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How to breastfeed twins - Part 1

Breastfeeding twins takes time and patience, but it can be done. Read how these BabyCentre mums fared when they breastfed their babies.

Helen's story: a feeding cushion is your best friend
Helen breastfeeding twinsBreastfeeding twins is perfectly possible, but it is quite a strain on your body, certainly at first. My boys were born by emergency caesarean section, which left me physically weak, even though I was pretty fit throughout my pregnancy.
The first hurdles I faced were practical. Should I feed my babies together or separately? And how will I feed while I'm out and about? Feeding one baby swathed in a shawl without anyone even realising what you're doing is a bit easier than latching on two little bubs at the same time.

I decided to feed the boys together and stick to it, even if it meant waking a sleeping boy if his brother was ready. I invested in an enormous V-shaped feeding cushion, which became my best friend and went everywhere with me.

I used the double-rugby hold, and found the kitten hold (clutching a handful of babygro over his chest) invaluable. I could then move my baby with just one hand.

When I was feeding, I would sit on the sofa, with water, phone and remote control handy. I also had baby nail clippers, as I was feeding hands-free. It was the ideal time to trim nails, put in eye drops, check cradle cap and do all of that routine maintenance stuff!

We rarely bothered to wind the boys, as they took in very little air when feeding. I also expressed my milk with a breast pump after every feed. This meant my partner could give the boys a bottle every once in a while to give me a break. After about three months, we introduced the occasional bottle of formula.

By the time the boys self-weaned, at seven and a half months, they were on one breastfeed and two bottle feeds a day. If you are going to breastfeed twins, you need to see it as pretty much your main, full-time job, at least for the first three months or so. I was lucky enough to have lots of meals cooked for me by friends and family.

I chose to breastfeed because I believe in going with nature if it's at all possible. I didn't put pressure on myself. But I did want my boys to get as much of the amazing benefits of breastmilk for as long as possible.

When you consider the sheer number of bottles involved in formula-feeding twins, I suspected that breastfeeding would be the easier option.

My midwives, health visitor and partner were all incredibly supportive. I couldn't have done it without them. I suffered from a severe lack of confidence and they all boosted me constantly. I had numbers for breastfeeding organisations to hand, but I was lucky enough never to need them.

I also found BabyCentre invaluable. No one ever questioned my choice to breastfeed, or was anything other than supportive.

My top tips for mums of twins who want to breastfeed are:

- Buy a V-shaped feeding cushion before the birth and take it into hospital with you.
- Feed your twins together. It helps everything such as sleeping to fall into synchronisation, meaning I wasn't constantly feeding.
- Take care of yourself by eating well.
- Don't be shy. After a few weeks, I was bringing my boobs out in public without a second's thought, and no one seemed to mind. The picture in this article was taken in a pub garden, when the boys were four months old.
- Be flexible. I felt terrible the first time we resorted to formula. I had to remind myself that it didn't mean I was a failure. In fact, I believe that it helped me to breastfeed for as long as I did.

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