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154. Breastfeeding Twins Burnout Is Real. Here’s How to Avoid It With Guest Shelly Patularu

Families that breastfeed twins are up against some extra barriers that can make it tricky to meet their lactation goals. It's no surprise that twin families need extra support on the postpartum period. My guest today is Shelly Patularu. She's a registered nurse, IBCLC, twin + 1 mom, and creator of Twin Mom Guide. 

Breastfeeding Twins: A Qualitative Study

Say hi to Shelly @twinmomguide on Insta
Twin Mom Guide to Breastfeeding Twins (affiliate link)
Free Twin Breastfeeding Checklist


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Read the full transcript here:

Welcome to the Breezy Babies Podcast. This is episode 154. Breastfeeding twins burnout is real, here's how to avoid it. Could you use more confidence as a parent? Welcome to the happy place for boobs and babies. You're in good hands. Breezy babies is where we ease your transition into parenthood because it's a bumpy road. Am I right? I'm your host Bri the IBCLC. And if you'd like to make life as a parent more breezy, you're in the right place. I'm here to deliver small bite sized tips and tricks so you can crush your parenting and lactation goals. I'm honored to be on this journey with you. Let's go. Hello, hello. So excited to be back with you today. If you are here to learn about breastfeeding twins, then you're in the right place. Whether you plan to breastfeed twins yourself, or you work with people who breastfeed twins, today is going to be such a valuable episode for you. I know I have a lot of friends who listen into this podcast, who also just work in the lactation field, maybe you're a lactation consultant, maybe even an IBCLC. And you're just here to learn more. Maybe you're a midwife, or a doula or you just love learning about this and hope to work in this space one day. Hi, I'm so glad that you're here. And I also want to let you know that I have a new and exciting offering. On my website, breezy, which is business coaching. I love meeting with clients, you know that whether it's telehealth or in person, but one of my goals for this year is to kind of transition not leave home, but just kind of transition and add on some business coaching. I have loved working this year with those who are just getting started in the lactation world, whether they're just working on getting their IBCLC or working on just getting started in private practice, especially with those who have joined my breezy babies team. It has been so fun and such just a breath of fresh air for me to teach them to empower them to help them start their own business and do their own thing and just be amazing that I want to do more of it too. So you'll see on my website, under my telehealth consultations, there is an option that you can purchase a telehealth consultation but use it for business coaching. So what does that look like? Maybe you have questions about how to start your own private practice, how to schedule how to do your charting. Maybe you have questions about bringing on your own 1099 contractor and adding onto your team. Maybe you have a question about how to add on a virtual assistant on how to best utilize them. Maybe you have a question on how to start a podcast, which is what you're listening to right now. Did you know that I listen to podcasts for years, and I always thought it would be so cool to have my own podcast. And now I have had my own podcast for a couple years now. And that's been so fun. So if you have questions about any of those things that I just described, you don't know how to get started, then go to breezy You can purchase a telehealth consultation and use it for business coaching. All right, I want to talk to you today about breastfeeding twins. And while I've worked with many clients who are breastfeeding twins, I wouldn't necessarily call myself the expert on breastfeeding twins. But lucky for you. I do have a great expert on this exact topic, who is going to share her top three tips with you today. And she's done it herself. And she works with clients all the time, who are breastfeeding their own twins, so I can't wait to share her with you. But first of all, I want to share a little study with you and you know, I love to do this, you know I love to bring in some studies so that it's not just like oh, well this person has this opinion. I'd like to pull on some study so that we have some real information. Now I will tell you that this study is a little bit older. Aslan is from December 2013. It's called breastfeeding twins a qualitative study. You know I'm going to link this in the show notes. I'm just going to pull out some pieces for you today. That is going to be helpful. I won't spend a lot of time on this because I want to leave a lot of time For my awesome guests, Shelley, who is going to talk to you about breastfeeding twins. But I want to share a little bit from this study before I turn the time over to her. So, in this study, what they looked at is the willingness of the mothers that they studied to breastfeed and continue on they, they looked at the management of breastfeeding, the use of pacifier daily life, what their healthcare team was telling them advice from experienced mothers. And what they found is all the women in this study, were very aware of the importance of giving their babies their milk. And they all in this study made really intensive efforts to breastfeed their twins. Now, they also made it very clear in this study that women who