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Resources Centre / Twins Tips Introduction / Twins Tips / Breastfeeding & Expressing for Twins - Returning to Work
Breastfeeding & Expressing for Twins - Returning to Work
Do I have to give up breastfeeding my twins now I am returning to work?
It can seem that. no sooner have you got breastfeeding you twins down to a fine art. than you have to face the decision of whether to stop when you go back to work. In fact. some women don't start to breastfeed twins. because they are going back to work and feel that there is little point in starting and then stopping. Breastfeeding twins can be challenging and the thought of managing work and expressing milk can be daunting - but it is worth the effort. even if for only as long as you can manage to do this.

In some ways. breastfeeding twins and working may not seem compatible. but it can be done. and you can choose a way that suits both you. your babies and your carer. Not only that. but the significant health benefits for your babies mean that you know they are& ;still getting exactly the right food. even though you are not there all the time.
Do I need to prepare my twin babies for my return to work?
You should prepare your twin babies if they are going to change from breast to bottle. If they are used to the breast and nothing else. you will need to patiently help them learn how to feed from a bottle or beaker.

You will also require the co-operation of whoever is feeding your babies while you are at work. This is an important factor to consider when you are choosing childcare. It is becoming more common for working parents to leave some expressed breast milk (EBM) with their carer. so you need to find out that they are happy with this arrangement.
What are the advantages of expressing at work?
Expressing milk at work can be a nuisance. and doing such a personal thing in a work environment can feel strange. But many mothers of twins find that the benefits far outweigh the inconvenience. You are still able to give your twin babies the health and nutritional advantages of breastmilk. and expressing can be a wonderful way of feeling close to your babies during the working day.

One of the best things about expressing at work is coming home to your babies who still want to breastfeed - you get to snuggle with them immediately. re-establish your bonds. and nurture them in a way that nobody else can. To make sure your babies will want to feed when you get home. ask your carer not to feed them during the hour before they are expecting you. or only to give them enough to take the edge off any hunger. Then you and your babies can look forward to a warm reunion every day.
How can I successfully express breastmilk at work?
You will need:
Twins UK has developed the Dual Express TwinKit for all your expressing needs with optional Carry/Cooler Bag and Easy Expression Halterneck Bra. You can also find all the equipment and accessories you will need for breastfeeding twins or expressing in our Breast & Express department. For breastfeeding or bottle-feeding twins. the EZ-2 Nurse Twins Feeding Cushion ia an absolute must-have for multiples' mum.

It's wise to start expressing milk a month or so before you return to work. In that way. you will build up your expertise in good time for the return. and you will also have a good amount of milk that you can freeze. This will reassure you that your babies will have plenty of food while you are away. & ;Express after as many day time feeds as you can and start to build a supply in the freezer. You will get less milk doing this than if you express a full feed. but if you express in between feeds and breastfeed as well. you may end up over-producing milk and feeling very uncomfortable. You will probably collect very little milk at first. but don"t be disappointed as you"ll soon you'll have several ounces after every 10 to 15 minute expressing session.

When you're preparing to return to work. it's hard to predict how often you'll need to pump your breasts to provide milk for your twin babies. Ideally. you will pump at work as often as you would have breastfed your baby at home. Realistically though. mothers often find that in an eight-hour workday they are able to pump during morning. lunch and afternoon breaks. Since time is in such short supply. using a pump that allows access to both breasts at the same time is a real help.

Ideally. you should have access to a private room at work. such as an unused office or conference room. or even a large. clean storeroom with a chair. a table. and a power point. Ask the human resources staff for suggestions. and try to enlist the support of a colleague or manager. If there's some demand (even two mothers is enough). you could lobby to create a nursing mothers' area in the office. The worst-case scenario is having to express in a lavatory cubicle. but many women have done so - successfully - for months.
Should I tell my work colleagues ?
You don't have to tell your colleagues what you're doing during your breaks if you feel uncomfortable. but you should tell your line manager as you will need to work out a plan that fits with both of your needs. Educating your employer about the important health choice you have made and the relatively minor physical accommodations required in the workplace will encourage cooperation. She needs to know that expressing milk won't interfere with your work. so reassure her that by feeding your babies in this way. you will have much more peace of mind that your babies are only getting the best. This will leave you free to concentrate exclusively on work whilst you are there and by breastfeeding/expressing you are less likely to have time off work with sick babies.

