Moms Who Pump and Formula Feed?

Jasmine - posted on 11/08/2010 ( 191 moms have responded )

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I am wanting to pump and formula feed my twins when they come, i dont know anything about it. Could you please tell me how you went about it and anything else that could help, im so confused about it and i really want to do it, i just dont see how it can work. I also have a 14 month old to take care of.

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Jackie - posted on 11/11/2010

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Hi Jasmine. I used an electronic pump for my last 2 boys and it was great. Easy to use and no more than 15 minutes at a time. Then bottle fed the breast milk to my boys. A girlfriend of mine used a double pump which might make more sense for you, if you're having twins. Good luck.

Linda - posted on 11/11/2010

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Hi Jasmine, I breastfed and pumped for my twins until they were 3 months old and started supplementing with formula after that. I have to say, for me, it was far easier to breast feed twins than to bottle feed them and it also takes a lot longer as some of the other moms have said. With breastfeeding you just latch them on and away they go whereas with bottlefeeding/pumping you have to pump, then feed, burp, change them and then wash the pump, bottles and teats and sterilise them, and with another child that just seems like time wasted that you could be resting or spending with your 14 month old.
Tandem feeding is easier than it looks, my twins were born 6 weeks early and were in NICU for 3 weeks but the nurses were really supportive and excellent at teaching me what I had to do.
Just curious, what did you do with your 14 month old? Cause if it worked, why change?
Whatever you decide, I hope it works out for you and good luck. Twins are hard work but so worth it.

Jane - posted on 11/10/2010

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I pumped for my triplets for 2 years and, due to accumulated milk in our deep freeze, they had expressed breast milk until they were almost 2 1/2. It is absolutely not an easy thing to do and I really don't think I could have done it at all if I hadn't had some outside help. I also think that I was at least a little obsessed and crazy to have not only done it, but done it for that long. When my triplets were almost four, I had our singleton. He has always breastfed and IT IS SO MUCH EASIER! Had I been able to successfully bf my triplets, I would have saved MASSIVE amounts of time that could have been spent doing many other things! BFing twins is certainly possible and I would highly recommend trying that route if it is at all possible. If not, and you want more information about providing expressed breast milk for multiple infants (or, at least, my experiences with it), I kept notes, thinking/hoping that they might be helpful to someone else with triplets. Please email me if I can help.

Michelle - posted on 11/10/2010

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I think it is impossible to make a decision on anything and rather live in the moment. You will figure out what works best for you and babies, so just enjoy the pregnancy. I did a combo of all three based on one twin who latched easily and one who took a little more work to latch. I almost exclusively breast fed one and did my best with the other. Good luck In whatever works best

Kate CP - posted on 11/10/2010

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"It's very helpful espcially with twins. I did both with my 3rd and I wish I would have done it with the other 2. I advise you to do both it's very very helpful especially with twins. Breastfeeding is a very beautiful experience and bonding time. The pump will hurt sometimes but gets all the milk out especially if you produce alot of milk because that hurts and if you get very engorged give you back pain and fever. Also our milk is watery with the formula I suggest that you put rice ceareal. The cereal will fill the baby up a little and not feel hungry. I tell you this because my oldest was always hungry and I produce milk for about 3 months only. You need to keep a really healthy diet and eat well to produce milk. Good Luck! Oh by the way get ready to work twins do everything at the sametime ex. eat, go to bathroom and cry but your going to have so much fun with them. Enjoy them."

DO NOT add cereal to formula or breast milk ESPECIALLY for a newborn! Their bodies cannot handle the difficult task of digesting it AND the cereal is not nutritionally beneficial at all. It's nothing but empty calories AND it's a choking hazard.

Chenoa - posted on 11/10/2010

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Give your babies the best chance. Breast milk is best. Buy an awesome dbl pump.

Jamie - posted on 11/10/2010

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This was years ago, but I pumped using an electric one to feed my preemies. I didn't have much luck with a hand one. One of our children was transported 160 mi. away, so I froze the milk and would deliver it once a week. There are even breast milk banks in some areas. The milk can mean so much to a child, esp. a preemie. The antibodies it provides are wonderful. Good luck with your twins.

