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Breastfeeding Twins

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

Breast milk provides the best nutrition for your twins. Twins are often born early and may have a low birthweight. Preterm babies are at higher risk for health problems, such as infections. Breast milk helps protect your babies from infection. It may also decrease your babies' risk for allergies and other medical conditions, such as asthma and diabetes.

DISCHARGE INSTRUCTIONS:

Return to the emergency department if:

  • You feel very depressed or have thoughts of hurting your baby.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • One or both of your twins is not gaining weight or looks as if he is losing weight.
  • One or both of your twins has fewer than 6 wet diapers each day.
  • One or both of your twins has fewer than 3 to 4 bowel movements each day.
  • One or both of your twins has new or increased yellowing of his skin or the whites of his eyes.
  • You have pain and swelling in one or both of your breasts.
  • Your nipples look red, dry, cracked, or they have scabs on them.
  • You see or feel a tender lump in your breast.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

How to hold your twins while you breastfeed them:

You can breastfeed one baby at a time or both at the same time. Sit in a comfortable chair with arm and back support. A special pillow made for breastfeeding twins can help support your arms and the babies' heads. Ask someone to help you position your twins. Try different positions to find the ones that work best for you.

  • Double football hold: Hold one baby's head in each of your hands. Your babies will be lying down with their bodies under each of your arms.
    Twins football Hold
  • Cross cradle position: Support one baby's head in each of your arms. Your babies' heads may rest in the bend of your arm near your elbow. You babies' bodies will be in your lap turned toward your abdomen.
    Twins Cross Cradle Hold
  • Football and cradle hold combination: Hold one baby using the football hold and the other baby using the cradle hold.
    Twins Football and Cross Cradle Hold

How to breastfeed your twins:

Bring each baby to one of your breasts. Hold each baby's head to help him latch on to your breast. Bring each baby's lower lip to the areola (dark area around the nipple) first. Each baby should have as much of an areola in his mouth as he is able to get. Once each baby is latched on, you should feel as if he will not separate from the breast easily. Allow each baby to breastfeed for as long as he is able. Do not set any time limits for how long each baby should feed.

Correct Latch-on Breastfeeding

How often to breastfeed your twins:

Your twins may let you know when they are ready to breastfeed. They may be more awake and may be moving more. They may put their hands up to their mouths. Crying is normally a late sign that your twins are hungry. You should breastfeed your twins between 8 and 12 times each day. This includes waking to breastfeed your twins during the night. Ask your healthcare provider about the best ways to wake your baby. If one or both babies is sleeping and it is time to feed, lightly rub your finger across your baby's lips.

How to make enough breast milk to feed your twins:

The more often you breastfeed your twins, the more milk you will make. You may need to pump milk from your breasts if your twins do not empty your milk during feedings. You can also pump your breast milk to help increase the amount of milk you make. You can store the pumped breast milk and use it later if you are away from your twins and cannot breastfeed. Pump your breast milk every 3 to 4 hours while you are away from your twins to keep up your milk supply.

Work with your healthcare provider or lactation specialist:

Talk about any problems you are having with breastfeeding. Ask about ways to reduce pain from breastfeeding so you will want to continue. Write down questions or concerns about breastfeeding to ask during your appointments.

Do not smoke:

Nicotine goes into your breast milk. Your baby is exposed to these chemicals through breastfeeding and inhaling cigarette smoke. Smoking can also decrease the amount of breast milk you make. Do not use e-cigarettes or smokeless tobacco in place of cigarettes or to help you quit. They still contain nicotine. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you currently smoke and need help quitting.

Limit or do not drink alcohol:

Alcohol passes from your breast milk to your baby. If you choose to drink alcohol, breastfeed your baby before you drink alcohol. Do not breastfeed your baby for at least 2 hours after you have 1 drink. One drink of alcohol is 12 ounces of beer, 4 ounces of wine, or 1½ ounces of liquor.

Ask about your medicines:

Talk to your healthcare provider before you take any medicines. This includes all prescription and over-the-counter medicines. Some medicines may decrease the amount of breast milk you make. Other medicines may enter your breast milk and affect your baby.

Care for yourself while you are breastfeeding twins:

  • Get enough rest. Caring for a newborn baby can make it hard for you to rest. Ask for help from family and friends so that you can get the rest you need.
  • Eat healthy foods. A healthy meal plan can help your body make enough breast milk. You need extra calories each day while you are breastfeeding. Your healthcare provider may also have you take vitamins, including pregnancy vitamins and vitamin D. Talk with him before you take any vitamins or supplements.
  • Manage stress. Increased stress can decrease the amount of breast milk you make. Relaxation can help decrease your stress and help you feel better. Deep breathing, meditating, and listening to music also may help you cope with stress. Talk to your healthcare provider about other ways to manage stress.

For support and more information about breastfeeding twins:

  • American Academy of Pediatrics
    141 Northwest Point Boulevard
    Elk Grove Village , IL 60007-1098
    Phone: 1- 847 - 434-4000
    Web Address: http://www.aap.org
  • La Leche League International
    957 North Plum Grove Road
    Schaumburg , IL 60173
    Phone: 1- 847 - 519-7730
    Phone: 1- 800 - 525-3243
    Web Address: http://www.lalecheleague.org

© 2016 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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