The first time I breastfed with my son was quite amazing. Just to see this tiny human who was just born an hour ago knew exactly what to do was incredible. I thought it was the most beautiful thing I have ever experienced in my life.
While breastfeeding has some tough moments, overall it is one amazing way to bond with your baby. If you are not able to breastfeed or have chosen bottle feeding, that’s okay too! There are so many ways to bond with your baby!
Anyways, when I had the girls, breastfeeding wasn’t so simple. I so badly wanted to do everything that I had done with my son but since they were born early it was different. I wasn’t able to start breastfeeding them until they were 6 days old. I didnt breastfeed them together until they were 2 months.
Breastfeeding just one baby is difficult imagine two at the same time! Who knew this was a thing?! I sure didn’t until after the twins were born. I thought up to that point that I would have to nurse one and then nurse the other after or bottle feed one and nurse the other (sounds complicated now thinking back). This is where breastfeeding both of them became “my” thing.
What is Tandem Breastfeeding?
When it comes to breastfeeding, it isn’t always easy. I like to think of it as an art you master with time. Don’t get frustrated if it doesn’t go right the first time. You will get it down eventually I promise!
Tandem breastfeeding is a term given to mothers who decide to breastfeed two babies at the same time (twins or multiples if you’re determined). When I had learned this was an actual thing, I set a goal for myself to get the girls to breastfeed together after a month of being a home (they came home around 1 month old).
They are almost 4 months now and breastfeed together all the time. I never nurse one of them without the other (believe me mamas this was the best decision I ever made).
What You Need
My biggest suggestion would be, for all my multiples mamas, buy a double breastfeeding pillow. It is the only comfortable way you will be able to tandem breastfeed.
The one I use is the BrestFriend Double Breastfeeding Pillow(you can find it on Amazon). It also fastens behind so you have extra support for your back (believe me your back will thank you later).
The next thing you will need is two burp cloths. I say this because one baby may finish before the other and will need to burp. You can also place burp cloths underneath their heads if they spit up before you can burp ( my girls spit up alot so this may not be the case for every baby).
If you are using pacifiers, make sure you have one for each baby. This will help especially if you are working on getting them latched one at a time. In the beginning, taking time to make sure each baby latches correctly is very important. When one is screaming, it makes it difficult to focus (trust me it will help keep your baby calm and keep you calm in the beginning).
Breastfeeding requires a lot of water as you did when you were pregnant. If you are breastfeeding twins, your water intake is even more. Having enough water to drink while you feed them is important to keep that supply of yours going and prevent dehydration.
I also advise to have either a bouncer chair or a regular boppy pillow nearby to use when the babies finish eating. It helps to have something to transfer the baby to when you are by yourself.
When it comes to breastfeeding, you never know exactly the amount your babies take in like a bottle would tell you. Keeping track of how long they nurse is especially important for babies in the earlier months of life.
I like to use the Baby Tracker app on my phone to keep track of how long my girls nurse on each side, diapers, and how long they sleep (some days I slack alittle bit but definitely used it heavily the first couple months).
You can either write it down in a notebook or use a tracking app to see how each baby is doing. I think it is very important to know how each baby is doing breastfeeding so you know what to do if they aren’t (latching is usually the case for this situation).
Set Small Goals
Setting goals are very important for tandem beeastfeeding. It isn’t a skill that you can master perfectly in one night. So setting small goals for yourself in the beginning is a sure way to set yourself up for success.
Since my girls were born 7 weeks early, breastfeeding them came with a huge learning curve as they weren’t developed completely when they were born. I knew I had to set my goals around how they were doing and what they could handle.
I didn’t start to breastfeed them completely until about 2 weeks ago so don’t worry if you aren’t there yet. It took me many attempts to get to the confidence level I have now breastfeeding them.
How to do It
When it comes to breastfeeding, there are many different holds you can utilize. Finding the best one for your bab(ies) and you is important. It will help establish healthy breastfeeding habits.
For tandem breastfeeding, the football hold is the best for babies who can’t sit up on their own yet. It makes it a more comfortable experience for you and the babies.
Using the double breastfeeding pillow, bring one baby on at a time. Position them on their backs with their head near each breast.
I suggest to help one baby latch at a time in the beginning to make sure they get on right. (I will talk latching in another post so stay tuned!)
Once you have each baby latched, you just let them feed till they are done. You can support their heads to ensure they remain latched (newborns and pre term babies tend to struggle with staying latched). Depending on how old your babies are will depend on how long they nurse and empty you as well. So keep track Mama!
As they get older, they will get better and better at nursing and so will you! The more you breastfeed the more confidence you will gain. You got this Mama!! You can tandem breastfeed to!
If you have any questions or anything you need help with breastfeeding, send me an email or message me on my facebook page. I would be happy to help you on your journey!