Breastfeeding Twins? Yes! It Can Be Done

I have a love-hate relationship with breastfeeding—especially breastfeeding twins. It’s been nine years since I nursed an infant (or two), but I still remember all the emotion involved with it.

First—a disclaimer:

Breastfeeding can be hard, and it can be a difficult transition for moms. Please, please, please don’t beat yourself up if you aren’t able to breastfeed your baby(ies) and/or if you choose not to. While it is a great and wonderful way to feed your baby (ies), it does not make one a superior mother or more holy than another.

This post is not to condemn or elevate anyone’s choice of how to feed her child(ren). It is simply meant to offer encouragement and some practical tips for expectant moms of multiples who may be wondering, “Is it even possible to breastfeed twins successfully?”

And now that I’ve gotten that off of my chest, I continue.

4 Tips for Breastfeeding TWINS

With my first baby, learning to breastfeed was a bumpy start. Once we got the hang of it, we were fine. She nursed until she self-weaned around 8 months.

When I found out I was expecting twins, I researched all I could about breastfeeding them. I was determined to give it a good faith effort, but I had extremely low expectations. Let me repeat that: extremely. low. expectations. With a two-year-old still in diapers, I knew that breastfeeding two babies at the same time would certainly have its challenges.

Unbelievably, we made it until they, too, self-weaned around ten months.

Are you expecting twins? Do you wonder if you could successfully breastfeed them? From my experience, I offer four tips.

4 Tips For Breastfeeding Twins

1. Read and research as much material as you can get your hands on. I really liked Mothering Multiples: Breastfeeding and Caring for Twins or More!. For me, knowledge is power and having a book at my fingertips when I needed questions answered really helped.

You should also check out Breastfeeding Twins, Triples, and More!, which is featured in the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle.

breastfeeding twins

2. Set low, low, low expectations. Early in the twins’ life, people would ask, “How long do you plan to breastfeed?” And I’d answer, “For one day. And if we make it one day, then maybe two days. And if we make it two days, then maybe a week.” They’d chuckle, but I was serious. Focus on what’s immediately in front of you and adjust as you go.

Lowered expectations take the pressure off, which is an absolute necessity for a post-partum, sleep-deprived new mother of twins.

3. Use every available tool you can find! Pump like crazy (at first) and store breast milk. We rented a hospital-grade pump initially to really help with production because my boys came home on bottles. Their sucking reflex was not quite strong enough to nurse until they were about two weeks old. I consulted with a lactation nurse at the hospital, used a nipple shield to help with latching on, and put a little bit of powdered formula into those early bottles of breast milk to help the boys gain weight, which in turn helped with their sucking and nursing abilities.

I only wish that I had discovered essential oils before I had had all my kids. I know that they would have helped me and the babies immensely! If you want to know more about using essential oils during pregnancy and breastfeeding, check out Gentle Babies: Essential Oils and Natural Remedies for Pregnancy, Childbirth, Infants and Young Children by Debra Rayburn. Also, search through the website, Oil Testimonials for specific suggestions for essential oil use from experienced oilers.

I had a a special nursing pillow made for two and would hold them in a football hold in each arm and nurse in tandem. I took that dang pillow everywhere we went. Most Sundays at church I’d spend a good half hour nursing the boys sitting on the floor in a small room with the pillow wrapped around my waist.

Tons of tools are available, which may make life easier for you. Don’t hesitate to use them!

4. Keep them familiar with the bottle! I can’t stress this enough. Give them a bottle at least a couple of days a week just so they will drink from one—always. Since my boys came home from the hospital taking bottles, I never gave it a second thought that I should keep up with the practice of bottle-feeding. So they nursed exclusively for about five months when one day I decided I needed them to take a bottle. They would have nothing of it!

I was so discouraged! Just as I was finally feeling that I could be away from them for a little while, I couldn’t because they wouldn’t drink from a bottle. We practiced and within a few weeks, they re-learned bottle feeding—thank goodness!

My twins turned nine this week. As they chomped on BBQ ribs and guzzled milk at their birthday dinner, I realized that nursing them seems like a lifetime ago. I’m so glad we made it through that first year because honestly, some days I wondered it we would.

If you are expecting twins and want to breastfeed them, I’m here to tell you that it is possible. I belief that preparation and low expectations are keys to your success.