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Lactation for Multiples

Families of multiples (twins, triplets or more) often face more challenges than other families, including with lactation. From difficulties breastfeeding premature babies to managing two different feeding schedules, you may need a little extra assistance in this aspect of caring for your babies.

At the Brigham's Comprehensive Care Center for Multiples, we value breastfeeding very much. But keep in mind that most of our mothers rely on a combination of methods to feed their babies, including nursing, pumping and formula. A few use donor milk (see below for details). Some mothers exclusively breastfeed their babies, while others only use formula. There is no one right answer.

The good news is that there are many ways to be a good mother. Getting enough sleep and safeguarding your mental health are key. Having others feed your babies may be helpful at times. The Center for Multiples is here to support you in whatever way you decide to feed your babies.

We will provide you with expert lactation support and education throughout your pregnancy and after delivery. Our team includes a dedicated certified lactation consultant who is experienced in addressing the unique challenges of breastfeeding multiple babies.

If you are a current Brigham patient with questions about breastfeeding, please call the Brigham Center for Breastfeeding at 617-308-1536.

A Baby-friendly Hospital

The Center for Women and Newborns at the Brigham believes that breastfeeding provides a wealth of benefits. We recognize that breast milk meets all the nutritional needs of term infants and is the preferred source of nutrition for premature babies. In addition, breast milk helps prevent infections in newborns, is economical for the family and contributes to mother/infant bonding.

The Brigham departments of Nursing, Nutrition, Pediatrics, and Obstetrics and Gynecology embrace the World Health Organization/UNICEF Baby-friendly Hospital initiative, "a global effort to implement practices that protect, promote and support breastfeeding."

A Team on Your Side

As a patient receiving prenatal care at the Brigham, you can take classes for parents expecting multiples, which include specialized guidance on breastfeeding. Prenatal lactation consultations are also available by calling 617-308-1536.

Following your delivery, our skilled, compassionate nursing team is available 24/7 to answer your breastfeeding questions and assist with positioning and latch. If you are unable to breastfeed after delivery, they will show you how to begin pumping breast milk and store it until your babies are ready to feed.

In addition to our skilled nursing staff, our team of lactation consultants is available as needed. These professionals have advanced training in breastfeeding support and education, diagnosing and treating problems and addressing special breastfeeding situations such as multiple babies. They work with mothers and families to initiate and maintain breastfeeding, prevent early weaning and enhance maternal satisfaction.

Our lactation consultants can visit your bedside to address issues such as:

  • Flat or inverted nipples
  • Latch-on or sucking difficulties
  • Breast infections
  • Maternal breast surgery
  • Breastfeeding premature infants
  • Breastfeeding infants with medical/surgical neurological needs
  • Breastfeeding multiples

Human Donor Milk

The best nutrition for any infant is his or her mother's breast milk. Until a regular supply of milk is in the mother's breast (three to five days after delivery), pasteurized human donor milk can be an appropriate substitute. Families can take advantage of this option to fill the gap until the mother's milk comes in, whether the infant is in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) or with mom in postpartum recovery.

All of our donor milk comes from Mothers' Milk Bank Northeast in Newton, Massachusetts. All milk donors undergo an extensive screening process. The donated milk is pasteurized and monitored to ensure its safety.

Outpatient Lactation Support

Prior to discharge, a lactation consultant will help you create a plan for breastfeeding at home. After you are home, our team in our Breastfeeding Center will still be there for you. To schedule a virtual visit or in-person lactation consultation, please call us at 617-308-1536.

Breastfeeding or Pumping While Visiting the Brigham

A freestanding lactation suite is available for use in the first-floor waiting area of the Center for Women and Newborns. It offers a safe, private and convenient space for nursing moms to breastfeed and pump breast milk.

The suite is wheelchair-accessible, is equipped with a hospital-grade breast pump and has two comfortable benches, a fold-down table, power outlets and a door that can be locked for privacy. Nursing moms can locate and unlock the pod with a free app from Mamava and its Bluetooth-enabled SmartLock, available on the App Store (iOS) and Google Play (Android).

Lactation Resources

For more information on breastfeeding, including answers to frequently asked questions, see this Breastfeeding Guide and our Guide for New Parents. In addition, our Resources page has an extensive listing of resources on lactation.

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