Kathy - posted on 11/10/2010

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I was not able to get my daughter to breastfeed. I ended up pumping every four hours and freezing the milk once I got a good supply going. An electric pump was wonderful! I would mix the breast milk with the formula. If I needed a 4 oz bottle and the baggie of breast milk only had 3oz, I would mix in 2oz of formula (easiest to make 2oz with powder formula). It worked out well. I did this for 4 weeks. I will admit it is tiresome. Another thing you can do is breast feed the babies and if they are still hungry, supplement with the formula. My friend did this and it worked out very very well for her and her twins. Good luck!

Caterina - posted on 11/10/2010

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So much will depend on how you feel and the rhythm of your life. You may be blessed with so much milk that pumping may be easy or you may want to try breastfeeding and like that too.
It's wonderful to start with a plan, then let instinct and your feelings guide you. Best wishes.

Markita - posted on 11/10/2010

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I personally found pumping exhausting and I never got very much. I once spent an hour pumping and only got 1 oz. I did however nurse my son until he was 2, so there wasn't any issue with supply. Is there a reason you're not wanting to breast feed? Or am I missing something? Pumping is A LOT of work, if you can breast feed it might make your job easier. Having twins is a challenge in itself, no need to add anything else in there. Good luck and know that whatever you decide will be the right thing for you.

Susan - posted on 11/10/2010

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I pumped and formula fed my triplets. The best advice I can give you is to do the best you can and don't sweat it.
It all depends on how little your babies are when they are born and how much milk you produce. It would be best to put them on the breast as soon as you can and as much as you can and then top them off with formula. My girls were very little so they didn't have the suction to really do the job of making my milk come in so I struggled for the whole time. The good news is that if you are ready to formula feed, then the night time feedings won't be so hard.
Do not worry about "nipple confusion" - my girls looked at the bottle and my breast as if it was chicken or steak. They got the idea that it was food no matter where - they preferred breast but formula was just fine too.

The main thing is to have healthy growing children.

Helen - posted on 11/10/2010

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I had trouble breast feeding my twins as one was always difficult to latch on so I would end up spending a good hour trying to get her to feed while her sister was there crying cos she was hungry too! I only once managed to feed both at the same time, though I loved it! After a couple of weeks I started to pump for the more difficult one and breast feed the easier one, which made the actual feeding easier but it was ridiculously time consuming! That time when the babies are asleep and you are supposed to be resting, you spend pumping! I was told the best time to pump was half hour after feeding, so my routine would go... breast feed for half hour... bottle feed for half hour ... change nappies... rest for 5 minutes... pump for half hour... have something to eat (if I was lucky and the babies weren't crying)... then back to the feeding again. I started to get so stressed with breast feeding that I would pump for both of them, which did mean that I could feed them both at the same time but I was spending a good 45 mins-1hr at a time pumping, which never worked as well when I was tired and I would get stressed that I wasn't getting enough milk... Anyway I found it really difficult and went on to formula after 6 weeks which made life much much easier and I knew that at least they had had the best start with my breast milk. They are now 10 months old, and sometimes I do wonder if I should have kept at it, life is so much easier and we are in more of a routine, I would love to be breast feeding again but can't go back!

basically you have to decide what is best for you, don't let anyone pressurise you or make you feel guilty because you're not doing what they would do. I found pumping too difficult to keep it up but you could be better at it than me :)

Misty - posted on 11/10/2010

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I nursed and pumped for the first nine months of my twins life but partly because they were in NICU for 65 days. It is easier to nurse than pump but when I returened to work I had to pump and my twins needed extra calories so they got formula mixed with breastmilk when I wasn't with them. I would double football hold them and keep them on the same schedule if you pump or not. That way it isn't as time consuming for you to take care of your other child. BTW I ended up nursing my twins until they were 15 months so you can do if you want to but pumping is too time consuming. Good Luck!

Patricia - posted on 11/10/2010

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for me the difference between breast feeding and bottle feeding was like the difference between being in love and like. breast feeding will keep your supply. i had formula for emergencies like if the baby didn't seem to have enough food to sleep. lactation consultants are good but la leche league lactation consultants are wonderful! lots of luck! enjoy your twins.

