Even though it can sound like a mammoth task, this guide to breastfeeding twins will help you coordinate feeding two babies at once and decide if it’s the right decision for you.
Twins can be successfully breastfed. The more they drink, the more milk you’ll produce so there should be plenty for two. It can take a while for you to get the hang of it so if you’re keen to breastfeed, try and stick with it.
The pros of breastfeeding twins
Babies are expensive, especially when two little bundles of joy arrive at the same time. A great thing about making the most of your natural resources and getting the hang of breastfeeding both of your babies is it’s completely free.
There’s less equipment to carry around
Juggling two newborns is tricky and if you add on the hassle of carrying around two sets of sterilised bottles it could get a bit much. Having two breasts readily available and full of milk night and day makes life much easier.
It’s less fiddly than holding bottles
It’s actually easier to hold both of your babies to your breast and support them whilst breast feeding than to hold them properly and bottle feed.
The cons of breastfeeding twins
It can be draining
You might feel drained and will need to eat about 600 more calories a day to keep your strength up and to produce enough milk for your hungry babies.
Your nipples can also get quite sore
A mum feeding one baby will have more time to rest a sore nipple by swapping breasts but if you’re going to try and breastfeed your twins two at a time, this won’t be an option.
It can be tiring
Feeding throughout the night is going to cause you some sleep deprivation. With two babies waking at different times to feed, it’s hard work if the mum is solely breastfeeding. You could express some breast milk and store it for your partner to help which would take some of the pressure off you.
A mum’s experience of breastfeeding twins
We spoke to GoodtoKnow mum Diana Smith, who told us about her experience breastfeeding her now four-year-old twins Caroline and Georgina.
‘Before I had my twins I’d breastfed my previous three children and didn’t even consider doing anything different with Caroline and Georgina. I did try at the start but it was just too sore.
‘Perhaps if I had done the twins one at a time I would have been able to stick with it but I’m afraid to say I quickly gave up and they were on bottles by the time they were a month old.’
Expert advice on breastfeeding twins
Nena Blake, NCT breastfeeding counsellor and mum to twins herself, gave us her expert opinion on how manageable nursing twins really is.
‘If you’re finding breastfeeding difficult or sore, it is likely to be a positioning issue which is something that can 100% be solved. I had trouble with one of my twins but got help and advice from another counsellor and was able to carry on breastfeeding my twins until they were four years old.
Every mother is different but if a woman wants to breastfeed and is finding it hard, we’ll support her by looking at things such as whether the baby is taking enough breast tissue in their mouth – it’s called breastfeeding not nipple feeding so this is why mums can find it sore! Also we’ll observe the way the baby is lying against the mother and give her the confidence to experiment with different positions and ways of holding her babies.’
How to bottle feed twins
Bottle feeding could also be a good option for mums of twins because it means that someone else can help you with the feeding. Early on when you’re trying to find your feet your twins might be in very different sleep routines, so it might feel like one of them is awake most of the night. If you’ve got a partner that could do any of those late-night bottle feeds, it might take some of the strain off you.
If you’re going to be doing most, or all of the feeds on your own you could be making more work for yourself, because there’s the cleaning and making up of the feeds to consider as well as the balancing act of trying to physically feed both at once.