When we found out we were having twins we knew straight away we would need a breast pump to express milk so I could feed the babies during the night whilst my wife tried to catch up on sleep.
- Best Overall Breast Pump for Twins: The Ardo Calypso was our pick for the best breast pump. We loved the fact the pump is portable (powered by rechargeable battery) whilst still being a hospital grade pump.
- Most Affordable Breast Pump for Twins: The Spectra Dew 350 was our pick and in fact the pump we ended up purchasing ourselves. The pump isn't perfect but has been great.
- Best Portable Breast Pump for Twins: Coming in again, the Ardo Calpyso is our pick here thanks to being able to hold 4 hours of charge.
We've tried to explain what is the difference between a hospital grade pump vs a regular pump and also some helpful tips on breast feeding. We hope this guide is useful!
Breast Pumps for Twins Compared
When do I Start Breast Feeding my Twin Babies?
Straight after pregnancy the hospital staff will look to get your babies on you for some precious skin to skin time. This is precious time for your babies as it is the closest thing for them that brings them back to the warmth and also security that they had whilst they were inside. But it also initiates breastfeeding for your little ones when their natural instinct kicks in and they look to locate and try to latch on to your breast.
Within hours of giving birth, the hospital staff will help you with getting your babies latched on and feeding for their initial milk. This first set of milk known as colostrum and is liquid gold for your little ones.
The first few days of breast feeding is key as it helps prepare your body to produce a good supply of milk for your babies. For some people, breast milk doesn’t come instantly as your body may have some catching up to do especially if your babies were born early. Don’t stress as this is normal. Look to the hospital staff to help guide you through this process.
When Should I Start Pumping Breast Milk for Twins?
You can begin pumping straight away but it’s important to make sure you are pumping at the right times.
It’s recommended that it’s best to wait until after you have breastfed before you begin pumping. This ensures that your babies have received a good supply of your breast milk and aren’t missing out.
How Often Should I Pump Breast Milk for my Twins?
After day 2 to 3 of giving birth, your babies appetites will begin to build as will your milk supply. We found it was best to pump every 2-3 hours which over the course of the day works out to be around 10-12 times.
Does pumping increase milky supply?
Yes! In fact pumping between breast feeding sessions is a great way to build up and maintain your milk supply for your twins.
My wife often pumps between breast feeding sessions as it allows us to build up a good supply of milk for me to use when I’m up during the night feeding the little ones while she’s asleep.
How Long Should I Wait After Pumping Before Breastfeeding?
It’s recommended to aim for 8-10 pumps a day which almost works out to be a pump every 2-3 hours. During the first 2 weeks of your baby’s lives, make sure you are leaving no more than a 5 hour gap between pumps.
Hospital Grade Breast Pumps vs. Other Pumps
When researching breast milk pumps, a few friends told us we needed to buy a hospital grade breat milk pump. Interestingly, ‘hospital grade’ isn’t regulated so basically anyone can slap it on their breast milk pump and say you’re getting a ‘hospital grade’ pump.
But what does this actually mean and how is a hospital grade breast milk pump different to other pumps? Most companies market their breast milk pump as being hospital grade if it comes with the below features:
- Power and durability – The engines are designed to be more powerful and able to withstand 8-12 pumps a day for days on end.
- Hygiene – The system can be used by multiple women hygienically. The product will often come designed with a closed system pump motor which basically stops milk from filtering back into the engine (and killing it). Hospital grade electric breast pumps will also come with interchangeable parts that are easy to keep clean.
- Sucking sensation – Hospital grade breastmilk pumps are better at mimicking the suckling pattern of a baby compared to lower powered breast milk pumps. This helps with initiating your breast milk supply in the early stages.
Tips for Breast Feeding with Twins
When we first started breast feeding there were a few things which we found worked really well for us. These include:
- Designate an area - Create a comfortable area in your home designated for breast feeding. For us the area was where my wife was in a comfortable chair and could also watch television at the same time.
- Football hold – Learn and practice the football hold if you’re expecting twins. Breast feeding two babies can seem a bit daunting initially but using the football hold becomes a super-efficient way to feed both.
- Pump between to increase supply – Once your babies have finished feeding from your breasts, we recommend having the breast pump on standby to catch any remaining milk in the breasts for the evening when your partner might want to help our while you’re sleeping
- Hydration and diet – As your body will be burning up to 1,000 calories per day when breastfeeding and pumping twins, we recommend maintaining a healthy diet of fruit, vegetables, protein and complex carbohydrates. But don’t forget your fluid intake too! Doctors recommend aiming for 8 cups of water a day. We found having a water bottle with a straw built in was a great way of keeping the fluid intake up whilst both hands were full!
Spectra Dew 350
We personally use the Spectra Dew 350 for our home pumping and have felt that while it’s not perfect, it’s definitely good bang for your buck!
The Spectra is a hospital grade double breast pump making it a must for anyone expecting twins. With the pump being noticeably cheaper than other double pumps on the market, you may find some features lacking that you would otherwise find on an expensive alternative.
One feature that is lacking with the Spectra Dew 350 is the ability to have different power settings for each breast or create presets that you can simply use for each breast. This isn’t a deal breaker as you can easily move the dial around to your desired setting but it would sometimes be nice to have different power levels for each breast.
The Spectra DEW 350 is whisper quiet and so much so that you sometimes barely can tell that the unit is running. This is super useful if you’re pumping whilst your little ones are in a bassinet in the same room.