expect or have multiple babies, such as twins, like we're talking about today, they need much more support and guidance. And that is much more the case than those with one baby. Not only when it comes to nutrition, but also just daily care. This is, in part true because if you have twins, you are much more likely to give birth to babies that are premature and low birth, low birth weight, okay. Babies who are premature are extra prone to developing things like sepsis, necrotizing enterocolitis, and even written off retinopathy. So there's some, you know, some hurdles right off the bat that moms of twins can be up against. They found that the importance of giving breast milk to babies that are premature, especially is really important. So in this study, they looked at 10 families, the families, the mothers in these families were between 21 to 34 years of age, they all belong to middle class economic status. Four of these women were prime MIPS, which means that it was their first baby. And the other six had breastfeeding experience with their previous single babies. The gestational age for these twins ranged between 33 and 39 weeks all were born by cesarean delivery, which Whew, okay, that might be a topic for another day. So the actual age range of these twins was between two and 24 months. Most of these babies were hospitalized from two days to four weeks after birth. And five of them are discharged from the hospital at the same time as their mother. So here's what some families advice to future families who plan to breastfeed their twins had to say. So one mom in this study her name was I think he would say this fat to mom. She said, I suggest someone to help them. With breastfeeding and housework. It is impossible to be a working mother and twins mother psychological help is necessary. Another mom in this study, she was listed as ACB. She said they should be given milk as long as they can mine were ill frequently after I ceased breastfeeding, there must be a helper with them. So many were quoted as saying that they felt like their milk was not enough for two babies. They many of them said that they were also not encouraged about the adequacy of their milk by health care professionals. There. If their babies were crying and restless, they often just interpreted that as Oh, I don't have enough milk for my baby. Now we know that a mother's milk production is a matter of supply and demand and milk production and mothers have twin babies can be enough for both of the babies.
One pro tip that I really liked from this study, they mentioned that it's smart to switch breasts and not permanently keep one twin on the right and the other on the left. This is because each twin will have a different strength of suck. So switching breasts, every other feed, or at least every 24 hours is something that I tell the families that I work with can be super helpful. So in conclusion, what they found from this study basically is that women who expect or have multiple babies need much more support and guidance. And their other conclusion from the study was partial breastfeeding is better than no ma There's smoke at all. I thought that was so insightful. So let me introduce today's podcast guest to you today. She is a mom of twins. Her name is Shelly. She's from twin mom guide. She has an online twin breastfeeding course. So I'm telling you she is an expert on this topic she does in person and virtual twin lactation consultations. She is a registered nurse and IBCLC. She's a twin mom and a mom of a singleton. She's the creator of the twin mom guide. And she is on Instagram at Twin mom guide. I will link that in the show notes. But before we get to all that, let me turn the time over to Shelley she is going to share her top three tips for you when it comes to breastfeeding twins. Here she is.
Hello to the Breezy Babies community. And thank you to Bri for having me. It is such an honor to be here today to share my top three tips for breastfeeding twins. My name is Shelly and honestly after 12 years of marriage, I still have no idea how to correctly pronounce my last name. I am a mom to a set of wonderfully wild fraternal twin boys and an equally wonderfully wild singleton little girl. I am the creator of twin mom guide, a website and Instagram dedicated to educating, encouraging and supporting twin moms. And I'm also the creator of twin mom guide to breastfeeding twins, an online twin breastfeeding course empowering you to breastfeed your twins with confidence and joy. I have been a registered nurse for 12 years now. And I spent the last eight of those years working almost exclusively with breastfeeding families. I have been an IBCLC for just over two years now. But my journey to becoming an IBCLC started six years ago, I had been working in maternal child health with breastfeeding families for four years at the time when I had found out that I was pregnant for the very first time with not one but two babies talk about a huge surprise. Breastfeeding my twins was so incredibly important to me. And I immediately did a deep dive into the world of breastfeeding twins. And much to my frustration, my search came up a little dry and disappointing. I was unable to find any really solid, reliable, practical, tangible information on breastfeeding twins. And to make a very long story quite brief. I welcomed my paternal twin boys. And we had numerous breastfeeding struggles in that early postpartum period that were unfortunately even further compounded by medical professionals who did not have the experience in