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Double the Joy, Double the Jitters

Having My Babies

Two Breasts, Two Babies? continued...

"Nurse early, nurse often," agrees Zoeie Kreiner, who's worked with hundreds of mothers of twins on breastfeeding issues. "The more you nurse, the more your body produces."

Nursing your twins at the same time, if you can, will help you get a little more rest at a time when you can expect to feel like a zombie. How do you accomplish this feat of coordination? Kreiner suggests trying a few positions. First, sit down on the couch with a baby on either side, perpendicular to you. First pick up whichever baby is the stronger nurser at the time -- since she'll pull the milk down for her twin. Then try the "double football hold" -- with each baby's head on one breast and her bottom resting on whatever you're sitting on, with your hands supporting her head. Or the cradle position, with one baby cradled in the crook of your arm and second baby's head almost in the other baby's lap. Kreiner notes that many twins like that posture because they're used to being so close.

For the most hands-on advice you can find, get involved with a local mothers-of-twins-and-multiples group, which will be easy to find with the help of the National Organization of Mothers of Twins Clubs (www.nomotc.org). Many groups have a "stork mom" program, pairing experienced twin mothers with nervous newbies to answer questions like, "How do you get through the grocery store?" and "How do you handle all those car seats?"

Support Is Vital

Support from other moms of twins is vital during your pregnancy, when everyone thinks your body is community property and has a tale to tell of twins they know. "All of a sudden you'll know that Aunt Ida's third cousin's ex-husband's fifth wife had twins and this is what went wrong with her delivery," says Kreiner. It's even more important during that rough first year, when sleep becomes a stranger.

"Use whatever pairs of hands you can find," says Gila Reiter, MD, a New York ob-gyn and mother of 12-year-old twins. "I tell my patients, 'You're going to be out of commission for a year. Tell your friends, tell your relatives, you won't be decorating the Christmas tree this year or hosting the parties.'"

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Reviewed on July 28, 2003

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