Tandem Nursing Twins
By Amanda Melrose
Breastfeeding your children is a wonderful thing, for so many reasons. If you’re planning to breastfeed your twins, even part of the time, that’s awesome. You may be considering trying tandem nursing your twins, just as I was when I was pregnant with mine. There are some really great things about breastfeeding twins together, and also some not-so-great things. I am sharing my experience with it in the hopes that it can help set you up for success with nursing your twins.
So what are the pros of tandem nursing twins?
• It helps keep babies on a schedule. While I am not a schedule person, I know many twin moms swear by having their twins on a schedule. If that is something you want to do, tandem nursing will help.
• You spend less time overall breastfeeding.
• The experience of nursing both babies together can be very special.
• It can be relaxing if you get yourself set up right and have someone there to help.
• You won’t walk around with lopsided boobs because your baby only drained one side. (I mean this in all seriousness.)
• You won’t have to worry about leakage on the non-nursing side—potentially wasting precious drops of liquid gold. Although there is something called a Haakaa to address this issue.
• If both twins are hungry at the same time, you won’t have to make one wait while the other twin nurses.
What’s Not So Good
Here are the reasons I don’t like tandem nursing so much:
• There’s less freedom of movement. Getting set up to tandem breastfeed twins takes some effort, and once you have both babies settled and latched, you’ll be stuck in that position until they are done.
• There’s less one-on-one time with each twin.
• It’s very difficult to do alone (although this is often when it is most necessary). This does get easier once they get bigger and are able to latch without your help.
• Feeding them together on purpose gets them on the same schedule, which is something I want to avoid.
• If you’re not tandem nursing all the time, you might not have enough milk to satisfy both babies at one feeding and may need to give them both a bottle after. This happened to me a lot even when I was trying to tandem nurse my twins around the clock. This ended up making each feeding take a long time.
Nursing is so important, but nursing twins can be challenging. So while I don’t tend to enjoy tandem nursing, I have learned how to do it. If I start nursing one twin and the other wakes up hungry, I’m not about to just let them cry. So I grab them and get them latched, too, no matter how awkward the position I might find myself in. In those moments, I don’t have time to grab that nursing pillow or stool and set myself up on the couch. I make it work, even if my back is close to breaking and my arms are ready to fall off. That’s what being a mom is like a lot of the time, especially with twins.
Being a mom of twins can be tough, especially when it comes to nursing. Even with all the advice out there, there are going to be so many things you have to figure out as you go. Remember not to be hard on yourself. Life can get in the way of your best-laid plans, and that’s OK. Whatever you decide for your baby is the right decision.
This article was adapted from the post “Tandem Breastfeeding Twins—the Good and the Bad,” published on the blog Twenty Tiny Toes.
Amanda Melrose is the author of the blog Twenty Tiny Toes, twentytinytoes.com.