Tandem feeding, or nursing two babies at the same time, can be a daunting yet rewarding endeavor for mothers of twins and multiples. Done with care, tandem feeding allows you to bond with both babies simultaneously and takes advantage of the efficiency of feeding two babies at once. Although challenging at first, with practice, patience, and the right techniques, you can make tandem feeding a breeze.
This comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know about successfully tandem feeding twins, from practical tips to common concerns. We’ll provide actionable strategies to help you tandem feed with confidence.
- Invest in supportive pillows and find a comfortable nursing position. The football hold or laid-back breastfeeding work well.
- Try to feed babies at the same time to synchronize their schedule. Watch for hunger cues.
- Ensure proper latch for both babies. Pay attention to mouth shape and tongue placement.
- Alternate starting breast each feeding to maintain supply. Switch nursing every 5-10 mins.
- When space is limited, tuck one arm under the opposite breast. Rotate babies.
- Tandem feed during day and pump at night for your sanity. Get feeding help from dad or grandparents.
Choosing Positions for Tandem Feeding
Choosing comfortable nursing positions will make tandem feeding much easier on both babies and mom. Consider investing in supportive breastfeeding pillows. Experiment with different holds to find what works best.
The Football Hold
One of the most popular tandem feeding positions is the football hold, with a baby cradled under each arm like a football. Sit upright in a chair or on the edge of the bed. Place pillows on your lap and under your elbows for extra support. The football hold keeps the babies’ bodies oriented away from each other so they don’t kick one another. This position also allows you to control each baby’s head better.
For a more relaxed pose, try laid-back breastfeeding. Recline back on a couch or bed stacked with pillows behind you. Lay both babies tummy down across your chest or abdomen and guide them to your breasts. Gravity helps their tiny bodies stay put. With less neck strain in this position, you can tandem feed comfortably for longer stretches.
Twin Cradle Hold
The twin cradle hold has you cross cradle both babies at the same time. Sit up tall and place pillows under both elbows. Lay one baby horizontally across your lap, tummy to tummy. Hold their head with that hand. Do the same with the other baby on your opposite side. Their bodies will form a “T” shape. Pull them in close to nurse.
Mix and Match Holds
Don’t be afraid to switch up holds during a feeding or try different ones at each session. Side-lying in bed can also work. Do what feels most comfortable and sustainable for you and your babies. Having options helps prevent soreness or stiffness.
Getting your twins on the same feeding schedule will make tandem nursing much easier. Aim to feed them at the same time, spacing 2-3 hours between sessions during the day. When one wakes for food, gently rouse the other. Over several weeks, their biological clocks should sync up.
Watch for early hunger cues like increased alertness, sucking hands, or rooting movements. Don’t wait for crying, which signals they are overly hungry and frantic. Learn your babies’ signals.
If one twin is hungrier, nurse the patient one first for 5-10 minutes, then switch. This rewards the hungry baby without allowing the other to get overly upset. Staying flexible will help get them on a synchronized schedule.
Achieving Proper Latch When Tandem Feeding
Achieving a proper latch is essential when tandem feeding. Do not let the babies latch on simultaneously or you will be severely uncomfortable. Latch one baby first, then the other.
Focus on each baby’s individual latch, one at a time. Look for a wide open mouth, with tongue down and forward. Their lips should flange out around the areola. Latch shallow to avoid pain.
If their latch seems off, slip your finger inside their mouth to break suction, then try again. Listen for rhythmic suck-swallow patterns. Keep adjusting their head position until the latch feels right.
A proper tandem latch ensures your babies get an efficient milk transfer. Don’t ignore discomfort, as it can indicate a poor latch. Fix it promptly to avoid nipple damage.
Maintaining Milk Supply When Tandem Feeding
Maintaining your milk supply with twins requires removeing around double the milk of a singleton. Make sure both breasts get emptied fully each feeding.
Alternate the breast you start each baby on during tandem feeding sessions. At night, start the sleepier twin on the stronger breast so they get a robust feeding before dozing off.
Nurse each baby for 5-10 mins on one side, then swap them to the other breast. Limiting time per breast signals your body to produce more. Don’t wait for the first breast to feel empty.
If your supply dips, try power pumping – 15 mins on, 10 mins rest – to boost production. Stay hydrated and eat nourishing foods. The demand of two babies can increase supply rapidly.
