Breastfeeding twins 

In this video, a breastfeeding support specialist gives practical advice on how to breastfeed twins, and a mother of twins describes her experience.

Learn more about feeding multiples

Transcript of Breastfeeding twins

Breastfeeding twins is definitely possible.

Having twins is a normal thing to happen.

People have been having twins forever.

I felt really excited, I thought it's quite full-on,

chucking me in at the deep end.

A lot of people wonder whether there will be enough milk for two babies

because it's more common for a mum to be feeding one,

but actually nature's really clever and sorts it out.

When my milk came in it was like, "Yes, there's definitely enough."

It was an abundance of milk.

If the babies are born early it's particularly important for them

to receive the colostrum, the first milk that their mums make,

and it will give them extra protection

and help them to get out of the special care baby unit well and healthy.

It's particularly hard for mums who are able to bring one baby home

and one has to stay in the hospital.

It should be possible for the mum

to breastfeed the baby who's well enough to be with her

and to express milk for her baby who's in hospital.

It's going to be important for the mum to visit her baby in hospital

as early and as frequently as possible

so that she'll be able to have plenty of skin contact with her baby.

(Fiona) The midwife helped me out.

She put the baby in this amazing position and it just worked.

When it worked for the first time and really felt like they were feeding,

it was amazing.

A common one would be to have the babies under her arm,

they call it a rugby hold or football hold,

with the baby held here, the head here and the body round the side,

and obviously her second twin on the other side

so both of the babies' bodies are pointing away from her.

Some mums of twins would feed one twin in the traditional cradle position

with the other one in the football hold.

Some twins are happy to be criss-crossed on their mum's lap.

(Fiona) They had different personalities and feeding techniques and appetites.

I didn't really have any kind of schedule.

To begin with also it's really important to let the babies feed on demand,

even if their demands are different and they want to feed at different times.

Many babies do fall into some kind of natural routine

if they're given enough time.

Going out and about, I never fed them together, always one at a time

because you can't, it's a bit of a logistical nightmare.

(Claire) Feeding twins simultaneously at night, if possible, can help.

It's important to have the twins

in the same room as the mum in the first six months

so the mum can easily get them for breastfeeding

and not feel she has to wake herself up.

(Fiona) When they got to six months I was only feeding them one at a time

because they were old enough to wait and they were easily distracted by toys.

When a mum's got twins,

helping with practical things can let the mum have a bit more time

to sit and feed her babies,

so if there's a partner who can make meals,

look after any other children, that will help.

You can get help from a partner with twins when they're latching on

because even though they can't help with the baby's mouth,

when you're trying to feed them together, if the baby's slipping

they can come round and help with their feet

or they can help with the position of the head, put a pillow behind your back.

(Claire) All the voluntary organisations that support mums with breastfeeding

will be happy to talk with mums who are feeding twins.

Other mums of twins are probably a good source of support

for mums who are just setting out on their journey as parents of twins.

On the whole it was a good experience once it gets going

and once you know what you're doing.

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Breastfeeding: the first few days

What to expect, including how your milk "comes in" and what the let-down reflex feels like