Since I have successfully managed to breastfeed twins for 18 months now, I thought I’d give a brief “tutorial” on the tips that have worked for me.
(*Side note- if you’re uncomfortable with breastfeeding or a man that I know, please stop reading- it will probably not be helpful for you at all!)
1. Tandem nursing is not possible until the babies are able to stay latched on by themselves and have fairly good head control. I was told to try using the EZ 2 Nurse Twins pillow:
This pillow fits around your stomach and you place the babies in the football hold.
I found this to be very awkward for all parties involved. I preferred to use the criss-cross hold. I only started using this when the boys were between 2-3 months old.
I would sit in a recliner and prop my arms up with pillows to feed them.
2. Set a goal for yourself to get through the first 8 weeks. These were by far the most difficult! I was sore first from my milk coming in, then from the babies latching on (both of them had good latches, I just needed to toughen up!), and later from my milk production needing to keep up with growing babies. Once they were 8 weeks old, I felt much more confident in nursing and it wasn’t painful any longer.
I set my goal to make it to 6 months, then to 12 months, then to 18 months. I’ve made this goal and I’m still nursing them once a day so we’ll continue for another couple of months. I never thought I’d be the kind of mother that would nurse for so long, but have enjoyed the bonding immensely!
3. In the beginning, don’t supplement. Unless you have a true lack of ability (ie very little breast tissue) to produce milk, try to nurse every 3 hours and not supplement with formula so your body will produce enough milk. I ended up burning 800-1000 calories a day in the beginning, and losing 42 lbs. within the first 6 weeks after their birth! Nice benefit! Now that they are only feeding once a day, I can’t rely on those extra calories being burned from breastfeeding. Back to the treadmill for me 🙂
4. The Medela double electric breastpump worked great for me when I was away from the babies.
5. Get the babies on the same feeding schedule as soon as possible. Prior to tandem nursing, I got the boys on the same feeding schedule and would feed them back to back. Usually M would wake up first and I would feed him and then wake L up to feed him. I would rotate which baby I fed on each side, but eventually they ended up feeding on their “favorite side” most of the time.
I did not ever nurse them to sleep (except for middle of the night feedings). This helped tremendously in teaching them to go to sleep on their own. They are still very good about going to bed and naps without needing anything else to get themselves to sleep.
I am sure I am leaving out many good tips, so feel free to ask any questions you might have!