Breastfeeding Twins: Anna’s Experience
As a mom of twins, I have firsthand experience with breastfeeding them. I breastfed A and G until they were 15 months old. At that point, I was mentally and physically done and needed to stop. I had my ups and downs: my moments of wanting to quit and grabbing all the formula samples at the doctors’ office because I was sure I couldn’t keep doing it (thanks to postpartum depression), and, in moments of contrast, I felt pure bliss.
My twins were born via cesarean section at 37 weeks gestation around midnight (yes, if I had waited 30 minutes, they would have had separate birthdays, but that wasn’t going to happen with the contractions I was having). Baby A had some respiratory issues, and I wasn’t able to have the immediate skin-to-skin contact I had asked and hoped for. After a couple of minutes, the twins were breathing well and going strong. I was able to hold G for a bit before the nurses took the twins and my husband back to the delivery room, and I stayed to get stitched up.
After a while, I was back in the delivery room with my babies, and I was able to take G and put him skin-to-skin and start breastfeeding. When he was done, I left him on my chest in skin-to-skin contact, added A, his twin sister, and fed her on the other side. They both latched well.
The nurses at the hospital don’t usually experience twins outside of the NICU, which was great in the sense that we had healthy babies. But not so great because they seemed to follow procedures as though I only had one baby to take care of after a c-section. That made my situation a bit complicated. The nurses would bring the babies in at night for feeding and then leave without helping me get them out of their beds. (My husband couldn’t help because he was at home with our toddler). After multiple uncomfortable, unsuccessful attempts, I figured out that I could reach their swaddles, grab them, and lift them out of their “beds” and over to myself. I fed one baby at a time and then called the nurse to help me get the babies back in their beds (I don’t know why I didn’t just call them back in to help me with the whole thing—I’m stubborn, I guess).
I used a Twin-Z Nursing Pillow to breastfeed and even slept with it behind my back at the hospital (it was super comfy).
Once home, I continued to use the twin nursing pillow and would have my husband help to get the second baby situated so I could tandem feed and take less time breastfeeding. Double football hold became my go-to with newborn twins. Caring for twins was a lot harder than I had expected—like 4 times harder than caring for a singleton.
At night, I would feed one at a time until they were bigger and able to latch on their own. Then I was able to figure out how to pick up two babies at a time, one with each hand, and settle into a chair and tandem feed in a double laid-back position. From around 4-15 months old, this was my go-to breastfeeding position for tandem feeding.
As mentioned above, I had times at night that I would feed one baby and think/hope that the other baby would sleep longer just to be woken up again right after falling asleep. I learned that if I wanted more sleep and more time to myself (or with my toddler) during the day, I needed to feed the twins at the same time (or one right after the other) and keep them on the same schedule.
When it came to breastfeeding, I chose to alternate breasts each time, meaning A would feed on the right and G would feed on the left, and the next feeding, I would switch. This didn’t always happen because I couldn’t always remember who I had fed on which side. I just knew that I wanted to switch it up to make sure that one breast didn’t produce way more than the other if one of the twins didn’t drink as much as the other, etc.
You can choose to designate a breast for each baby and always feed Baby A on the right and Baby B on the left, or you can switch it up as I did.
It surprised me as the twins got older how easy it was to breastfeed them. I became a pro at picking them both up at the same time, and they became pros at breastfeeding. After a couple of months, a full feeding at the breast took 5 minutes. Yes, 5 minutes.
At the end of the day, do what works best for you. As always, please reach out to me with any questions or concerns.