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Exclusively Pumping for Twins: Tips for Success

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In last weeks post (The Realities of Exclusively Pumping), I talked about my journey of exclusively pumping twins and the challenges I faced.

I exclusively pumped for my twins for 10 months.

It was extra demanding because I had a two-year-old to take care of as well.

Exclusively pumping twins is one of the hardest things I’ve done, but I managed to find a few ways to make it a bit easier. If something is easier, you’re guaranteed to be more successful at it!

exclusively pumping twins

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How to Pump Exclusively: Pumping Breastmilk Without Nursing

There are many reasons to choose to pump breastmilk instead of breastfeeding. Perhaps your babies are in the NICU, or as preemies, they don’t have the strength to nurse. Maybe your baby has trouble latching, or you have a crazy work schedule.

Maybe you don’t even have a reason, and guess what? That’s perfectly fine! As the mom, you get to decide what works for you and your baby, and whatever you decide is a perfect choice. Don’t second-guess yourself.

Whether you’re looking for how to pump exclusively for twins or a singleton, I have resources for you.

Tips to Make Exclusively Pumping for Twins Easier

Pump While Feeding Baby

The best way to carve out time for pumping is to pump while you’re feeding your babies. Multi-tasking at it’s finest!

For a few feedings a day, pump and feed your twins simultaneously.

Use a hands-free pumping bra and set your baby in a baby bouncy seat, Boppy pillow, (this one is awesome if you have twins. It was one of my most used items!) or somewhere else they’re comfortable.

Your hands will be completely free to give them their bottle. *I am not at all suggesting you put your baby down, prop their bottle, and leave the room to pump, just so we’re clear!

Bottle Props for Twins

Once they are a little bit more stable, you can prop their bottles and sit next to them while you pump. And of course, eventually, they will be able to hold their bottles, which is a milestone that is especially wonderful for twin parents!

Read –> Hands-Free Bottle Props to Make Your Life Easier


To help with the letdown, hold one of your baby’s blankets and look at pictures of them. I did this while my girls were in the NICU and it helped tremendously. After a few weeks, my body got used to the pump, and my letdown happened quickly.

Refrigerate Your Pump Parts

The Center for Disease Control recently released new guidelines for properly washing pump parts. They say to wash your pump parts between every single pumping session.

I’m gonna put those there and let you read them and then tell you the method I followed, because I did NOT do that, and I was very careful about how I handled my pump parts.

Before I assembled my pump I washed my hands really, really well. I used hot water, plenty of soap, and washed for a long time.

After I pumped, I washed my hands again before handling the breast pump parts, and then I properly stored my milk.

I then rinsed my pump parts with very hot water, placed them in a plastic bag, and put them in the refrigerator.

At the end of the day, I washed them in a separate bin (not letting them touch the sink), in hot, soapy water. Sometimes I ran them through the dishwasher. I also used a Microwave Steam Sterilizer Bag at the end of the day.

No, I did not wash my pump-parts after every use, but I made sure that I never touched them with dirty hands and put them straight into the refrigerator in a sealed bag, where bacteria can’t grow.

If I had washed my pump parts after every use, I might not have continued pumping for as long as I did. You have to make a choice that is sustainable for your family and also one you’re comfortable with.

newborn twins and a toddler brother feeding them a bottle. 3 kids under 3.
Theo helped me feed the babies while I was pumping. It was all hands on deck!

Ensure Flanges Fit Correctly

The flanges are the little things that look like funnels that touch your breast.

They come in different sizes, and the standard that comes with breast pumps is a 24 mm.

This size worked for me with my first child, but for exclusively pumping the twins, it was way too small.

You can read this breast shield sizing guide if you’re not sure of what size to get. There’s even a picture for reference!

The Logistics of Exclusively Pumping Twins: When and How Long

exclusively pumping twins

In order to keep up your supply, you should pump every 3-hours, or every time your baby takes a bottle.

My twins were in the NICU for the first several weeks of their lives. During this time, I was able to pump every 3-hours and that really boosted my supply.

