CAN I BREASTFEED MY MULTIPLES?
Breastfeeding twins or triplets is definitely possible. Plan ahead and get plenty of support so that you’re able to focus on your babies. If you can afford it, get help with your housework, a nanny, or a night nurse to assist you through the challenging early weeks or months. You could also ask your husband or relatives to step in. Depending on the gestational age of the babies and the circumstances that surround the birth, the situation can have many different scenarios that will determine your goals with regards to lactation. Should the babies be born early, it is of utmost importance to initiate and protect your milk supply. Regular breast care and correctly expressing with an efficient breast pump will help with this. Many hospitals do have double electric breast pumps available for NICU moms. It may happen that one baby is well and able to stay with you, but the other needs specialised care in the NICU. In this case, you will need to express milk for the other twin while nursing the healthier twin at your breast. If neither of your babies needs a stint in the NICU, the ideal is to do skin-to-skin contact and be guided by each baby’s feeding demands. It may be easier to feed one at a time to ensure that each baby is effectively latching and feeding well. Once you get to know each baby and their individual cues, then you could save time by feeding them together. Position is important to make sure that each baby – and you – is comfortable. The most common hold for twins is the rugby hold, with each baby held under an arm with their legs facing towards your back. Feeding triplets requires a different strategy. If all three babies are breastfeeding, then offer Baby One and Two a breast each. Then feed Baby Three on both breasts after that. Rotate the babies at each feed time (Baby Two and Three on a breast each, with Baby One on both breasts, and so on). If the babies are born prematurely and are unable to latch, then expressing your milk is the next best option. Remember that each mom of multiples’ situation is unique and individual, so call in a lactation consultant if you’re struggling. The South African Multiple Birth Association (SAMBA) is a useful source of support, encouragement and motivation. Making contact with a lactation consultant before the birth of your babies will help to give you the correct guidance.