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Feeding twins

4-minute read

The first few weeks of feeding your twins is likely to be a challenge, so seek out and accept help and support. Rest as often as you can during the early weeks after delivery so that you can enjoy feeding and being with your twins.

Support networks

Support is important. As soon as you learn you are having twins, it's a good idea to seek support from your partner, family members and professional organisations like the Australian Multiple Birth Association. Family and friends can be a valuable source of practical help and support.

Your doctor, lactation consultant and early childhood nurse can give you advice relating to positioning, pillows and equipment to make feeding your twins easier.

What to think about when feeding twins

Breast milk is the best nutrition and it is particularly important for twins, who might be smaller than other babies. Mothers can produce enough breast milk to feed more than one baby.

Starting to breastfeed twins might be a challenge if you are unwell or exhausted after your delivery. Newborn twins usually need small frequent feeds, because they can’t stay on the breast for a long period.

If your babies are premature and small, they might have a weak and ineffective suck. This might cause a delay in breast milk production.

Sometimes one or both of your babies will need to supplement their feeds with expressed breast milk or formula. You might be advised to do this if they are not gaining weight well, or if one baby is smaller or weaker than the other. Weigh your babies regularly and talk to your doctor, lactation consultant or early childhood nurse if you have any concerns.

It is tempting to allocate one breast to each baby, but it's best not to. Babies will grow and develop better if they feed on both sides. Swap at each feed to help you balance your milk production, especially if one baby has a much stronger suck.

Any amount of breast milk is good. But if you can’t exclusively breastfeed, or don’t want to, you can use mixed feeding (breastfeeding and formula) or full formula feeding.

Find out more on breastfeeding.

Time management

You have the choice of feeding twins together or separately. It makes sense to feed twins at the same time if you can, although you might choose to feed them one at a time in the early days when you are first learning how to breastfeed.

Feeding at the same time

When one baby wakes up for a feed, wake the other baby. This will help you to have as much time as possible between feeds to rest or sleep. To do this, you might need help at feeding time to position or support the babies.

Feeding one after the other

If you don’t have support at feeding time, or if one or both babies are small, it can be hard to get both to the breast with a good attachment. In that situation, you might want to feed one baby at a time. But it will be easier if you change to feeding together when you can.

Positions for feeding your twins at the breast

There are many ways to position twins, depending on their age. There is no ‘right’ way – choose whichever position works best for you and your baby. Some examples are shown below.

Twin, football, clutch or underarm hold is the easiest and most practical position for small babies when you are on your own. It is the most comfortable if you have had a caesarean section, as there is no pressure on your stomach.

Front ‘v’ hold allows you to lie back and is useful when feeding at night or, if you can, sit comfortably.

Parallel hold is easier when babies are older because you have less control of their heads in this position. Both the babies lie in the same direction.

A useful piece of equipment is a twin-feeding pillow, which was developed to help twins feed together. These firm pillows create a supportive surface and make it much easier to latch babies to the breast.

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Last reviewed: October 2020

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