Twins: Breast or bottle?
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Twins: Breast or bottle?
You may not be able to decide for certain how you will feed your twins until you deliver, but you can at least think about whether you feel more comfortable about breastfeeding or bottle feeding. Although it’s useful to talk things over with a specialist or other mothers, you should be able to evaluate your own circumstances and decide for yourself. Educate yourself on the value of breastfeeding, then follow your instincts.
Many mothers are not aware that it’s possible to produce enough milk for two babies, so they are discouraged very early on. Although nursing twins can be awkward and a bit like juggling, if you know how to handle your babies, you can quickly get the hang of it and feed them simultaneously. Practicing with a couple of dolls before birth is a good idea.
Try the following:
- Undo both sides of your nursing bra at once so that both breasts are exposed.
- Pick up one doll and tuck its body under your arm, so that its head is next to one breast and its feet are facing your back.
- Then tuck the other doll under your other arm in the same way. Placing a good few pillows on each knee helps support babies’ heads and brings your nipples closer to their mouths with minimum fuss.
Mothers who hope to breast feed their twins without a bottle supplement should have some moral support from their husband or family.
If you decide to breastfeed your twins, remember that it is quite a commitment. Ask yourself if your responsibilities allow you to fully devote yourself. Although breastfeeding is the best start in life you can give your babies, it means that no one can help with the feeds. Unless you are expressing enough milk for two, you can’t have someone else administer the feeds. So if, for example, you run a private business that requires frequent travel, breastfeeding is unlikely to be for you. Other mothers choose to combine breastfeeding and bottle feeding, which gives the babies the advantage of having breast milk, but also allowing the mother to benefit from the support of bottle milk.
Mothers-to-be of twins worry most about the prospect of night feeds, but once a routine is established, things take care of themselves. It is not easy to plan ahead how best to handle night-time, since babies – even identical twins – have such different personalities. If only one baby wakes up for a night feed, you can either wake the other one to suckle, or grab a few precious minutes of sleep until the unfed baby stirs.
If you opt for bottle feeding, remember that it also has its problems. Formula milk costs money, so take that into consideration when you are planning to feed two babies. Also, you will need a constant supply of sterilized bottles. The worst thing that can happen is for you to have two screaming babies at 3am, and not a single clean bottle!