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Tips wanted for successful breast feeding of twins

(19 Posts)
BloomingOrBallooning Fri 14-Nov-14 11:24:04

My twin DDs are now 10 days old and I've managed to exclusively breastfeed them up until now. In the darkest hours of my sleepless nights I have started to dispair about whether I'll be able to continue with the feeding once my DH returns to work in two weeks time.

Has anyone brestfed their multiples for at least 6 months and what routine did you adopt?

I also have a 2year old DS to look after so staying in all day and just feeding the babies is not really an option.

jwpetal Fri 14-Nov-14 21:36:55

Many congratulations on the birth of your twins and for successfully breastfeeding. I had a 2.9 year old boy and then twin girls. You are in the most difficult part of your time with the twins. It will get easier. I fed my twins for 3 years. It was not planned that way but just happened. I bf and expressed to bottle feed. This was not by choice as we spent a lot of time in the hospital in the first couple of years.

They are now 5. I recently asked my son, who is now 7, if he remembered how things were when the girls were little and he said no. I was relieved. I carried guilt for quite awhile thinking I had kept him in, but he did not remember. What was important to him was to be with me and not getting out etc. I needed to get out. he was happy for me to play cars while breastfeeding or reading a book or watching tv.

It took time, but I learned to feed them at the same time. I learned to take help from friends (taking my son and helping me). I also got a student from our local school studying childcare. They loved twins. It allows for more hands on experience. In the end, we got a cleaner. Financially, we found the first year difficult but if you can stretch the finances (if you don't have one already) go for it. Homestart also has volunteers that can come in for a couple of hours a week. Also, my husband had to get up in the night to help with my son and with the girls. This got easier with time, but my son was unsettled, but that would have happened with one baby or twins.

We never had a schedule due to other circumstances but I learned to feed one when I fed the other. I don't know if this helped or not. I still remember how tired I was in the beginning.

Waffles80 Fri 14-Nov-14 22:31:16

I bf and ff mine for 16 weeks and it was quite tricky (they were prem and have always been poor feeders.) So I don't have much of use to say other than WELL DONE! Could you get a pump to express and introduce a bottle? That helped me a lot. There's a great facebook group called Twin Sling for mums of twins who babywear - lots of mums on there BF and are always more than happy to give advice. Also, Tamba have peer supporters who will be able to help too.

Congratulations - it's so, so hard (however they're fed), but it gets easier. Mine are 24 weeks now and, despite a few difficult phases, are just brilliant.

Swanhildapirouetting Sat 15-Nov-14 19:05:38

I mixed fed (which possibly I didn't need to do) but one baby wouldn't latch for a long time so my supply went out of kilter. I ended up breastfeeding them till they were two after what could only be called a very rocky rickety start - so bear that in mind when you feel everything is going wrong. There isn't any right way, except to keep feeding as much as you can to build up supply, don't feel guilty about occasional bottle of formula or expressed milk, feed at night, feed in tandem, but when it doesn't suit, feed separately, aim to feed them at least every three hours in the day (they might go longer at night as a result) Proper seating for when you feed, very comfortable support for the babies so you aren't holding them up physically but they are being supported by cushions or pillows. Feed in bed when you can, make your bed an oasis with food, toys and drink and toddler books. Cut down on all things like ironing or entertaining.

Get visitors who will help you. Another pair of hands works wonders even if it is only random visits. Just having another adult around occasionally or even an helpful child to entertain your toddler.

Enjoy feeding them and remember it will get so so much easier once they are six months.

Put them down for a nap after lunch. Factor in a nap every day after lunch turn phone off, put a note on the door. Get everyone used to quiet time after lunch and never ever do housework then. That for me was a lifesaver.

Keep asking people to help you, and don't be brave. Babies need cuddling.

Twicethehugs Wed 19-Nov-14 22:21:08

I don't have any other children but am still breastfeeding twins at 21 months. Tandem feeding definitely saves time if you can get the hang of it. I found a tandem feeding cushion really helped too. Also at nights, mine wanted to feed every couple of hours - ended up co-sleeping for a while as the best way for us all to get the most sleep possible. I've been told night feeds are really helpful for supply so tried to remember this at times when the nights were hard! It's not easy at first - but for me having to do all the bottles and formula would also have been tricky - no easy option with twins but breastfeeding twins does get easier if that's what you choose to do longer time. I was also told not to quit on my worst day, which was good advice for me.

As for routines, I tried but they kept changing at their own pace and so ended up being more baby led, which was more relaxed for us but maybe took longer to get to regular patterns. I've got a friend who had an18 month year old when she had twins, she had a lot of help from her family. I hope you've got people around who can give you a hand.

TeenyTwins Mon 24-Nov-14 10:24:15

Congratulations on your twins!

