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How I did it – my system for breastfeeding twins

December 18, 2009

I often get asked how I breastfeed the twins. They are asking physically; how do I position them, where do I sit and how I get them back into bed. Everything’s old-hat by now (they are 16 months) but I do have advice (at least what worked for us) for when twins are infants. I fed them tandem every time. And, when one woke up to eat I woke the other one up. This kept me from getting up double the amount of times in the night. After trying MANY different ways to feed them I finally came up with a system that worked well for me. When one would wake up in the night, my husband and I would both get up. I’d get my nursing pillow and get situated on the nursery floor (the twins nursing pillow didn’t fit into any of our chairs) and he would hand them to me one at a time. He would then go back to bed with his cell phone by his pillow. I’d nurse the babies and then call him (20-30 minutes later) and he’d come get them up one at a time and place them back in bed.

This worked well since he slept while I was feeding them and I wasn’t tackling this totally alone. If I didn’t have his help, I’d have to lay one baby on the floor while I put the other one back in the bed and of course laying the baby on the floor always woke him/her up.

My boy twin always woke up first (still does) and I began about 5 or 6 months allowing my daughter to sleep through his nightly feedings. She then skipped at least one of his feedings.

I remember a few times being miserably exhausted and my husband would go get the crying baby and bring him to me in bed. He’d then set his cell phone alarm for 25 minutes then take the baby back to bed and bring me the other one and we’d repeat the same process. Otherwise, we’d sleep and I’d have no idea if the baby ate or for how long. This process at least allowed me to stay laying down and I hoped gave me a little time to recover some.

It was hard, hard, hard until we got this system down. For the first three weeks I tried to do it all by myself – NOT RECOMMENDED! And I was only getting maybe 45 minutes sleep between feedings for various reasons. My boy twin was not familiar with the 15 minutes nursing rule and I’d spend an hour trying to rouse him to eat more. Or, I’d fall asleep and finally get them into bed only for it to be time for them to eat again, etc.

I hope my system works for someone else or at least offers some ideas that might make this process easier. If anyone has any tips or a system that worked well for them, I’d love to hear about it! Please let me a comment and your system might be just the thing to help someone else!

Note: I did not have a c-cection and my babies were born full-term. If your twins were premature or you have other health issues, a modification of this system might be necessary.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. February 13, 2012 4:04 pm

    I am currently breastfeeding 3 month old twins, here is my system;

    I also tandem feed them every time. It just makes more sense, time wise and milk wise. I switch who is on which side each time and tandem feeding means that no one is at an empty breast. Same as you, I wake one when the other wakes to eat.

    My husband is a firefighter and gone for 48 hours at a time each shift so I had to learn to do it myself. Before going to bed each night, I put a large glass of water on my night stand and my phone with an e-book app for reading. (in the beginning I was watching tv, but it made getting the boys back to sleep much harder and I would get into a show and want to finish it which made going to sleep myself take much longer too. )

    I get each baby up and change their diapers, laying them on the bed while I change the other. Then I get settled on the bed with a pillow behind me for back support and the twin nursing pillow around by front. I then lean forward and pick the babies up one at a time and place them on the pillow on their side( I used a simple hair tie on my wrist to keep track of where twin A ate last time and twin B starts there this time, simply move it at the start of each feeding.) Once they are both on the pillow I latch them on using folded receiving blankets as needed to position them. As they need burping, I lift them to the shoulder on that side then burp them and put them back to nursing.

    When they fall asleep, I lift them to the shoulder again to burp a little more. Then I put a swaddling blanket on their back then lay them back on the nursing pillow to carefully swaddle him back up. This usually rouses them a little, so I simply latch the swaddled baby back on to nurse a little more. When both are swaddled and sleeping, I set the heavier sleeper on the bed and cradle the other in my arms. I then take the nursing pillow and place in on the floor next to to bed and get up to place the sleeping baby in the crib, then come back for the other.

    During the day, its all much more comfortable and easy on the couch. I just make sure to place a large glass of water, snack, computer, remote, and phone all on the coffee table before putting the babies in bouncy chairs on the coffee table. I then get situated on the couch just like in bed and pull the coffee table closer to me so I can reach the babies and goodies on the table. Once both are on the pillow I latch them on. Then use the same method to burp them. When they are done eating I put them back in the bouncy chairs and use my feet to push the table slowly back into its usual place.

    I am not going to lie, most days I feel like I have sat on this couch all day long. But when I feel like I haven’t gotten a thing done, I just look at those chubby little baby thighs and hands and cheeks and double chins. I made all of those. I RULE!!!

    *But that isn’t to say I am not still planning to burn the couch in a huge bonfire, and dance around it in a ‘real bra’; with underwire and everything, when the breastfeeding is over.

  2. Shelley permalink
    July 8, 2011 6:16 am

    I am currently breastfeeding my 10 month old twins. I commend you for this site and this post in particular. My husband works in a very physical job that required long hours so I felt it best not to involve him in the early morning feed. So I thought I might offer my own experience for anyone else who aims to go it alone at 2am 🙂

    For the first 3 weeks I fed the boys one at a time most of the time, even though I had a twin feeding pillow. This meant that over night one would wake at 2am. I would feed this baby and then wake the next one. It always took an hour for each baby to feed, so at 4am I would fall into bed again, knowing that I would soon be up again at 6am after just 2 hours sleep.
    At 3 weeks my health visitor offered to help me work on a system for tandem feeding. This is how I set up our couch:
    – Big firm cushion in the centre of the lounge to support my back.
    – A bouncer on either side of that pillow to put each baby in
    – 1 pillow on each side (I called them side pillows) to bridge the gap between the bouncer and feeding pillow

    And this is what I did:
    – At 2am when the first baby woke I went in and took him out to the bouncer
    – Then I brought out the second baby and put him in the second bouncer
    – I strapped the feeding pillow on, made sure I had a bottle of water in reach and then sat down and got the pillow behind me in place
    – I unwrapped each baby, careful to leave the blanket open for ease of rewrapping
    – Then opened my bra so breasts were ready
    – Pick up first baby and got him settled but not latched and position the side pillow to prevent baby from falling backwards
    – Gently lean sideways to scoop up second baby by his growsuit (in a kitten hold) without letting his head drop back. It is easier than it sounds.
    – Latch each one on, allow them to feed.
    – If one finished before the other they just lay on the pillow asleep and waited.
    – When they were both finished I used the kitten hold again to put them back into the bouncers
    – Wrap each one and take them to bed one at a time.

    It sounds like a long process but would only take 1 hour from the moment they woke to settling them back into their cots.


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