Stephanie - posted on 11/10/2010

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My first piece of advise is "Do not feel guilty about including formula in their diets." My first child I was strictly breast milk for the first 4 months. I found it very difficult to continue this with my second child. I pumped as often as possible but it is difficult to produce enough milk, so I mixed formula in with the bottle. "Experts" may not agree, but my second child is more healthy than my first. My opinion is that as long as they are getting nutrients from the breast milk, they will benefit.

My recommendation would be to breast feed/pump as much as possible (especially to keep the milk flowing), but add pre-mixed formula to the bottles when necessary. You could keep a little pitcher of formula in the frig then "top off" the bottles. If they babies are hungry, they will eat it!

Good luck, and I hope this helped.

Julia - posted on 11/10/2010

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I exclusively breast fed my twins (at the same time). They are now 3 years old, and the benefits of breastfeeding were worth it. Formula was not an option with my twins, It might be a little harder with a 14 month old, but with the right amount of help the first few weeks it can be done. I only pumped when we were traveling simply because it needed done, my daughters refused to take a bottle for anything (which in the long run made things easier). It was a rough start trying to get the breast feeding going and on a regular schedule, but once we were one it, I kept a log of who nursed which breast and how long the suckled. Once we got on a schedule and a routine of feeding them both at the same time, things smoothed out and became easier. Speaking with a lactation specialist is a good idea and I hope that you find a solution that works for you and your life style. What works for one mom, isn't always the best for another, but it is a starting point for trying though. There are books, sites, and support groups out there that are amazing help. The support group that I had was amazing and kept me on track with the goals that I set for myself and my twins. Again Good luck in your choice!

Aubrey - posted on 11/10/2010

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If its possible I would def. try breast feeding. Pumping is very time consuming. I pump for my 8 month old and have been pumping for her since she was 3 days old when we found out why she wasn't able to breastfeed. And with pumping (at least for me) the milk supply goes down really fast. I am only about able to get 3oz total every 3 hours. If got enough milk I probably would stop supplementing formula now that our little girl is a little bigger. I had to do formula after 3 months because our little girl just wasn't putting weight on well. She is still a little peanut. I have thought many times about not pumping anymore because its hard, after about doing it for 6 months it kinda got easier (finally got into a routine) But I am still pumping because our little girl goes in for surgery in January and breast milk helps the healing process so I am trying to at least wait until after that.
Its your choice what you want to do, You will know what is best for your little ones better than anyone else. Good luck!

Rebecca - posted on 11/10/2010

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As a mum of twins, the only time I had time to pump was when they were in SCBU in hospital for 3 weeks, as soon as they came home we were BFall the time and topping up with formula if milk supply was low. I did manage to get the hang of BF them both at the same time - a god send and well worth persevering with! I did this for 4.5 months. If I was a "singleton" Mum, I would look to pump to replace the formula top up and to enable baby to be fed by Daddy and/or others and get used to the bottle as well as breast.

Patty - posted on 11/10/2010

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I did both, I would feed my twins and pump when I was done feeding them. It was very time consuming so if it ends up being too stressful, do what ever is easiest. Your twins will be wonderfully nourished what ever route you take. If I could do it over, I'd of been more relaxed and less stressed. It's such a precious time and should not be wasted stressing about breast milk vs. formula....

Brenda - posted on 11/10/2010

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It's very helpful espcially with twins. I did both with my 3rd and I wish I would have done it with the other 2. I advise you to do both it's very very helpful especially with twins. Breastfeeding is a very beautiful experience and bonding time. The pump will hurt sometimes but gets all the milk out especially if you produce alot of milk because that hurts and if you get very engorged give you back pain and fever. Also our milk is watery with the formula I suggest that you put rice ceareal. The cereal will fill the baby up a little and not feel hungry. I tell you this because my oldest was always hungry and I produce milk for about 3 months only. You need to keep a really healthy diet and eat well to produce milk. Good Luck! Oh by the way get ready to work twins do everything at the sametime ex. eat, go to bathroom and cry but your going to have so much fun with them. Enjoy them.