I have older dc too, but bf my twins exclusively until 4 months, then started topping up with formula. They are still mixed feeding at 7 months, but I honestly thought I was going to stop bf in the early days it was so hard with 2 babies.

I bf my other dc so couldn't believe how hard it was with twins.

If you want to keep b'fing, you can set yourself mini goals (like I'll keep going for another 3 days/week and review then). I found this easier than staring at the 6 month mark that I wanted to get to.
Like another posted said, your older child won't remember this time, so as long as they are not unhappy, don't worry about what their day entails.
Lastly, twins are hard, so go easy on yourself and don't feel bad about any choices you make on feeding or anything else!

RedundantExpat Thu 27-Nov-14 20:12:12

I only expressed for my DTs which possibly took even more time (expressing+sterilizing+feeding).

I agree on the tandem grip - la leche league has good info on this. and if you have to go to formula don't beat yourself up about it.

mandy214 Wed 03-Dec-14 14:48:26

I fed my twins for a year, exclusively for about 6-7 months, then with expressed milk in a bottle for a couple of feeds, until from about 10 months I was just doing the bedtime feed.

My top tips. Eat lots. My consultant said supply is driven by your food intake, not just your fluid intake. To start with, to make sure I had a good enough supply, I expressed after the breakfast feed and I fed on demand - didn't bother with a routine until they were about 6 months (but they were prem so I was trying to fatten them up smile).

I never really got the hang of feeding them together, and I quite liked the one on one time of feeding them separately. I'd have one in a bouncy chair which I rocked with my foot whilst I fed the other.

I had one (permanent) boob per baby - Twin 1 was always on the right, Twin 2 on the left. Think it meant they got comfortable in their "feeding position" and got used to it. If I felt like they weren't sucking, I'd take them off and feed the other. They got quite efficient quite quickly so it wasn't massively time consuming.

In the night, probably until they were about 6 months, if one woke for a feed, I'd wake the other to feed (whether they were asleep or not). Meant we got at least a couple of hours between feeds. I would feed one, H would wind it and put it down whilst I fed the next one etc. Don't try to do it all yourself during the night, even when your H goes back if you've got a toddler to look after too, you'll just be exhausted.

Cadenza1818 Sun 07-Dec-14 17:07:42

Hi I breastfed my twins exc for 9months. I couldn't get the hang of tandem feeding as there was big size difference and getting them to the right height each was hard. When I was pregnant the only helpful things were American books. Uk ones seemed a bit negative. So, I did feed one at a time but they each took 20min on the dot! And I liked the individual bonding..
However I didn't have another child at that point. Also in the early days I introduced a bottle so daddy could do a feed in night and I expressed 10mons after every feed in early days to boost supply. Eat like a horse smile. in terms of coping with other child, I would unashamedly resort to dvd! If you do feed separately you do have the advantage of going out.

Congratulations though. There'll be days when it all goes wrong but you'll never have the same day twice smile

Cadenza1818 Sun 07-Dec-14 17:09:44

Ps in those dark moments, ask yourself whether you'd like to stay in bed and get your book out or go downstairs and sort out 2 lots of bottle sterilising and faff!

Cadenza1818 Sun 07-Dec-14 17:10:02

Boob not book!

thewalrus Fri 12-Dec-14 20:03:18

Hello, and congratulations on your new babies!!

I bf my twins until they were about 13 months old. In the early days, they had a few bottles too (DT2 wasn't putting on weight, they had bottles one night a week so I could sleep). I know this can be high risk for people, but I've always been lucky with milk supply and it worked for me.

I tandem-fed at home (with one of the pricey, but useful, specialist twin cushions), but fed them one at a time if we were out and about (rocking buggy with foot etc). When one twin woke in the night I would wake the other and feed them too - counterintuitive, but dreaded them tag-teaming all night! I also had a toddler DD - we would read stories etc while I fed the twins, or sometimes she would feed her teddies with me.

It's all something of a haze now - I wish I could be a bit more specific and helpful. I really wasn't set on breastfeeding the twins (even though I'd had an easy and enjoyable experience with my elder daughter), but it just worked out OK. In the end, I dropped the additional bottles so we didn't have to sterilise etc.

I second the posters upthread who advise throwing what resources you can at getting through the first year - in many ways we still haven't completely recovered financially six years on, but I still think it was worth it. Accept help if people offer it and try not to feel guilty if you do end up compromising on what you'd like to do for your children - it'll get easier!

littlegreendragon13 Mon 15-Dec-14 21:22:55

Just reread this and realised it's an essay sorry!!

