Topic: Breastfeeding Multiples

Can I breastfeed two or more?

Yes, mothers can absolutely breastfeed more than one baby. Breastfeeding works on a supply and demand basis. The more the breasts are stimulated by suckling the more milk they will produce.

What breastfeeding positions can I use?

There are a variety of breastfeeding positions, all of which may be useful to you. The most common position is the cradle hold, where a baby is cradled in one arm and feeds from the opposite side. For mothers of multiples the rugby hold (also called the football hold) will be the most useful, as it most easily facilitates feeding two babies at a time. Each baby’s side is placed nestled closely against  your side, with your baby’s feet and legs tucked under your arm.

Experiment to see which position(s) suit you best.

Do I feed the babies together or separately?

Once you are comfortable breastfeeding one, you may find that it saves you a lot of time to feed two babies together when at home. This may take a little practice.

If you are feeding triplets you can feed two together and then one separately.

Do I assign each baby a side?

There is no need to assign each baby a side, although if feeding twins you may do so if you wish.

What if my babies arrive early?

The sucking and swallowing reflexes do not fully mature until about 36 weeks of the pregnancy. The baby needs to coordinate the reflexes simultaneously to drink milk. This is known as the ‘sucking – swallowing – breathing’ sequence. If your babies are born before 36 weeks, they may spend time in a Special Care Unit or Intensive Care Unit, and may be unable to breastfeed until they are developmentally ready to do so.

The staff in your SCU/ICU will encourage you to express milk for your babies and will advise you on the development of the reflexes needed to breastfeed your multiples.

Is it possible to combine breast and formula feeding?

Yes this is possible and many mothers of multiples breastfeed, but “top-up” with formula. Remember that any breastmilk your baby receives has positive health benefits.

Do I need to buy any special equipment for breastfeeding?

Good quality and supportive nursing bras are essential if you are breastfeeding. Independent lingerie shops or the lingerie department in department stores can measure you and provide you with specialist advice and guidance in this area.

It is also a good idea to invest in a special twin breastfeeding pillow, as this makes it a lot more comfortable to feed more than one baby at a time.

Why do many mother of multiples express milk?

The sucking and swallowing reflexes do not fully mature until about 36 weeks of the pregnancy. The baby needs to coordinate the reflexes simultaneously to breastfeed. As the average gestation of a twin pregnancy is 37 weeks, and less for triplets, many multiples are born without fully matured feeding reflexes. Many mothers of multiples choose to express milk in order to give their babies the benefits of breastmilk, even if they are unable to breastfeed. (Expressing is a way to take milk from your breast without your baby suckling).

What are the benefits of breastfeeding my multiples?

Breast feeding offers major health advantages for all infants, whether born singleton or from multiple pregnancy. It also provides benefits to the mothers.

Breastfeeding benefits for babies

The HSE lists the following as just some of the benefits:

The health benefits of breastfeeding for babies include less risk of:

  • Stomach upsets
  • Coughs and colds
  • Ear infections
  • Diabetes
  • Asthma and eczema
  • Obesity (being very overweight)
  • High blood pressure later in life

Breastfed babies also have:

  • Better mental development
  • Better mouth formation and straighter teeth
Breastfeeding benefits for mothers

Breast feeding offers major health advantages for all infants, whether born singleton or from multiple pregnancy. It also provides benefits to the mothers.

Other Breastfeeding benefits
  • It creates a special bond between mother and babies,
  • It is cheaper because less equipment is needed, and
  • It saves you time because you do not have to prepare bottles
What can I do to prepare myself for breastfeeding more than one?

La Leche League and Cuidiú run breastfeeding meetings and classes. They have expreienced leaders who can guide, advise and support you in making the decision to breastfeed your multiples.

A professional Lactation Consultant, who you can see in your maternity hospital, is another source of high quality advice and support. You can pay a private Lactation Consultant to visit you at home when you are back from the hospital with the babies.

Your antenatal classes will probably cover breastfeeding. Your maternity hospital also runs breastfeeding classes.

It is very useful to talk to other mothers of multiples who have breastfed, and their partners who have facilitated and supported this. Why not come along to an IMBA Information Evening near you or your local IMBA Multiples Club to find out more?

Topic:  Child Benefit

Child Benefit for Multiples

The current rules state that twins receive 1.5 times the Child Benefit per child.  Triplets & higher order multiples receive 2 times the child benefit per child. More detailed information on exact rates can be found on the Citizens Information Website

Topic:  Membership

How long does a membership to IMBA last?

