It would be ideal for you to begin breastfeeding as soon as possible after the birth. When a mother is expecting more than one baby, sometimes a surgical birth becomes necessary. In this case, some hours may go by before you can start to breastfeed. However, it is important that you nurse your babies as soon as you are able. Some multiple births also take place prematurely. If this happens and you are unable to initiate breastfeeding soon after the birth, you can still pump your breasts to initiate lactation.
From the moment of birth, your body will begin the process of producing milk for both your babies. Its's important to express the milk that is beginning to be produced in order to establish a good milk supply. For this you can use a high quality breast pump or manual expression. Here are some tips to help with breastfeeding your twins.
Tips for life with breastfeeding twins: - If both babies are born healthy, talk to the pediatrician about breastfeeding them on demand. The ideal setup is rooming in with your babies.
- Breastfeed them together to save precious time. This works well during the first weeks. After this you may have to breastfeed them one at a time depending on their particular hunger patterns.
- If it should become necessary that the babies receive a supplement, you may want to look into other methods of feeding such as cup feeding, finger feeding, or using a spoon, medicine dropper or syringe. Bottle-feeding sometimes can interfere with lactation due to the fact that some babies develop a preference for the artificial nipple, making it harder to reestablish breastfeeding.
- There are several different ways that you can position the babies in order to nurse them at the same time. One way is to place the babies in front of you with their legs overlapping, making an X across your lap. The other position is to place both babies in the clutch hold. You will need pillows at your side (and maybe one on your lap) and you will place the babies on the pillows with their legs going toward the back of the chair. Remember that if you are placing the babies in front of you, you must try to keep their whole bodies turned toward you, their chests against your chest. Their bodies must not be facing up. This is very important to avoid soreness and also to make sure that the babies are receiving enough milk.
- Once you and your babies are home, you will need to take care of yourself as well as the babies. Eat healthy food, and enjoy frequent snacks (such as low-fat cheese and crackers, vegetables, yogurt and fruit). This is your chance to be able to eat a lot without gaining weight. Be sure to drink water, juices, or milk to satisfy thirst.
- Try to sleep when the babies are asleep.
- Use lots of pillows. There are special pillows available that help in positioning twins, or you can make a nursing pillow yourself.
- Develop a plan for getting the housework and other home management tasks done. Enlist any and all available help, and carefully consider what tasks are most important to you and your family. Assign priorities along with your mate. People's needs come first, especially babies' needs, then comes food and clothing.
- Alternate feeding each baby from both breasts. This evens out their particular needs and also gives them extra visual exercise.
- Limit your visitors during the first weeks. Family members and friends who come to see the babies can help you in many ways-- they can bring you meals, change diapers, give you a massage, or watch the babies while you take a shower. Don't be shy about asking for the help you need.
- Learn different positions for breastfeeding. Learning to nurse while lying down may be a little tricky to for the first few weeks, but is worth it for the added rest you will get.
- Prepare "changing areas" in several different places in your home.
- Be aware that many mothers of twins receive criticism from those around them who do not share their enthusiasm for breastfeeding. They may pressure you to use formula or other foods before they are needed or they may want you to wean before you feel ready. Sometimes, questions such as "Are you sure you have enough milk?" or "Isn't this too hard for you?" are enough to lower a mother's confidence. Your belief in your ability to produce enough milk for your babies is one of the most important factors in maintaining a great milk supply. Remember - milk is produced on the principle of supply and demand. The more your babies breastfeed, the more milk your body will produce for them.
- Don't give babies a daily bath. Just make sure the diaper area and their faces are cleaned every day.
- Make sure that you are fulfilling all the dietary recommendations for lactating mothers. You will also need to ad 400-500 calories above your pre-pregnancy needs for each baby you are nursing and an additional serving of calcium or a calcium supplement.
- Drink eight to twelve glasses of fluid a day – but not more, since more may actually suppress the production of milk.
- Remember that your twins have different personalities, need, and nursing patterns, and you shouldn’t try to treat them identically. It is best to keep careful records to be sure both are fed at each feeding.