I’m sure first-time parents will agree that taking care of a newborn baby is challenging. For instance, it is hard to guess what their cry means. Are they hungry, in pain, or uncomfortable? But the challenges double when you have twins, particularly when one of them gets sick. Here are some important things you’ll need to know when breastfeeding your twins during this time.
It’s a natural question to ask for a mom “should I continue breastfeeding if one of my twins gets sick”. Lots of questions will arise such as disruption of routine, will they both get enough milk if one twin doesn’t want to feed leading to worries over supply. Generally, experts advise mothers to continue breastfeeding twins with your usual routine if one twin gets sick. Here are some tips and advice during this often stressful time.
Advantages of Continuing to Breastfeed
It is known that breast milk can adapt to the virus or bacteria to which the mother was exposed. By allowing the sick twin to continue breastfeeding, the mother will develop antibodies to help combat the illness. These antibodies will help the sick twin recover quickly and also provide protection for the other twin from becoming ill.
That being said there are lots of things to consider when breastfeeding your twins when one is sick. You may be wondering how to maintain the right amount of milk, how to check if your sick baby is getting enough breast milk, or if you need to take extra steps to prevent the spread of the illness. Here is a guide that will help during this challenging time.
How to maintain your milk supply when one breastfeeding twin is sick
If one of the twins got sick, there’s a high probability that the other twin will get sick too. That’s why it’s important to strengthen their immunity by giving them your breastmilk. Breast milk has all the nutrition and immune factors your babies need for optimal health.
Sick babies tend to nurse more frequently and a lot of the time find comfort at the breast. The sick twin may also stay at the breast longer for comfort feeding. Don’t worry, this is typical of sick babies and will also help maintain your milk supply for both of your babies.
Taking care of sick babies can often be a stressful time. Often, your own health may be compromised, and this may affect your breastmilk supply. Here is a guide for moms to continue producing enough breastmilk for their babies during this critical time:
Eat nourishing food
You don’t need a detailed explanation to follow this advice. It is important to eat healthy food so your body is in the best form to protect itself against illnesses. Stress and sleepless nights can lower your defenses, particularly taking care of twins. Drinking plenty of water and nutritious meals will help keep you well while also helping maintain your milk supply.
Get some rest
Looking after a sick baby often means having to get up multiple times during the night. However, your body needs to rest and recharge sufficiently for the day ahead. Ask your partner to take turns taking care of your babies. Keep in mind that a good sleep will help your body to function well.
Continue breastfeeding on demand
Remember, your milk supply will always depend on the rule of supply and demand. To maintain enough milk supply for your twins, promptly respond to the hunger cues from your twins. If your baby is sleepier than usual, offer your breast whenever she wakes and check if she wants to nurse.
Pump excess breast milk
In times of illness, your baby may refuse to feed at his usual time. Whenever you feel uncomfortably full, and one or both twins don’t feel the need to nurse right away, you can express your milk manually or using a breast pump. Not only that, you’ll feel more comfortable; it is also an essential step to keep your milk supply up.
How to check if your twins are getting enough milk?
In the beginning, when you first started to breastfeed your twins, you may have been worrying were they getting enough milk. As mentioned earlier, breast milk production depends on your babies’ demand. A mom of twins can produce plenty of milk for her twins, even it times of illness. However, here are some reassuring signs your babies are getting enough breastmilk.
• Their mouth became moist after nursing.
• Your babies are gaining weight.
• They wet five to six nappies a day, but wet nappies should feel slightly heavier. However, take note that wet diapers alone are not enough to assume that your twins are getting adequate milk.
• You can see and hear your twins swallowing when you’re nursing them.
• You will notice that your breasts feel softer after feeds.
• Your twins seem satisfied and active when they are awake.
• Their cheeks remain rounded, not sunken during breastfeeding.
• They appear quiet and relaxed when nursing.
• Their poops are a soft, yellow, mustard color.
Special precautions in breastfeeding sick twins
Though continuous breastfeeding is normally advised, there are some exceptions to this rule. One example is if one twin gets oral thrush. Thrush can easily spread to the mother’s nipple and infect the other twin. Other serious infections may also need special precautions while breastfeeding.
Given these conditions, it is important to consult your pediatrician once you notice that your baby shows signs and symptoms of an illness. Your doctor can prescribe the proper medication and advice about how to continue breastfeeding or giving breast milk to your little ones. If it’s a highly contagious illness, the doctor might also give the other twin a preventive medicine along with the necessary hygiene and sanitation practices to prevent the spread of infection within your home.
As the saying goes, the more the merrier. That’s why having twins is like doubling the blessing, cuteness, joy, and workloads. Being a mom of twins can be difficult when one gets sick. But don’t worry! With the right knowledge and support, you’ll soon get through this challenging time.