We all know that fed is best, but if you are looking at breastfeeding – either directly from the breast or expressing and bottle feeding, then Twinfo has put together five tips to help with establishing breastfeeding with twins or multiples.
Establishing breastfeeding with twins or triplets can have its challenges. Remember – breastfeeding is a learned skill, especially for the mother. For some, the journey is an easy one. For others there may be a few bumps in the road along the way.
Twinfo has complied five tips for establishing breastfeeding with twins or triplets to help you over some of those bumps.
1. Understand how breastmilk is made
Did you know that your breasts have been preparing for pregnancy since you were in your mother’s womb? When you were born, your main milk ducts had already formed. Your mammary glands stayed quiet until you reached puberty, when a flood of the female hormone estrogen caused them to grow and also to swell. During pregnancy, those glands kick into high gear. Before your babies arrive, glandular tissue has replaced the majority of the fat cells and this accounts for your bigger than before breasts.
Nestled among the fatty cells and glandular tissue are the milk ducts. Pregnancy hormones will cause these ducts to increase in both number and size, with the ducts branching off into smaller canals near the chest wall known as ductules. At the end of each duct is a cluster of smaller sacs known as alveoli. The cluster of alveoli is known as a lobule, while a cluster of lobule is known as a lobe. Each breast will contain around 15 – 20 lobes, with one milk duct for every lobe.
Milk is produced inside of the alveoli, which is surrounded by tiny muscles that squeeze the glands and help to push the milk out into the ductules. Those ductules will lead to a bigger duct that widens into a milk pool directly below the areola. The milk pools will act as reservoirs that hold the milk until your babies suck it through the tiny openings in your nipples.
Your milk duct system will become fully developed around the time of your second trimester, so you will have milk to feed your babies even if they arrive earlier than you are anticipating.
You can read more about how breastmilk is made HERE.
2. Speak to a lactation consultant
While you are in hospital, take full advantage of the lactation consultants that are available to assist you. Insist on seeing them each day of your stay, and get them to observe and help you with some of those first feeds. Once you are discharged, most States and Territories offer breastfeeding support via a drop in centre of some kind that you may be able to access for the first few weeks after discharge. Make sure you find out where your nearest one is before you give birth and find out how and when you can access it.
If there is not a government run facility near you, or you cannot access it, there is a free breastfeeding support line through the Australian Breastfeeding Association. Familiarise yourself with their services, and make sure you have their details handy.
Alternatively, you can engage the services of a private lactation consultant. Many lactation consultants now work via zoom, so you may not even have to leave the house to utilise their services. Take the time while you are pregnant to find the details of a lactation consultant, so then, if you need one, you can easily reach out to them.
3. Ensure you have a good feeding pillow
A supportive breastfeeding pillow is worth its weight in gold, especially if you plan on tandem breastfeeding. Twinfo recommends the Things for Twins feeding pillow, which you can find HERE.
The Things for Twins twin feeding pillow can also be used for bottle feeding.
Most hospitals do have tandem pillows that you can borrow during your stay, but you may have to ask them to find one for you. This would be a useful question to ask your midwife at one of your antenatal appointments.
You may find that at the start your babies are just too little to tandem feed. Or you may feel more comfortable feeding them just one at a time. Whatever you decide, a decent breastfeeding pillow is a must.
4. Look after yourself
In the early days it is imperative that you look after you. You have just birthed multiple babies! It is time to sit back and let the others look after you while you rest and recover. Ask for and accept help in whatever form you need.
It is important to ensure you are drinking enough water, as breastfeeding is thirsty work, and eating good foods. If your milk supply needs a little boost, then check out the amazing range of yummy lactation foods and teas from Super Boober HERE.
5. Prevent cracked and damaged nipples
Did you know that silver is a natural antimicrobial, antifungal, and antibacterial metal that also contains anti-inflammatory agents that has proven to heal, prevent and alleviate cuts, wounds, soreness, blisters and infections from the result of breastfeeding or pumping.
Mothers have discovered the natural benefits of silver not only helps them find relief from common nipple wear and tear, it was also a great companion, with appropriate medical practitioner advice, to support recovery from nipple thrush, mastitis and milk blebs.
Silverette® silver nursing cups are a support product to help mums get through any stage of breastfeeding. With the natural antimicrobial benefits of natural silver, the cups prevent, protect and heal cracked, sore nipples associated from breastfeeding or expressing. They simply slip into your bra between feeds.
Establishing breastfeeding with twins or triplets
Remember, breastfeeding is a skill that mothers and babies learn together. Use this time to get to know your babies. A mothers mental health goes a long way towards a successful breastfeeding journey. So try not to put too much pressure on yourself, or your babies. We hope that these five tips for establishing breastfeeding with twins or triplets are useful.
Twinfo is Australia’s largest, most supportive, online community for parents of twins and triplets. Twinfo offers advice, products and services that make raising your babies easier, freeing you up to enjoy all the precious moments.