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Breastfeeding Twins Or More

Getting started breastfeeding can be a challenge for any new mother. For a mother of multiples, the prospect of nursing more than one baby can seem daunting to say the least! Learn all you can about breastfeeding during your pregnancy. Find out about resources for lactation support, breast pump rentals, and feeding strategies for preterm infants. Preparing as much as you can, before your babies are born, will help you face the challenges of breastfeeding twins or more.

Simultaneous Feedings
If you are breastfeeding twins or more you can choose to nurse one baby at a time or two at a time. Nursing two babies at once can be a challenge. However, it can be the most efficient way to get the job done! You may need some help latching two babies on initially, but, as you and your babies become more skilled at breastfeeding it should get easier. Have someone with you to assist with positioning and latching on the first few times you try simultaneous nursing.

There are a number of different breastfeeding positions that can accommodate two babies at once. The combination hold, the crisscross hold, and the football hold all work well. Using a nursing pillow can be helpful in positioning the babies. Try out several different positions and see if simultaneous nursing works for you.

One at a Time Feedings
Breastfeeding one baby at a time may be easier, however, it is more time consuming and you can end up feeling like your every waking moment is spent nursing a baby. There are some advantages. It is easier to position, latch on, remove from the breast and burp babies when they are fed one at a time. It is also a special one-on-one time to cuddle and enjoy one another. Perhaps the best solution is to be flexible: sometimes nurse one baby and sometimes nurse two.

Nutrition Tips
Eating well while you are breastfeeding is important. Your nutrient needs can vary greatly. The number of babies you are nursing, whether they are receiving any supplemental formula, how much weight you gained during pregnancy, your activity level, and your pre-pregnancy nutrition status all influence your nutrient needs. Here are some tips:

Nutrition When Breastfeeding Twins Or More
  • Eat to appetite. Don't restrict your intake too severely in an attempt to lose your pregnancy weight too quickly. If you are losing more than 1/2 to 1 pound per week, you probably aren't eating enough. (If you were overweight before pregnancy or gained excessive pregnancy weight, losing up to 2 pounds per week may be appropriate)
  • If you are exclusively nursing twins or more, you may need an extra 500 calories and 10 grams protein per day for each baby you are nursing. You may need to eat 6 - 8 times per day to achieve this. Drinking extra milk, fruit juice, fruit smoothies and milkshakes can help boost your intake.
  • Take a multivitamin with minerals to help ensure you are meeting your needs for micronutrients. If you aren't choosing 4-5 calcium-rich foods each day, you may need an extra calcium supplement.
  • Keep up your fluid intake. Drink water, milk, or fruit juice each time you nurse. Lactating mothers of multiples can be producing 2 or more liters of milk per day!
  • Use the pregnancy and lactation food guide to help with food selections. Add extra snacks and beverages to meet your extra needs.

When to Supplement
Mothers who are trying to breastfeed more than one infant may need help from the medical or nursing support team. Twins or more are often born prematurely and may have special nutrient needs. Premature infants may not be able to coordinate the sucking, swallowing and breathing required to breastfeed successfully. If your babies are initially unable to breastfeed, you can express breastmilk for them. Expressed breastmilk can often be fed to preterm babies via a feeding tube until they are strong enough to begin nursing.

Regular weight checks are necessary to establish that your babies are gaining enough weight. Your pediatrician can help you decide if supplemental feedings are needed. Your expressed breastmilk or an appropriate infant formula can be used to augment nursing.

Don't feel badly if one or more of your babies requires some supplemental bottle feedings. Talk with a lactation support person for advice. When breastfeeding is well established, babies can often learn to alternate between breast and bottle feedings. This can also allow someone to help with feedings and give you a much needed rest.

Not all exercises or diets are suitable for everyone. Before you begin this program, you should have permission from your doctor to participate in vigorous exercise and change of diet. If you feel discomfort or pain when you exercise, do not continue. The instructions and advice presented are in no way intended as a substitute for medical counseling. The creators, producers, participants and distributors of this site disclaim any liability or loss in connection with the exercise and advice provided here.

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