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Breastfeeding twins

(39 Posts)
kayzisexpecting Tue 28-Oct-08 21:30:02

My friend had twins 2 weeks ago and has been breastfeeding them. They have lost weight which she worried about and was planning to change to ff until she read in a magazine that a lot of babies lose weight in their first week or so. So she decided to keep at it with the help of the midwife. Now she has been discharged from the midwife's care and has the HV coming round. The HV has told her she would be better either BF just 1 baby or to FF both.

My friend was quite upset about this and has tried talking to HV about it, who insists the best thing would be to stop BF both twins. She rang La Leche League who have told her it's perfectly possible to BF twins. She is now very confused and has actually made an appointment to see the MW again to get her opinion. I said I's ask for opinions on here.

Thanks.

FiveGoMadInDorset Tue 28-Oct-08 21:35:24

There is a fab lady on our June ante natal thread who exclusively breastfed her twins until 23 weeks, put a call out for Neenztwins on "Three spikes and their out " in post natal or on one of the multiple birth threads.

thisisyesterday Tue 28-Oct-08 21:40:11

her health visitor is talking crap. HV's have bugger all breastefeding training.

she needs to listen to LLL people. it absolutely is possible to breastfeed twins, though it is hard work.

argh, it makes me SO angry to hear so called health professionals giving out stupid misinformation on topics they know nothing about.

thisisyesterday Tue 28-Oct-08 21:41:37

there is a site called iwantmymum.com

there are several people on there who are either feeding, or who have fed twins
she will find a wealth of info on it there, the pregnancy and breastfeeding topics are free to post on.
would really recommend the site

BouncingTurtleSkulls Tue 28-Oct-08 21:41:52

HV talking bollocks. My stepsister is bfing 4mo twins, and she has 3 other kids to look after! She expresses to so that her dh can help feed them as well!

AbricotsSecs Tue 28-Oct-08 21:44:29

Message withdrawn

FiveGoMadInDorset Tue 28-Oct-08 21:47:24

Sorry June postnatal

kayzisexpecting Fri 31-Oct-08 10:22:06

Quick update.

MW told friend that it is entirely her decision. If she feels comfortable BF both twins then she should carry on. But if she is finding it too hard she shouldn't be ashamed to top up with formula.

Tangle Fri 31-Oct-08 11:32:42

Do you know whether the MW discussed how giving FF top-ups may impact on her supply? I know of one lady that did strike a successful balance between BF and top ups and was still mix feeding happily at about 6 months - but a lot more that felt the day they started giving FF was the beginning of the end of their BF.

I don't disagree with what the MW said, but the summary does make it sound as though there are no downsides to giving FF.

kayzisexpecting Fri 31-Oct-08 12:23:43

Yes she did discuss that. But the MW said that she has to think of herself as well as her twins and that if she continues to feel like she is failing and struggling BF both she should consider it.

Millie1 Fri 31-Oct-08 21:26:20

Can her MW put her in touch with a lactation consultant? Maybe there's on at her hospital. Have the twins started to gain weight again? I'm b'feeding my twins who are now 23 weeks and going strong. They each lost less than 10% of their birthweight but took a couple of weeks to get back to their birthweight ... that was okay because they were gaining. It'll take time for your friend's supply to get established ... does she have help at home? I found that I spent the first 6 weeks feeding, feeding, feeding - DH was home and fetched, carried & looked after other two dcs (had section which slowed me down somewhat). Your friend can definitely do this if she wants to but she will need to feel supported cos if she doesn't her confidence will get well and truly knocked and she won't believe in herself. She ought to have plenty of milk for two and the more they feed, the more milk she'll produce. The only downside with ff top-ups (and they do work for some) is that if she tops up, her supply will diminish as the babies suckling will stimulate her supply. I hope it works out for her - it's lovely to feed them. grin

Neenztwinz Fri 31-Oct-08 22:09:28

Hi, I am the 'fab lady' 5GoMad talks about blushblushblush. My twins are six months old next week and I am still BFing them but I can tell you it is really hard work and your friend is going to need lots of support if she is going to succeed.

