Breastfeeding Multiples: It Can Be Done

Linda K. Bennington, PhD, RN


NAINR. 2011;11(4):194-197. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


The recognition of the benefits of breastfeeding and the perils of formula feeding makes it incumbent upon the nursing profession to become knowledgeable in the realm of evidence-based care for all breastfeeding women. This is even more apparent with the rise in the number of multiple births and the potential subsequent sequelae that frequently arises from multiple gestations, that is, preterm births. Breastfeeding organizations such as La Leche League promote and support breastfeeding for women with multiple births. The aim of this article is to address those issues that hinder a mother's desire to breastfeed her twins, triplets, or even quadruplets. The numerous benefits of breastfeeding are elucidated together with guidelines for the health care professional to use in assisting the breastfeeding mother.


Virtually all mothers can breastfeed one or more infants, provided that they have correct information and the support of their family, the health care system, and society at large. Nurses have an important influence on infant feeding decisions and maternal postpartum care; therefore, it is vital that they have the basic knowledge and skills to provide advice, assist in solving feeding problems, and know when and where to refer a mother who experiences more complex feeding difficulties. This article will provide insight on the importance of human milk and the methods that facilitate breastfeeding multiples together with practical tips for problematic times.

The World Health Organization and UNICEF began their campaign to support breastfeeding with the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative in 1989 and followed it with the adoption of the Global Strategy for infant and young child feeding in 2002.[1] More recently, the American Academy of Pediatrics has come out with a policy on breastfeeding and use of human milk, "Extensive research using improved epidemiological methods and modern laboratory techniques documents diverse and compelling advantages for infants, mothers, families, and society from breastfeeding and use of human milk for infant feeding. These advantages include health, nutritional, immunologic, developmental, psychological, social, economic, and environmental benefits".[2(p496)]


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