Feeding one breast or two for each baby

While you are learning and gaining confidence, you may prefer to breastfeed one baby at a time. Some mothers prefer to continue to feed each baby separately, giving each baby individual attention during the feeding. Other mothers of twins want to save time and prevent a hungry baby from waiting for a feeding and choose to breastfeed both babies together. Combining both plans and alternating between nursing both babies together and separately, is also possible. The important issue is not whether you feed your babies together or not, but that you feed often enough; that is, between eight to 12 feedings every 24 hours, resulting in a full volume of breast milk for your babies.

Many mothers choose to breastfeed one baby on one breast for an entire day, then switch the breast that baby nurses every 24 hours. Mothers like this plan because it is easy to keep track of baby's feedings and insures that each baby will have a full breast at each meal.

  Baby A Baby B
Monday Right breast Left breast
Tuesday Left breast Right breast
Wednesday Right breast Left breast
Thursday Left breast Right breast
Friday Right breast Left breast
Saturday Left breast Right breast
Sunday Right breast Left breast

A second plan is to assign one breast for each baby to nurse always. Some babies will choose their favorite breast and begin this plan themselves.

A third alternative is to switch the breast you offer baby at each feeding. For example, baby A: 9:00 am—right breast, Noon—left breast, etc. and baby B: 9:00 am—left breast, Noon—right breast, etc.

Positions and pillows for nursing twins

Refer to the suggested breastfeeding positions while breastfeeding one baby at a time. When ready to save time and feed both babies together try these suggestions of doubling the suggested positions:

  • Double cradle
  • Double football
  • Combination football-cradle
  • Double prone

Use lots of pillows and a foot stool for comfortable positions for mother and babies. Support your legs, back and head. Use pillows to support your babies' heads and keep them close for nursing. Some mothers prefer to use a breastfeeding twin pillow. Experiment with chairs, bed, and sofa to find the most comfortable place to nurse. Family members and friends can help by adjusting the pillows for support during the feedings and rousing sleepy babies during the feeding.

One baby is usually better at latching. While you have two hands available, latch the baby who needs more help first, then with one hand latch the baby with more skill to your second breast. Adjust the tiny air space needed for breathing by tilting the baby's head slightly or pressing baby's back and chin closer to your breast. Listen carefully for the soft sound of your babies breathing. Drink liquids before and after nursing your babies when you have a hand available. Some mothers purchase the back pack for hiking which allows hands-free access to liquids.

Nursing triplets and multiples

Some mothers choose to breastfeed one baby at a feeding, two babies at a feeding, or all babies at a feeding. Some mothers pump with a quality breast pump and bottle feed their babies expressed breast milk for some or all their feedings. Some mothers combining breastfeeding and bottle feeding with formula. Think about what plan will work best for you and your babies. Contact your lactation consultant for advice or help with the plan you choose. Your plan will be best for your babies if it is the right plan for you.