You might think you’re supermom (we do, too!) but every hero needs a little help once in a while. Now is really the time to lean on your support system, whatever that looks like for you. Support comes in many forms, whether it’s a partner, neighbor, fellow mom friend or family member.
If you’re a soon-to-be-mom of twins, here are five expert tips to get you set up for breastfeeding success.
1. Start breastfeeding early on
If you’re pregnant with twins, it’s totally normal if you’ve wondered whether your body will produce enough milk to feed both babies. Studies have shown that if possible, it’s a good idea to start breastfeeding very soon after giving birth to start stimulating the production of milk.
Keep in mind that many babies are born prematurely and may require time in the NICU, where it won’t be possible to breastfeed them right away. In that case, you’ll want to stimulate your breasts with a hospital-grade pump.
2. Experiment with tandem nursing
If you’re thinking about trying tandem breastfeeding—breastfeeding both babies at the same time, one on each breast—you’ll want to start as soon after their birth as you can. It’s not for everyone, but many moms do find that, while it takes a bit of maneuvering, it can save precious time to rest and restore throughout the day.
To get started, you’ll want to latch one baby to one breast and have someone—your partner or lactation consultant, for example—position the second baby on the other breast.
It might take a bit of practice to get down to a rhythm, and don’t be discouraged if it’s not working right away. One thing you can do is practice getting each baby used to nursing separately and then, around the 2-6 week mark, re-introduce tandem nursing.
We’ve heard good things about the Jumelle: The Best Baby Tracker, app. It was designed for parents of multiples and allows you to keep a log of when each baby feeds and for how long.
3. Invest in a lactation consultant
If your budget and schedule allows, hiring a lactation consultant with twin experience can be a real game changer. Lactation consultants will give you tips and tools to find the right nursing position, to optimize your milk flow for not one baby but two (no easy feat!), and emotional support.
If this isn’t in the cards for you, books and online resources can be incredibly helpful. “Mothering Multiples” by Karen Kerkhoff Gromada is a good place to start; in her book, she offers solutions to common roadblocks mothers with twins and multiples experience.
There’s also a Facebook group called Naturally Parenting Twins that can serve as both an educational resource and a virtual support group of sorts.
4. Get the right gear
If tandem breastfeeding ends up working well for you, consider ordering a breastfeeding support pillow specifically designed for nursing twins.
Help might also come in the form of a breast pump paired with a hands-free pumping bra. The Lilu is the first pumping bra that gives you the benefits of breast massage without using your hands. It's not a pump; it works with your pump to make breast pumping more efficient. Think of it as your pump's new sidekick.
Remember, breast pumps aren't as efficient as a baby nursing, so 2/3 of moms rely on breast massage while pumping to produce enough milk to feed their babies. In fact, research from Stanford shows that performing massage while breastfeeding can result in 50% more milk per session.
That said, massage makes pumping even more exhausting and time-consuming, so we decided to build a product that makes breast pumping more efficient to help more moms reach their breastfeeding goals.
5. Don’t skimp on your meals!
We know it’s tough managing two babies at once, but in this case, calories are key! To stay fueled during your day, you’re going to want to consume between 450-500 extra calories per baby; so we’re looking at about 1,000 extra calories. Make sure to stay hydrated as well. It’s also suggested for nursing moms to take in at least 1,000 mg of calcium daily.
We have a guide on our blog all about the best foods to eat while nursing. You’re looking at both macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, fats and cholesterol, fiber, and water) and phytonutrients, which is a broad name for a wide variety of compounds produced by plants (from the word phyto in greek, which means plant). They’re found in fruits, vegetables, beans, grains, and other plants.