Who in their right mind wants to even consider breastfeeding twins? It’s total madness. I know because I did it.
There was quite a gap in ages between my first three children and the twins. My youngest was then 9 years old and the older children were a great help to me when the twins came along.
I’d put a lot of weight on when pregnant with them – the weeble in A Multiple Birth, 61” high and 60” round the middle! I was determined to lose that extra weight and rather than try dieting I chose to breastfeed as that had always worked for me in the past.
While pregnant, I read loads and loads about it, how to position the babies so that they both fed at once. How to wake a sleeping baby up while feeding the first one crying, so that they both fed together.
How to Breastfeed Twins
I was already an experienced breast feeder so I knew that small babies often feed frequently, and so the importance of feeding them at the same time was even higher on the agenda.
God gave us two breasts especially to feed twins.
I believed that anyway.
With twins, you can’t alternate breasts the same as you can with one baby and two breasts, so you alternate the babies at each feed. With twins, one is often a stronger sucker than the other so if you alternate each baby they both get a chance at different feeds of suckling at the other breast which should keep your boobs at the same size if nothing else!
So, I was all prepared for breast feeding my twins. While I was still in hospital, I fed them separately because there was not room on a hospital bed to position the babies correctly, although the midwives did help me position them once, they did not have the staff to spare to supervise in case one child fell out of bed.
The Odd Bottle
I gave them the odd bottle in hospital because it was easier, much to the disgust of the midwives, especially when I allowed them to share the same bottle! Of course, a hospital is a supposedly sterile environment, and I didn’t see the harm (and still don’t). These babies shared everything together. If one got a bug, the other was bound to get it too.
Twin Breastfeeding Pillow at Amazon
Twin Breastfeeding Pillow -Do you Need One?
We got home and I breastfed my babies together either in our king size bed, or in a comfy armchair with the help of a couple of pillows.
You can buy a twin breastfeeding pillow specially designed for two babies, but I found I managed well enough without one.
Our house always had plenty pillows to spare, so I kept them around the place, so that even in the lounge I could comfortably breastfeed my twins.
A breastfeeding pillow is not essential, but if you can afford one at a time when your family's budget is strained, perhaps because of lack of work or because mum had to give up work, there is a nice selection of twin breastfeeding pillows at Amazon.
Twins have to be held in a different position to feed than a single baby. They generally have their bodies tucked under your arms, and their two little heads close together in front.
All was well. They were feeding 2 hourly, and I got used to falling asleep with a baby tucked up close in bed, surrounded by loads of pillows for support.
The diagram below can give you some ideas in ways to hold the babies to allow them both to feed together.
Breastfeeding Twins Positions
Twin Products at Amazon
But then they got out of sync – badly out of sync. One would wake for a feed and the other WOULD NOT AWAKEN! Nobody ever warned me that might happen!
I think of all the wasted years I spent tip-toeing round sleeping babies, fearful of wakening them. I learned a valuable lesson. A sleeping baby will not be woken if it doesn’t want to be.
I’d pick that sleeping baby up, resisting the strong temptation to shake it wide awake seeing as there have been loads of court cases where babies have been irreparably damaged while being shaken.
But I’d nip them (gently), change their diaper, put loud music on, anything I could think of, but that second baby wouldn’t wake up! By this time the other was bawling loud enough to wake the dead, but not her twin sister!
So exhausted and exasperated, I’d settle down to feed the one baby that was awake. She’d feed and fall back asleep. Just as I’d be drifting off to sleep again myself, the other baby would stir, and then scream.
This went on for at least a week, but it may well have been a lot longer. I have photographs taken of myself during this period and my face was all drawn in and pale, with wide staring eyes, and my hair looked as if I’d been dragged through a hedge backwards.
And this was after I’d got washed and dressed!
For 24 hours, round the clock, my babies woke and fed alternately, leaving me something like half an hour to myself in between.
It was so bad my doctor arranged a Home Help to come in every morning and do my housework. But that didn’t really work, because the Home Help was a neighbour of mine, and rather than risk her talking about me about how dirty my house had become, I made a special effort to clean up the worst parts every morning before she arrived.
My babies never did go back to feeding together. One used to gurgle away quite happily while I fed the other, and wait her turn. In a lot of ways that was easier for me as it is much easier to only have one baby on your lap at any one time, and it left my hands free to perhaps operate the TV remote control.
Remember that when you are breast feeding two babies at the same time, both your hands are occupied holding the babies, so you can’t even sip a cup of tea.
Books about breastfeeding twins at Amazon
When you are breastfeeding, it is vitally important to eat well and this is especially true when breastfeeding twins. Your babies will not go short of nutrients, YOU WILL! I couldn't have taken in enough calcium, for example, while breastfeeding twins because a couple of my teeth crumbled a bit during this period.
It is really important to eat a healthy, balanced diet - not eating for two, or three as in my case, but the importance of making sure you ate a least the daily minimum nutritional requirements as decided by your doctor or midwife. It's not the calories you take in, its the quality of the food you should be thinking about. Plenty meat, poultry, fresh vegetables and wholesome foods that will replenish your body and keep you healthy while still providing enough nutrients for your growing babies. None of you need do without while breastfeeding twins. Your breastfeeding diet should contain more wholesome foods than normal, not less.
I breastfed my twins for about six months and yes I did lose a bit of weight that bounced straight back on as soon as I’d given up breast-feeding. It was many years afterwards before I regained my figure thanks to the Atkins diet, so I am left to assume that somehow having the twins changed my metabolism.
