Pregnancy and baby

Feeding multiple babies

Most parents take the decision on how to feed their babies very seriously. It's not only important for nutritional reasons. Feeding also helps to you to build a close and loving bond with your babies. 

Feeding will take up a lot of your time in the first few months of your babies' lives. Whether you breastfeed or formula feed, you'll need to create a routine that suits you and your babies. Some mothers feed both babies at the same time, while some prefer to feed one after the other. Others feed whenever their babies seem hungry (on demand).

If one baby is smaller and needs to feed more often, you won't be able to feed them at the same time at first. If you want, you can work towards bringing their feeding routines together as your babies grow.

If you have any concerns about your babies' growth, you can take them to your local baby clinic to have them weighed and measured. Your health visitor can tell you where to find your nearest baby clinic. Some health visitors will visit you weekly at home to keep an eye on your babies' progress.

Breastfeeding twins or more

It's important not to be put off breastfeeding because you're having more than one baby. Breastfeeding is a great way to soothe your babies and helps you build a strong bond with them.

It's perfectly possible to breastfeed twins and, in some cases, triplets. Lots of twins are breastfed until they start eating solid foods.

You may like to try a few breastfeeding positions to see which suits you best. You will get support with breastfeeding at the hospital and also when you take your babies home.

The benefits of breast milk for your babies are the same as for single babies. However, as multiple babies are more likely to be born prematurely, there are extra benefits.

Breastfeeding premature twins

Breast milk is better for premature babies as their gut is immature and it's easier for them to tolerate and digest. Breast milk also contains proteins and antibodies to protect your babies against infections.

If your babies are very tiny or sick when they are born, you may need to express your breast milk to begin with. Your expressed milk may be fed to your babies through a thin tube that passes through the nose and into the stomach. 

For more advice on how to breastfeed twins, read Expecting more than one and Breastfeeding more than one from the Twins & Multiple Births Association (Tamba). Both are free if you register with Tamba.

Formula feeding multiples

You may need to combine formula feeding with breastfeeding if, for example, you have triplets, or you may choose to only formula feed your babies.

Formula feeding is more expensive than breastfeeding when you have twins or more. However, it does mean that other people can help with feeding your babies.

As with breastfeeding, you'll need to decide whether you are going to feed your babies together or separately. Bottles need to be freshly prepared for each feed. This can be quite time consuming with twins or more, so you may want to ask your partner or someone else to help with this.

As with breastfeeding, formula feeding your babies can help you build a close and loving bond. Hold your babies close during feeds, look into their eyes and talk to them. Learn to notice their cues when they want to be fed and when they have had enough.

Visit the Tamba website for more information on formula feeding twins or more.

Starting twins on solids

When your babies are around six months old, you can give them their first solid foods. It's not unusual for one baby to be ready to begin solids before the other, so let your babies dictate when you start to introduce them.

Read more about your baby's first solid foods.

If your babies were born prematurely, your health visitor can give you advice on the best time to start solids.

Unless one of your babies has a serious infection, it's safe for them to share spoons and bowls as they will be exposed to the same germs. Even if you try to stop them sharing, most twins will grab one another's spoons and cups, so there isn't much point in trying to keep their feeding utensils separate.

Visit the Multiple Births Foundation website for more advice on all aspects of Feeding twins, triplets or more (PDF, 5.96kb).

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Page last reviewed: 12/08/2014

Next review due: 12/08/2016

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