Evidence-based guidelines on feeding twins, triplets and more
Jane Denton (Multiple Births Foundation), Maria Quigley (NPEU)
Breastfeeding, Multiple births
Breastfeeding rates are lower in mothers who have had a multiple birth, although the health benefits of breastfeeding may be greater because multiples are more likely to be preterm or have other health problems.
Breastfeeding multiple births can be challenging and there is limited information available for those involved.
We analysed data on breastfeeding patterns in twins compared with singletons in two national studies (the Millennium Cohort Study and the 2005 Infant Feeding Survey).
In both surveys, breastfeeding rates were lower in twins compared with singletons even after allowing for preterm birth and other factors.
We performed a systematic review of the literature on feeding of multiples.
The results from the two surveys and the systematic review were used by a Guideline Development Group to formulate national guidelines on feeding multiples for health professionals and a booklet for parents.
Many professional and voluntary organisations commented on the guidelines.
The guidelines have been endorsed by the RCN and the RCPCH, and are supported by the RCM.
The guidelines for health professionals and the parent booklet may be downloaded at the Multiple Births Foundation website http://www.multiplebirths.org.uk/