Can You Nurse Twins?

Posted in , , on 7-10-12

Can You Nurse Twins?

I am frequently asked ”Can you nurse twins?” Most mothers don’t know any other twin moms that have nursed successfully, so this question is not that surprising. Also, it is a common misperception that mothers cannot produce enough nourishment for two babies.

The most important thing you can do is educate and empower yourself about decision you need to make before your twins are born. You need to research how and where you will give birth, and make sure you care provider supports your desires  These factors will matter to you in your breastfeeding relationship with your babies.

The basic  rule of breast feeding is supply and demand and early frequent stimulation by the babies nursing or by pumping. The higher the demand (the more milk removed from your breast), the more milk your breast produces. The more stimulation you have the more milk you will produce.  Two babies twice the stimulation, so you will produce twice the amount of milk.

Your personal birth plan can impact the outcome of your success in nursing.   As more and more mothers seek out a birth plan that is based on medical evidence and priortizes the needs of their children first, hopefully hospitals will take notice. In the meantime, you have to empower yourself with knowledge and demand what you want. If enough mothers demand it, hospitals will eventually change their protocol. Insist on what is best for your babies, not what is most convenient for the hospital.

The Common Causes of Problems with Facing Breastfeeding Twins

Twins face obstacles in our current medical system. Most hospitals in the United States automatically schedule twins to be delivered by c-section at 37-39 weeks. This alone can cause major breastfeeding problems.

Babies forcefully delivered even 2 weeks early may have lost precious time to fully mature neurologically. These babies can have more of a challenge nursing and have a decreased ability to suck.

Smaller babies have a harder time maintaining their body temperature, so a baby uses his glucose stores, which leads to low blood sugar. With low blood sugar levels, formula supplement is more likely.

Babies born early may be sleepier which makes breastfeeding difficult.

If a baby has their mouth and nose suctioned vigorously at birth, it may cause nipple aversion (where your baby doesn’t want anything in his mouth)

Since most twins are delivered prematurely, they are taken away from mother to be observed in the nursery. Without the initial skin to skin contact immediately after birth, babies and mother miss their initial bonding experience, which primes hormones for milk production.

Babies exposed to formula feedings with bottles may develop nipple confusion, which results in lackluster feedings and a decrease in mother’s milk supply.

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