more details about how schedules effect breastfeeding. You are a true super momma, going 15 months strong!

    1. thanks! i'm so glad you decided to write about it... everyone be sure to go read her post

  2. As a mom of twins that are now 5, I can look back and wholeheartedly echo your statement that it is totally worth it. I nursed my boys(identical) at the same time until they were @10 months, at which point they lost interest and weaned themselves. I loved that special time with them and was so glad I stuck with it. Kudos to you for doing the same!

  3. So do your kids not nap and go to bed at certain times? How do you handle sleep? Curious, sleep-deprived moms want to know. ;)

    1. well it's like what i said... it's a routine. they usually all nap at the same time but that time varies day to day depending on the time they wake up (and bedtime depending on how long they've been up from their naps). And sometimes one is more tired than the other... or one needs to nurse more than the other. it's personalized and i follow their cues.

    2. i should note that breastfeeding and sleeping in the same room as your babies makes night wakings super easy...i rarely have to leave the bed. if i was able to sleep when my twins were sleeping i would be getting plenty of sleep...having a toddler who wakes up at the crack of dawn makes that a little more difficult.

  4. Excellent! Oh, how I loved nursing my babies, although I never had twins. I'm afraid that there are several other serious concerns I have with Babywise in addition to the scheduling with nursing. It is NOT a program I could ever recommend. I'm glad you shared the dangers of it in relation to feeding babies.

    Thanks so much for linking up and blessings to you with your babies!!

  5. I love finding blogs of other twin mommies! My twins were also born in March 2011. They just turned 15 months. I nursed them both until about 13 months without any problems; praise God. I couldn't have imagined it any other way!

  6. while I appreciate everyone has their own opinions. I am a nurse practitioner. I worked as a labor and delivery nurse for years. and I consider myself to be educated and in tune to the health of my children. I AM and will always be a proponent of breastfeeding AND babywise. it worked for me. It worked for my daughter. There is lots of helpful information about breastfeeding found in babywise. Ive never had a baby that wasn't plump, well nourished...NEVER anything related to dehydration! Seriously...that is a bold statement and negative. Bottom line. WE all want the best for our children and what works best is what you find works for you and your family. I support your breastfeeding as much as I do all the moms, like myself, whose lives thrived with schedules. Speaking negatively about so many different methods can be counterproductive in being supportive of other MoM, which I think was totally the reason for their linking up. To create a resource for MoM, who are isolated often times at home caring for their little ones. Just a thought...absolute statements can be harsh. And while everyone has their own opionions and can post as they wish on their is their blog...when you are linking up with others to serve as a network....bashing ideals of others is...well quite franking rude for lack of any better comment. I each his own. I got the feeling that you were attacking moms who schedule when reading your post, as if they would ever do anything but love and nurture their children...just as you do. It is a difference of opinion. I myself find it off setting that you suggest anyone that feeds on schedule is less of a mom. This is also misleading to other MoM and could cause someone who is struggling to feel defeated- not everyone can feed on demand and not loose their MIND! Not to mention the fact that sleep deprivation can lead to emotional instability and depression. My reason for commenting, its to be rude. But rather in hopes that you would reconsider the blatent disregard as you stated things that certainly ARE NOT true about BAbywise. I for one have 3 healthy happy reasons why I find it offensive and rude!

    1. Jenn,
      First of all thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment. I am glad that you found something that has worked for you and your family. I certainly had no intention of coming across as being harsh, negative, or unsupportive of MoMs.

      My remark that strict schedules like Babywise are linked to dehydration, failure to thrive, and premature weaning is actually directly from a statement put out by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

      "On Becoming Babywise,
      has raised concern among pediatricians
      because it outlines an infant feeding program
      that has been associated with failure to thrive
      (FTT), poor weight gain, dehydration, breast
      milk supply failure, and involuntary early
      weaning. A Forsyth Medical Hospital Review
      Committee, in Winston-Salem N.C., has listed
      11 areas in which the program is inadequately
      supported by conventional medical practice.
      The Child Abuse Prevention Council Of Orange
      County, Calif., stated its concern after
      physicians called them with reports of
      dehydration, slow growth and development,
      and FTT associated with the program. And on
      Feb. 8, AAP District IV passed a resolution
      asking the Academy to investigate
      “Babywise,” determine the extent of its effects
      on infant health and alert its members, other
      organizations and parents of its findings."

      and here you can find a more in depth article from the AAP on how advice found in Babywise goes directly against their recommendations on breastfeeding

      I agree with you that the link up is for supporting other MoMs and that is the reason that I participate. It is not my goal to bash others choices but to let them know that they do in fact have those choices. It is also my goal to support the few of us that do make alternative parenting choices. I am sorry that you feel that I am speaking negatively. I do not mean to attack anyone but to do my best to explain the reasoning (and facts) behind the choices I have made.

  7. I love it! My twin boys are 4 now, but I nursed them until after their 1st birthday. I had so many people tell me I was crazy for doing it, but I wouldn't have it any other way!! I nursed on demand and they never took a bottle. I agree, Babywise is not a book to be used or read by mothers. Congrats!!

  8. Thank you for putting your experience and know-how out there! I wish more moms would stand up and preach the dangers of Babywise. The AAP has warned of its dangers since the late 1990's, and it still remains a popular baby training schedule. I do know several moms and babies that have suffered its negative consequences. Though it may work for some, it doesn't take into account many of the variables in a mothers storage capacity, and baby's ability to remove milk. Not to mention, breastfeeding is a relationship, not just food.

  9. I just wanted so say thank you for linking to my article on BabyDumb, I mean Babywise and breast feeding.
    Your article is wonderful, I would love for you to write a guest article for my website if you would consider.

    Liz Pevytoe, RN, IBCLC