How to Breastfeed Twins (Or More!)

At first, you may feel stressed about breastfeeding your newborn multiples. That’s understandable: breastfeeding twins (or more) means your hands (and arms) will be full. But take heart! It is possible, and some moms even think it’s the simplest option, once you get into the rhythm. You can prepare and build your confidence by learning some basic strategies. You’ve got what it takes to do this! 

You don’t have to clean and prepare bottles, you can take care of both hungry babies at the same time, and you get a moment to sit and relax with your babies.

Many multiples are born early and small. Breastfeeding is especially important for premature infants. If your twins were premature, your body will automatically adjust to make milk for their specific needs. For example, your milk will be richer in protein and amino acids. This will help your preemies gain weight more quickly, have healthier guts and be better able to fight infection (in addition to the standard benefits for full term babies). If your preemies have to stay in the NICU, you may have to pump before they are ready to nurse. But many mothers find this therapeutic and a vital way to help their babies.

Breastfeeding is also good for you – for example, it reduces your breast cancer risk and helps you to lose weight more quickly. For every baby you nurse, your body uses up to 500 calories per day. This means that if you’re breastfeeding twins, you’re using up to 1,000 calories! You definitely need to make sure that you’re eating enough healthy food, rich in nutrients and calories. Most women will be able to make enough milk to feed their babies, as long as they are nursing frequently.

Breastfeeding can also be more convenient in the long run, saving time and money. You don’t have to clean and prepare bottles, you can take care of both hungry babies at the same time, and you get a moment to sit and relax with your babies.

The Strategies

How to Breastfeed Twins small
  • Prepare beforehand: Take a breastfeeding class. Gather your support people and talk to them about how you will need help. Learn what resources are available to mothers of multiples in your area. 
  • Figure out a (loose) schedule: In the beginning, your newborns will need to nurse at least eight to 12 times per day. At first, try to nurse them on the same schedule. As time goes on, you may find that your babies need to nurse differently (one may go slow and steady; one may be a fast nurser). Just make sure to record your babies’ feedings, so that you can be confident they are each getting enough.
  • Try tandem nursing (nursing both at the same time): You have more than one baby and more than one breast, so you might as well try nursing both babies at the same time. Consider buying a nursing pillow made for twins so that you can position them more easily. Some women try tandem nursing and decide that they like nursing each baby alone better (especially in public). But, tandem nursing is a great way to build your milk supply and to spend less time nursing.
  • Get help from a lactation consultant: A lactation consultant can help you figure out the positions that will work best for you. Breastfeeding is not supposed to hurt. If it does, or if you have sore or cracked nipples, it’s probably because your babies are not getting a good latch. 
  • Alternate sides: The key with multiples is to switch the breasts so that each side is getting equal stimulation. If you have more than two babies, nurse your first two together, and then nurse the third. Just make sure you alternate which baby is getting to nurse by himself. 
  • Increase your supply by pumping: Most mothers of twins are able to produce plenty of milk for both babies. Frequent nursing from two infants builds a large supply. However, depending on your situation (prematurity of your infants, your babies’ special needs, your milk production), some pumping may be necessary. Working with a lactation consultant for your specific breastfeeding needs can help guide you through your breastfeeding journey.
  • Learn what works for you (and don’t stress!): Some women alternate breasts for each baby. Some women assign one to each baby per day. Some women like tandem nursing. Some women hate it. As you keep pushing through, you’ll find your rhythm and what works for you. Before you know it, you’ll be in a good flow with your babies and so thankful that you pushed through.
Small Steps: Baby Bling.
To remember which side you last fed your baby from, wear an elastic bracelet and move it from wrist to wrist at each feeding