[deleted account]

My sister just had twins they are 3 months old now, she breast feeds them and supplements with an occasional bottle of formula. I don't think you'll have time to pump that's double the work and with twins it's quadruple the work, pumping takes forever and then you have to feed them also. If you nurse them it's all done at once. My sister has 3 month old twins and a 2 year old, it is really hard for her. I wish you all the best and bottom line do what you need to do to be a happy mom for those little ones.

Katena - posted on 11/09/2010

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I had to formula feed to summplement my little one. In my opionion pumping is much harder work . we eventually went to formula because I was not producing enough. Good luck

Jennifer - posted on 11/09/2010

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Dora, yes nasty stuff can find its way into moms milk but even as your 2nd source states (your first link didn't work for me), breastfeeding is still the safest, and healthiest option. when you say "The only thing that a lot of women don't realize is that if you are going to breast feed/pump you really need to watch your diet as quite a bit of things pass through breast milk" and don't elaborate any further, that could take a woman considering breastfeeding and push her towards a much riskier foodsource: formula. sure, it would be awesome if we could all live a completely toxin free life but its just not possible and a childs best defense against those toxins is Mother's Milk.

i'm sure you are aware that cigarrettes are full of toxins, and carcinogens. studies have shown that even the milk of a chain smoking mother is still the safest and healthiest option for a baby/child. this should speak volumes.

Jessie - posted on 11/09/2010

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I currently pump for my almost 6mo old baby girl. I have been since day 1. She was born 6wks early and in the nicu for 3 wks. I just got used to pumping and felt alot better seeing how much she was eating and being able to keep track with it. It is very time consuming. I started out pumping every 3hrs, day and night for about the first month maybe month and a half. I was producing tons more than she could eat. So i was able to freeze alot. I have the medela pump n style. I had rented the hospital grade for a week after i got home, then went to the pump i had. Within about a week i noticed my production going down quickly. So i have had the medela symphony ever since. I pay the hospital $75/ month for 2 months then the 3rd month its only $40. I have well over a 2 month supply frozen. I have been pumping only 2x/day for the last 3 months. I still get about 30oz a day. My max was about 48oz in a single day. My baby has been eating cereal and solids since she was 4 months old. So right now, she is only eating 20 oz of breast milk a day. She has already almost tripled her birth weight of 6.4lbs. So i know shes definitely getting enough. Currently i am thawing about 15oz a day, just to cycle thru stock. I dont want it to get too old. I was much easier going with my son, but i didn't have any luck with breast feeding with him. I had no clue what i was doing, had a horrible pump(but i didn't know it at the time), and didnt have good instruction from the hospital. Once my daughter came home, i did let her breast feed and she did great with it. But i was always paranoid she wasnt getting enough. And then once she started clamping down i stopped completely as she would only breast feed once a day by that point. I spend a while pumping, as i only do it 2x/day, but i wouldnt have it any other way. I can tell if i havent had enough to drink as the next day my supply will be lower. Just keep drinking...alot:) Good luck, and if for whatever reason it doesn't work out for you to pump or breast feed, don't blame yourself. Know you tried and that is what is important. I got depressed with my son because it didnt work out and i had such high expectations, and didnt think for a second that it was n't going to happen. This time, even tho my baby was in the nicu for 3 wks, i never got depressed, not even baby blues. Also, my hospital rental, anythng i needed for the rental, and bras are all cheaper at the hospital than say babies r us. Good luck!

Tina - posted on 11/09/2010

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Try to avoid pumping if you can...

