If you’re expecting twins, you may be wondering…Is it possible to breastfeed twins? Can my body make enough milk for two babies? Can I really nourish my babies without using formula? The answers are yes, yes and yes!
Your Dr., your doula and your childbirth educator may all have told you, “Most women can’t make enough milk for 2 babies.” Don’t believe them! If your body is equipped to breastfeed one baby, it is highly likely that you will have sufficient milk for two.
Last week I met with the parents of these 2 babies to help them with breastfeeding. They told me I was the first professional to say that they could expect to fully breastfeed their twins. They attended a prenatal twins class and the instructor told them “…hardly anyone is able to breastfeed twins without supplementing…” Immediately after giving birth, the nurses in the hospital told the mom, “you are going to have to supplement. They will starve if you only breastfeed.” The next day the pediatrician saw them in the hospital and told the mom, “Your milk isn’t in yet. You need to supplement.” Their doula who considers herself an expert on twins said, “I have never seen a mom 100 percent breastfeed twins.” Well, guess what! After some guidance and adjustments to their routine, these babies are now breastfeeding with no supplementation.
Your body is made to breastfeed! It expects to breastfeed. And when you are carrying twins, your body knows you have twins and transmits the information to your breasts. Before you even give birth, your breasts are gearing up for double duty! In fact, research shows that moms of twins produce more than twice as much milk as moms of singletons. Now that’s preparation!
Remember the concept of supply and demand. The more your babies breastfeed, the more milk you produce. If your babies can’t breastfeed immediately after birth (or if one baby can’t breastfeed), use a hospital-grade pump to encourage and maintain milk production.
Will breastfeeding twins be challenging? Of course! Having twins is not easy. You will be learning about 2 babies at once and learning about breastfeeding at the same time. Without a doubt, there will be a steep learning curve. Once you and the babies have figured it out, however, breastfeeding two will be as easy as breastfeeding one!
See also, “Breastfeeding Twins: Getting off to a Good Start.”
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thank you for doing your bit to counter all the misinformation out there! I breastfed my twins for 6 months exclusively, and they are still happily (and frequently!) breastfeeding now at 19 months. Human millk is a wondrous thing
You’re welcome, Flora. And congratulations!
Thirty two years ago the comments were the same from the so called professionals…you are not making enough milk, you must supplement etc but as soon as I got my twins home I built up my milk supply and managed, like you, to breast feed them. Unfortunately, my doctor and my mother-in-law convinced me they were not getting enough milk at three months, so I did not fully breast feed like you till six months. If I had, I am sure their milk allergies would have been less. In fact, I too nursed them for 19 months. Then, at 21 months, when they got ill and I was told they would have been better off being breast fed I rued the day I listened to others…however, I have known many twin mothers who were better off mentally and physically to share the feeding with others (using expressed milk) or to fully bottle feed. It is all individual choice and circumstance – but if you want to, then I say 0F COURSE YOU CAN!
Thank you for your comments, Ruth. Some things never change, right?
Thanks for this great post, Renee! As a doula and childbirth educator, it saddens me that other birth/parenting professionals are giving moms erroneous and discouraging information. I always talk to my twin clients about the realities of breastfeeding twins (just like you said, steep learning curve) but that it is indeed possible with the right motivation and support!
Thank you, Joy. And thank you for being one of the professionals who does a fantastic job with her clients!