Having twins can lead to all sorts of logistical twists and turns. Feeding twins should be an Olympic sport. Pumping for twins is just in a league of its own LOL. But I will tell you, it’s absolutely doable if you set yourself up with the right mindset and you’re prepared.
Know that it is not going to be a walk in the park. Set the bar low so if you exceed it then it’s a huge win. I think being able to bottle feed twins by yourself is a necessary skill to learn. You’ll likely find yourself in many situations where you have to feed your twins without help. Get all the help you can get in the beginning because you’ll most likely need it before you start getting the hang of things.
If you are pumping and have never pumped before, there is definitely a learning curve in that area which I am more than happy to help you out with! I have pumped for 2 singletons and my twins and everything was foreign to me at first but it becomes second nature. I also became an IBCLC (lactation consultant) to help women with underrepresented areas of lactation like pumping and breastfeeding twins, so I’m your gal!
If you are just starting out, pumping, then feeding your twins after pumping may be your best bet to ease into the process, especially if you’re still getting the hang of pumping and bottle feeding babies. Once you feel more confident with pumping and bottle feeding your twins, then I HIGHLY suggest pumping while you feed your twins. This will save you hours in your day and so much of your sanity.
Pumping while feeding will save you SO MUCH TIME
I calculated it out. If you pumped and then fed each twin (say you pump 20 minutes, then feed each twin for 10 minutes, each feeding would take at least 40 minutes, and then you do this every 3 hours). That is at least 360 minutes PER DAY of feeding your twins… 5.3 HOURS. Okay, so we need to streamline this. If you pump while feeding your twins, you can cut that down to 160 minutes per day (2.6 hours). So let’s figure out how to do that.
There are a few ways to bottle feed and pump simultaneously:
Let’s go through a few different ways to pump and bottle feed twins. Depending on what type of gear you have, there are many different ways you can do this. My biggest advice is GET EVERYTHING SET UP AND READY FIRST! Use previously pumped milk and prepare it (so if it needs to be warmed, get it in the warmer). Get all of your pumping gear ready: hands free pump bra, flanges, parts, bottles, extra bottles if you need them, caps for bottles after you’ve pumped, burp cloths, diapers, change of clothes, COFFEE, water, put a TV show on, and go for it!
1. Pump and feed using the Table for Two
I got this Table for Two as a hand me down from another twin mom who was done with it and I really did love it. Are there other ways to feed your twins? Yes and we will go through them but this was great if you can swing it or can get one as a hand me down. You are able to sit more upright without having to hunch over to feed them as much as a pillow that’s on the floor. It’s also nice for them to just have a place to sit, even when they aren’t eating. My twins hung out on this thing a LOT! It allows them to sit pretty upright after feeds which helps with reflux.
2. Pump and feed using the Twin Z Pillow
If you have a Twin Z Pillow, this can work great for feeding your twins while pumping. The only drawback is that I feel like I hunch over a lot when I feed them (I also have terrible posture so who knows) but my back would hurt after a while. Both twins can sit pretty upright in this pillow, especially if you roll up a burp cloth behind their necks when they are small, so this can definitely be a good option!
3. Pump and feed one twin on a boppy and one twin in your arms
If you have a boppy, you can feed your twins at the same time doing it like this. I have definitely pumped and fed my twins like if one is being extra fussy. If you don’t have a boppy and you have a Twin Z pillow, you can just use one side of the Twin Z pillow for one twin while holding the other one. I just wrap my hand around the twins’ head that is in my arm and use that hand to feed the bottle while I use my other hand to feed the other twin in the boppy and this can be an option!
Be mindful when you are holding the twin that they don’t kick your bottles off, so position them in a way where that’s not a possibility because no one needs spilled milk!
4. Pump and feed one twin on a boppy and one twin is on your legs
I really liked feeding my twins this way. It was probably the most comfortable way to feed the twins. You can lean your back against a couch or wall while feeding one twin propped up on your legs. This is great if one twin is fussy or has reflux and needs to be more upright. You can also always put a rolled up towel behind the twin on the boppy as well to have them sit more upright.
5. Pump and have your other kids feed them!
This may not be a possibility for you but I had my twins right before the pandemic so that meant my 3 and 5 year old were home with me ALL.THE.TIME. So anything I could do to get them involved or help with the twins not only made them feel really special but also it gave them something to do! Also, if you have any family or friends over, give them a bottle and get them to work!!
6. Pump and feed one at a time
Sometimes this is just necessary: maybe one baby woke up and is losing their mind, maybe one baby is being really fussy, maybe you have someone else to feed the other twin, whatever the case, this is always an option and will save you time by pumping at the same time as feeding!
Get creative and do whatever works for you!
You can do whatever you want, there are no rules to this! Not one thing is going to work the same for everyone. I just think it’s really important to know how much time you’d save by pumping and feeding your twins at the same time. And more time = a lot more sanity. Twins are hard AF. No one will tell you otherwise. Pumping for them and feeding them pumped milk is absolutely doable but having the right tools and idea of how to do it will set you up for even more success.
Just a word about bottle propping
Many twin moms will bottle prop because sometimes there is no other choice. However, it can be dangerous and as a Pediatric NP and IBCLC, I would not advise this. But look, I get it, I was in the throes and have I ever bottle propped? Yes. Sometimes I needed to adjust a flange, do breast compressions, or change a full bottle while pumping. I never walked away and left my baby to drink their bottle solo. With bottle propping comes the risk of choking and aspirating so I would not advise this. I know we want to save time but we also need to be safe with our babies so I wanted to throw that out there.
Do things that will save you time and hassle
Anything you can do that will save you time is so valuable. Here are a few things if you’re pumping for twins (or a singleton!):
- Pump into the bottles that they will drink out of (this will save lots of cleaning!!)
- Get multiple sets of pump parts so you can pump all throughout the day and then only have to clean parts 1-2 times a day instead of after every time you pump!
- Clean pump parts in the dishwasher
- Be prepared before you pump and feed! Starting a feeding/pumping session and having to stop and get up a million times for a burp cloth or a TV remote can be a killer
- Warm previously pumped milk before feeding time so it’s ready to go
You can do this!! If you need any help, I offer consults and I am here to offer guidance and support so don’t hesitate to reach out!