I've got two boobs and three babies. How do I breastfeed?

Yes, it can be done.

Two boobs. Three babies.

When you look at the problem in a logical way it’s easy to understand why I’m asked this question so often.

“Is it possible to breastfeed triplets?”

The answer to this question is of course “Yes”.

It just takes a bit of organisation, a lot of patience, plenty of support from your partner and some serious stubbornness.

Here are 5 things that we did to survive breastfeeding triplets:

1. Invest in a really good twin breastfeeding pillow.

The Twin Breastfeeding pillow will become your best friend for several months.

My husband purchased my breastfeeding pillow for me, he managed to get one the same as those that I was using in the special care nursery, it strapped around my back to hold it in place and more than once I forgot that I had it on and wandered to the kitchen to put the kettle on to make coffee for a guest with it still in place. It must have been funny to watch, but I was so used to it being there that it almost became another part of me.

2. Hire a good quality double breast pump.

If your babies are born prematurely, they will more than likely have a stay in the special care nursery and need to be fed through a nose tube until they are able to learn how to suck. This means that you will need to express your milk and take it to the special care nursery for your babies.

This is the point where you need to be strong and persevere, its disheartening to say the least when you turn up at the special care nursery with a few teaspoons of milk which then have to be shared between your 3 babies. It’s hard to believe at this stage that your body can produce enough milk, but within a few weeks I was amazed at how much milk I was pumping (and storing in the freezer for later) as well as breastfeeding 3 babies.

When it was time for us to take our newborns home for the first time the nurses at the hospital convinced us to try all 3 babies on a bottle before they were discharged from the ward. I was initially worried about the babies rejecting the breast after trying a bottle but thankfully this didn’t happen with any of them, it seems that they all love to eat as much as their mum does!

As I was already expressing milk while the babies were in hospital I chose to continue expressing whenever I had a spare moment so that we could have the option to bottle feed the third baby while the other two were breastfeeding or my husband could do a bottle feed during the evening while I caught up on some sleep. I think that this was a real sanity saver for me (not that I had any sanity left to save, but I think you know what I mean).


3. Keep a record of every feed for each baby on a clipboard chart.

There are several reasons for this, the first being the fact that you will be sooo sleep deprived that your memory will no longer be reliable. It means that you will be able to have a quick look at the chart to see how long it’s been since the baby that is currently screaming at you last had a feed. You will also have evidence to show the child health nurse that you are indeed managing to feed all 3 babies and you will be able to make sure that you are rotating who gets which boob and know who gets to go first next time.

4. Eat food and drink water whenever you can!

Your body is sustaining 4 humans at the same time so you need to put in as much fuel and water as you possibly can. I made sure that I always had a bottle of water with me while breastfeeding and I had something to eat at every opportunity. This went as far as taking snacks to bed with me to eat during the night time feeds.

My husband might tell you that I’ve always eaten that much, but I can assure you that I stepped it up A LOT while I was breastfeeding.

Which leads me to my last point….

5. Know when to start supplementing feeds with formula.

It was my husband who convinced me that it was time to start topping up feeds with formula. I don’t know if it was just my stubbornness or if it’s a motherly thing, but for some reason I was so caught up in trying to feed all my babies that I was refusing to see that I was struggling to keep up. I was adamant that I wanted to breastfeed all 3 babies as long as I possibly could and by choosing to top up their feeds with formula it meant that I managed to continue breastfeeding all 3 babies for the full first year of their lives.

This photo shows the twin breast-feeding pillow, the clipboard and the bottle of water all on the sofa next to me... and also 3 adorable little monkeys and their exhausted Mummy.

This post was originally published on Triplets In Paradise and has been republished with full permission.

What are some useful tips for breastfeeding that you've discovered ? 

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