You feel like you are in a daze. Somehow, you’ve managed to shower off and are sitting in your living room visiting with a friend who is excited to see your new additions. While you should be grateful for a chance to talk to an adult, you would much prefer to steal away and get ten more minutes of shuteye because newborn twins. You settle into a conversation about all things baby and slowly begin to relax. Then she asks “How is feeding going? I can’t believe you are nursing twins, I could barely nurse my single baby!” And there it is. The pink elephant in the room. All of the angst and second guessing just hanging out there in your living room. Maybe I really am not making enough? Should they need to eat this frequently? Can’t we just talk about her new fall booties?
We’re not going to sugar coat it for you ladies, nursing is tough. Getting the swing of things when nursing one child is certainly a challenge, but boobs for two can take quite a bit of effort. We are confident that if nursing is a priority for you, you can do it. Most women can successful nurse their twins, but some might find that they have more challenges than others. We all have a different make-up, and some women find that they easily produce enough breastmilk while others struggle with lactation. While there are certain things that are not in your control, there are a lot of things you can do to maximize what you are able to provide to your babies. Because we are all different, what may help one person may not be as helpful to another. Do the best you can, and don’t beat yourself up. Feed those babies the best way you can and the rest will work itself out!
Rule number one to nursing two babies is to calm the f#@! down. Yes we know that you have spent the last 9 months cooking two tiny tyrants. And yes you have to feed them all the time. You are tired, you are sore, and you are potentially recovering from major surgery. You are stressed out! Unfortunately, like any other area of your life, stress doesn’t help if you are struggling with milk supply. If you can, go sit down some place peaceful for a few minutes and think about some ways you can bring that stress level down. Can your significant other take over twin duty in the evenings for a few hours so you can get some ZZZZS (don’t forget to invest in some earplugs)? Perhaps consider a supplemental feeding at some point in the 24-hour schedule to guarantee that you get a solid block of rest? This might actually create a greater ability to produce for your other feedings. Taking care of yourself will be step one to a better milk supply and a happier mama.
One thing that many a twin momma swear by is using a pump to ramp up your supply. You can typically try to pump between feedings (ha!) or right after a feeding, which can help especially if you have a couple of sleepy eaters. Especially if you find yourself in the hospital recovering after having your twins for a few or more days, using a high-quality hospital grade pump can make a big difference in your milk supply. You can generally even rent them for home use as you are adjusting to feeding your twineroos at home. If you equip yourself with a hands-free pumping bra, it can be relatively easy to squeeze in some extra sessions. Just be sure to leave margin for much needed rest time.
Making sure your littles are latching well (assuming you are not exclusively pumping) can make a big difference in how well the milk doth flow. If you don’t get a chance to talk to a lactation consultant in the hospital, it may behoove you to meet with one as you get into your routine. They can give you some expert tips to make sure your babies are angling themselves for success. If you are short on funds or time, check out websites like www.kellymom.com, La Leche League, or YouTube which may provide surprisingly helpful advice. Those mommas in the trenches who have come before are generally happy to help set you up for success!
No we aren’t talking about outer space. Galactogogues are foods, herbs, and medications that are purported to increase milk supply. Popular suggestions include oatmeal, fenugreek, flax seed, brewer’s yeast, fennel seed and many more. You can easily find mother’s milk tea and lactation cookies (or recipes for said items) with little trouble. These substances tend to have mixed reviews, but some mothers swear by them. Make sure you take note of how you feel on them, how your baby reacts, and if you think it is helping.
Fenugreek is one of the most popular galactogogues, but some mothers report that it makes their babies fussy (not to mention it can cause you to smell like maple syrup). These might be just the thing you need for a supply boost, but don’t stress if they don’t work for you. One thing that may be helpful that is not routinely mentioned in high quality bone broth. Broth is loaded with essential vitamins and minerals, as well as collagen that helps your body to heal from the trauma of birth. A little warm soup might help heal your body and boost your milk supply. Sounds like a win in our book!
We hope that these suggestions will help you figure out how to feed your babies in the best way that you can. No matter how you do that, if they are fed and loved, they are winning at this thing called life. You are rocking this new momma thing!