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Breastfeeding twins, both at one or one at a time?

(28 Posts)
Bibblebo Thu 08-Aug-13 14:11:03

I breastfed my son for two and a half years so have experience. Now expecting twins and plan to EBF them. I have bought (begrudgingly) the Gina Ford twins book and find the feeding routine looks sensible (one at a time and on a tight schedule). It doesn't look as if with this routine either would have long enough on the breast though. I'd love to hear your breastfeeding multiples experiences smile

Bigbird01 Sat 05-Oct-13 23:08:32

I had to FF, EBF to start with, but once my milk production picked up I tandem fed my two at every feed and kept going until just before their first birthday.
I had a very good twin feeding pillow (the EZ2 feed foam one from twins uk) which I took with me everywhere. Ok I never fed them in coffee shops, but I did go to plenty of baby and toddler groups, soft plays, friends houses etc - anywhere that was breast feeding friendly really. I always fed them on the same side as I had the nursery set up so that I could sit between their cots and lift them onto the pillow. It did have a slight drawback that my right boob was noticeably bigger than my left for a year as my son was a very hungry boy! smile
I fed them both on demand of the first so I quickly got to a point where I had a clear 3 hours between feeds. So much better than the first few weeks of hell, when I seemed to be feeding, expressing or sterilising bottles constantly!
The other advantage of tandem feeding is that you don't get half way through one feed and get the other screaming until they are purple waiting for you to finish. If one finished quicker than the other they were more than happy to have a little cuddle and a snooze by my side.

ShesADreamer Sun 08-Sep-13 02:36:20

Fab thread! So good to hear everyone's experiences.
My non-id boys are now 6.5 months. No new advice as such but wanted to add lovely things specifically about bfing twins:

Tandem feeding really helped the littler twin get to grips with bfing in the early days as his brother would get a good let down going so he didn't have to work so hard. Really helped him gain the necessary weight to get going himself.

When you feed both in the rugby hold they are looking straight at each other. They really seemed to bond because of this and started interacting much earlier than my two bottle feeding friends' twins of the same age. They are still now much more affectionate and chatty (babbly) with each other. (It will all even out as they get older but it's very sweet to see when they're so small).

Bfing meant I had my hands free to do things with DD(3) and DS(11). zimmy has eloquently described how useful this can be! DD and I could still do crafts/read books etc. I don't think I could have done this with bottle feeding.

Once feeding is established, the ease of bfing - esp for night feeds - is something you'll be doubly grateful for.

You really can scoff all the cake your heart desires and the baby weight will melt off!

Disclaimer: It was hugely demanding in the early weeks and, with multiples, I think you need an element of luck for it to work for all of you. while it's lovely, none of it will matter in a couple of years time so if bfing gets scuppered by hospital stay etc there are still so many fantastic things about twins.

Eskarina Tue 03-Sep-13 13:30:44

My twins are 11 weeks and I'm bf them. I do a mix of tandem and single feeding when at home. Usually start a feed with them both latched on then when they finish I burp them and put them back on separately as I'm not convinced that their latch is great when tandem feeding so at least they get some time on their own, but the one not feeding has at least had some milk.

kchivs Mon 02-Sep-13 21:53:18

Hi, I breast fed my twins (now 23 months) for 11 months without mixed feeding. I also have a older one who was 3 when they were born. I resisted the hospital midwives exclamations when I said I intended to sole breast feed and I followed the plan for feeding in the Jo Tantum book baby secrets, it has a great section on twins generally and is much less strict than Gina, i.e. makes allowances that you may want to go out or spend time with your older child. I tandum fed for about 4 weeks until their legs fell off the pillow then one after the other for the next 10 months, with one on breast other in bouncy chair whilst waiting, worked well most of the time and with twins there is always some crying anyway.

Best of luck Bibblebo!

Toddlertwinsmum1 Thu 15-Aug-13 05:34:36

Hi, I am still ebf my twins who are a year old on Monday. I would burn ignore the Gina ford book, at least initially, and just go with the flow, feeding purely on demand. It is very hard to begin with, as you never really get much of a break from feeding, but that phase doesn't last long. I did a mixture of tandem and single feeding, depending on when they wanted it, although as others have said, I never tandem feed in public as you literally have to sit with your tits out to attach them both. Agree that a good pillow is worth the investment, particularly as mine cluster fed in the evening.

With regards to expressing, I never bothered as any time I wasn't feeding I wanted to give my nipples a rest! Mine have had the odd bit of formula (once they reached about 6 months and had settled into their own routine) when I've needed to leave them, but otherwise I've found breastfeeding much easier than the hassle of bottles. As you have bf before, you'll feel more confident with what you are doing. I was much happier this time to listen to the babies, rather than try to fit to some daft 4 hour feed rule (I have a 3yo who I tried to do everything 'properly' with!)

