What Parents of Multiples Need

Feeding Both Babies

"People warned me it would be impossible to breast-feed both twins, but the more I nursed, the more milk I made," says Lisa Tenore, of Redding, Connecticut. How to be sure you're producing enough? Each baby should soak at least six diapers and have at least one bowel movement per 24-hour period and should gain an average of one half to one ounce per day during the first two months.

It's important to focus on your own nutritional needs too. "You should consume an extra 1,000 to 1,200 calories per day beyond your prepregnancy intake, with plenty of calcium-rich foods and fluids," advises Barbara Luke, Sc.D., a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor, and coauthor (with me) of When You're Expecting Twins, Triplets, or Quads (Harper Perennial). Even if you're breast-feeding, occasionally supplementing your babies' diet with formula will give you some much-needed freedom -- and extra sleep. "My husband gives the twins a bottle each evening so that I can go shopping or to yoga class," Cope says. My own fatigue eased greatly once I decided to relinquish the 5:00 a.m. nursing session and let my husband give the twins their bottles instead.

The logistics of dual feedings are usually the most challenging part. Offer each twin one breast per feeding, alternating sides for each infant. Assigning the same breast to the same baby every time limits visual stimulation. It can also lead to lopsided breasts and a diminished milk supply on one side if one twin has a smaller appetite. "If there's a significant weight difference between your twins, you may need to feed the smaller baby more often," Dr. Pearlman says.

Feeding both babies at once is a tremendous time-saver. Experiment with positions until you find one that's comfortable: both babies in the cradle hold, bodies crisscrossed in front of you; both in the football hold, legs tucked behind you; or the combination hold, with one baby cradled and one held football-style. Many women love twin nursing pillows, such as Nurse Mate (available from the More Than One catalog: 800-388-8946).

You can also bottle-feed both infants simultaneously. Sit in an armchair and place your left elbow on the armrest. Support the babies' weight in your lap while cradling both heads with your left arm and hand. Lean one bottle against your chest or in the crook of your right arm, and hold the other bottle in your right hand. Or sit on the floor, and open your legs in a V. Place the twins between your knees, their heads supported by a pillow and their feet pointing toward you. Use your thighs as armrests, and hold one bottle in each hand.

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