My twin girls are now 3 months old and I have been pretty successful at exclusively breastfeeding them and not having to supplement with formula yet. I recently have had some issues trying to keep up my milk supply while feeding them both. I have not been getting enough sleep and eating well and thus my milk supply has suffered. I also believe that the girls hit a growth spurt which meant I needed to nurse more frequently to increase my milk supply.
I thought I would share some pointers to successful breastfeeding twins and maintaining your milk supply that I have recently learned and implemented (and they are working!!!):
1. You must feed at least 7-8 times a day. More frequent nursing helps to drain your breast and stimulate milk production. My girls are sleeping though the night so this was hard to achieve so what I do is I feed every 3 hours during the day, then cluster feed in the late afternoons and evening, as well as pump right before bed. So here it the feeding schedule: 7am, 10am, 1pm, 4pm, 5:45pm, 7pm, 10pm (pump). This way I can squeeze in 7 nursing/ pumping session in during the day.
2. You must eat well, at least 3.000 calories a day and at least 110g of protein a day. If you are nursing two, you need to stop and take time to feed yourself properly. I know this is easier said then done because you are busy running around the house trying to take care of house hold chores, your twins, and perhaps other children that are still at home. It is important to fuel your body well so have enough nutrition to produce adequate milk for two infants. I have been making a protein shake to have in the later afternoon that has 60g of protein. I also went out and bought some healthy snacks that are high in protein to have on hand to much on throughout the day. Nuts are a really great source of protein and they are quick and easy! I also made sure to have some chicken cooked ahead of time to make sandwiches from lunch. Remember, you are feeding 3 so you need to take in more. If you find it hard to prepare a meal, try to do some precooking ahead of time so all you have to do is grab the meal and go!
3. Drink plenty of water! I make sure to fill up a very large water bottle and carry it around with me at all times. I found that if I did not carry around the water bottle, I did not drink nearly enough. I strive to drink at least 10oz of water after each nursing session and then sip on water in between.
4. Rest, Rest, Rest!!! If you can, makes sure you take some time in the afternoons to rest, even if it is only for 30 minutes. You body does not produce as much milk in the afternoons because of fatigue. If you take time to rest or nap in the afternoons, it will significantly help to boost your milk supply in the later afternoons and evenings. Try to get 8 hours of sleep a night. I know this is hard, but everything I read says that getting proper nighttime sleep is very important to creating a good milk supply.
5. Tandem Nurse. When you tandem nurse, nurse both babies at the same time, you are simulating both breasts. When you stimulate both breasts you actually produce more milk than breastfeeding one breast at time. I am using the Breastfriends Twin Plus nursing pillow to tandem nurse my girls and it is working out great. I love the pillow and highly recommend that you look into buying one if you want to successfully tandem breastfeed. To read more about My Bestfriend’s Twin Plus Nursing Pillow read this: http://blogginaboutbabies.wordpress.com/2010/06/19/my-best-friend-twins-plus-nursing-pillow/
6. Take a supplement with Fenugreek. The supplement that seems to be working really well for me is More Milk Plus by Mother Love. It contains fenugreek and it has been proven to help boost milk supply.
7. Make sure that your twins are taking full feedings. You want to make sure you twins take full feedings and drain your breast adequately after nursing. You will know they took a full feeding if your breast feel softer at the end of the nursing schedule. Make sure to burp your baby and re-latch her after her burping to see if she will nurse some more. The longer your twin nurses at the breast, the more stimulation your breast will receive to make more milk.
8. Feed more frequently during growth spurts. I know that a lot of twin moms feed on a schedule to keep things simple. I feed on a schedule, but if you do this during a growth spurt your babies will be fussy and also not get enough to eat. You also will not be stimulating your supply to increase if you keep to a strict feeding schedule. Growth spurts usually only last a few days or a week at most so it is best to just feed on demand during a growth spurt. Usually once the growth spurt is over, your babies will return to schedule feeding and naps again.
For more information on breastfeeding twins and multiples, read the book: Oh Yes You Can Breastfeed Twins and The Nursing Mothers Companion
If you are having supply issues, please read the following posts:
How To Increase Low Milk Supply
Milk Supply & Breastfeeding During Menstruation