A mom of twins, Jessica (not her real name) asked me the other day about what supplements she should take and what she should eat to make the best breast milk for her babies.
She has a boy and a girl and they were born 2 weeks early. When we spoke they were just about 3 weeks old. She is breast feeding both on demand and using baby formula about 2 times/day for each. Her mother-in-law moved in and is helping out with diapering, cleaning, cooking and the occasional night time feeding. Jessica and her husband were both bleary eyed yet content when they brought the babies in for a visit.
She was wondering how much to eat and whether she needed any supplements besides the prenatal vitamin that she's still taking. As a nurse practitioner, mom and the author of Your Personal Guide to Breastfeeding, I'm all about food first and supplements when you can't get the recommended nutrients.
Jessica and All Moms of Twins Who are Trying to Breast Feed Need to:
- Eat when hungry. Now is not the time to try to lose weight.
- Eat about 1000 extra calories each day, that's 500 calories per baby, and get 4-6 servings of calcium rich food each day. Milk, yogurt, cheese, cottage cheese, green leafy vegetables are all good sources.
- If you're lactose intolerant or can't get enough calcium from food, then consider a supplement with Vitamin D in it. Aim for 1500-2000 mg of Calcium each day with at least 1000 IU of Vitamin D. Remember, you can get plenty of Vitamin D in the spring and summer from 20-40 minutes of sunshine/day. Try to eat fatty fish at least twice/week, and if you aren't able to do that, then consider taking a DHA, omega-3 supplement of 1200 mg/day.
- Aim for 5-7 servings of fruits and vegetables each day. If you're finding that difficult to do, consider a vegetable juice or tomato juice. This can help you get fluids and 1-2 servings of vegetables.
- Drink 1-2 liters of fluid/day! That's a lot, but you need it for making milk and your own body's needs.
I hope this helps all the moms out there who are wondering about how to eat when breast feeding twins.
Follow me on Twitter@NurseBarbDehn.
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