Building Supply?

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-13-2013
Building Supply?
Tue, 03-26-2013 - 4:19pm

My twin girls were in the NICU for 25 & 31 days so I had done mostly pumping in the beginning. Well long story short (abscess, thrush and drop in supply later) I met with an LC and she is encouraging me to nurse more. Well the truth is, it's not as satisfying (not sure if that's the right word) as It should be I guess. I am happier when I am able to give my girls a bottle and then cuddle or lay them down to do something else. The only time I am able to hold them is when I am nursing because then I have to put them down to pump, I am afraid of develop another abscess! 

My question is this, when you EP are you still pumping every three hours or so or can you spread it out more? In a perfect world I would love to pump like 8 - 10 oz in the morning, afternoon and evening. But now putting that down in words it doesn't seem like enough for both girls. I love to be able to give my girls breast milk instead of formula but I also want time to enjoy them when they are little and be able to get stuff done around the house! It doesnt help that nusring them takes at least 30 minutes each and then we are back at it within an hour and a half - two hours. 

What is your pumping schedule to make sure you get enough for your LO? DH is dead set against formula. That is until I leave the house and he is with two screaming babies and no breast milk I'm sure...



iVillage Member
Registered: 09-21-2011
Wed, 03-27-2013 - 2:51pm

It sounds like your little girls are home and doing well.  Congratulations on your little ones!!  How old are they now? 

It is possible for some  moms of single babies to get to the point eventually where they only pump a few times a day at a very high volume.  However, not every mom has the capacity for this.  For some moms, they can get to a 2-3 pumps per day schedule sometime after 4+ months.  For some moms though, cutting out pumps and moving to this schedule leads to a drop in production so they pick the dropped pumps back up.

Also, you just need more milk for two kids than you do for one.  I'm not sure that anyone would have the capacity to get on a limited EPing schedule and produce enough for twins....but I'm just guessing here.

As far as how much milk you will eventually need, if you are planning on feeding only breastmilk to 6 months per the recommendation of the APA, you will need to be producing around 45-60 ounces per day.  This was recommended to my friend when she was pumping for her twins.  Many twin mamas start out pumping about 8-12x per day if their babies are in the NICU. Once the baby is feeding normally and growing on track, the general feeding recommendation is to assume that most breastfed babies will take approximately 25 ounces per day, the normal range is approximately 19-30 per day (and it can vary from day to day, just like you eat more some days and less on others).  So for two babies, it is double that.  It's a lot of milk.


I hear you saying that you are finding directly breastfeeding stressful right now because your girls are taking a long time.  I can see how it seems that EPing would be easier.....I will say that in my very limited experience, I would rather get up and nurse (only 1 baby) in the middle of the night than to deal with bottles and pumps--for me and the child.  I got really tired of dealing with ALL the bottles and cleaning and storing and transfering milk that goes with pumping.  I'm sure any other mamas who EP'd more than I did can speak to how much work it is and how hard it can be.  I also found it very disappear and go pump.  Some folks pump adjust to pumping with company in the room, but this isn't right for everyone.  I'm not trying to dissuade you and tell you EPing is bad becasue I don't think that at all.  (It's some of the hardest work I've ever done and I am so proud!)  But nursing directly definately took less gear, was easier to travel and go out, and it was more socially supported in my experience. 


I'm not totally sure about what you mean when you say that it isn't as satisfying as you thought it would be.  Part of what I am hearing from you is that nursing directly is hard.  I will say that at the beginning, it is hard with any baby, let alone two.  If you are nursing, you have to do it alone because no one else is making the milk.  You mention that you are nursing each for 30 minutes.  Do you ever tandem nurse (both at the same time)?  Tandem is supposed to help save time and help you rest, but I've never done it myself.  So I hear from my twin mama friends.  I also noticed you mentioned pumping after you nurse.  Did the docs or a lactation consultant specifically recommend this?  Are the babies not adequately emptying you out?  I'm just curious becasue this is obviously a lot of extra work and I was wondering what motivated it (since I think having twins is probably plenty of work all on its own)?

If you are pumping alot in the beginning, someone else can give the bottles and that makes it a little easier. But the pumping and feeding schedule should be close to the same if you are very early on--as in, if you are EPing for a 6 week old, it is advisable to do it more like every 2 hours (not every 3 hours) in order to fully and securely establish your milk supply.  It's about the same as a newborn nursing schedule.

But it doesn't have to be one or the other, you can keep nursing (which helps maintain your supply and gets your breasts to empty better once your LO is effectively emptying you out) and still pump so someone else can feed part of the time and you get some sleep.


Hope that helps.  Please let us know how we can support you.