supporting twin mothers in breastfeeding. But thankfully, because of my strong background in breastfeeding, education and support, I knew which information to ignore, and I was able to navigate through the challenges that we faced. And I'm super proud to say I exclusively breastfed our twin boys for two years when my milk supply disappeared literally overnight during the end of my second trimester with our Singleton. So when I returned to work after the birth of my twins, I soon became the go to for supporting twin moms wanting to breastfeed and I realized very quickly that my experience was a very common one. Twin moms who wanted to breastfeed were just not adequately supported by the medical professionals around them. And they needed help and deserved help. So I took my experience as a registered nurse working with breastfeeding families and my personal experiences of breastfeeding twin mom and combined those passions along with becoming an ibclc along the way to create the resources that I wanted and needed and the resources that twin moms deserve. So for the purpose of this podcast, I've taken my years of experience working with twin families and I've tried my very best to condense it into three really solid tips for breastfeeding twins. So let's dive in. Tip number one is prenatal education and support. So my first tip is to invest in breastfeeding education and support during your pregnancy. Taking a breastfeeding class during your pregnancy is proven to increase your chances of meeting your feeding goals. So I highly encourage any mom who wants to breastfeed their baby to invest in quality breastfeeding education prenatally, and especially for twin moms to invest in twin specific breastfeeding education. So twin specific breastfeeding education like twin mom guide to breastfeeding twins not only covers the basics of breastfeeding, but also the unique challenges that twin families often faced and how to be prepared to tackle those challenges. As I tell all of my students and the moms that I serve in my private practice, knowledge is power. And one of the most powerful things that you can do during your pregnancy is to learn about breastfeeding. So I also highly recommend a prenatal lactation consultation with an IBCLC during your pregnancy, preferably after you have done a twin breastfeed. In course, I recommend twin moms meet with an IBCLC as early as 26 to 28 weeks. And for sure at the beginning of your third trimester because approximately 60% of twins are born premature. So now you may be wondering why do both a twin breastfeeding course and have her prenatal consultation? And if you're wondering that that's an amazing question. A twin breastfeeding course, is excellent for learning all the knowledge of breastfeeding twins. But a prenatal consultation is all about addressing the circumstances that are unique to you, and your pregnancy and your twins. So now let's do a really quick review of what a typical twin prenatal breastfeeding consultation should include. So we are first and foremost going to define your feeding goals. Next, we would go over the twin breastfeeding essentials which I do have a free download available and I will give read the link for her show notes. talking all about pumping in need for possible supplementation helping you to select a pump going over flange sizing and how to set up your pump. PS don't be like me and frantically be trying to set up your pump when you are three days postpartum and have two screaming newborns, not an ideal situation. We're going to talk about hand expression prenatally and during the postpartum period, most importantly, creating a personalized twin breastfeeding plan covering multiple birth scenarios. discussing your previous breastfeeding experiences if you've had any, completing a health history and reviewing any medications or supplements that you're currently taking, discussing possible challenges or concerns that you were worried about when it comes to breastfeeding your twins. And, most importantly, answering any and all of your questions or concerns that you have about breastfeeding twins, we want to give you confidence and that you leave this prenatal constant prenatal consultation feeling prepared and confident to breastfeed your twins. So now, tip number two is postpartum lactation support. So postpartum Lactation Support is incredibly beneficial to the breastfeeding relationship. And in the case of twins, not only are we supporting a mom learning to breastfeed two very different babies. But twins may also have additional breastfeeding challenges associated with prematurity, low birth weight, hypoglycemia, etc. So my biggest piece of advice with postpartum Lactation Support is Do not be afraid to seek a second opinion, especially if the recommendations being given to you do not make sense to or won't help you to get closer to your feeding goals. Again, that is why it is so important that we educate ourselves during our pregnancy so we can advocate for ourselves and for our twins if we find ourselves in less than helpful situations. But ideally, you will have connected with a wonderful IBCLC during your pregnancy and the IBCLC is aware of your feeding goals and you have plans in place to work towards meeting your feeding goals. So typically what twins and the things that we're working on postpartum with breastfeeding. Number one is positioning and latching and ensuring that both babies are nursing effectively at the breast and effectively removing milk. So we are working with two very different babies and we