Can Twins Share a Bottle? 6 BIG Considerations

Many twin parents feel overwhelmed with the demands of two infants to care for instead of one. This feeling can lead many to seek ways in which they can make their care-giving easier, including the issue of bottle-feeding.

Can twins share a bottle? Pediatricians and research both say an emphatic no to feeding twins from the same bottle. The reasons for this are many, but the spreading of germs is the most serious concern. Some twins might require different formulas or nipple size for flow as well. 

Twins Sharing a Bottle – What to Consider

Of course it may be easier at times, especially for those middle-of-the-night feedings, to simply use the same bottle to feed both babies. After all, they share everything else right?

However, before you intentionally share the same bottle for your twins, consider all of the following carefully.

Pros of Sharing a Bottle 

To a worn out, sleep-deprived parent there can seem to be some obvious pros to feeding your babies from the same bottle.

  • Reduces the number of bottles you need to buy and prepare.
  • Tandem feeding can be intimidating.
  • Instead of wasting an unfinished bottle, the other twin could finish it.
  • Less bottles to clean.

Cons of Sharing a Bottle 

Sharing a bottle may seem ideal, but there are some drawbacks.

  • Germs and bacteria are directly spread from one baby to another.
  • Only one baby is fed at a time, in effect doubling your work load.
  • It’s difficult to track how much each twin is drinking.

Considerations

Here are some things to consider when deciding how to feed your twin babies. 

1. Age of Babies 

Newborn babies can often struggle with bottle-feeding in general. Nipple confusion and flow of bottle nipples can be factors in introducing bottle feeling.

Newborns are also notorious for falling asleep mid-feeding, which parents want to avoid as a fuller belly usually means better sleep.

With very new babies and especially preemies, you should probably try to avoid any bottle sharing to keep the spread of germs to a minimum at least until the babies are stronger.

2. Sharing Germs

The absolute biggest reason for not sharing a bottle between twins is the spread of germs.

While one of your twins might not be showing signs of illness, sharing a bottle absolutely creates a situation in which illness can be spread between your twins. The only thing harder than one sick baby is two sick babies!

Many parents make the argument that moms don’t clean themselves after breastfeeding one baby and then feeding the other.

The reason these two examples are not the same is because back-washing milk is not possible in breastfeeding, but it is in bottle-feeding. 

3. Tracking How Much A Baby Is Consuming 

Bottle sharing makes tracking how much your twins are drinking complicated. If twins are sharing a bottle, it can be hard to know if each baby is getting enough milk or formula. This problem is eliminated by using two bottles to feed twins. 

4. Different Formulas

Though born together, twins are still unique individuals, and what works for one twin might not work for the other. Some twins might need a more specific formula to help with allergies, colic symptoms, or vitamin deficiencies. 

5. Amount of Time Since Bottle Was Prepared

Feeding twins with the same bottle could take quite a bit of time. Using bottles or reusing bottles that have been out for too long allows bacteria to develop, which could also make your twins sick.

The CDC recommends that formula be used within two hours of preparation and thrown out one hour after the feeding begins. 

6. Daycare Will Have Bottle Requirements 

Should you choose to use childcare such as daycare or a nanny, most require that babies have separate, labeled bottles for each baby.

They will also require new bottles for each feeding as they might not be equipped or have time to sterilize bottles between feedings. 

A set of boy/girl twins sleeping together while wearing matching pink and blue outfits.

How To Bottle Feed Twins At The Same Time

There is an art that twin parents learn to tandem bottle-feed your twins. The most important thing to remember is that it might feel intimidating at first, but soon all three of you will master it and feel like superheroes. 

Develop a System

Before you get your twins from their crib or bassinet, have the feeding station set up. You should have the bottles prepared and the feeding pillows set up.

We always bottle fed on two boppy pillows side by side. Also, keep burp clothes close by. We found it best to drape them over the babies’ chest to sop up any drool or milk. 

Color Code the Bottles

We had boy and girl twins, so we bought different color bottles so as not to confuse them during feedings. You can also color code by putting a different color ribbon or hair tie on each of the bottles. 

Change Diapers Before Feeding

Always start a feeding with a diaper change. This helps babies minimize discomfort and distraction, which can make for a better feeding. Diaper changing may also wake a baby up and make them more alert for eating.

Keep Distractions To A Minimum

To make feedings, especially night feedings, quicker so you can all get back to sleep, keep lights and noises off. Encourage rest by keeping the environment as calm and quiet as possible. 

Ask For Help When You Need It

Three feedings for two babies in the middle of the night is just plain exhausting. Ask your partner to switch off feedings so you can both get more sleep during those long first few months. 

Twin Bottle Feeding Pillows

Wonderful modern inventions can make twin feedings, whether nursing or bottle-feeding, so much easier. 

The Twin Z Pillow

The Twin Z pillow can fit both babies on it while you nurse or feed from a bottle. This limits the equipment needed to feed as well as allows mothers (or fathers) to keep babies close together instead of having one child out of reach.

The Twin Z pillow also supports parents’ backs during feeding. They have more uses than just for feeding and can be used for tummy time or play time.

Related Questions:

How Many Bottles Do I Need For Twins?

Newborns eat eight times a day or about every three hours. For twins, this would mean that 16 bottles will be enough to feed your twins for one day.

Most twin parents would say that you need between 16-24 bottles to feed your twins.

As a twin parent myself, I would recommend having more than you need as sometimes, despite your best efforts, life goes off the rails, and bottles don’t always get washed immediately. 

Should Twin Cribs Be Next to Each Other? 

The answer to this question changes as babies get bigger. When your children are infants, cribs can be placed next to each other. They should be flush against each other with no gaps. Gaps might crush fingers and other appendages.

Cribs next to each other can provide comfort for twins as they are used to being close together.

If you do not have the space for twin cribs to be flush against each other, place them at least 3 feet apart. Mobile babies can and will try to climb into each other’s cribs if they are close enough, and the distance can provide more safety. 

Conclusion 

Sharing bottles between twins might seem like an option to make your life as a new parent easier. However, the risks of sharing bottles definitely seems to outweigh the pros.

If you’re finding tandem bottle-feeding intimidating, set yourself up for success by establishing a plan and taking lots of deep breaths.

I promise you that with practice you will feel like a multitasking professional baby-feeding machine.