If she is anything like me her twins will probably be keeping her up all night. That means she is VERY tired, and that will be affecting her supply. So she needs to sleep as much as poss, and eat and drink lots. Also, if she can express 3oz-ish in the mornings that should be enough to give one twin one bottle of ebm a day (whether that be evenings, nighttime, whenever she needs) or she can save the ebm and have someone (eg her mum) come once a week and give the twins two feeds of ebm so she can get 5/6 hours sleep.

If that is not possible can her DH give her a day in bed at the weekends, where he just brings the babies to her when they need feeding, and she sleeps the rest of the time?

My DD gained weight very slowly (8oz in first four weeks) cos she was only 4.5lb at birth and was quite weak, but I just kept putting her to the breast all the time and eventually she got stronger.

Tell your friend to feed, feed, feed, whenever her twins have their eyes open, put them on the breast! And never let them go more than three hours without a feed during the day (wake them if necessary).

Good luck to your friend. It is hard but so very rewarding.

kayzisexpecting Sat 01-Nov-08 09:51:32

She is going to go to a breastfeeding group starting next week.

Will she be ok expressing? She was told she shouldn't until they are 6 weeks old or her supply will diminish. So she hasn't wanted to express.

Her DH is brilliant and luckily he had saved up some holiday so he isn't back at work until the end of November. He does all the housework to give her a small break.

We've all told her to stay in bed or relax on the sofa but she is very stubborn and hates staying still. She doesn't like her DH doing the housework as she thinks she should do it.

Neenztwinz Sat 01-Nov-08 12:25:24

'We've all told her to stay in bed or relax on the sofa but she is very stubborn and hates staying still. She doesn't like her DH doing the housework as she thinks she should do it'

That won't last! I was like that too until the intense tiredness hit.

She should start expressing. I don't really understand this expressing diminishing supply thing (although have heard it said many a time). If she expresses 1oz from each breast before the first two feeds of the morning it will INCREASE her supply because her babies will then suck for as long as they need to and her body will think they have had 4oz more than they actually have, therefore increasing production for the next day. Obviously when she feeds that milk back to DTs her body will not know they have had it, so it is a two-way thing, but I certainly didn't experience a diminishing of supply. It is more important for her to get the rest that expressing offers (eg if others take over a feed for her).

I expressed from two weeks old and I would recommend it to anyone.

kayzisexpecting Sat 01-Nov-08 12:31:47

Thanks Neenz, I will tell her to start expressing and to relax. I hope she manages to stick to it as she has really wanted to BF them through her whole pregnancy.

GreenMonkies Sat 01-Nov-08 12:45:28

I have a friend who's twins self-weaned at 3 years old, it is perfectly possible to bf twins, two babies, two boobs, feed them together, job done!

She needs to see a bf expert, not just a MW or HV. Get hold of her local LLL, ABM etc and ask for a home visit, she needs to get thier latch checked and get some good practical support with things like positioning etc. Topping up and expressing (ie giving bottle feeds, or even using a dummy) will possibley be detrimental as it can make them latch badly, so until they are feeding well and latching easily don't give bottles, even if they have ebm in them.

She needs to get this cracked in the next 4 weeks so that she has it sussed when her DH goes back to work. FF twins may be easy when you have a helper, but it is impossible to hold and bottle feed two babies simultaneously, not to mention the number of bottles she'll have to wash, sterilise, mix etc, so, long term, bf is easier, as she can feed them by herself with no help. If she perfects the double rugby ball hold on a good nursing pillow she can even read a book or eat whilst the babies are feeding!

Tell her to hang in there, and to expect to spend the next few weeks sitting down with her babies feeding almost constantly. If she demand feeds them like this her milk supply will match thier needs. Her body knows she has got two babies to feed, and can make enough milk for them as long as she gives it the chance. She needs to believe in herself and not to feel that formula is the answer. She has the good-stuff on tap, don't let the dimwit HV erode her confidence.