want to make sure that they are both latching well. So that is why I recommend that we nurse each baby individually in the beginning before attempting tandem breastfeeding. So breastfeeding both babies at the same time, because we really want to make sure that both twins are latching well, before we move on to the learned skill of tandem nursing. Now with latching and milk removal often comes in triple feeding. So triple feeding is when you're nursing the babies at the breast and then pumping and then supplementing often with express breast milk. So triple feeding is quite common with twins typically in relation to their prematurity and even twins who are born at the 36-37 week mark. Some of them may not have the coordination to effectively nurse at the breast and remove the milk needed to grow and gain weight and all of those things. So triple feeding is quite common with twins. Triple feeding is a short term feeding method to help us get towards our feeding goals. So triple feeding again is usually introduced if the twins are not removing milk effectively from the breast on their own. Or if we need to increase mom's milk supply or in some situations we're working towards both of those goals. So again, triple feedings should never be a long term situation or a long term feeding solution. And if you are triple feeding ensure that you are working with an IBCLC towards your feeding goals. And then the big thing that most twin moms want to learn about is tandem nursing. So breastfeeding both babies at the same time. So again, I I encourage moms to wait to attempt tandem nursing until we know that both babies are nursing well. Tandem Breastfeeding can take some time to work towards for a lot of twin moms. So when learning to tandem breastfeed, it's always helpful if you have a an extra set of hands around to help with positioning and latching the babies in those early days and I do typically recommend using a twin breastfeeding pillow.
One question that I'm commonly asked is, which baby do latch first and that's a fabulous question. So when learning to tandem breastfeed, I find the most success is latching the stronger latching baby first. So once that baby who has the better latch is latched on first, you can then work with the baby who requires more assistance latching and then typically the twin who is the stronger latch or is able to maintain their latch while you are working with the twin who needs a little more help. And then the bonus of that is the twin with a good latch, who's already latched on in nursing at the breast is going to trigger the letdown for the twin who may be having a bit more trouble at the breast. So some twin moms have found the opposite, where they find it easier to latch the baby who's having more difficulty first and then latch the stronger nursing twin. But for the vast majority of the families I've worked with in private practice, they find that nursing the strong meaning stronger nursing twin first is more successful when learning to tandem nurse. So twin moms wanting to breastfeed can expect a few lactation visits postpartum to meet their feeding goals. And if you are having any trouble, or any challenges, please don't wait. If you're experiencing troubles, it's best to seek help. Right away the earlier the better. There are so many IBCLCs out there who are more than happy to help so please if you are experiencing trouble, don't wait. Just reach out. We are so happy to help. Okay, now Tip Tip number three is Postpartum Support. So establishing breastfeeding in those early weeks postpartum with two babies is literally a full time job like full time and overtime. In order for twin moms to invest that time in establishing the breastfeeding relationship, I strongly recommend lining up Postpartum Support. So your priorities in those early days and weeks we'll be spending lots of time skin to skin with your twins working on latching. We're pumping if you're pumping as well and establishing a milk supply for two babies and arresting, growing two babies and then producing milk for two babies while recovering from delivery is a lot of work on your body. So Postpartum Support will look different in each family depending on the needs of your family and the resources that you have available to you. Some families may be able to budget during pregnancy and save for hired help, such as a postpartum doula. But if paid help is not an option for your family. That's okay recruit family, friends, neighbors or community support. So again, everything comes back to pregnancies set up postpartum help during your pregnancy if able and be very specific and the help that you ask for. There is a big difference in saying I would love help when the twins come versus it would be so helpful if you could bring us a meal on Monday or I would really appreciate if you could come entertain our toddler for a few hours on a Saturday morning. So some examples of some help that is available to you postpartum. Again, you could hire a postpartum doula or a housekeeper. But again, if those if that's not an option, that's okay recruit family and friends. They can help with washing and sterilizing pump and bottle parts, grocery shopping or meal delivery meal prep. Perhaps someone can organize the meal train on your behalf. Nutrition is so important for postpartum healing and for milk production. So I highly encourage any new parent any new mom to have a meal train organized on your behalf. Family and friends can help with household chores, laundry, child care for older children caring for