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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Why should I breastfeed my twins?
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.
How do I hold my twins to 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 pillow made for breastfeeding twins can help support your arms and the babies' heads. You may want to ask someone to help you position your twins. Try different positions to find what works best for you and your babies:
- 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.
- 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.
- Football and cradle hold combination: Hold one baby using the football hold and the other baby using the cradle hold.
How do I breastfeed my twins?
Bring 1 baby to each of your breasts. Hold each baby's head to help him or her latch onto 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 or her mouth as he or she is able to get. When each baby is latched on, you should feel as if he or she will not separate from the breast easily. Allow each baby to breastfeed for as long as he or she is able. Do not set any time limits for how long each baby should feed.
How often should I breastfeed my twins?
Your twins may let you know when they are ready to breastfeed. They may be more awake and 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 a baby is sleeping and it is time to feed, lightly rub your finger across his or her lips.
Will I make enough breast milk to feed my 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 breasts during feedings. You can also pump 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.
What can I do to prevent breastfeeding problems?
- Work with your healthcare provider or lactation specialist. Write down questions or concerns about breastfeeding to ask during your appointments. Talk about any problems you are having with breastfeeding.
- 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 twins.
- Do not smoke. Nicotine goes into your breast milk. Your twins are 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 twins. If you choose to drink alcohol, breastfeed your twins before you drink alcohol. Do not breastfeed your twins 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.
How can I care for myself while I am breastfeeding twins?
- Get enough rest. You may have a hard time resting while you are caring for newborn twins. Ask for help from family and friends so that you can get the rest you need.
- Eat healthy foods. A healthy meal plan can keep you healthy and support milk production. 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 your provider 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.
Where can I find support and more information about breastfeeding twins?
- American Academy of Pediatrics
345 Park Boulevard
Itasca , IL 60143
Phone: 1- 800 - 433-9016
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
When should I seek immediate care?
- You feel very depressed or have thoughts of hurting your twins.
When should I contact my healthcare provider?
- One or both of your twins is not gaining weight or looks as if he or she 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 or her skin or the whites of his or her 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.
Care AgreementYou have the right to help plan how you are going to feed your babies. To help with this plan, you must learn as much as you can about breastfeeding. Ask your healthcare provider questions about breastfeeding. You can talk with your healthcare provider about the best way to feed your babies.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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