If you're breastfeeding twins, you have the option of feeding your babies one at a time, or simultaneously with one baby on each breast. Read on to find out about the benefits of each approach.
- It allows you to give one-to-one attention to each baby, something mothers of twins often feel they have little time for.
- You have both hands free to attach and position one baby. Once attached, you have a spare hand to rock the other baby, cuddle another child, have a drink, etc.
- Some women feel more comfortable and less conspicuous feeding one baby rather than two, especially in public.
- Separate feeding avoids the problem of what to do when one baby finishes feeding before the other.
- It allows you to find the best position for each baby (one baby's ideal feeding position may not be the same as the other and one may feed more quickly than the other).
- It saves time and gives you more time to rest, especially at night.
- If one of your babies has a stronger 'suck' than the other, this baby will stimulate the let-down reflex in the other breast, enabling the other baby to get more milk with less effort.
- It means your other baby won't be crying while waiting for a feed.
Different positions for simultaneous breastfeeding
There are many different positions for breastfeeding two babies at the same time, and the principle ones are shown in the illustration (click on the illustration to enlarge).
There are no rules - try out different positions and do whatever's comfortable for you and your babies. You may find one position works really well to begin with, but another is better when the babies have grown a bit, or when you have recovered from their delivery.
You can also use a combination of positions (ie you don't have to have the babies in identical positions). For example, you could have one in the cradle hold and one in the underarm hold.
Ask your midwife, health visitor or breastfeeding counsellor to help you try some of the various positions. Speak to other Mumsnetters who breastfed twins, as they can offer helpful information about positions that worked for them.
Starting to breastfeed twins
For the first week or so, it's usually advisable to feed each baby separately until you are confident about your technique, especially if this is your first experience of breastfeeding.
It can take a little while for your babies to learn how to latch on properly, particularly if they were born early, and you may find that you need both hands to help them. Your other baby can be placed in a baby chair or beside you until it is their turn to feed.
Once you have established breastfeeding, it is up to you whether you feed the babies together or separately.
You might choose to feed them one at a time on some occasions, but simultaneously on others: if you're alone, you may prefer single feeding, but find you can feed simultaneously if there 's someone around to provide an extra pair of hands. You may also change what you do over time, as your babies get bigger and heavier.
What your partner can do to help
Try to involve your partner from the beginning and ask visitors to come at feeding time, so that they can help you by:
- Passing you the second baby if you're trying to feed two babies at once
- Winding and settling the other baby if you're feeding them separately
- Getting you a glass of water or snack
Content comes from the One Born Every Minute's book, Expecting Twins? A Complete Guide to Pregnancy, Birth & Your Twins' First Year