After they came home, I just physically did not have the time to take care of them AND our two-year-old, AND pump every 3-hours.

I also knew it was important to get as much sleep as possible to keep my supply up, so I opted for a 5-hour chunk of sleep.

The experts say you should pump for 15-20 minutes. I pumped for about 15-minutes, or 2-3 minutes after I stopped getting milk. Don’t stop pumping when you stop getting milk!

Continuing to pump when your breast is empty will signal it to produce more milk.

If your breasts aren’t emptying fully when you’re pumping, that can lead to problems such as supply issues and clogged ducts. This is a great resource for what to do if your breasts aren’t emptying fully.

Here is the schedule that I followed for exclusively pumping.

If you don’t have an oversupply (and a 2-year-old) to take care of, I do suggest that you try to pump at least 8 times throughout the day.

I got away with 6, but my supply dried up around 9-months postpartum. I do wonder if this would have been the case had I managed to get more pumping sessions in. Definitely, strive for pumping as often as possible in the beginning.

  • 7:00: Pump and feed the babies at the same time; toddler was still asleep.
  • 10:00: Feed babies
  • 11:00 Pump while babies nap and toddler watches TV
  • 1:00 Pump and feed babies at the same time; toddler naps
  • 4:00 Feed babies
  • 5-6ish: Pump after husband gets home from work
  • 7:00 Feed babies
  • 9-10ish: Pump before bed
  • 10:00 Feed babies
  • 1:00 AM: hubby feeds babies
  • 4:00 AM:  I feed and pump at the same time

Related –> 11 Things You Need to Make Exclusively Pumping Easier

How to Increase Milk Supply for Twins While Exclusively Pumping

There are supplements you can take, however, it is best to see what your body can do on its own and supplement if you have supply issues.

I was advised by a lactation consultant to do it that way because if you start with supplements right away, your body could become dependent on them to produce milk.

  • Eat highly nutritious foods. Especially if you’re exclusively pumping for twins.
  • Drink LOTS of water. This is my favorite cup. It’s stainless steel and keeps water cool for a long time and the straw makes drinking easy.
  • Get as much rest and sleep as you can. If you can get a solid 5-hour chunk at night, it might be better to sleep than to pump.
  • Make sure you have a good quality, double electric pump.
  • You can power pump once a day, or every time you pump for a few days. Power pumping is when you: pump for 20 minutes; rest 10 minutes. Pump another 10 minutes; rest for 10 minutes. Pump again for 10 minutes; finish. Power pumping signals the breast to produce more milk, but for some reason, never worked for me.
  • Supplements (check with your Doctor first!): Mothers Milk Tea, Fenugreek Gaia Herbs Lactation Support Liquid Phyto-Capsules, 120 Count are ones that I took and worked really well for me.

Other helpful posts from other blogs I love on increasing milk supply: 5 Tips for Increasing Milk Supply and 15 Lactation Recipes to Increase Supply.

The Best Breast Pump for Twins

best breast pump for twins, exclusively pumping for twins

Choosing the best breast pump can be daunting. There is so much information out there! And honestly, I don’t really believe that there is a true best breast pump for twins.

All mamas have different lifestyles and needs, so you really need to choose the best breast pump for YOUR lifestyle.

So, before we get into talking about the best breast pumps for twins, think about your lifestyle.

Here are some questions to ask yourself: Will you be returning to work and pumping at work? Do you need something that’s hands-free so you can move around the house? Are you going to be exclusively pumping for twins, or doing a combination of breastfeeding and pumping?

If you’re going to be exclusively pumping for twins, or even pumping half of the time, a double electric breast pump is definitely essential.

Manual breast pumps can be great every now and then, but they simply don’t have the strength that an electric pump has, not to mention that it takes much longer to pump. And don’t even think about a single electric pump. Most double breast pumps can also function as a single breast pump!

Having a hospital strength breast pump is also important if you’re going to be pumping frequently and want to pump enough breast milk to feed your twins. If you’re going to be mainly breastfeeding twins and using the pump to build your freezer stash or to pump milk infrequently, then having hospital grade suction isn’t as important.

