Start right. Bring your babies to your breasts as soon as possible after they are born. If the babies are in the NICU or for some other reason unable to nurse immediately, start pumping and saving your breast milk. If your babies are born at under 34 weeks, they will need fortified milk. A mineral-rich supplement can be mixed with your breast milk and given with a bottle for two or three feedings each day, depending on what your doctor recommends.
Supply side. For many women, breast milk is a simple supply and demand issue. Your body makes as much breast milk as your babies demand. It’s important for all moms to drink plenty of fluids and eat a nutritious diet while breastfeeding. If you experience challenges with your milk supply, your doctor or lactation consultant can recommend herbal supplements or medication to help.
All hands on deck. With more than one baby, you need as much help as you can possibly arrange. With more than two babies, there’s no way to feed them all at the same time by yourself, or even feed two and tend to the others. So call in your army of support. When it comes to breastfeeding, find a solution that works best for you. Breastfeed two at a time and then breastfeed the others, or breastfeed two and then pump milk for future bottle feedings. Each baby will need about 24 ounces of breast milk each day.
Go digital. Sleep-deprived new parents can struggle with remembering who ate how much and when. You can make a chart to track all the pertinent information, but today there are great apps that make the process even easier. Total Baby and BabyConnect are two popular apps that allow you to track multiple babies. With each of these apps (both available for the iPhone and iPad; and BabyConnect is also available for Android devices), multiple caregivers can log information on each child. You can easily see when a child was last breastfed, from which breast, etc. Plus, when one person in the group caring for the children updates the data in the app, that information is shared with everyone.
Relax. Above all, relax as much as possible. Breastfeeding multiples is consuming, but possible. Don’t stress if you cannot breastfeed exclusively. Your babies will benefit from even partial breastfeeding. Do what you can without running yourself into the ground. Sleep when your babies sleep. Taking care of yourself is just as important as taking care of your babies.
Ask the experts. Turn to the experts for help. You have no shortage of resources:
- Your healthcare provider
- University of Michigan Lactation Consultants: 734-232-7885
- Breastfeeding Clinic at the Briarwood Center for Women, Children & Young Adults: 734-232-2600
Take the next step:
- For more information about breastfeeding resources, visit the breastfeeding page on our website.
- Also on the blog:
- Go behind the scenes with the U-M team as they prepared for the birth of quintuplets
Carrie Pawlowski RN, BSN, IBCLC, is a lactation consultant at the University of Michigan Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital. Carrie works with mothers and babies at our birth center as well as in our multidisciplinary lactation clinic at U-M Briarwood Center for Women, Children and Young Adults.
University of Michigan Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital opened in December 2011, offering women a state-of-the-art place to welcome their babies to the world in the most caring and comfortable way possible. From private rooms to birthing tubs, each feature was designed around mom and baby’s every need. Learn more at www.UofMhealth.org/birthcenter.