5 myths about breastfeeding twins
The benefits of breastfeeding have been well documented, yet many new birthing parents of twins believe they will not be able to adequately breastfeed their babies. That is simply not true, but breastfeeding twins does require education, support, stimulation, and some hard work. Not everyone can, will, or even wants to breastfeed their twins, but for those who do, it’s critical to understand the truth about the process. With that in mind, these are 5 common myths about breastfeeding twins:
You won’t be able to make enough milk to feed both of your babies
Milk supply is truly a matter of supply and demand—or “demand and supply” as we say in the lactation world. How much your breasts get stimulated determines how much milk you produce. So with two babies and twice the stimulus, your body can actually produce twice the milk.
Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule and certain conditions like IGT (insufficient glandular tissue) or hormonal imbalance can affect your ability to produce. Also, babies born early (which is more common with twins), may not have developed their sucking reflex significantly enough to drive the milk supply, as well, and may require supplementation and pumping for some time.
All moms have to pump to make enough breast milk for their twins
The reality is that many moms have to pump to provide enough breast milk for their twins, but certainly not all. If your babies are born full-term and have developed a strong sucking reflex and you’re devoted to bringing babies to the breast as frequently as they wish to eat, with a proper latch you very well may make enough to feed your babies without pumping.
You must either completely breastfeed or only bottle feed
This is simply not true. There’s a space in the middle—often called combo feeding—which involves breastfeeding and bottle feeding pumped breast milk, donor breast milk, and/or formula.
Tandem feeding is the only way to breastfeed twins
Many would say it’s the easiest way, but it’s certainly not your only option. A lot of parents of twins start out breastfeeding one at a time to get the hang of latching and positioning. As they build up their lactation skill set and familiarity with holding and feeding babies, many parents find breastfeeding both at the same time to be a major time saver. Some twin parents breastfeed one twin, while their partner, postpartum doula, or family member bottlefeeds the other baby.
You should be able to do it alone
“BS!” says Cecile Urrea, mom of twins. Parents of twins need help even more than parents of one baby, and asking for help should be a normal part of parenting. As we always say, #youdonthavetodothisalone. “Getting help early was the best investment I ever made in my life and it was worth every single penny I spent,” says Urrea. “When you have one infant you can hand off the baby for an hour or two. But when you have twins, it’s constant. It’s so much harder to get a break so it’s so important to get all the help you can.”
Breastfeeding twins may not be easy, but it is attainable — especially if you have a good understanding of the myths surrounding this exciting (but challenging) period. You’ve got this! And if you need help, at boober we are here to help you.
Watch Jada Shapiro, doula & boober founder, in conversation with Jill Blakeway, a Doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine, a licensed and board-certified acupuncturist, and clinical herbalist and founder of the Yinova Center. New York...