Lesson 3 of 3: “Feeding in Action”

Whichever method you choose, that is back-to-back or tandem feeding, make sure each baby gets a chance to suck from (or be held with bottle on) each side in order to optimize eye muscle development.With multiples, it isn’t unusual to have a “good sucker” and a “bad sucker” (or two or more of each).  If this is your situation, and you want to feed simultaneously, put your good sucker on first so that you can take the time to settle the one who is more of a challenge to latch. The other option is back-to-back feedings, which may take somewhat more time and throw of your “schedule”, but which will allow you to spend valuable 1:1 time with each baby as you feed.

Here is a video that will show you tandem feeding in action: (Please note that this is one of many “home made” videos on Youtube; you are encouraged to consult a lactation consultant and/or doula who has experience with mothers of multiples.)

Remember to “switch sides” when feeding. Allowing each baby time at both breasts (if not within one feeding, then throughout each day, at different feedings), helps to develop ocular (eye) muscles in both eyes. It will also help to alleviate “lopsidedness” if one of your babies is a different feeder than the other(s) and favours one breast!


You may also be interested in Dr. Jack Newman’s videos, which can be viewed here.

In addition, I strongly recommend the services of a lactation consultant or twins-experienced doula, if you are quite serious about breastfeeding.  The money you invest in a few sessions as soon as the babies are born will save you thousands over the coming year if in fact you do end up exclusively breastfeeding.

Father with 2 bottlesCheck with your local twins club and or La Leche League to find a lactation consultant in your area.  You may also wish to download the breastfeeding-specific fact sheets from Multiple Births Canada.  (They also offer a multiples BF support network: “The Milky Way” free with membership.)  The Milky Way

La Leche League – La Leche League is renowned for its extensive breastfeeding support – this part of their site is twins-specific.

Here is a site with photos of twins feeding to give you some visuals: Remember, you CAN Breast and bottlefeed.  Our friends with the quads did just that–two on the breast, the other two on the bottle, then at the next feeding, they just switched.  I have also had a number of clients do some breast and some bottle feeding with twins and triplets.Breastfeeding two quadruplets That being said, nipple confusion is a reality with some babies (it is easier to use a bottle nipple than to get milk from a breast; the latter you have to work at, and some babies who are introduced to a bottle too soon may be reluctant to “work” again — so if possible, do try to breastfeed exclusively for the first 6-8 weeks at least).

Better some than none, in terms of breastfeeding.  Just remember that it is a matter of supply and demand.  So you can’t breastfeed during the day and then rest at night while someone else gives them a bottle, at least not for the first few months.  There needs to be a constant “demand” (every few hours) on your breasts, so that they will keep the supply up!  🙂

Now that you are a semi-expert in feeding, please continue to Section Four of the course “Birth and Beyond“!