In a perfect world, your newborn twins would eat, nap and wake up at the same time, but as every new parent of more than one knows, that’s just wishful thinking.
Twins and multiples may come in together, but their schedules may be night and day, literally. In the first months of raising twins, you’ll need to conjure up all the organizational skills you have and get all the help you can because a consistent and predictable feeding schedule is first on your to-do list.
From age 0-6 months, twins and multiples will either need to be nursed by formula, bottle and/or breastfed. Each option has its perks and disadvantages.
Bottle Feeding and Formula
With more than one mouth to feed, and often a sporadic schedule, bottle-feeding is a great way to get a structured routine. Parents of twins suggest that bottles be prepared in advance to help stay on top of things. (Consult doctor if you’re considering breast milk and pumping.)
A slight disadvantage with this option is it often makes twins into picky eaters. One will not want to eat while the other is ready. However, parents and OBGYNs believe bringing out both bottles at the same time will help override some of the baby’s natural tendencies to nurse at different times.
. Bottles should be prepared at the same time
. Bring extra bottles on longer trips
. Position both twins or multiples in feeding position—it will get them on the same routine
. Be aware of nursing lengths, times and positions
This method is by far the best way to nurse your twins. To do this takes practice and starting early. Medical professionals suggest feeding twins at the same time starting as soon as possible.
This will in effect ‘train’ your twins and put them on an equal schedule. Also using a “nursing pillow” or similar support system makes nursing much easier. Highly recommended by moms of twins is the EZ-2-Nurse Twins Nursing Pillow.
. Even if breastfeeding, pump for in-between feedings.
. Consult your doctor before breastfeeding
. Use a supportive feeding pillow
. Sit with a straight back to avoid cramping or soreness
. Drink lots of water and talk to your doctor about your diet
. Have a care bag with ice packs and nursing pads ready at all time
. Start a feeding journal
. Document times, lengths and what works and what doesn’t work
. Find patterns in nursing
. Discover overlap in times
. Work towards merging times and lengths into a consistent schedule
Do not get discouraged if your multiples still refuse to do double feedings. Not all twins eat in pairs, the same amount or same rate. Meaning some moms of multiples swear by bottle feeding while others would rather have separate feedings.
However, most importantly, nursing is intuitional. You know your twins so trusting your intuition is the best tool you have. Consistency is key to being successful at double feedings—not necessarily the method used i.e. bottle, formula or breastfeeding. With a regular routine, moms can get a much deserved break making everyone, babies and parents, happier.