Worried About Supply For Twins

Kathleen Tackett's picture

QUESTION

Dear Lactation Consultant,
This is my second pregnancy and I am expecting twins. I'm due October 14th. I breastfed my first child, almost 3 years ago. I had problems with supply; I went to work right at 6 weeks and pumped, but it seemed like I couldn't satisfy him with just the breast and weaned him at 4 months.

Now faced with breastfeeding 2 babies, I am anxious about having enough milk for them. I want to try to feed them at the same time, but will they get enough milk from just one breast? Will I have to feed them every hour instead of every two since they are only getting one breast at a feed? Should I breastfeed one and bottle feed the other alternately at first until my supply increases? I would really appreciate any tips and articles you could get me.

Thanks in advance,
-Gena

ANSWER

Hi Gena,
Congratulations on your pregnancy. Let me see if I can answer your questions below. You may also want to get Karen Gromada's new edition of Mothering Multiples: Breastfeeding and Caring for Twins or More!.

My first question for you is how many times a day were you emptying your breasts (either via baby or pumping). To maintain a full supply, you need to empty your breasts 8-12 times a day. And that can be a challenge when you go back to work at 6 weeks (but not impossible). You may not have had a full supply, but I think it's great that he got breast milk until he was 4 months old. You might also want to look at our BreastfeedingMadeSimple.com site. We have lots of suggestions to increase milk supply and how to combine working and breastfeeding. Unless you've had some kind of injury or rare condition, you should be able to have a full supply. But remember, you need to empty your breasts 8-12 times a day.

Each baby should get enough milk from just one breast. Your supply will adjust. Feeding every couple hours should be fine. But if you are small breasted (or more specifically, have a small storage capacity), you may need to feed them a little more often. You may also need to feed more often in the beginning to ramp up your supply.

Don't alternate feeding one baby from a bottle and one from the breast that unless you have no other choice. If you start supplementing, that can impact your supply.

Something else you should check out is the Mothers of Twins Clubs. They are a wealth of information and practical suggestions.

Let me know if you have any additional questions.

-- Kathleen Kendall-Tackett, PhD, IBCLC