In their 3-week-old fraternal twins’ debut in the latest issue of PEOPLE, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt spoke about how breastfeeding both babies at the same time plays a part in managing the chaos. Angelina said, "They eat every three hours and I’m getting better at holding them both for [breast]feeding at the same time, so that helps. Usually, the other kids come in and hold them when they finish. They help with the baths and the changing." Brad added, "We try to get them to eat simultaneously for the sake of management, but it gets a little crowded at the bar!"
Angelina and Brad make nursing twins sound effortless (granted, Angelina had a head start by nursing Shiloh) but chances are, they prepared in advance, got help from a certified lactation consultant, and were motivated and psyched to succeed.
Here’s the good news: "Your body is designed to handle breastfeeding twins or even triplets, many moms have done it successfully," Bettina Forbes, CLC, of Best for Babes told us. Her co-founder Danielle Rigg, JD, CLC, added, "and with the right help and support, you can reap double the rewards and might even have double the fun."
In honor of World Breastfeeding Week and supporting women who want to breastfeed, we also spoke to Jack Newman, MD, FRCPC, founder of the Newman Breastfeeding Clinic and Institute, Lawrence Gartner, MD, Professor of Pediatrics and Obstetrics/Gynecology at the University of Chicago, founding member of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine, and member of the LLLI Health Advisory Council, and Heather Kelly, MA, IBCLC, of the Manhattan Lactation Group.
Click Continue Reading for their best tips to succeed at breastfeeding twins.
- Get inspired and get your best game on. Danielle, of Best for Babes, tells us, "Prepare for breastfeeding like you would to run a race, plan a wedding, or interview for a job; take a breastfeeding class, and find local resources like lactation consultants and support groups." Bettina adds, "Watch a friend breastfeed successfully to be truly awestruck. We know of newborn twins who held hands while nursing!"
- You can breastfeed if you have a c-section. Dr. Newman told us, "Most mothers should be able to breastfeed their twins exclusively if they get off to a good start and get good support. Unfortunately, a good start and good support are not always easy to get in most hospitals and most mothers are failed in their attempts. Having had a cesarean section should not be an obstacle it is often presented to be – again, with a good start and good support."
- Twins need breastmilk twice as much. "For twins, receiving the health and developmental benefits of breastfeeding are even more important, because they tend to be premature and, therefore, at higher risk of infections," says Dr. Gartner.
- If necessary, pump it up. If, like Angelina, you had a c-section, and your milk hasn’t come in yet, don’t panic – pump! – because it signals your body to make milk. Heather says, "as long as you’re pumping in lieu of a feeding at the breast, your milk supply won’t be hurt."
- It takes patience. Heather tells us, "Nursing twins can be extremely rewarding but may be a bit trickier and take a little longer to master. Because many twins are early or smaller, they may lack some stamina in the beginning. You can give yourself a break by with pumping and giving bottles of expressed breastmilk, particularly if you feel like the feedings are going on and on. Some moms even feed Twin A on both breasts at a feeding and then pump, while Twin B gets a previously pumped bottle of expressed breastmilk. Then, at the next feeding, the twins switch."
- Dress the part. The first few months you’re going to feel likeyou’re feeding nonstop, so comfy, easily accessible clothes will makelife easier. Well-fitted nursing bras (we hear Angelina’s wearing Bravado’s Body Silk Seamless nursing bra), nursing tanks to sleep in, and tops with easily accessible openings (like Angelina’s button-front nightgown) will help.
- Know your positions. As Angelina mentions, she feeds both babies at the same time, but Bettina says, "she probably started out one at a time to pay close attention to getting a good latch. She most likely accomplishes simultaneous feedings using a twin football hold(click for a photo), with the top of their heads nearly touching,curled around her, with her legs pointing toward her back."
- Prepare for the road ahead. The more confident you are of yourdecision and your ability to breastfeed, the more likely you are tosucceed.
- Finally, be gentle with yourself and with other moms. Most breastfeeding problems can be easily prevented and solved. New moms don’t need more pressure or more guilt!
- These sites have fabulous tips for nursing twins: La Leche League, MultipleBirthsFamilies.com, multiples.about.com, and Breastfeeding.com. For breastfeeding inspiration, visit www.bestforbabes.com.
Do you have any tips for moms nursing multiples?