We also found another sign of the cheapness of the unit was with the overall comfort of the suction cups and the suction itself. If we start with the suction cups, the cups are designed for a one size fits all approach which means that sometimes the cups don’t create the best seal which affects the suction efficiency. With the suction, we didn’t like was that the suction uses more of a tugging motion rather than a gentle pull motion that you will find with more expensive units on the market.
All in all, we thought the Spectra Dew 350 was a good breast pump for the money but you very much get what you pay for.
Ameda Elite Electric Breast Pump
The Ameda Elite Electric Breast Pump is one of the more premium breast pumps on the market. With that premium price tag also comes some great features which were sometimes missing in cheaper breast pumps reviewed.
The Ameda Elite is a hospital grade breast suction pump which is made to last. Thanks to the back flow filters that come with the pump, this stops your milk accidentally making its way back in and killing the motors. Like other hospital grade breast pumps, the Ameda is made to last and able to withstand 8-12 pumps a day making it perfect for anyone breast feeding twins.
Unlike the Spectra Dew 350 we reviewed previously, the Ameda allows you to set the suction for each breast rather than being limited to one suction level for both breasts.
Another plus of the Ameda over other machines was the overall comfort of the suction. We found the Ameda to have a gentle ramp of the suction which provides a bit more of a gentle suction rather than a tugging suction you get with cheaper breast pumps.
Lastly, the built-in bottle holders that keeps bottles upright to avoid any spillage is a nice touch.
Is the Ameda worth the high price tag is debatable but it is a quality unit that is bound to last!
The Hygeia Enjoye is a portable machine that you’re able to use on the go. Powered by a lithium battery, the breast pump is able to provide 4 hours of pumping time before it needs to be plugged back in the wall for re-charging.
Unlike other breast pumps reviewed in this article, the Hygeia Enjoye is not a hospital grade pump. This is evident with needing to be careful about the milk back flowing in the tubing which can cause damage to your breast pump if you don’t spend the time keeping the pump clean.
For a portable breast pump, you would expect the pump to come with its own separate carrying case or bag for when you’re on the move but unfortunately it doesn’t.
The Hygeia Enjoye allows you to control suction to both breasts and also provides a gentle sucking mechanism rather than a pulling mechanism which we saw with some other pumps reviewed.
Is this a good portable breast pump? Yes.
Are there better breast pumps for twins on the market? Yes if you're happy to give up on portability.
Ardo Medical Calypso Double Plus Breast Pump
The Ardo Calypso Double Plus Breast Pump is another portable breast pump we reviewed. Similar to the Hygeia Enjoye, the Ardo is rechargeable and can be taken with you when you’re on the move or be used at home.
One thing that we loved about the Ardo compared to other breast pumps we reviewed was the ability to control both the speed and vacuum power. Basically this means at the start of the beginning of a pump it allows you to set a weak suction with a fast speed and then towards the end of a pump you can slow the speed but keep a strong suction power.
The Ardo Calypso also provides greater comfort than some of the other breast pumps we reviewed thanks to the multiple flange sizes. By having this available, this helps with maximising the efficiency and comfort of the pump.
One thing we found that could be improved was the suction at the top end. For some people, the suction might not be enough when cranked high. As the Ardo is not a hospital grade pump and runs off AA batteries, this was to be expected.
Philips Avent Double Electric Breast Pump
The Philips Avent range of baby products are known for their quality and the Philips Avent Double Electric Breast Pump is no exception.
Compared to other breast pumps we reviewed, the Philips Avent comes with a one size fits all approach for its suction cups. This may result in uncomfortableness for some.
One thing we didn’t love about the Philips Avent was the three pre-programmed power settings (low, medium and high) to control the suction. We much prefer having a dial to have greater control of the suction power like with other breast pumps reviewed. By having limited power settings this results in slower pumps and sometimes comfort issues due to needing to crank the pump to get any strong output.
Would we recommend this unit for someone expecting a singleton baby? Yes.
Would we recommend this unit for someone expecting twins and looking to pump up to 8-12 times a day? Definitely not. We’d be concerned about the long-term durability of this unit with being able to cope with the pressure that comes from needing to express so frequently.
Medela Sonata Smart Double Electric Breast Pump
The Medela Sonata Smart Double Electric Breast Pump was the only model that came with Bluetooth out of all the breast pumps we reviewed. Whilst the app is great, it does not allow you to pre-program different suction levels in as presets.
Comfort levels of the Medela Sonata will be hit or miss for some. This is largely due to the 24mm flange that comes included which will suit some but not all. This is easily fixed through purchasing an aftermarket flange that will better suit your breasts. We found this a bit disappointing considering how expensive the pump was.
While not a 'hospital grade' pump, we were quite impressed with the suction levels of the pump especially considering the fact that the unit is powered by battery rather than mains.
We were disappointed that whilst the Medela Sonata is portable and comes with a rechargeable battery, the battery only lasts for 3-4 pumps. This is around 5-6 pumps less than other pumps we reviewed which had rechargeable batteries. For some people, this won’t be an issue as they will be back within power to get a charge but may be an issue for others who are looking to go off the grid for a large amount of time.
Another issue noted was the kick back issue where the milk is known to push back towards the nipple before it shoots down the flange and into the baby bottle. We didn’t experience this problem ourselves however did notice it to be a common theme when we were researching the unit.