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Happy Tuesday! Hope you had a great holiday weekend…I know we enjoyed some extra time with daddy home yesterday! And our neighborhood pool opened over the weekend, so winning all around!
Today I’m sharing some of my tips and tricks to feeding two babies at once! One question I get asked quite frequently is “how do you feed two babies?” Well today I’ll tel you how I’ve done it with both sets, because both times it’s been different! You’ll also find out from the post, but I never nursed and I don’t make my own baby food…so if you’re looking for that kind of advice, it won’t be found here. Sorry! I also have to say, I am by no means a baby feeding expert! I’ve had my share of baby feeding/toddler feeding struggles! I should also say this post is mainly about feeding twin bebes…twin toddler meal times are a whole blog post in and of itself! (cue all the cringing faces)
Feeding two babies can be somewhat terrifying and challenging at first. And you you will learn as you go what works best for you and your babies, but this is what worked for us…and it was different both times! Every baby and situation is different, so don’t be completely inflexible. You might find something that works for a couple months, but then it might change slightly as they age or as you learn more about your babies.
I think the first piece of advice I can offer can apply to anything about having multiples: prepare ahead of time as much as you possibly can! Whether its setting things out that you will need in the right spot, premixing bottles and keeping them in the fridge, having caddies of supplies around the house ready to grab stocked with things you need for feeding time…whatever you can do to make your life easier, do it! When I put my two down for a nap, I go and set out what I can for the next feeding time:
Water in bottles ready to add formula, cereal in bowls, food and vitamins set out ready to be put in bowls and stirred…it might not seem like that much of a help or even a big deal…but when you have two babies waking up from nap or crying, sometimes it’s hard to concentrate and do what needs to get done. If this is all set out, all I have to do is mix. And when they were tiny babies, I would make the bottles ahead of time and put them in the fridge and at the first sign of waking, I’d start warming the bottles. Some babies are very particular about temperature (my first set was for like the first 6 months, they wanted everything warm. This set doesn’t care. Cold baby food, room temp bottles, it’s all good. Praise Jesus!!!) But seriously, whatever you can do to get prepped, DO IT.
The actual feeding part can be tricky at first. Do you keep them on the same schedule? Do you feed one then the other? Do you attempt to feed at the same time? What if one is crying while the other is being fed? All these thoughts run through the minds of parents of multiples. Here’s my take on those questions..
Same schedule? Absolutely. We live and die by the feeding schedule for at least the first 6 months-first year or so. You do not want to just be feeding babies all day whenever they so choose. Let’s say you are going every 3 hours and you do the 6, 9, 12, 3 schedule. If one baby wakes for the 3pm feeding but the other is sound asleep, I will wake them…granted I will feed one, burp them, talk, sing whatnot for a bit, but by 3:30pm, I’m waking that baby. 30 minutes off schedule won’t hurt…but more than that can cause trouble for you. (The only time this does not apply is when you are sleep training. If your babies are 4 months old and one is still waking once or twice a night for feedings…do not wake the other. I’ll have to do a post sometime on sleep, but waking the other baby at night might mess with their learning to sleep through the night.) Back to the feeding…I’ve done feedings two different ways because both sets have been different. Set one (A&H) I pretty much always fed them at the same time. They were full term babies who ate well and had no issues. This is how I did it when they were itty bitty:
I believe they were about 6 weeks old in these pictures. I didn’t buckle them in on purpose because if one started gagging or something I could get them out immediately. I also had everything I needed either on the couch behind me or on the coffee table in front of me: burp cloths, phone, pacifiers, a toy or two. The bouncer needs to be one that reclines enough for a newborn, but isn’t a swing/bouncer. Those combo ones, the frame gets in the way but these are great for access to feeding the babies. I am a huge fan of these Ingenuity Smart Bounce chairs by the way…I highly recommend them to anyone having a baby, or two 😉 The bounce by them selves, have soothing music, and don’t have goofy cartoon characters splashed all over them. Winning.
With set number 2 (E&J) I couldn’t feed them both at the same time until they started holding their own bottles. Because they were preemies, we had to “sideline feed” them for about a month or so after bringing them home and even after that they were just not the best feeders…so it was best for them if I held them while they ate. I don’t have pics of my solo feeds when they were tiny because those were crazy days…but I fed them 15-30 minutes apart. It got pretty hard at times, I won’t lie. I found one would be more patient than the other one day and then it would switch. Also there were times when feeding them could take up to an hour and a half. During those hard feeds, I would often have to switch back and forth between them. I would always have both bottles ready but only fed one at a time. I would sit on the floor or the couch (like the above pictures) and would hold the feeder and talk to/comfort the other. Yes the one waiting would often cry. They are twins. It’s going to happen. You can’t always attend to their every need immediately. Sometimes they will cry so much while they’re waiting, they’ll fall asleep. But if you’re sitting right there talking to them, you’re doing everything you can. They are not abandoned. They will not have life long issues from this. It will be ok. “Crying it out” gets a bad wrap, but guess what? When you have more than one baby to attend to, someone is going to cry it out at some point or another. You just don’t have the luxury of not letting someone (or both!) cry. Our older two are almost 6 and I have yet to see any damage their crying has done.
But once E&J started holding their own bottles, we’ve done feeds like so:
My little guy sits in his bouncer and holds his bottle and I hold baby girl while she holds her bottle. She gets easily distracted and will stop eating so I hold her to help remind her to keep at it 😉 I still keep things near me that I need, burp cloths, toys, phone. Sometimes we do feedings like this:
Baby girl is finishing her bottle while I start feeding little guy his food. At the table I always keep wipes, a toy or two, bibs, and puffs. During food time I either switch back and forth between them or I give one some puffs, cherries, or other finger foods while I feed the other and then switch. When A&H could hold their own bottles, we did feeds like this:
And then I would tilt them back up, put their trays on their chairs and feed them their food. I loved those high chairs. I thought I was getting the same ones this time around, but the ones we have now don’t recline that much. I don’t know if they changed their design or I just ordered the wrong ones. Anyways, I still like that these high chairs can be taken off of the dining chairs and put away when we have company.
Also something that has really helped us for the first year or so is a feeding chart. Makes it so easy to see who ate what, when someone last had a poopy diaper, when the last feeding was, etc. This is what ours looks like:
In the Misc. box I write what type of food they ate, when they had medicine/vitamins, or anything else that we might want to keep track of. My husband just made an excel spreadsheet for this, so it’s nothing fancy.
I didn’t read a whole lot of books about feeding babies, but the one I did read I really liked and it provided a lot of information I didn’t know when I was a first-time parent. (Like, don’t laugh at your baby when he is blowing green beans out his mouth…it’s super cute and truly is funny…but once you laugh, they do it again and again until eating has become super unfunny. I hadn’t thought about that before as a new mom!) I also had every intention of making my own baby food both times around…yeeeeeah that hasn’t happened. People are getting fed around here and I feel like that’s enough for now! Anyways, the book is great and I highly recommend it!
Anyways, I think that’s all for now. Mainly you need to prep ahead of time and have all your gear handy! Nothing is more frustrating than running all over trying to gather things with a couple of hangry babies!
Let me know if you have questions, or other tips or tricks you’ve used that might be helpful to other parents of multiples! However we can help each other out, we need to do it! And I think any of the above can be applied to singleton babies too! Being prepared is never a bad thing 😉 Also, meal times at our home are never a quiet time of day…
But I’m glad we get to enjoy time around the table together!
I’ll close with a few products that I’ve found helpful or that I mentioned above. Happy feeding time!