Congratulations on your babies! I'm still bf my 9 month old twins, I ebf bar a few top up feeds in the second week due to T1's weight loss due to my milk being slow to come in after my section. My DS1 was 21 months old when my twins were born and I was a bit worried about how things would work. I started tandem feeding as soon as we got home from the hospital which I think was the most helpful thing we did as it saved so much time and meant that I got plenty of cuddles even if one baby wasn't feeding. DS1 could snuggle next to us on the sofa and I read to him or we watched cbeebies (my saviour!). I used a tandem feeding pillow too, although it was crazy expensive (£60 I think!) it was absolutely invaluable until they outgrew it at 6 months, now I use a normal v-shaped pillow plus an extra normal pillow each side to prop them up, lol.

I fed my DS1 on demand but early on decided that this wasn't going to work for me this time so instead I fed when one baby wanted but always fed the second twin at the same time, I did/do the same at night even now so if one wakes up I feed them both which has kept them on very similar schedules. I also encouraged a schedule by feeding them when it suited me/DS1's schedule and they seemed ok with that which really helped me. They have a boob each; in the early days I used to swap them each day but I kept losing track and it didn't seem to make any difference anyway so I soon settled into the greedier twin having the boob with the quicker let down and now that's how we always do it.

I wouldn't say it was easy (sometimes it was reeeeeally hard!) and they still are nowhere near sleeping through but it is do-able. Having a DP who can help at night with nappy changes etc when they were tiny swung it for me and allowed us to avoid too much crying while one waited for me to change the other smile

Our routine was roughly this, and still is actually although obviously there's fewer feeds and some food in there now too:
*Babies wake, feed.
*Get all kids up and dressed.
*Breakfast for DS1.
*Feed babies before going out for a walk/shop/feed ducks etc to let DS1 blow off steam while the babies nap.
*Home to feed babies, eat lunch. Play.
*Put DS1 down for a nap, feed babies, let them sleep on me (still do).
*Wake DS1, feed babies.
*Play, dinner for DS1, play.
*Bedtime routine for DS1, feed babies: for the first 4 months settled we them downstairs with us as their bedtimes varied too much, after 4 months we settled them in their cot upstairs. (we swapped them into 2 cots at 6 months but they're still in our room now)
*Feed on demand over night.

Good luck and enjoy the journey! smile

amansman Thu 01-Jan-15 12:05:35

What does DS1 stand for?

TheEagle Thu 01-Jan-15 17:45:27

littlegreendragon, your post is great, thanks for posting!

I'm 20+4 with twins and my DS will be 19 months when the twins arrive. It's lovely to read about someone who's successfully breastfed twins with a toddler too.

I just got a great deal on a secondhand tandem pillow and I'm reading the LLL book Mothering Multiples so feeling positive about it! I'm getting so much negativity from my ILs already about BFing the twins (despite having fed DS until he was 13mo) that it's so refreshing to read such a positive account.

TheEagle Thu 01-Jan-15 17:46:22

amansman - DS1 = dear/darling son number 1

parallax80 Fri 02-Jan-15 12:21:19

TheEagle if it adds to the positivity I'm 3 months into BF twins and my older one was 20months when they were born. The first 6 weeks were very intense, but not sure it would have been any less intense to bottle feed, and my supply has been good enough that when they took turns at being in hospital with bronchiolitis I was able to express enough for the hospitalised one while my husband stayed and feeding the other one at home not sure I'd have wanted to do it for long though I initially fed them both at once overnight but it became obvious they had very different appetites (they are fraternal boy/girl) - one now sleeps 10-7 with no feeds between, the other is 10/1/4/7 for abt 10 mins each time. I don't bother waking the sleeping one as she'd rather sleep through! It's been fine, the only down side is that I've been downing litres of squash as so thirsty which the dentist says is prob the cause of some accelerated decay, so I'm trying to avoid now.

AlpacaLypse Fri 02-Jan-15 12:33:16

Congratulations smile

My daughters were fairly prem and small and spent their first four weeks in SCBU. I got used to using a hospital breast pump to express when I was at home at night, and continued to express and bottle feed for several weeks after getting them home. I did eventually get the hang of feeding them directly, and I could feed them simultaneously but only in bed with the pillows arranged in a particular way. I quite liked the one on one of having just one at a time, and they were used to being fed one half an hour after the other.

One nice thing about expressing and bottle feeding was that DP was able to join in, and also it meant I had a guaranteed time out every day. From 5 p.m. until 8 p.m., DP and a mixture of grannies and sisters would completely take over while I had total peace. Then we'd put them to bed together, then they became entirely my responsibility until 6 a.m. Tiring, but DP is self employed, driving and working with machinery and the consequences of an accident due to sleep deprivation would have been awful both to him and to other people.

TheEagle Fri 02-Jan-15 12:59:47

parallax, you posted on another thread I started about BF twins! Really helpful posts, thanks so much smile

It's just so good to know it's all possible (and even possible to get some zzzzzzz as well!)

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