Feeding Two or More Babies
Feeding multiple babies is a challenging task, but it is one that can easily be taken on with a bit of knowledge and support. The key is preparation. Learn all you can about feeding multiples way before you are actually faced with those two or more hungry, expectant faces.
The good news is that your body knows how many babies you are having. In response, it will create enough milk to feed all of your babies. In fact, your body will usually provide more milk than one baby needs, even when you only have one. This is to ensure that the baby is never left hungry.
Make your life easier—figure out how to tell your babies apart during middle-of-the-night feedings. It can be very easy to feed the same baby twice, which means you have to wake up more often! You can use bracelets or other ideas to help tell your babies apart so you don't even have to turn on a light.
Take a breastfeeding class during your pregnancy. Find other mothers of multiples who have successfully breastfed. Talk to a lactation consultant during your hospital stay. Ask her for support in feeding your babies. They will be able to offer great positioning advice as well as other tips on feeding multiple babies.
Be sure to nurse as soon as possible. The AAP recommends that you nurse within the first hour of life when possible. If your babies are ill or for some reason cannot or do not wish to nurse, be sure to ask for help with a breast pump. Nursing and pumping in the first forty-eight hours is key to helping you establish a great milk supply for your babies.
Once you get past the hurdle of figuring out how to breastfeed and accommodating each baby's personality, it gets immensely easier. Remember, breastfeeding may be uncomfortable at first, but any discomfort should subside after the first few days, and any pain should never be extreme or long lasting. If you do experience ongoing, intense pain, get help immediately. Often, pain is caused by a very small, very fixable problem.
Your babies will let you know when they need to eat and for how long. Throw away the clocks and resist the urge to feed using any timing device other than your baby. This is the key to having them grow and nurse successfully.
After the first few days of life, you should see two to three bowel movements a day and five to six wet diapers. Your baby should have periods of sleep and periods of alertness. You should not use the way your breasts feel as a gauge for how much milk you have.
As your babies get bigger, they will go longer between feedings. You can experiment with feeding positions to find a way to feed them comfortably at the same time. There is no rule about feeding multiples at the same time; some MOMs say that feeding their babies together is great, and others prefer individual feedings. Do what works for you and your babies.
Your babies will need no supplements of water while breastfeeding. They will also not need solid food until about six months of age. The perfect first solid food will depend on the recommendation of your pediatrician, who has access to your family's health and allergy history.
As you add solid foods, the number of times a day you nurse will begin to decrease. Breastmilk still has enormous benefits for your babies. The AAP recommends that you nurse at least until the age of one.
More on: Adjusting to New Motherhood
From The Everything Mother's First Year Book Copyright © 2005, F+W Publications, Inc. Used by permission of Adams Media, an F+W Publications Company. All rights reserved.
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