How should I position my twins for nursing?
There is no right or wrong way to nurse your twins. Once you are able to attach and nurse each of them individually you will probably want to nurse them together at times (or most of the time!). The following positions for breastfeeding twins will give you ideas of ways many moms have comfortably and effectively nursed their babies.
Use plenty of pillows to be comfortable
No matter how you nurse your twins, make sure to have plenty of pillows to prop up around you so that you are comfortable. A large nursing pillow can be a real asset, but several firm pillows to prop around you can be just as effective. You want to have enough pillows that your babies can rest comfortably on them and still nurse – so that your arms don’t have to support the weight of two babies during each feed.
It is important to make sure your baby is supported throughout his head/neck/shoulder region, his head and neck are in alignment, and he has equal muscle movement on both sides of his body. Make sure your hand does not hold his head though as this is very uncomfortable and keeps a baby from latching well. (Imagine if you had to keep your chin down on your chest while you chewed and swallowed your food!) His head should be free so that he can bring it back if his nose becomes blocked. Your baby should have firm contact against his mother (skin-to-skin is ideal!).
A mother can support her breast with her hand if necessary. Make sure to keep your fingers behind the areola and position fingers in a C-hold so that you can easily help your baby latch on and take enough breast into his mouth. A baby’s nose should be level with the mother’s nipple. Your baby should have his head tilted back and lead his mouth to the breast with his lower jaw. His mouth should be opened wide, tongue down and extended over the bottom gum, with nipple pointing up toward roof of baby’s mouth. His chin should be pressed against breast with bottom of jaw/lip taking in more areola than the top. Your baby forms a teat with the nipple and breast tissue, which should be tucked well into baby’s mouth. His mouth should be open very wide with both top and bottom lips relaxed on the breast and flanged outward. There should not be any pain! Make sure to allow your baby to nurse as long as he wants – don’t set a time limit.
Nursing in the football/clutch hold is common for twins. In this position, each baby is nursing while his stomach wraps around yours and feet extend around your body to the side. With supportive pillows underneath your babies, it is easy to use your hands to help your babies latch on effectively without having hands or feet from the other baby in the way.
This is a classic nursing position whereby your baby nurses on one side and his body extends across you on the front with his feet under your other breast. When you nurse twins in this position, they may end up with feet or arms on one another. This can be comforting as they feel the warmth and closeness of one another while they are small. As they get bigger and more interactive, this position could be more challenging as they may get easily distracted by one another rather than focus on nursing.
Clutch and Cradle
In this position, one baby is nursing in the clutch hold and the other in the cradle hold. Thus, both feet would be wrapping around the mother to either the left or right side.
Laid-Back Nursing/Biological Nurturing/Reclining
It has a variety of names but in this position, rather than sitting straight up, the mother is comfortably reclining. Your babies can then be positioned in any of the above ways (clutch; cradle; clutch and cradle) but gravity will also be with them as they latch. This is particularly helpful for a tired mom to get rest while nursing or when your baby struggles to open wide to latch and gravity can assist with attachment.
Nursing Lying Down
This is such a helpful nursing position for a twin mom! Lying on your side with a pillow tucked behind your back/bum one baby can lie on his side against you on the bed and the other baby lies across your body with his feet touching his sibling’s feet.