Breastfeeding twins

Do you have twins? Try breastfeeding your twins in different ways before leaving the hospital. Ask your midwife and the nurses for advice before leaving the hospital.

Learning to breastfeed twins takes a little extra time. You don't need to breastfeed both at once; one at a time is just as good.

However, it is recommended to breastfeed both twins during the same feeding session. Otherwise it might feel like you're doing nothing but breastfeeding around the clock, which can really sap your energy.

Get to know your babies and their eating preferences
Start by breastfeeding your babies one at a time. This lets you get to know both babies, their eating habits and their way of latching onto the breast. Although your babies are similar, they are individuals and may have different needs. Some babies eat a lot in one sitting, whereas others eat little and often.

Try double breastfeeding
If you want to try breastfeeding both babies at once, position one baby on your breast at a time and adjust positions until you find what's best for you and the babies. One helpful hint is to start with the baby that is easiest to position, or the one that sucks most efficiently. Then the other baby can lap up the milk that will probably start running out of the other breast. You can also alternate between feeding both babies together and feeding one at a time. But if you can get the hang of it, it feels great to satisfy both babies together.

It's best to switch the babies round occasionally, because the milk flow can differ between the breasts and your babies may not both suck at the same rate. If you are able to double breastfeed at night, it is useful because it gives you more hours of uninterrupted sleep. Double breastfeeding gets easier as the babies become older, more stable and accustomed to breastfeeding. All breastfeeding takes practice, especially double breastfeeding.

Pillows, footstool, sofa – support your body and get comfortable
Experiment to find what suits you best. Use cushions and blankets, put your feed up or curl up on the sofa. The most important thing that you are comfortable and relaxed and the babies can get a good grip of your nipple. Remember that your baby should come to the breast, not the other way round. This is best for all of you.

Maybe you can use different feeding positions in the night than in the day, or change your position as the babies grow. Try and see what works best. The babies should be positioned stably and comfortably so that you can keep both hands free and relax your shoulders, neck and back.

Suggested positions for double breastfeeding
• Put the babies' heads at the centre of your ribcage with their feet pointing towards your armpits. This position is ideal if you have had a C-section because the babies don't touch your belly. You will need to use cushions or a breastfeeding pillow for support.
• Or position both babies the other way, with their legs pointing towards each other or overlapping.
• You can also position the babies parallel to each other with their feet pointing the same way.
• There is also a position called "laid back", where you lie in a semi-reclining position with both babies lying on their stomachs against your upper body. Make sure you are all comfortable and relaxed.

Breastfeeding tips for twins
• If one of your babies seems hungry, you can still try feeding both at once or one after the other so that you get a longer break between feeds.

• Breastfeeding takes time and efforts, but it's usually worth it. However, if for some reason full-time breastfeeding is too much of a challenge, you might try combining breastfeeding with bottle feeding. A little breast milk is better than none at all. You can give your babies breast milk at some meals and infant formula at others. Or else breastfeed one and bottle feed the other, then switch round the next day so each baby gets breast milk on alternate occasions.

Stress can disrupt breastfeeding
There is greater risk of getting stressed when you have two babies to care for. If you find it difficult, you can get support, tips and advice from a breastfeeding centre, paediatric clinic or the Swedish Association of Lactation Consultants.

Read more about twins
Expecting twins
How to help both your twins to develop optimally

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