FAQ 10. Enough, multiples

Q: Will I have enough milk? What about twins or triplets or other multiples? Or if I’m still breastfeeding my toddler along with a new baby?

A: Most women have enough milk to feed twins or triplets or even more babies — assuming that the baby or babies are latched on well and allowed to breastfeed freely.

Then as their babies grow, they still usually have plenty of milk to continue to nourish the baby a lot while very gradually adding solids. So the question is not “Do I have enough milk?” but “How can I make sure that baby (or babies) will get all the milk I have?”

This means getting baby/babies latched on effectively, ideally by allowing the baby to actively open up and latch on with much of the nipple and underside of the areola in baby’s mouth, and then allowing the baby to nurse freely, without timing feedings, not restricting feeding frequency — and to realize that with breastfeeding there is a big range of variation in normal. Some babies nurse 6 times a day. Others nurse 8, 16, 20. It depends on the baby and how fast your breast produces milk, and how hungry the baby is.

And let the baby finish the first breast before going to the other one. Some babies only nurse from one breast each time. But it’s usually good to offer both breasts at each feeding, unless you are finding that you need to “block feed” (feeding from the same breast for two or more feedings before switching) but block feeding is usually helpful only with a seriously active milk ejection reflex.

If you have had a breast injury to one breast, you can probably fully breastfeed using just the other breast, and you will make enough milk in most cases. It is properly-latched AND frequent sucking at the breast that stimulates milk production and provides the amount baby needs.

If you have twins, you can breastfeed them together or one at a time, but twins seem to like cuddling, and sometimes they each pick their “own” breast. If you have more than two babies, you will need to rotate them and you might find that you are spending a lot of time breastfeeding. But breastfeeding is faster and easier than having to get up to make formula, even with multiples.

And since breastfed babies tend to be healthy, you will probably have fewer ear infections, digestive problems, and other medical problems to spend time attending to, than if you are feeding formula. THAT will save time! And give you more time to enjoy your family!