La Leche League Breastfeeding Network has a lot of information on Breastfeeding and Returning to Work. which includes information on your legal rights as a breastfeeding mother and how to express and store milk at work.
What if my employer says that I can't express breastmilk at work?
There is no clear right to breastfeed when you are at work. But there is an obligation on employers to provide breastfeeding workers with rest facilities. The European Commission has also published guidelines which recommend that employers provide access to a private room. a fridge for storing milk and time off to breastfeed. Unfortunately. these guidelines do not have any legal force to them. but employers who aim for good practice may be keen to adopt them.
When should I express?
It's really up to you. but try to do it at the same time every day. If you can pump every three hours. you will probably be able to produce all the milk your babies need. Pumping once or twice a day may be more realistic. though. and it will be enough to keep up your milk supply to cover some of the morning. evening or weekend feeds.
How can I maximise my milk flow?
Relax and look at your babies" pictures. or visualise them while you are expressing. Many mothers find that once they get the breast pump working well. they can use the time to catch up on work-related reading. Using a double pump and a specialist double pumping bra provides a helping hand meaning you could even work whilst pumping !
How do I transport. store. and thaw breast milk?
It's essential to start building a supply of breastmilk in the freezer before you return to work. as you'll need to have enough milk for your first day at work.

Pump and store milk either in milk collection bottles or freezer bags made especially for this purpose. Label and date the bottles and bags. and use the oldest ones first. Leave room at the top of each bottle or bag for expansion during freezing. Most pumps allow you to pump directly into bottles or bags.

Store freshly expressed milk in the office refrigerator (label clearly). Bring it home in a carry/cooler bag with an ice pack if your journey is longer than 30 minutes - although freshly expressed milk is OK at room temperature (and no warmer) for six hours.

If you refrigerate or chill freshly pumped milk. you can add it to a bottle of already frozen milk.

If you refrigerate the milk you pump on Monday. your carer can give it to your babies on Tuesday. and so on.

Thaw milk by holding the bottle or bag under warm running water or by placing it in a bowl of warm water. Do not use the microwave or the hob: high heat will destroy some nutrients. The milk will have separated. so you will need to shake it gently while thawing or before giving it to your babies.
What is mixed feeding?
Mixed feeding is when your babies have formula milk while you are away. and breastmilk when they are with you. This means that you don't need to express milk. and you and your baby still have the togetherness of breastfeeding both before and after work. & ;Your body will need to adjust to making less milk. and the best way to do this is to gradually reduce feeds during the week before your return.
What disadvantages are there with breastfeeding and working?
For your babies. none. They are still getting the best food possible. although some of breastmilk's properties may be lost as a result of the freezing process. And you still have that closeness when you are together. This can be even more rewarding when you have been apart. so it's a definite advantage.

It can take a little while for your breasts to adjust to the spaces between feeds. especially if you are mixed feeding. so make sure you take plenty of breast pads and a spare shirt to work with you. in case of leakages.

Some mothers say how tiring the whole thing is. and it's true to say that there will be lots of organising involved if you intend to fully breastfeed you twins. But like any routine. set it up and after a few weeks it will become easier.
For more information on Breastfeeding. Expressing and milk storage plus all the Breastfeeding Support Organisations that can provide more advice and assistance. please see our Useful Links - Breastfeeding Support and Twins Tips - Breastfeeding & Weaning.

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Medela Pump in Style Backpack
Dual Express TwinKit™
Easy Expression Halterneck Bra
Medela City Style Carry & Cooler Bag
Medela Breastmilk Collection Bottles
Medela Breastmilk Freezer Bags

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