Google+ Authentic Parenting: Breastfeeding Twins - Newborns vs. Toddlers

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Breastfeeding Twins - Newborns vs. Toddlers

Written by Mercedes R. Donis, contributor of The Essential Parenting Collection

When my twins were born, I couldn't know for certain if I would reach my goal of breastfeeding them for one year. Now that they are sixteen months, the idea of weaning them seems very strange. It just doesn't feel like our time is up, although nursing toddlers has its own challenges.

Here are the main differences between nursing twin newborns and nursing older twins, in my experience.

Newborn Twins:

  • Feed on-demand (aka constantly)
  • No schedule means (virtually) no sleep
  • Mama worries over babies' weight gain
  • Mama worries about making enough milk
  • Tandem feeding requires a lot of set-up and an extra set of hands
  • Babies are helpless and require physical support for proper positioning
  • Baby's wants and needs are the same, though not necessarily the same as the other baby's wants and needs!
  • Family members can give a bottle of expressed milk to make things easier
  • Nursing provides emotional and nutritional benefits

Toddler Twins:

  • If left up to them, they'd nurse more times a day than I'm comfortable with, as it stands they generally nurse 4 times a day and once at night.
  • Night weaning has been a necessary process, but they still wake up at night (night weaning does not equal magical sleeping dust)
  • Mama tries not to worry, but does, about balanced eating habits
  • Tandem feeds are more prevalent, thanks to nursing jealousy. 
  • Tandem feeds are much easier as nurslings get in and get the job done with little help from Mama
  • Toddlers enjoy gym-nurstics and a variety of positions
  • Toddlers' wants and needs are sometimes the same, but they can also WANT to feed when they don't necessarily NEED it (as in, they've just finished nursing and now it's brother's turn...WAIT I WASN'T DONE!)
  • Toddlers haven't taken a bottle in nine months or so, it's easier and faster to nurse them. 
  • Nursing provides emotional and nutritional benefits

Besides the overall confidence that comes with breastfeeding for one year or more, the main difference,
I believe, is that now we mostly tandem feed during the day. I try to get one-on-one time with each twin when they wake up in the morning and at bedtime. 

When giving advice on breastfeeding twins, I mainly call on my first three months of our journey. These were the most painful and emotional times. Once you get the hang of it, and your babies get the hang of it, and you all get pretty well acquainted, breastfeeding is awesome and I'm so glad I have shared that experience with my two. 

You don't have to resign from breastfeeding just because you're having twins. You can do it. You can survive. You can enjoy it. 

About the author  
Mercedes is a stay-at-home mom to toddler twins. American-born and globally-educated, she has lived in South Africa and Angola with her husband before settling in their current home of Aberdeen, Scotland. Mercedes believes that motherhood has saved her from the soul-robbing apathy of her twenties, and this eternal Michael Jackson fan has begun to do what she can to “Heal the World.” She writes about her journey as an expat-twin-mama at her blog, Project Procrastinot. Her writing has also appeared on The, Yahoo! Shine, and in Multiplicity Magazine.

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The Twin Manibreasto is part of the Early Years Essentials of my affiliate partner's Mindful Nurturing's Essential Parenting Collection. Read my review of the book here.
Mercedes' book
Get this lovely gem about breastfeeding multiples, paired with 5 other eBooks geared towards parenting the early years of your child's life. The Early Years Essentials are available for $19.97, giving you access to:
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  • Twin Manibreasto, by Mercedes R. Donis
  • The Natural Parent's Guide to Babywearing, by Lauren Wayne
  • A one-year subscription to JUNO magazine
  • What Not to Say: Tools for Talking to Young Children, by Sarah Maclaughlin
  • Oxytocin Parenting: Womb through the Terrible Twos, by Susan Kuchinskas and Bryan Post

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