Terrific Tips for Tandem Nursing

May 22, 2017

tandem breastfeeding twins on twin blog

Twins! As soon as you utter those words to your friends and family, questions, comments, and advice (whether you want it or not) abound. Breastfeeding is a hot button item people just love to weigh in on.  Who knew so many people would have such strong opinions about what your boobs are being used for? While some may have encouraging words, many can offer downright discouraging thoughts and comments. Surely you aren’t planning to nurse two babies, right? Is that even possible? Why yes friends it is possible and even probable.

The truth is that if breastfeeding is something you are interesting in pursuing on your twin adventure, then know it is possible to nurse for two or more with a little bit of patience and support.  Get ready.  You may be serving tea for two in no time.

1. Set Yourself Up for Success

    As with any good endeavor, having the right equipment will make all the difference.  A twin breast feeding pillow should be in your gear list. They may seem ridiculously cumbersome, but two little souls will fit quite comfortably on them snuggled up close to momma. It also many come in super handy to have a regular old singleton nursing pillow, like a Boppy, on hand. This can be quite useful as a baby holding station when you are changing or burping your other twin.

    Another lifesaver for many is a nursing supply kit. Get yourself a cute little basket, and fill it with essentials like diapers, wipes, nipple cream (sorry friends), burp clothes, a water bottle and snacks. It may even be helpful to have one on each floor of your home if you live on multiple levels. Keeping key supplies close by will make it easier for you to focus on the task at hand.  It also will help you solve the age old problem of where the remote might so you can continue binge watching House of Cards with ease.

    2. Slip Into Position

    It’s hard enough for most moms to know where to put one baby when you are learning to nurse, but two? It’s kind of like the middle school dance, where no one really knows what to do or where to put their hands. Yes it is a natural part of our human existence, but that doesn’t mean it will feel natural from the get go.

    Before you get started, we would suggest you throw a few burp clothes on that adorable new nursing pillow. Ain’t nobody got time to be running the cover through the wash, and it be a whole lot easier to throw a few burp clothes in the laundry pile when spit happens.

    There are several rhythms you can get into as you fall into your routine, and one easy suggestion is to go with the ‘change/play/feed/sleep’ schedule. As soon as the babies begin stirring, go ahead and change them so that you hopefully won’t have to disturb anyone if they start snoozing after their snack (cue Boppy holding station). Next, you’ll want to settle everyone comfortably on your nursing pillow to get started. The football hold works very well for many mommas, especially if you have had a c-section. In this position, they will be head to head with their bodies tucked close under your arms like you are holding two little footballs.

    You’ll need to triage who gets on first, and we might suggest starting with your easy latcher and moving on to your more challenging baby once Easy Peasy is settled. Note that latching may take several minutes at first, as they have no head control and they will need you to adjust both their head and your breast to get them into position. As they grow stronger and bigger, this will get so much easier. Trust us!

    Do realize that many people wait a bit to start tandem nursing because it can be difficult in those first post-partum days. It may be helpful to establish good nursing habits with each baby before you attempt two at a time. Once you are ready to dive in, you will probably find that you have to wake one baby to nurse them at the same time, which can feel like sacrilege. Many moms swear that this will help them get on a synchronized schedule of eating at the same time. Manage your expectations, have patience and trust the process.  

    3. Supply Yourself

    Your post-partum body may have you feeling like you could be mistaken for Jabba the Hutt, but rest assured this is just a phase. Don’t start thinking about losing that baby weight just yet because you are going to need to eat like two little lives depend on it.  Make sure you are getting plenty of liquids and lots of nutrient dense food to keep your milk supply at a healthy level. This may sound like common sense, but in the hazy days after delivery, it can be easy to forget to eat (hence the nursing basket mentioned above).  Lactogenic foods may be a great way to help give you an extra boost. Think oats, flax seeds, and bone broths (which are very restorative for a body healing from a c-section).  Most women can produce enough milk for both babies under the right circumstances. So eat up

    4. There’s an App for That

    Unless you live under a rock, there is a good chance you have a smart phone. And if you do, you have access to some incredible apps to help smooth the bumps in the road to nursing success. One of our favs is called Total Baby. This nifty little program allows you to keep track of nursing sessions and diaper changes with the click of a button. You can even email out reports so that you can actually answer the pediatricians questions with some certainty. Talk about a sanity saver!

    Daunting though the task may seem, it is very possible to nurse two or more babies together. Have patience with yourself as you fumble your little footballs through the starting gate. Know it will only get better. May the force be with you!