But if you’re going to be pumping with any consistency, go with a double electric hospital grade breast pump. Now, to figure out the right one for you!

Spectra Breast Pumps

Let’s start with the Spectra breast pumps. These are some of the best and most popular double electric breast pumps on the market right now.

Spectra makes two double electric breast pumps that I would recommend: the S1 and the S2. They are essentially the same pump, with one minor difference. The S1 comes with a built-in rechargeable battery that offers up to 4 hours of usage. They are both extremely lightweight, have a timer so you don’t lose track of time, and a nightlight so you can pump in the dark while your baby is sleeping.

Spectra S1 Plus

  • Hospital grade suction
  • Both battery-operated and cord option
  • Closed system
  • Can be used as double or electric
  • Lightweight, portable
  • Massage mode to encourage letdown
  • Nightlight
  • Very quiet
  • Closed system

The Spectra S1 is ideal for twin moms who need hospital grade suction and also a portable breast pump. If you won’t have the ability to be close to an outlet at all times when you need to pump, this is a fantastic option for you. A con of the Spectra S1 is that it isn’t always covered under insurance.

If this is the case and you need something portable, scroll down to read about my hack for making the S2 portable.

Spectra S2 Plus

  • Hospital grade suction
  • ONLY works by cord
  • Closed system
  • Can be used as double or electric
  • Massage mode to encourage letdown
  • Nightlight
  • Very quiet
  • Closed system

The Spectra S2 is ideal for twin moms who need hospital grades suction and have the flexibility to be near an outlet at all times. The Spectra S2 is usually covered by insurance. If you need the freedom of a portable pump, you can use a portable battery pack.

The other option is to use a car adapter to pump in your car. I used this quite a few times with absolutely no issue! So, if your insurance will only cover the Spectra S2, try out one of these options.

I have personal experience with the Spectra S2, my sister has personal experience with the Spectra S1, and I have spoken to COUNTLESS of other twin moms who have had nothing but great things to say about them. I cannot recommend it enough!

Medela Pump in Style with Max Flow

The Medela Pump in Style with Max Flow is the updated version of the discontinued Medela Pump in Style Advanced Breast Pump, which is a pump that I used. It has hospital grade suction and is inspired by the Medela Symphony Breast Pump. I had a great experience with the pump in style advanced. My only issue with it was that it wasn’t very quiet at all.

This Medela breast pump is great for working moms who need all of the accessories that it comes with.

  • Comes with a tote, cooler, batter pack, and more
  • Lightweight
  • Hospital grade suction
  • Works with battery pack and a cord
  • Closed system
  • Easy to use

Willow Pump: Wearable Breast Pump

The willow breast pump is a new kind of breast pump, that fits completely into your bra. It is a true portable and hands-free pump, so you can move about your house or office with ease.

The willow breast pump is ideal for a working twin mom, who is extremely busy and might not have the time to sit down and pump or the ability to carry a pump around.

A con of the willow is that it is very expensive and not likely to be covered under insurance! If you have extra money, then this would be a fantastic investment as a second pump. It only holds 4 ounces per side, and that isn’t quite enough breast milk for twins as they get older.

A good option would be to pump with a stronger, double electric pump in the morning and evening and use the willow during the day when milk production typically isn’t as high. From what I’ve read, the Willow doesn’t work for women who have larger nipples.

  • Completely portable and hands free
  • Easy to clean
  • Expensive
  • Doesn’t work for everyone (depends on your nipple size)

To read a more extensive review of the portable willow breast pump here!

I hope this post was informative and helpful for you. My choice to exclusively pump happened so last minute that I really didn’t have time to do any research or seek out advice. Be sure to check back next week for my list of essential supplies for pumping mamas!

Don’t forget to follow me on Pinterest for more tips and Instagram to keep up with our family!

How to Exclusively Pump for Twins. Picture of breast pump and twins
How to Keep Your Supply Up Exclusively Pumping. Picture of breast pump
Tips for Exclusively Pumping: Time Saving Hacks. Picture of breast pump with text overlay

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