As a mother of a set of twins, triplets, or higher order multiples, is it possible to breastfeed them? Absolutely! Is it always going to be easy? Honestly, not always. The benefits that your set of multiples will receive from breast milk and the benefits that you receive from breastfeeding will be well worth it. During your pregnancy, read about breastfeeding and see if it is something that sounds appealing to you and if you are willing to make that commitment. Discuss the process with your partner as well so that they are aware of the commitment and how the breastfeeding process works. It is important that your partner understand the process because you will need their support, both emotionally and physically.
A question or concern that often surfaces when thinking about breastfeeding multiples is, will I be able to produce enough milk for all of the babies? Yes, you will. Even though I was familiar with the breastfeeding process from nursing my first child, I still wondered about this when I first found out that I was expecting multiples. Your milk production is on a supply-and-demand basis. So even if you are nursing three or more babies, your body will step up the production to meet that need. Nurse as often as possible especially in the beginning. Nursing the babies will stimulate your milk supply and result in better let downs of your milk.
Check out the local Breastfeeding Classes offered at Spectrum Health Hospital, in Grand Rapids. Detailed breastfeeding information is covered in this class taught by a certified lactation counselor/consultant. Topics include latch-on and positioning techniques, assessing your baby's eating and practical tips to prepare for successful breastfeeding.
It is very important that while you are nursing that you eat healthy meals and snacks and drink plenty of water. Eating small meals several times a day will help you maintain a good milk supply for your babies. You will need to take in extra calories, up to 500 calories per baby, while nursing.
Make sure that you are getting plenty of rest as well. I know this sounds to good to be true at first but try to squeeze in naps or at least quiet time for yourself when all of the babies are sleeping or resting quietly. Breastfeeding can be physically and emotionally demanding especially in the first few weeks after delivery so the more rest you can get the better your chances are to succeed. Let the household chores take a break for now or ask a family member or friend to help out while you get a routine established with the babies. Once your milk supply is established and you and the babies feel comfortable with breastfeeding, you will enjoy many hours of one-on-one nurturing with your children.