Especially with twins you will be 100% more efficient to just latch them on...in the beginning you'd have to pump every 3 hrs to get your supply regulated...and then you have to feed the babies with said milk...and then you have to wash bottles and pump parts...and burp...and diaper...and repeat...I pumped for one kid for 9 mths and I would not do it again! By the time I went to see a Lactation consultant that helped me latch DD I had to go back to work...so needless to say nursing never worked out...I'm 100% committed to not washing pump parts the 2nd time around until I go back to work...unless DB 2 magically sleeps through the night and I have to pump ;)

Dora - posted on 11/09/2010

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Jennifer please be advised there are many chemicals that are passed through a woman's breast milk.......Pesticides for example passed through a mom's breast milk to her baby. http://www.organicconsumers.org/toxic/br... In 1992, a study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that meat and dairy products strongly contribute to breastmilk concentrations of dieldrin and PCBs. This same study also found that fish consumption leads to PCB contamination.
http://ecochildsplay.com/2008/11/06/nurs... Persistent organic pollutants, including organochlorine pesticides such as DDT, polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs), polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), tend to become concentrated in the food chain over time. Breastfeeding infants, being at the top of the food chain, receive relatively large doses of contaminants. These chemicals have been detected in human milk: bisphenol A, polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), hexachlorobenzene, and the cyclodiene pesticides, including dieldrin, heptachlor, and chlordane. The persistent residues of many banned substances are still found in mother’s milk.
This is one of the reasons why a breast feeding woman should really watch what they are putting into their bodies because is can take an amazing source of superior food and turn it into something that can cause toxins in a baby's system. I still believe in breast feeding just do your research and be smart about it for you and your babies. Also Jasmine one thing I forgot to add that is a plus for pumping is that your loved ones can help out with the feedings if you need a little extra rest time.

Christi - posted on 11/09/2010

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I wish I had some worldly advice, lol. My son was formula fed from about day two on. I leaked all throughout my pregnancy and got just a little colostrum and that was it. I went to six different lactation specialist and pumped until my breast were raw and never made a drop of milk. From watching my sister in law try to strickly breastfeed, it is hard to hold two kids and breastfeed correctly because let's face it, they are going to be hungry at the same time and unless you have someone else to hold them to your boob for you and monitor their feeding, then pumping and bottle feeding is your best bet.

Sharon - posted on 11/08/2010

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Yeah we were told up to 3mths, but because of our freezer we opted for 4wks, just to be safe. And we were told up to 4days in the fridge, but chose on the 2 days as I was pumping almost double what he needed. :-) Hmmmm didn't know about the room temp thing, lactation nurse never mentioned anything about that, just may have to bring it up with baby #2 I think. But it may have something to do with us living in QLD, australia during a hot & humid summer.

Kate CP - posted on 11/08/2010

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No, it's not. Breast milk is only sustainable in a deep freezer for 6 months. Other than that, abide by the rule of three:
3 hours room temp
3 days in the fridge
3 months in the freezer.

Dawn - posted on 11/08/2010

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To Sharon--breastmilk is actually fine to be frozen for up to 6 months and still be sustainable. Just an FYI :)

Sharon - posted on 11/08/2010

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oh. forgot to mention......
when I started to dry up and I began supplementing with formula I started with the night time bottle being forumla and the others being breast. The morning bottle was the last breast one to go :-)

Sharon - posted on 11/08/2010

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Yep, I agree, very time consuming, but I did it with my son, and I'll do it with #2 who is due in April. I was told to pump BEFORE feeding, ie when he starts wanting food, then feed him what I'd pumped, but that stressed me out too much by having a crying baby and trying to pump at the same time. I'd usually end up in tears too. So I would pump AFTER I fed him (afterall, I was always leaking while feeding him anyway), each and every time. I would warm his milk by sitting his bottle in a hot jug of water.

My process was: 2 baskets in the fridge. 1 for todays milk, 1 for tomorrows milk. Once I had pumped the amount he required for the day I froze any extra and wrote the date I needed to throw it out (4wks later) and how much was in there on the bag. I tried to freeze it in the same size he was eating, although that continually changed in the first few months.

It never took me too long to pump. I'd get about 6oz out of each breast in about 15-20mins max, so I was pretty lucky.
Good luck with whichever way you end up going :-)

Jennifer - posted on 11/08/2010

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dora, he truth is that most breastfeeding moms really don't need to alter their diet at all. while there are foods that can cause gassiness in some babies (such as broccoli), most babies have no trouble with moms diet. even when the milk of a malnourished woman is compared to the milk of a woman in top health, the milk is nutritionally exactly the same. obviously there are things a breastfeeding mother needs to avoid such as drugs, and certain medications but a breastfeeding mother is even able to consume alcohol as safely breastfeed (the rule is that if you are safe to drive, you are safe to breastfeed).

