Pregnancy and baby

Feeding multiple babies

Developing a routine around your babies' needs can help you cope with caring for your newborns.

Bringing your babies home with you is a cause for celebration, but it can be daunting to take on the responsibility of caring for twins or more. Looking after one newborn baby can be hard enough, but when you split your time and energy between two or more, it’s easy to become overwhelmed.

The Twins & Multiple Births Association (Tamba) advises that the best way to cope with caring for twins is to develop a routine that suits you. Think about your babies’ needs – feeding, sleeping and playing – and develop a routine around these activities that works for the whole family.

If your babies have been in neonatal care, they may already be in a routine and it’s probably worth sticking to this when they come home. However, you'll need to adapt the routine as they grow up and their needs change.

Creating a routine

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, some prefer to feed one after the other, while others feed on demand, whenever the babies seem hungry. 

You will need to adapt your method according to your babies’ needs. For example, 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 your babies are small or were premature, always follow your doctor or midwife’s advice on feeding.

If you have any concerns about your babies’ growth, you can take them to your local baby clinic to have them weighed to make sure they're putting on the correct amount of weight. Your health visitor can tell you where to find your nearest baby clinic.

Feeding

Most parents take the decision of how to feed their babies very seriously. It's not only important for nutritional reasons, but feeding will also take up a lot of your time in the first few months of your babies’ lives.

While all parents choose which method of feeding suits them best, it's important not to be put off breastfeeding because you're having multiple babies.

It's possible to breastfeed twins and, in some cases, triplets. Many are breastfed until they are weaned. The advantages 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 even more benefits to breastfeeding. Breast milk is better for premature babies as their gut is immature and it's easier for them to tolerate and digest breast milk.

Formula feeding may be necessary in combination with breastfeeding if you have triplets or more, or you may choose only to formula feed your babies.

For specific advice on how to breastfeed twins, read Tamba's 'Expecting more than one' and 'Breastfeeding more than one' (both free for Tamba members or £5 for non-members), which offer advice on establishing a feeding routine in hospital and breastfeeding twins or more.

The Multiple Births Foundation booklet 'Feeding twins, triplets or more' offers advice on all aspects of feeding.

Weaning

When your babies are around six months old, you can begin to wean them by introducing solid foods. It's not unusual for one baby to be ready to begin weaning before the other, so let your babies dictate when you start to wean them. For more advice on when your babies are ready for solids, see the Start4Life website.

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 from sharing, most twins will grab one another’s spoons and cups, so there isn’t much point trying to keep their feeding utensils separate.

See Your baby's first solid foods for detailed information about weaning, including advice on what foods to use.  

Page last reviewed: 12/07/2012

Next review due: 12/07/2014

Ratings

How helpful is this page?

Average rating

Based on 7 ratings

All ratings

Add your rating

Comments

Image alt text

Get pregnancy and baby emails

Sign up for week-by-week emails about your pregnancy and baby, with advice from experts, mums and dads