There are more factors to consider when feeding your twins or multiples. It is still possible to exclusively breastfeed them but you might need to plan ahead more than other new families.
Breastfeeding your twins or multiples provides you and them with lots of health benefits and contributes to you building a positive and loving foundation.
For multiples that are born prematurely, breastfeeding can be especially important; it can help protect them against various infections and provide them with hormones, nutrients and growth factors to help them grow and develop.
Breastfeeding also saves you time as you don’t need to regularly prepare and sterilise bottles.
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Learning how to express your milk by hand or breast pump is a useful skill to learn. It helps you target blocked ducts, relieve engorgement and it means your partner can feed one of your babies using a bottle and it still gets lots of benefits from your milk.
Ask your midwife or health visitor to show you how to hand express.
If your multiples are premature, they may not be able to feed directly from the breast. Expressing your milk can provide them with breastmilk and can help you establish and maintain a supply.
If your babies are having formula milk, it is important that each feed is made up fresh rather than several hours in advance.
When to feed
Regardless of what type of milk you give your baby, try and feed them when they show feeding cues (e.g. when they move their head from side to side or suck on their hands). You can also breastfeed when your breasts feel full, you want to sit down and cuddle or if a baby is distressed.
You can’t over-feed breastfed babies so don’t worry about spoiling them.
If one baby needs feeding, some parents use this as an opportunity to feed both babies, whereas other families prefer to feed one baby and then the next.