Can moms of multiples always breastfeed right away?
You know how in the movies or on TV, no sooner is the cord cut than the newborn baby is immediately brought to nuzzle on mom’s breast? There’s a really good chance that’s not going to happen to you. And that’s OK: It’s just that because the vast majority of twins (and almost all triplets) don’t go the full 40-week term, they’re often swept away to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) to make sure breathing, heart rate, and all the other vitals are going A-OK. So that just means you may have to do your bonding a little later, in a slightly different atmosphere, surrounded by lots of little ones who need a little extra help. Don’t worry if your new bunch isn’t able to breastfeed immediately -- often you may find the suck reflex isn’t quite so fully developed, which can make it difficult for baby to latch onto breast. If you want to breastfeed (and all signs point to it being a very, very good thing for you and your babies), it’s important to start pumping milk as soon as possible to get your milk-supply going. Beyond feeding, most NICUs will encourage “kangaroo care” for premature infants: It’s a chance to snuggle up close with your baby, giving him as much skin to skin contact as possible. (Bonus: Your partner can do this, too, no breasts required). Research shows this one-on-one contact can help stabilize your baby’s heart and breathing rates, improve the amount of oxygen he’s getting, and help regulate his body temperature. Babies who get kangaroo care also seem to get more sleep time, gain weight more rapidly, cry less, breastfeed more easily, and -- best of all -- come home earlier.
Plus, more from The Bump:
NICU Cheat Sheet
Breastfeeding Gear for Multiples
How to Buy a Breast Pump