Not always the easiest thing to consider when having twins or triplets, but worth a thought even if only to appreciate what it will entail if you do want to breastfeed your twins or triplets.
I think if I had had twins I would have tried to breast feed but have a read of my experience below. Its not what others feel you should do, but what you feel you want to do and can do when coping with two or three babies at once.
Breast Milk Benefits
Just like all the baby milk formula companies will comment before you buy their product, I also will say that breast feeding is recommended at least up to the age of 6 months because breast milk benefits your babies by giving defence against infections, reduce hospitalisation by passing antibodies and other germ fighting factors through the breast milk. This strengthens your babies immune system and lowers the risk of ear infections, diarrhoea, respiratory infections, meningitis and protects against allergies, asthma, diabetes, obesity and sudden infant death syndrome. Im sure you have read this all before but I feel its important to mention here and I am sure you have considered the pros and cons of breast v bottle. But there are moms amongst us that cannot for various reasons manage breast feeding our twins or triplets, and baby bottle feeding is the only way forward.(This does not stop you bottle feeding with breast milk)
If you want the option of breast feeding and bottle feeding, go along to the breastfeeding bottles page, it is quite easy to breast feed and bottle feed without causing confusion for your babies. The technology for the teats and bottles are such that they mimic the way a baby feeds at the breast so you can switch them in if you have another pair of hands, great to be adaptable.
I couldn’t breast feed my triplets. There are many reasons why you may not be able to breast feed your twins or triplets, like me it may be that your babies are premature and because of the medical situation it was not possible. Or you were not well in the first weeks of their life. I did however express breast milk from the time they were born so they benefitted from the breast milk and this was given to them through a tube once they were advanced enough to be able to digest a feed.
It might be that your lifestyle simply makes it impossible or you have tried but could not achieve it successfully. To be honest, having twins or triplets is very stressful, some moms may manage to breast feed each baby at some point through the day, giving the baby and you the experience of breastfeeding, achieving the special bond that comes from the closeness of breast feeding. This is really for you to work out but I found as time went on with the tiredness that comes from triplets, my milk dried up anyway and they were going to have to be bottle fed. I didn’t worry about this, I still felt close to each of my babies, despite having to be ingenious about feeding, three into one doesn’t go!
Establishing breast feeding can be tricky with one baby, so with two or three it can be impossible. The struggles to establish breast feeding due to perhaps soreness, being overtired, poor attachment. I was pleased I could express breast milk, something I could give to my prem triplets but I did not feel inadequate or that I was missing out on something by not doing it. It also meant that by bottle feeding them I could have help at feeding times, which I really needed ! I also had a feeding routine, I couldn’t feed them on demand, completely impossible so when the first one woke for a feed, they were fed, then the other two were either woken at the same time if I had help or I fed one, hoping that the others would hang on until I’d at least finished the first one, but I would wake them to feed them and keep feed times together, I simply would not have coped if I hadn’t.
Other parents will approach this in a different way, but for me this worked. I used an Avent Breast Pump but go have a look at my breast pump section, worth reading about them and deciding if you want to give it a try?
Breastfeeding twins simultaneously is very possible and I applaud any twins mom for managing this, but never feel a failure if you can’t do this. We all cope with things differently and tiredness, stress, worry all reduce the production of breast milk which is what happened to me. Don’t forget though that if you do breast feed you need to discuss the inclusion of vitamin D with your midwife or health visitor as this is the one vitamin that is not present in breast milk.