Breastfeeding twins and multiple babies is a whole new chapter in itself. I don’t have twins but there were two sets of twins in my playgroup, and my cousin gave birth to twins. I watched these moms like a hawk: they were amazing.
When you are breastfeeding two or more babies at the same time, it is called tandem nursing. Usually a mother will tandem nurse if she has twins, but tandem nursing also applies when you are breastfeeding an older sibling and a new baby.
When breastfeeding a pair of twins, you may choose to feed them
• whenever they are hungry (on demand),
• one after the other, or
• at the same time.
Feeding Twins on Demand
Feeding the babies whenever they want is probably best for the babies, but this level of work is hard to maintain. It takes a lot of energy to take care of yourself and two babies; it would take even more energy if your day is punctuated with feeding one or the other baby. You will need to remember:
– who was fed last and who needs to be fed next,
– how long ago was the last feeding, and
– which baby was on which breasts (you should alternate sides)
Before long, you will find yourself quite ragged with exhaustion. It would be wise to have a more regular feeding schedule where the babies are fed consecutively or simultaneously.
Feeding Twins Simultaneously
Feeding the babies simultaneously will save you time; but it will require that both babies are hungry at the same time. As well, positioning two babies at once is a little more challenging. You can
- have both babies in a football hold
- have one baby on a football hold and the other baby in a cradle hold
- have both babies in a cradle hold with their legs criss crossed over one another.
Feeding Twins Consecutively
Probably the easiest way to breastfeed twins is to feed one and then feed the other. Try to alternate between which baby gets which breasts. This will allow the babies to be comfortable feeding on both sides. It will allow both breasts to be stimulated equally (this is important if one baby sucks more vigorously than the other baby).