pets, if you have any. So think about what would be so helpful to you and your family once your twins arrive. and start making arrangements for that help. So in conclusion, breastfeeding twins is very possible, but most one moms will require a good amount of support to reach their goals. So I highly recommend investing in prenatal lactation support such as twin specific breastfeeding course and a prenatal lactation consultation. And then when your twins arrive, investing in postpartum lactation support, and then finally arranging for postpartum support in general so that you are able to focus on establishing breastfeeding with your twins. Thank you again breathe for allowing me to share about breastfeeding twins. You can find me on Instagram at Twin mom guide and at Twin mom I am so incredibly passionate about helping and supporting twin moms to reach their breastfeeding goals. So please reach out with any questions at all. I am here to help. It is possible to breastfeed your twins with confidence and joy. There you have it isn't Shelly so great. She has been a fun Instagram acquaintance turned friend and I love being able to talk with her and like I said she is really an expert. She has lived this with breastfeeding twins and I really appreciated her coming and sharing those top three tips with all of you today. If you would like to check out her twin mom guide, I will link an affiliate link in the show notes. You can go and check it out. I'm telling you if you are expecting twins You recently had twins, Shelly would be an excellent person to meet with this really is her her area of expertise. She also has graciously shared a free twin breastfeeding checklist with us. I will also link that in the show notes. And I know that Shelley just said these but I'm gonna say it again because we all have some Mom Brain that her top three tips for today was number one, take a twin specific breastfeeding class while you're still pregnant then meet with an IBCLC in your second trimester. Tip number two was postpartum lactation support. Because you have two different babies that need individualized care start with nursing one at a time, then move on to tandem nursing. Her pro tip from this was latched the stronger baby first because this triggers a letdown for the baby who was still learning her tip number three was you will need help. Organize help before your babies come from family friends, your community. Her pro tip from this was be specific about the help you need. For example, it would be so helpful if you could bring us dinner on Monday. Thank you. So good. And thank you, Shelly again for being a guest on today's podcast episode. So helpful. Again, I will link everything for Shelley in the show notes. Thank you so much for coming and listening. And if this was helpful, please share this with a friend especially if you have a friend who is going to be having twins are recently had twins. This would be so helpful for them. Of course I'm gonna leave you with you are strong. You're smart. You're beautiful. You're a good friend. I'll see you next week. If you would like more help check us out at It's the happy place for boobs and babies, where you can take an online workshop on topics from breastfeeding to baby gas. Learn baby massage, get a pumping plan before returning to work and even get one on one lactation help from our IBCLCs we meet with families both in home and also all over the world via secure video and guess what? These lactation consultations might even be covered by your insurance. Click the link in the show notes or visit breezy to see if you qualify. Also connect with us at breezy babies on Instagram and YouTube.


  • Intro to this episode. 0:00
    • Welcome to the breezy babies podcast.
    • Breastfeeding twins burnout is real.
  • Breezy Babies business coaching. 1:26
    • New and exciting offering on, business coaching.
    • Use telehealth consultation for business coaching
  • Introduction to today’s topic. 3:44
    • Introduction to the topic of breastfeeding twins.
    • Study from 2013, breastfeeding twins, a qualitative study.
    • Importance of breastfeeding for premature twins.
    • Advice for families who plan to breastfeed their twins.
  • A mother’s milk production is a matter of supply and demand. 8:05
    • Psychological help is necessary for a working mother.
    • Switching breasts every other feed.
  • Introductions and introduction. 10:04
    • Welcome to the show, shaoli.
    • Shaoli introduces herself and shares her top three tips.
    • My journey to becoming an ibclc.
    • Three solid tips for breastfeeding twins.
  • Tip 1: Invest in prenatal breastfeeding education. 13:52
    • Invest in breastfeeding education and support during pregnancy.
    • Prenatal lactation consultation.
  • Tip 2: Postpartum lactation. 16:00
    • Create a personalized twin breastfeeding plan.
    • Provide postpartum lactation support.
  • Breastfeeding tips for twins. 18:14
    • Positioning, latching and removing milk for both babies.
    • Triple feeding and tandem nursing.
    • Latching the strong-latching baby first.
    • Which baby to latch first.
  • Set up postpartum support. 22:38
    • Set up postpartum support during pregnancy.
    • Postpartum meal train for new moms.
  • Breastfeeding with twins. 25:00
    • Shelly shares her top three tips for breastfeeding twins.
    • Take a twin specific breastfeeding class.
    • Start with nursing one baby at a time.
    • Shelly's pro tip, be specific.

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