Troubleshooting Limited Space When Tandem Feeding
With two hungry babies jostling for position, you may feel like you don’t have enough arms or laps for tandem feeding. Try these tricks to make the most of close quarters.
Sit in a chair with padded arms. Drape one baby along your forearm, nestled against your belly. Use the other arm to support your second baby.
Or tuck one baby’s legs beneath your arm on that side, opening space for their sibling. Just be sure to switch sides each feeding so both get equal access.
When tandem feeding lying down, position babies perpendicular to you at your breasts. That prevents their bodies from bumping and gives them each room to stretch out and get cozy.
Tandem Feeding Survival Tips for Sanity
- During the day, tandem feed – Doing two feedings at once saves precious time and lets you rest between. But pace yourself and remember fed is best, even if not in tandem.
- At night, take shifts – Split night feeds between you and your partner. Pump before bed to build a stash. You each get longer sleep stretches, while ensuring the babies’ needs are met.
- Recruit feeding helpers – Have family members or postpartum doulas bottle feed pumped milk, so you can take a break or handle one baby at a time. Caregiver bonding is beneficial too.
- Nap when they nap – Seize every chance to sleep, especially after a tandem feeding. Dishes and laundry can wait. Rest is essential. Lower standards and take it one day at a time.
- Hydrate and nourish yourself – Drink water and eat protein-rich snacks during marathon tandem feeds. Oatmeal bars, nuts, and smoothies are convenient one-handed options. Don’t let hunger sabotage your energy.
Common Concerns About Tandem Feeding Twins
Tandem feeding looks easy, but doing it smoothly takes determination. Here are some common concerns and solutions:
It’s difficult getting two to latch properly – Be patient and keep trying. Adjust their positioning repeatedly until the latch feels right. Great tandem latch takes practice but prevents pain.
I don’t make enough milk for two – Boost supply by nursing on demand, massaging breasts during feeds, staying hydrated, power pumping, or trying lactation supplements. The more they feed, the more milk increases.
What if they aren’t on the same schedule? – Initially feed on demand to get them enough milk as newborns. Over weeks, encourage them towards synchrony. Expect setbacks like growth spurts or illnesses. Stay flexible.
It’s too hard comforting both at once – When tensions are high, take a break. Have your partner soothe one baby with rocking or singing while you focus on the other. Trade off and tag team. It takes a village.
My nipples are extremely sore – Use purified lanolin and allow breasts to air dry after feeding. Check for visible damage. Treat yourself to hydrogel pads, nipple shields, or salt soaks for healing. Consult a lactation consultant to evaluate latch.
I never have any free time to myself – Accept help from loved ones so you can recharge. Prioritize a daily walk, bath, or coffee break. Multitask by listening to podcasts or reading during feeds. The constant demands won’t last forever.
Tandem Feeding Twins is Possible
While initially daunting, with determination, you can overcome the learning curve and successfully feed both your twins at once. Have patience with yourself and your babies as you figure out positions and latch. Get comfortable, relax during feeds, and take it one session at a time. Draw on support from your care team. The reward of bonding with and nourishing two babies together is well worth the effort. Soon you’ll have tandem feeding down to a science. Before you know it, your twins will be synchronized experts right along with you.
Frequently Asked Questions About Tandem Feeding Twins
How long does it take to get the hang of tandem feeding?
It often takes 2-3 months to master tandem feeding. As you and your babies become more confident and coordinated, it will get easier. Be patient with yourself during the learning process.
Is tandem feeding more tiring than individual feeding?
Tandem feeding can be more tiring at first but saves time and effort once the rhythm is learned. Take breaks as needed. Accept help from loved ones so you can recharge.
How can I make tandem feeding sessions more comfortable?
Use lots of pillows for support, find relaxed positions that reduce strain, alternate which breast you start on, and frequently check for proper latch. Stay hydrated and nourish yourself too.
What if my twins keep kicking or bumping each other while tandem feeding?
Some gentle swaddling, nestling a pillow between them, or using football hold may reduce the flailing. Or try feeding one at a time. As they get bigger, they’ll show more control.
How will I know if my babies are getting enough milk tandem feeding?
Watch for adequate wet diapers, steady weight gains, latches with audible swallowing sounds, and contentment after feeding. Offer each breast at every session and monitor supply. Consult a lactation consultant if concerned.