At nights, I did a dream feed when I went to bed ( only stopped this in the last couple of months) and I did wake the other to feed when one woke up, as I felt any chance you had to get a block of sleep is worth taking. One or the other still wakes for a feed usually now, hence I am up at 5.30, but they are starting to settle now.

Just one word of warning, you may have to be a bit pig headed in the beginning as everyone (including the MW's in the hospital) was telling me I'd 'have' to use formula and it was impossible to ebf twins. I think all these positive stories prove otherwise. Plus, I have found it more difficult making sure my toddler got enough attention initially as you are a bit stuck to the sofa in the early days. He also took a renewed interest in what I was doing and I think over the last year we have watched 'cars' about 1000 times, but we've got there.

beachesandbuckets Thu 15-Aug-13 03:57:27

Twins are 2 weeks today and am managing to ebf! Have 2 elder dcs, 5 and 3. Was planning to get each baby used to feeding before attempting to tandem feed, but tried it a couple of hours After babies were born at the hospital and it worked! Can even go on phone with both feeding (as in now!). Babies have both regained birth weight.

I don't bother swapping them over mid feed, and haven't expressed (I hate doing it, I have always personally found it time consuming, makes me feel like a cow, and hassle with sterilising kit etc). I will add a bit of formula feeding down the line if I need to.

Lots of lovely people have volunteered to take one dc off for a play and Dm/dh will take one off at a time for 'special time' so not feeling too guilty if TV goes on at other times when feeding.

I did ebf elder two which has obviously helped in terms of I can remember what to do from first and second time around etc

Dh not helping at all with feeding (not much he can do anyway!) but prefer him to get a good night sleep so he can look after dcs, help with cooking etc.

Downside, difficult to wind both, so lots more throwing up, and sometimes a baby can be manhandled a bit to get both on a boob at the same time, but they don't seem to mind too much!

Randomkath Tue 13-Aug-13 21:49:16

Hi. I couldn't have coped without tandem feeding in the first few weeks as feeds took ages so would have been constant! If you've done it before trust your instincts when it comes to feeding routines, some people swear by a strict routine, but personally I gave up trying to force it and just fed on demand, as just caused me so much stress worrying about it! This did mean a lot of time in the first few weeks on the sofa with my boobs out, but looking back (with rose tinted glasses) it was a really special time. By about 8 weeks feeds were quick enough and a bit more predictable that I could feed them individually when I went out or had company.

Re pumping, see if you can borrow or hire a proper hospital grade double pump as you won't know until you get there how expressing may work for you. I rarely seemed to find the time between breast feeds to pump, but used it in the early hours to pump and bottle feed as this stimulates milk supply at an important time of the day, but avoided a lengthy tandem juggling act whilst we were all still getting the hang of it. With husbands help, could change feed and settle them both in about 40 mins. Also gave a bottle (of expressed if I had it or formula if not) at around 9pm. This worked for us as we could get a couple of decent stretches of sleep. Once breast feeding was established we dropped the pumping and bottle in the night but kept the 9pm bottle for a bit longer as they were fussy and difficult to settle in the evenings without it. I found this phase passed after a few more weeks and dropped this bottle too.

Don't go into it with any fixed plans, the first few weeks will be trial and error to see what coping strategies work for your family. It's brilliant if you're aiming to ebf but don't put too much pressure on yourself. The first few weeks are really demanding, so don't be afraid of the odd bit of formula as it may help give you a break and help you all stay sane. Best of luck!

Twicethehugs Tue 13-Aug-13 15:22:20

I only expressed in hospital to help my supply come in (following Csection). I didn't at home as once supply established, it seemed like one more thing to do and I always seemed to be feeding them so didn't really get when I'd have time to pump as well!

Linguaphile Tue 13-Aug-13 13:38:55

This is really useful info. Do/did any of you express at all, or do you find it's okay just nursing?

I want to bf, but am trying to figure out whether or not we should invest in a pump as well. Was planning to wait until after the birth to buy anything, though, just to see how things go at first. Do most of you pump as well, or is it unnecessary?

Twicethehugs Sun 11-Aug-13 09:14:46

People do different things re swapping, some assign one boob to each baby, some swap every day/each feed/ when they remember which is what I do! It depends on things like whether one boob produces more milk and whether one baby is a better feeder. Here's a link to a twin breast feeding guide, la leche league also do one:

Bibblebo Sat 10-Aug-13 15:00:10

And, Dreamingofa, I really feel for you. My son has just turned three and things have only really started getting easier in the last six months. Until then he was developing in so many ways. Of course it doesn't stop when they reach 2 and a half but somehow I felt that that was the time that my D'S became a little more physically independent and his speech improved which made the world of difference.

Bibblebo Sat 10-Aug-13 14:51:06

ZimmyZammy, you made me laugh.. I have lots to look forward to don't I!

Vegpatch, I'd love to have an EZ2 nurse pillow - ill PM you?

Do you swap the babies onto the other boob half way through when feeding them together? Or just leave them to take a whole feed from one side?