TheProvincialLady Sat 01-Nov-08 13:10:17

She doesn't need to be told that she must express to give herself a break. If she wants to do it and finds that it is less effort than the work it involves then great, but it is not the only way. A lot of people find expressing tremendously hard work. She also doesn't need to sleep more, eat more or drink more to have a good supply - though these things are good for her own well being. The way to have a good milk supply is to feed feed feed. If mums needed sleep and wonderful nutrition to BF then the human race would surely have died out a long time ago!

TBH the only advice I would give is to stick with the LLL advisor, who is an expert, and to ignore advice from anyone who isn't - including HV, MW and well meaning friends (unless they have also successfully BF twins).

TheProvincialLady Sat 01-Nov-08 13:11:18

And by well meaning friends I didn't mean you BTWblush How rude did that sound?!

kayzisexpecting Sat 01-Nov-08 13:17:58

Well I'll pass on all of the info here. She has been speaking to someone from LLL. They just told her to keep feeding them when they want feeding, which she does.

TheProvincialLady Sat 01-Nov-08 13:24:48

Is there a baby cafe near her? There is quite often someone with twins at them IME. There was a woman with 4 week old twins at my local one this week. That way she can get advice and also maybe meet someone else in the same situation.

Littlefish Sat 01-Nov-08 13:32:27

My lovely sister breastfed her twins until they were a year old. She was devastated when they self-weaned at a year due to chicken pox in their mouths sad

Your friend's HV is talking complete boll**ks!

Just to raise the stakes a little and to show that it's absolutely possible, I have a friend who breastfed her TRIPLETS (either directly or with her own expressed milk)!

She finally stopped when they were 2 and a half!

kayzisexpecting Sat 01-Nov-08 16:36:11

No baby cafe near heresad

It would be good if there was though.

Neenztwinz Sat 01-Nov-08 18:06:09

TheProvincialLady, no one said she must express. I said if she can then she should, and that it helped me, but I didn't say she MUST.

And I have to disagree that you do not need to eat, sleep and drink well to have a good supply. Have you breastfed twins?

dairymoo Sat 01-Nov-08 20:17:37

Another BFing twin mum here too, mine are 14mo now and we're still going strong smile. I would say that the thing that helped me the most (apart from the friends who brought round cooked meals, my DH who got up to help me at EVERY feed until they slept through at 9mo, MIL who did my cleaning, etc grin) was the absolute determination that I WOULD be able to do it, and no one had better tell me I couldn't. Possibly very naively, I never once doubted my supply as I figured that my body had made two babies and so it would def be able to feed them too. And the way to ensure this is just - as many others have said - is to feed feed feed, get your supply up and then believe in yourself.

FWIW, I never bothered expressing as I was spending enough time as it was feeding and didn't want to be attached to a pump for my 'time off'.

Give your friend my best wishes and huge congratulations on her babies. smile

MilaMae Sat 01-Nov-08 20:20:38

I agree with Neenz you do need to eat,sleep etc. I lost soo much weight, was soooo exhausted lack of sleep and general looking after myself was one of the reasons I stopped feeding mine at 6 weeks.

I also think she needs to steer clear of advice from non twin mums, until you've had twins you really can't comment. Having non twin mums say it's sooo easy to bfeed twins when they've never done it is wrong and can lead to false expectations and mum then feeling crap when they shouldn't.

My sis and best friend both have twins too we all stopped bfeeding at 6 weeks not through lack of trying or commitment-in short it was too hard. We all know people who have managed it but they are the exceptions the vast majority of twin mums don't manage it and they shouldn't feel they should be doing it because so and so has a friend who did manage it.

I couldn't tandem feed 2 newborns, they just couldn't get the positioning right, I couldn't support them as had no hands free and it was a total nightmare as they kept disappearing into the sofa etc. Bottle feeding was 100 times easier, I did one at a time while jogging baby seat with foot. Tandem feeding different age kids is completely different to doing it with 2 newborns.

Demand feeding twins is also an immensely difficult job as you basically feed allll day and alllll night. Most dps only get 2 weeks off mum has to feed,wash,sleep clothes,shop,shower etc as well as look after 2 newborns.

In short your friend should really only be relying on advice from breastfeeding twin mums. If she joins Tamba she could find other mums doing it or get her to go on the multiples section on here.

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