breastfeeding twins(18 Posts)
just a question re milk supply when breastfeeding twins - hoping someone will be able to enlighten me if they have any experience of this.
i've got 8 week old boy/girl twins who i am breastfeeding. after a difficult start it's now going quite well.
dtb seems to be hungrier than dtg and if i am ever feeding him on his own (i often tandem feed), when he has finished on one boob i never know whether to put him on the second (if i do, he always takes it) because i am aware that his sister will want to feed more or less straight after and i don't want there to be nothing left for her. is the boob actually 'empty' or does the milk come in immediately when they start sucking? someone told me it takes 45 mins for milk to come back in once emptied, don't know where they got that from though.
any thoughts greatly appreciated!
i have no experience of bf twins (I stand in awe ) but the 'empty' breast thing isnt true, breasts are never empty. the milk is made on a supple and demand system so the more a baby feeds the more milk is poduced. iv heard of it being described as a river, the river is always there but there are fast and slow bits if that makes sense!
Im sure someone with more experience will be able to come along and describe it more eloquently than me! But i would say don't worry about offering dtb both sides just let dtg feed after/when she needs too.
As far as l know the 45 min thing is not true.
Don't worry she will get what she needs, my twins were exactly the same (apart from dtg has minor health issues so I was expressing her milk). Dts is greedy and always wanted to feed the minute I stopped expressing, he got enough to throw a good amount back up anyway!
The body just makes more if the demand is there.
They're on formula now, I couldn't keep up!
thanks flo and aspie.
i knew that your body makes more if needed but i am not sure that it comes in straight awlay - otherwise you wouldn't have to change boobs when they 'finish' one because it would never be finished, no??
god, i don't know! i find it stressful that one is getting more than the other but then i don't want to make dtb stop eating if he is still hungry. they are both putting on weight so i must have enough milk but i do often feel like the supply is only just enough.
Your body will produce enough. I fed twins. I usually fed them together actually once we had got going and if one woke in the night always woke the twin and I fed them both. I used to make them both swap sides on every feed but I think after a few months they settled to their own side actually and that side presumably got the quantity right for that twin. The start of a fee on one side of protein ish and the end of it is carb/fat ish a bit like a main course and pudding so my theory was that they wanted both parts. Breastmilk is really clever stuff.
One of mine was a pound heavier than the other (6 pound 9 and 7 pound 8) and always ate more. Even now that one is bigger.
If you are worried about supply just feed them more frequently. People breastfeed triplets - twins must be easy by comparison and it is much easier than making up bottles must be.
I did what welove says by the way because of the books - started with them on each side and then swapped (and when they were very little fed one at a time) but once things got established they just seemed to want their own side and I just went with the flow. I would ignore the 45 minutes thing. If you want to build up supply just feed more often. In fact the bigger your gaps between feeds the less milk is produced although you need a bit a balance. Most of us get exhausted if no breaks between which is one reason once it was all going well I always fed both at the same time night and day as it meant I got more rest.
Your breasts are never empty - milk production is triggered by having empty prolactin receptor cells in the breast, and if your baby is feeding there will be some empty, hence the milk will carry on being produced.
Whilst the constitution of breastmilk changes throughout a feed, breasts are very clever and are able to alter supply to suit the needs of your babies. Switching breasts for just one of them shouldn't be a problem at all.
thanks for the replies everyone.
i had never thought about having a 'side' per twin. might start that tomorrow and see how it goes. maybe dtb's boob will end up producing more milk than dtg's? although that may leave me a little lopsided....
I think that happened to me. It just eventually a few months in seemed to be fine that way although I did do the swapping them at each feed to start with.
I do think one breast then adjusted to its twin and produced the milk that twin wanted. It is an interesting issue. Or you might want the opposite - a twin better at sucking and getting more milk coming building that up for their twin from which to benefit.
I tried switching sides and starting babies on different sides and all sorts of complicated stuff for the first few weeks. I got confused, the notebook got full of squiggly notes and the 'system' never really got organised.
My turning point was when I decided to go with one baby per side. It just takes away all the thinking about it and makes it simpler Tes, you might end up a bit lopsided, but only for a few weeks. Then everything settles down and evens out.
I am still feeding my DTs at just over 2 years. I was aiming for ) months, but at about 4 months it just changed and became the most natural thing in the world. It's just part of life now and I don't often question whether I should be doing it or when I'll stop, I just feed them when they ask
Good luck with feeding your babies for as long as you want to
Interesting that that is the same as it ended up for me too - each had their own side.
have started the one twin per side thing today - we'll see how it goes!!
does not solve the prob of dtb seeming hungry once he has drained 'his' breast though. although i know people have said it can't be empty, there is definitely a point when it has v little milk in it....
Just let him suck again an hour after that then and rest and eat well. The more he sucks the more milk will build up lathough sometimes you get a few days when the baby wants more before the supply builds up. As some women feed triplets exclusively it is unlikely you would be unable to produce what he needs.
It is very unlikely you won't produce enough, but you must resist the urge to give a top up if you want to feed directly.
Your boobs are constantly making milk, so they are never 'empty'. The best way I've heard milk production/supply is as a stream/river:
Your boobs produce milk like a stream flowing into a reservoir (your boobs). Some reservoirs are big and some are small. When the reservoir is low/empty, a signal is sent to increase the flow rate of the stream, filling the reservoir again more quickly. If the reservoir stays full for a long time, the flow rate is decreased and the reservoir will refill more slowly. The stream keeps flowing though, so even if the reservoir is empty, the stream will flow through it.
While the baby is drinking the reservoir of milk, he can drink at the pace he chooses and so seems very happy (oversupply/forceful let down aside). Once the reservoir is empty, he is constrained to drinking at the speed the stream can supply milk. That might be slower than he'd like, leading to frustration. But if you can keep the reservoirs as empty as possible for as long as possible (i.e. feed regularly, without waiting for boobs to refil), then you'll increase the flow rate so that the reservoir fills more quickly in the future and the stream flows a little faster at the end if the feed too.
So basically, feed feed and feed some more If you are still worried that you're not making enough milk and can't get a baby to feed, you could express too (pumping even if you're not getting much will help stimulate that stream flow rate too), but remember to give your nipples a break and not to create a rediculous amount of milk!
Feeding twins, particularly if you feed them one at a time, takes a very long time in the early days. It does get much faster and you'll get more time to do non-feeding activities then You're doing an amazing thing for your babies and I hope it continues to go well for you
BTW maternal diet has little effect on milk quality or quantity, unless you are severely malnourished (which is highly unlikely in the uk unless you're hospitalised). Maternal stress on the other hand has a huge impact in quantity.
So there's no need to worry about your diet. Eat whatever you want whenever you want it an you'll be fine. However, if your are worried about whether your diet is good enough, do whatever makes you stop stressing about it (buy meals, ask for help, take supplements, whatever) so that you stop stressing about it. It is the stress that hinders supply in most cases, not whatever the mother is stressing about.
Take care and enjoy feeding your babies
I also found it much easier once I designated one side per baby. I would allow them to top up on the other side if they wanted. I was told boobs are never empty, milk is always being produced and will get produced faster when demanded by sucking. But if you haven't fed on that side for a while there might be a reservoir so the flow is faster initially. Just feed whenever they're hungry and things will work out with time.
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