But they are great big bouncing girls today, way taller than me, and doing exceptionally well at school. I hope that in some way their success in life in due to the excellent start I strived to give them, by breastfeeding twins.
Breast feeding video
IzzyM (author) from UK on October 13, 2011:
It was difficult yes, but only at first. Having twins is hard work anyway,
paxwill on October 13, 2011:
Wow, that's a lot of information I didn't know, thanks! I think I'm too uncoordinated to manage feeding two at once.
saif113sb on July 21, 2011:
Another great and informative hub continue with the interesting articles. thanks
platinumOwl4 on June 12, 2011:
Another great hub continue with the interesting articles.
IzzyM (author) from UK on May 21, 2011:
In my experience, they stick together most of the time. So they both fall together. Ahhh...doesn't do them any harm! Honestly, things will get easier, not harder. You have the terrible twos still to come, of course. One of mine climbed up and crawled out of a first floor window onto concrete below. Rushed her to hospital, but she was fine, just a bruise or two!! They grow up so quickly, before you know it, they'll be off to school, or like mine, leaving school. They turn 18 this month.
claireh2284 from Yorkshire, England on May 21, 2011:
Thanks, are you sure? I'm worried about when they begin walking - when they are at opposite sides of the room and they are both gonna fall, who do you catch? LOL
IzzyM (author) from UK on May 21, 2011:
No worries and not surprising your brain is mush at the moment! Congratulations on your twins by the way! I know they are hard work, but after the first year things will get better :)
claireh2284 from Yorkshire, England on May 21, 2011:
I have complete writers block at the moment. I go through phases where I'm very creative and others where my brain turns to twin baby mush! Currently I'm having a big mushy phase LOLb :)
IzzyM (author) from UK on May 09, 2011:
Hey well done you! And you have time to write on HP as well??? LOL
claireh2284 from Yorkshire, England on May 09, 2011:
Great hub! Its nice to hear some positive stuff about breastfeedings, it seems to get bad press! I have a 6 year old who I breastfed until he was 2, a 3 year old who I breastfed until he was 9 months and I'm currently feeding 6 month old twin girls and I intent to keep going as long as they want to ( just like I did with the older 2 ). it's definitely hard work but I don't think I could bear to listen to them cry while bottles warmed or wait til the other one wakes up when they get out of sync!
IzzyM (author) from UK on April 03, 2011:
Excellent job, Buffy :)
BuffyChick from Chicago-ish on April 02, 2011:
You quitter, I'm still nursing my twins that are almost 16 months old. I will say the first 6 months are by far the hardest I wanted to give up many times but I didn't and now I can't get them to stop! Oh well at least they never get sick. . .
IzzyM (author) from UK on March 31, 2011:
Best of luck then I hope you get what you want, although you must remember that having twins is quite rare (something like 1:80 pregnancies unless you have twins in the family already in which case the ratio is a lot higher), unless you use IVF or something.
Ikeji Chinweuba from Nigeria on March 31, 2011:
Great article and an interesting story which was a life experience.I really learnt a lot from this article and am also ready for this exercise because i so much desire to give birth to twins.As a matter of fact,i want my first issue to be twins(boys).I will so much like and i will definitely breast feed them well.
Sammie on October 11, 2010:
GREAT ARTICLE! I didn't manage to breastfeed two without a double Nursing pillow. I got mine at http://www.Stuff4Multiples.com.
IzzyM (author) from UK on June 06, 2010:
Hey good luck with the treatment. Remember to come back and tell me when you are pregnant! Twins really are double trouble with they also bring twice the joy :) OMG you could have triplets or quads or more! What a thought! Good luck you'll need it if you have that many :)
emeraldkell on June 05, 2010:
Great hub. My husband and I are about to go through fertility treatments. We hear that puts us at a greater risks of having multiples. I would love to have twins. Good job on deciding to breastfeed your twins. Your information was very informative.
IzzyM (author) from UK on May 19, 2010:
Now you maybe have an idea what you put your poor mother through! lol
Even if she didn't breast feed, twins are definitely double-trouble.
starvagrant from Missouri on May 18, 2010:
I found this hub rather amusing as I happen to have a fraternal twin brother. We're about as alike as oil and water which I imagine was difficult for my mother.
tinmoelintun on April 28, 2010:
Gread hub. Informatic post
IzzyM (author) from UK on April 23, 2010:
Thanks hun :)
LOL, I'm sure I was mental to even attempt it! Still, could be worse, could've been triplets!
theherbivorehippi from Holly, MI on April 23, 2010:
Oh my gosh!! I have never really thought about how difficult it would be to breastfeed twins! Wow!! lol...that had to be serious work!!!! Loved this hub! :)
IzzyM (author) from UK on April 22, 2010:
Neither did I. I was just permanently tired when breastfeeding the twins, but that was due to lack of sleep! I don't know any of woman who has ever suffered the side-effects you describe - think that's a vicious rumour started by someone with a financial interest in selling baby milk powder or something!
Thanks for commenting - and well done you for breastfeeding your babies!
dashingclaire from United States on April 22, 2010:
Great hub! I breastfeed my kids and was happy I did. I did not have the lactation headaches, night sweats, racing hormones, and mood swings that come with breastfeeding. I and was tired and hungry esp. when I went back to work.