Membership lasts 12 months

How do I become an IMBA member?

Please fill out a Membership form

How much does membership cost and how do I pay?

A 12 month membership costs €30.00 and you can make a payment through Paypal or you can send a cheque made out to the Irish Multiple Births Association to;
Carmichael House
North Brunswick St
Dublin 7

When can I expect to receive my discount card and login details for the website?

It may take up to 6 weeks from receipt of payment to receive these, as IMBA is run by parents of multiples like yourselves, voluntering their spare time.

How do I renew my membership?

Click renew  and including your current membership number or by mailing in a form from the back of our newsletter to:
Carmicheal House
North Brunswick Street
Dublin 7

What do I do if I forget my website login details?

You can fill out our enquiry form at the bottom of this page with your name and concern or you can e-mail your query to info@imba.ie

What do I do if I lose my membership card?

Please infom us by e mailing info@imba.ie and we will contact you.

Topic: Triplets and More

What is the difference between identical or fraternal multiples?

The zygosity of multiples may not be as simple as scientists once believed. While most multiples are defined as being either identical (mono-zygotic) or fraternal (di-zygotic) researchers and health care providers are still discovering and learning about an array of possible variations that include half-identical multiples, polar body multiples, and others. For the purposes of this question, we will focus on mono-zygotic and di-zygotic zygosities.

  • Identical multiples(mono-zygotic) are the result of a single fertilized egg splitting into two, three, four, or more babies and will almost always result in the same-gender multiples who share nearly identical DNA. (On very rare occasions an embryo with three sex chromosomes, XXY, will split and may result in monozygotic twins of the opposite gender.)Fewer than 20% of most higher-order pregnancies involve identical multiples. The babies may appear in distinct sacs and with separate placentas, or they may share the same placenta (mono-chorionic: meaning one chorion or placenta). A small percentage of mono-chorionic multiples may also share the same amniotic sac (mono-amniotic). An even smaller percentage of mono-zygotic multiples are conjoined twins.
  • Fraternal multiples(not identical) are the most prevalent zygosity in higher-order multiples and make-up around 80% of triplets or more. Di-zygotic (fraternal twins), tri-zygotic (fraternal triplets), tetra-zygotic (fraternal quadruplets), or penta-zygotic (fraternal quintuplets) multiples occur when two or more embryos implant from separate fertilized eggs and can result in the same or different genders. Though the placenta of fraternal multiples may appear to fuse as the pregnancy progresses due to proximity, fraternal multiples do not “share” a placenta or amniotic sac. The DNA of fraternal multiples could be as similar or different as any other genetic sibling.

In higher-order multiples, zygosity types can occur in a wide variety of combinations. For example, triplets can consist of two identical (mono-zygotic) boys and a fraternal (di-zygotic) girl, or quadruplets could consist of a set of identical triplet (mono-zygotic) girls with a fraternal (di-zygotic) sister.

What did you find that you really used three of?

3 bouncys, 3 boppys, 3 bumbos, 3 high chairs, 2 swings, 1 “tummy time mat,” and 2 exersaucers. I just rotated the babies between the “stations” I had set up. It worked great.

Did you have just one crib? If you did have just one, how long were you able to keep them all in it?

I had a “mini crib” that was in our room that all 3 slept together in for the first month. I then transferred them into a full-size crib (still in our room) that all 3 shared until 4 months. By 4 months…they were sleeping through the night but also rolling all over each other and waking each other up…so we separated them and put them in their own cribs in their own room. My triplets shared a bedroom (all 3 cribs in 1 room) until they were 3 years old.

What type of pram do you recommend?

– A triplet ABC buggy from New Zealand

– Triple Decker frame and seats from USA

– Perego Triple Chassis from England which takes 3 Primo Viaggio carseats

What type of vehicle do you recommend?

– We got a c4 Grand Picasso. Not for the 7 seats but for the boot space and also we could fit 3 Isofix carseats across the back.

– Seat Alhambra 1.9 diesel, the 3 car seats fit no problem and I removed 1 of the back seats for buggies,shopping ect.Very comfy car,5 star safety rating and very economical.

– Hyundai Trajet

I need a night nanny, help?

IMBA cannot endorse any nanny services so the best thing to do is ask your public health nurse or local clinic.