Dora - posted on 11/08/2010

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If you decide to pump try doing it during your childrens down time. It might make it a little easier for you and you won't have any interruptions since it takes an average of 15 minutes if using an electrical pump. I commend you for wanting to at least pump if you can't breast feed. Give it a try and see if it works or you. If it doesn't then don't let anyone try to make you feel bad for formula feeding. I will tell you that breast feeding and pumping are great because of the nutrition factor. The only thing that a lot of women don't realize is that if you are going to breast feed/pump you really need to watch your diet as quite a bit of things pass through breast milk. Good luck with whatever you decide.

Renae - posted on 11/08/2010

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I have a good friend who pumped and bottle fed breast milk for 7 months. She was unable to breastfeed her first baby due to something about the roof of the baby's mouth being higher than normal. (She is now successfully BF-ing her second baby though.) She says that at first it was very hard work, she had to pump several times per day. It takes twice as long to pump the same amount of milk than it does to BF. In fact at 3-4 months old a baby is around 3 times more efficient at extracting milk than a big electric pump. However towards the end she was pumping only twice per day, her body seemed to adjust to the routine and she would pump hundreds of mils every morning and every night. Despite never BF-ing she had a huge milk supply and a freezer full of milk all the time.



If you do this you absolutely need an electric pump. Have a look on the Medela website.



I also dont know that this is something you should plan too much. I personally would just see how things go, see how you find breastfeeding, how long pumping takes you etc and just see how things go - but thats me.

[deleted account]

As a mother of twins I'll tell you something.... I never had TIME to pump. On the occasion that I needed to supplement (had a bit of difficulty in the middle of the night in the beginning) I had to use formula except once or twice when I had managed to not only pump, but also have enough milk pumped.

How you choose to feed your babies is entirely your choice, but honestly.... I'd either do breastmilk from the tap or formula from bottles. Caring for newborn twins is stressful and time consuming enough w/out the hassle of the pump.

Good luck and congratulations!!!

Jennifer - posted on 11/08/2010

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like Jodi, i am also curious as to why you want to pump, and formula feed. the first 6-8 weeks are the hardest part of breastfeeding but with good support, it is possible to successfully breastfeed twins, even triplets, exclusively! and once you get the hang of it, you can nurse both at the same time!



i exclusively pump for my nearly 1 year old son. it is a lot of work, and very time consuming and i wish that i had worked harder to get my son to take the boob. once breastfeeding is well established, it is actually easier than bottle feeding and studies have shown that women who breastfeed, directly from the breast actually get more sleep than moms who bottle feed.



i know that twins are a whole other ballpark and that i have no experience with multiples so here is some info that i've looked up for you...

http://www.llli.org/FAQ/twins.html

http://www.breastfeed.com/resources/arti...

an article from mothering magazine:

http://mothering.com/breastfeeding/two-p...

Katherine - posted on 11/08/2010

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If you're going to pump, just bottle breast feed. There is no reason to add formula unless your supply is low. I had plenty to solely pump and enough to freeze. If you don't THEN supplement with formula.

I agree with Jodi though, I would try the breast first unless you are totally not wanting to and THEN pump. It saves soooo many steps!!

Erin - posted on 11/08/2010

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I pumped and formula fed for 6 weeks.......the truth is that it is VERY time consuming. Wyatt would never latch on to my breast correctly to get any milk out. I would suggest trying to breastfeed them but if it doesn't work out then pump if that's what you feel is best. I would look into getting a good pump, I borrowed mine from a local WIC office and like Jodi said......I would talk to a lactation consultant to start preparing for whatever you decide. Good luck to you!

Jodi - posted on 11/08/2010

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Jasmine, is there a reason you are choosing not to put them to the breast? (I am not saying you are wrong, but pumping is much harder work, IMO, that breastfeeding, so I am just curious).

It may be worth you talking to a lactation consultant in advance to discuss your options, and start preparing for it now :)

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