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To Pump or Not to Pump - Babies in Belly

To Pump or Not to Pump


Posted by vera | Posted in Birth, Parenting, Twins or Multiple Birth Pregnancy | Posted on 24-02-2014

medelaadvanced 3The Role of Breast pumps in the Twins + Breastfeeding Equation

Many families expecting twins or triplets choose to breastfeed, and wonder about pumping. “If you want to breastfeed”, they wonder, “why not just breastfeed?”

Good point!

Breastfeeding twins, triplets or more can be done, as Class Three, Feeding, in our 4-part prenatal course demonstrates.  And, if latching the babies on right after birth works for you, and feeding goes without a hitch, that’s great!


Preemies, Increased Milk Demands And Tired Moms And Babies

But, like any goal worth pursuing, breastfeeding multiples is not without its challenges.  Twins, triplets or more are often born prematurely, which means they have an even steeper learning curve when it comes to latching on and suckling effectively.  Multiple birth babies also require more milk production than a singleton, obviously.

The push for pumping is mainly to build up your supply.  Breastfeeding can be a bit tricky sometimes with two or more babies at first, and often everyone’s so tired and overwhelmed… and the pump offers a perfect latch every time, allowing new moms to effectively build up milk supply in those important early days.


Getting Help With Pumping

Pumping right away also ensures you have plenty of help around if needed:  Most hospitals now offer the services of a lactation consultant on site, and they are generally more than happy to spend a few extra minutes with mothers of multiples, showing them how to work the equipment.

There are also many good resources available on the Internet, through the hospital and from support groups such as La Leche League which can offer guidance and support with pumping and with breastfeeding in general.  Look for things that are twins- and multiples-specific.


Many Paths With The Pump

The idea is not to replace breastfeeding with pumping, but rather to use the pump as a supplement to breastfeeding, to encourage adequate milk production.

I’ve had several moms of multiples tell me that they breastfed each baby, and then pumped for a few minutes afterwards, just to build up milk supply in those early days at the hospital and get things flowing.  Then, once things were in order, they exclusively breastfed, and ditched the pump.

Others kept up with pumping because it allowed spouses and other family members to feed expressed breast milk (some just used formula), and others still never touched a pump, and breast fed exclusively from day one, and everything was fine.  And of course, many choose to or end up bottle feeding exclusively, too.

The real message here is that there are many pathways, and lots of “sub-pathways”… Our online prenatal course presents several pictures and videos of real-life families with multiple babies feeding in action, to help you navigate the maze more effectively.  Ultimately — as the new expert of your twins, triplets or more — you will find what works for you and your babies.


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