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Resources Centre / Twins Tips Introduction / Twins Tips / Breastfeeding Twins Multiples: Top 10 Expressing Tips
Breastfeeding Twins  Multiples: Top 10 Expressing Tips
There are a variety of reasons why a mother of twins. triplets or quads might want or need to express breastmilk: for premature or sick infants to increase her milk supply to maintain her supply for when she goes back to work. to let dad be involved in feeding. to have a rest. to name some.

The purpose of this article is to address some of the situations when Mum may need to pump for her babies.

  • Begin regular pumping as soon as is possible after their births. Short. frequent sessions are better than long. infrequent sessions. Consider buying a pump before you have your babies. Those first few days after birth. you may become engorged and a good pump can help alleviate the pain and discomfort and help your baby latch on better.
  • Choose a quiet. private spot with comfortable seating. You may wish to take your own pump into hospital as they are not always available when you need them on the maternity ward although if you are in SCBU then hospital grade pumps and a quiet room are usually provided. A support pillow will also be useful. see our extra large Maternity Support Cushion that can be used during pregnancy and beyond to provide comfort and support.Mums of multiples will usually double pump for efficiency and will find that their milk supply is higher if they use a dual electric breast pump because it empties both breasts more completely than manual expression. In addition. double pumping saves a lot of time rather than pumping one breast at a time.
  • When nursing one baby. pumping the other side takes advantage of the simultaneous letdown. This may help with better milk production so that one multiple. who may be having difficulty breastfeeding. also has enough milk available. Getting organized for such a scenario may take a little practice.
  • It may be helpful to establish the proper 'mood' for expressing. have photos of your babies around you. perhaps listen to a tape of soft music. This is particularly important if you are separated from your babies if they have to spend some time in the Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) or Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU).
  • Dad/Partner can massage Mum's back. shoulders and neck to help with relaxation. Bring her a drink. keep Mum company. wash. sterilize pumping bottles/tubing so they are ready for the next pumping session. It is important to surround Mum with proper support to ensure a successful pumping session.
  • Eat nutritiously. rest. minimize stress levels and drink plenty of fluids.
  • Typically newborns breastfeed 8 times or up to 12 to 14 times in 24 hours. Simulating a newborn's feeding routine helps produce more milk. While each pumping session may take 10-20 minutes. the length of time will vary with each woman. Continue to pump as long as you have a good flow. The opposite will also help with milk supply: pumping when there is low or no flow. helps stimulate the breasts for the next day.
  • Keep a record of the date and time of pumping and how much is collected. This will clarify if pumping is occurring often enough to keep the breasts stimulated to produce.
  • To keep on a newborn's nursing schedule. set a timer during the night to ensure that you wake up and pump at appropriate intervals. This is very tiring but worth it to give your babies the best start and will alleviate the discomfort of heavy breasts.

See our Dual Express TwinKit or our Medela Dual Electric Pump for a fast and efficient double pump complete with all accessories. For hands-free pumping why not check out our Dual Expression Halterneck Bra that holds the dual pump in place.

Storing and Handling Expressed Breast Milk

Most Neo-natal Intensive Care Units (NICU) amp Special Care Baby Units (SCBU) have procedures in place for storing and handling expressed breast milk. If your babies are in the NICU/SCBU. you will need to acquaint yourselves with their regulations. Ask the staff if the hospital provides sterile containers for expressed milk. At home you can use special Medela Breastmilk Containers that also fit to the Medela Double Pump and are also suitable for freezing.

Your hands will need to be thoroughly clean as will all parts of the pump that come in contact with your milk. Sterile containers will need to be clearly labeled with each baby's name. date of expression. and perhaps a hospital identifying code prior to being placed in the refrigerator.

If you are on any medications at all. you may need to also note what they are on the container label.

Breast Milk can be stored in clean. sterile containers:
  • At room temperature (66-72F) for 4 hours (fresh)
  • In a cooler with ice packs for 24 hours
  • In a refrigerator (not the door) for 5-7 days fresh
  • In a refrigerator (not the door) for 24 hours frozen then thawed
  • In a refrigerator freezer compartment for 2 weeks
  • In a freezer compartment with a separate door for 3-4 months
  • In a deep freeze for 6 months

Frozen breast milk can be thawed overnight in a refrigerator or takes no time at all to thaw in a saucepan filled with warm water or under running warm water. Do not heat breast milk on a stove/hob or in a microwave. Shake before testing temperature. Do not refreeze thawed breast milk. You can use special Freezer Bags for storing your breastmilk.

Sore Nipples

If nipples become sore during pumping. make sure that your nipples are properly centered within the suction cup. It is easy to become distracted during pumping and inadvertently shift the equipment. Some mothers report that applying a small amount of modified lanolin cream is helpful like our Medela Purelan Soothe amp Protect Cream. If problems continue. contact your health visitor or doctor. Don't wait for the pain to become severe.

Types of Pumps:

1. Electric: fast. efficient. thorough. although initially more expensive. some can be rented by day/week/month but this often works out more expensive than purchasing one. particularly if you plan to express for a few months.

2. Battery: good for occasional pumping or not near electrical outlets. not as efficient as electric

3. Manual: takes a long time to pump. not practical for women who pump often. inexpensive

4. Hand Expression: difficult for some to master. inefficient. helpful for emergency such as engorgement.

And remember.
Eat chocolate biscuits "just to enhance your milk supply!" (or something a little more healthy if you prefer !)

You'll only be doing this for a very short time in your (and your children's) life. Parenthood will be about all sorts of other more gratifying experiences for which pumping and breastfeeding lay the solid groundwork.

It won't take 45 minutes forever ! youll soon be down to 15-20 minutes especially using a dual pump.

Learn to do work while you pump or. better yet. relax while you pump... whatever feels most satisfying.

Believe in what you're doing - it's hard to have a love affair with a machine. but think of your milk as a gift for your babies every day.

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Medela Pump in Style Backpack
Medela Double Electric Breast Pump
Medela Breastmilk Collection Bottles
Medela Breastmilk Freezer Bags
Medela City Style Carry & Cooler Bag
Medela Disposable Bra Pads
Medela Washable Bra Pads
Medela Purelan Nipple Soothing Cream

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