Parents of twins soon get used to being flexible in their approach to childcare, and feeding is no different. Using various combinations of feeding methods – breastfeeding and expressed breast milk, breastfeeding and formula feeding, expressed milk and formula – often work well, especially as each twin may have different needs and preferences.
If, for whatever reason, your breast milk supply is not enough for your babies but you still wish to breastfeed, you can offer formula ‘top ups’ after each breastfeed.
If you find tandem breastfeeding difficult, you could breastfeed one child while someone else bottlefeeds the other, and swap at the next feed.
Some women choose to breastfeed during the day at home, but offer bottles of expressed or formula (or both) during the night or when out.
You may also find that one of your twins is better solely breastfeeding while the other is mixed fed – you don’t have to do the same for both twins at the same time.
If breastfeeding isn’t working for you but you still want your twins to have your breast milk, you can express as much as you can and feed it to your babies in bottles, mixed with formula if necessary.
There are many different combinations and no right or wrong way of doing it – you just need to find what works for you as a family.
Advantages of mixed-feeding for twins
- You get to enjoy breastfeeding but can involve others, such as your husband or partner in feeding your babies, which is hugely important when you have twins.
- It’s a good way to wean your baby from breast to bottle if, for example, you’re returning to work.
Possible disadvantages of mixed-feeding for twins
- If you choose breast and bottle, you have both the physical commitment of breastfeeding as well as the expense of bottlefeeding.
- Some experts believe introducing a bottle teat may discourage a baby from taking the breast, so make sure your babies are breastfeeding well before introducing a bottle.
- You need to make sure you’re breastfeeding enough each day to sustain your milk production. As you’re making milk for two, you may need to cut down the number of breastfeeds more slowly than with one, as you introduce bottles.