Breastfeeding twins

When a mother is expecting more than one baby, sometimes a surgical birth becomes necessary. It would be ideal for you to begin breastfeeding as soon as possible after the birth. 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.

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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.

So here are some tips for every mom who starts 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 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.

Try to sleep when the babies are asleep.

Use lots of pillows. There are special pillows that fits around your lap available that help in positioning twins, or you can make a nursing pillow yourself.
A nursing stool, or something else under your feet, will help raise your lap to better contain the babies.

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.

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.

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. Here are several breastfeeding positions:
• Double clutch hold. Position the babies on pillows along each side or on a nursing cushion on your lap. Their heads go at the breast, their bodies extend along your sides, under your arms. Hold each baby in close to you with enough pressure against the nape of the neck from your hands. This helps them stay latched on. Use pillows behind your back and be sure to bring the babies up to the breast rather than to hunch your shoulders forward.
• Double cradle hold. Each baby lies in the crook of your elbow on their sides so they are facing toward the breast. Their bodies criss-cross in your lap. Use pillows under your elbows for support.
• Cradle and clutch hold. Nurse one baby in cradle hold and the other in clutch hold. The head of the baby in clutch hold lines up with the feet of the baby in cradle hold.
• Lying down. Lying on your back, put two pillows under your head and shoulders. Cradle a baby in each arm, with their bodies on top of yours, their knees meeting in the center. You will need pillows at your sides to support your arms.

Mothers of twins soon figure out a favorite position and a favorite place for simultaneous feedings. This might be a big easy chair, or a big recliner with wide armrests, or it might be a corner of the couch, where an older sibling can sit by mom and read a story while the babies nurse.

While the typical cue-(or demand-) feeding approach could be too tiring for mothers of twins, the babies may not thrive on a rigid schedule. Somewhere in between is a feeding routine that will work for your family, one that meets the needs of the babies and lets the parents get enough rest. Bringing babies into bed with you may be the only way to get enough sleep.

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. 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.

It is not necessary to give babies a daily bath. 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. Take care of yourself!
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. One is probably bigger than the other, and one may want to nurse more often than the other. It is best to keep careful records to be sure both are fed at each feeding. As the babies become more adept at latching on it will be easier to nurse them at the same time, at least for some feedings. (Feeding on both breasts at the same time will really boost your prolactin levels.) At times, you may want to encourage the less-demanding baby, or the one who is not very hungry yet, to nurse at the same time as his sibling, especially at night so that you can get some rest. There will be other times when you want to give each baby individual attention at the breast.

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