I ebf my twins with a toddler 18 months older. I'm still feeding them, they're 16 months, and they've never had formula.
I fed together initially as they spent so long feeding, I also used a my brest friend twin feeding cushion. One always hated rugby ball so I fed one cradle, one rugby ball once they were a little bigger, which worked for me. Even now at 16 months I use the cushion if doing bedtime alone and tandem feed.

It has been very hard for me and i had/ needed a lot of help to manage my 18 month old too. But my babies have both turned out cows milk protein intolerant and one also egg and soya intolerant, plus has bad reflux so tbh it would have been hard with just one of them! I know two other local twin mums to me. One also with another child, who both ebf so it IS possible.
Good luck!

thingamajig Fri 09-Aug-13 21:02:20

I fed mine one after the other, I never got the hang of tandem feeding as I always needed an extra hand to sort latch/drink tea/scratch my nose/wind DT!. Also DT1 always woke first, so DT2 could wake in her own time.

They were born at 35 weeks and 4 and 5 lbs, and needed bottles for the first week as they were not big or strong enough to feed, but had no problem switching to breast, also expressing built my supply up very well

VegPatchLurker Fri 09-Aug-13 20:57:50

I ebf my twins. Almost always both at the same time, only singly when out and about.
Ez to nurse twins foam pillow was fantastic. Mine is available for postage if you want it - DTs are nearly 4 now!

zimmyzammyzoom Fri 09-Aug-13 20:55:31

I feed them seperately now they are bigger though

zimmyzammyzoom Fri 09-Aug-13 20:54:48

I'm still feeding my almost 10month twins and I have a 3.5 yo as well. You don't have to give in to mixed feeding and might find as I did that you have one or two bottle refusers! I just used a standard v shaped pillow and fed them together it was quicker and also kept them both quiet and allowed them to cluster feed and get my supply up. It's pretty awkward latching both on if you're on your own but you'll get the hang of it. I used the rugby ball hold which I never got the hang of with DS1. One moment ill never forget was when he was potty training, I was feeding both twins and he pooed, I ended up with him stood on my footstool bending over for his bum to be wiped whilst I had a baby under each arm! Multi tasking isn't the word grin

Twicethehugs Thu 08-Aug-13 17:27:48

I'm still breast feeding 6 month old twins too. It is possible, not always easy and yes at the beginning I didn't do much else. I don't have other children so figure it would be harder with a toddler to entertain too. From a supply&demand point of view, I'm not sure how well schedules fit with breast feeding and know a few mums of singletons as well as twins who "couldn't produce enough milk" which seemed to do with schedules and/ or combination feeding (works for some but not all and I did it at first as had little babies and took a while for my milk to come in.) I tandem feed when possible i.e. at home (sometimes at night) and especially at the start this allowed for the most time between feeds -sometimes it's easier to feed singly now they've got quicker.

FreeButtonBee Thu 08-Aug-13 17:10:05

I am still bfing my 6 month old twins. I've done a mixture of singly Nd tandem. I hve a my Brestfriend twin feeding pillow. I absolutely could not have managed without it.

Now I do more of a mixture but between about 6 weeks and 5 months, all daytime feeds were tandem. As mentioned it saves time ad keeps them in sync. Nighttime I feed each baby singly unless they both wake! Out and about, I do them singly - one baby is more patient than te other.

I didn't follow any baby guru stuff and just went with the flow - just tried to keep them sleeping and eating at the same time.

throckenholt Thu 08-Aug-13 14:47:46

I didn't manage to breast feed mine (too small, older toddler etc), but I did express for them. I think the best thing you can do is keep them in sync with each other (at least feeding and sleeping at roughly the same time), and if you can manage to feed them both at the same time so much the better. Breast feeding pillow essential for this.

Keep an open mind, do your best, and don't beat yourself up if it doesn't go perfectly from the start. Prevoius experience should help smile

teddymummy Thu 08-Aug-13 14:40:19

Try joining a local multiples group. I got a lot of good advice there.

teddymummy Thu 08-Aug-13 14:39:46

Yes I agree, you need to let them lead the routine to start with as they may have different feeding needs and appetites. But if you can get into a bit of a routine it does help, otherwise you won't have time to do much else, you will be feeding for many hours per day. I used the Gina ford routine for my first baby and then sort of adapted it for the twins. I did not use her twin book, it was too complicated and I felt ready to make my own routine by the time the twins came along.

burberryqueen Thu 08-Aug-13 14:38:20

i am just not sure how you would manage to EBF twins simultaneously unless you are
a. doing absolutely nothing else all day and night
b. have someone to pass you the babies at all times
i think with twins you just have to muddle through and give in to mixed feeding.
btw i would chuck that gina ford book, she never even had one child let alone twins and her co-author had a nanny.

Bibblebo Thu 08-Aug-13 14:32:30

Thank you!


Madlizzy Thu 08-Aug-13 14:25:51

Forgot to mention, I have triplets and although I eventually FF, I still fed them together (2 then 1). Good luck.

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