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Hi.

Welcome to my blog. I document my adventures and knowledge as a twin mom and pediatric nurse practitioner. Hope you have a nice stay!

-Michelle

How I Fed My Twins (Birth - 6 Months)

How I Fed My Twins (Birth - 6 Months)

After writing about my twin C-section “trilogy” this past April, I seemed to keep getting the same question: How did you feed your twins? So, here I’ve mapped it all out for you. With details from birth through 6 months -- from helpful feeding products to what we fed our twins to how much we fed them to our feeding schedules – I’ve included it all! That said, this is just our experience. What others go through may be slightly different. My hope is that this just provides a reference for other new twin moms! I know I personally would have found something like this helpful to read when I first gave birth as I had many questions at that time. So, here you go!

Helpful Feeding Products We Used 

First, I want to mention 7 helpful products that I personally used to feed my twins:

1)    Dr. Brown’s Options Bottles and Philips Avent Anti-Colic Bottles

The Dr. Brown’s Options bottles are GREAT if you have babies with reflux. My daughter has always used these and we are big fans! You can use them with or without a venting system to help further reduce swallowing air/spit-ups. We used to use the venting system for the first 2 months when her reflux was more of an issue. If you have a baby with pretty severe colic, though, then there are better options. After trying ~300 different bottles for my once VERY colicky son, we finally settled on Philips Avent Anti-Colic bottles! He used to cry during every feed from start to finish and he would take an hour to feed (and imagine that every 2-3 hours -- it was miserable). But, once we transitioned to this bottle (and made a few other changes), we saw a huge improvement. The improvement was truly, truly remarkable. He still drinks from these bottles, but now he finishes in only 5 minutes and without a single tear!!!

Price:
$13.59 for Dr. Brown’s Options 4 oz. Bottles (3-pack). Buy here

$16.99 for Philips Avent Anti-Colic 4 oz. Bottles (3-pack). Buy here.

 Click photo to shop Dr. Brown's bottles

Click photo to shop Dr. Brown's bottles

 Click photo to shop Aventi bottles

Click photo to shop Aventi bottles

2)    Dr. Brown’s Bottle Warmers

We’ve always used two Dr. Brown’s bottle warmers to heat up each twin’s bottle simultaneously. We chose this option because for the first several months our twins were on different formulas/mixtures. That said, we had to mix each formula separately ourselves and then warm the both bottles up at the same time. This works great for warming breastmilk, too. Not to mention, it’s been nice to have two different warmers because one warmer can go with each twin whenever we split the kids to go for slumber parties at each grandma’s house! If your twins are on the same formula, though, then a Baby Brezza may work better for you.

Price: $44.99 each for Dr. Brown’s Bottle Warmer. You can purchase one here.

3)    Boppy Newborn Lounger

I know I’ve always raved about these – and today is no different! Whenever we bottle feed, we always use these (even still!). From birth-6 months, we lay the babies in their Boppys and give them their bottles. It’s comfortable for them and it’s comfortable for us. The side the head lays on has a slight elevation, making it ideal for feeding. Easy to clean and very affordable. Plus, it’s great to have one anyway just for lounging and napping.

Price: $29.99 each. You can purchase one here.

 Click photo to shop Boppy

Click photo to shop Boppy

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4)    Medela Symphony Breast Pump

If you’re planning to pump at all and have insurance, DON’T buy a pump!! You can “rent” them for free through your insurance company (a lot better than paying several hundreds of dollars to buy your own)! Talk to your OBGYN about getting a pump prescription for insurance to cover a hospital-grade pump before you give birth. If you want a hospital-grade pump that’s strong, then you’ll need a prescription. I used the Medela Symphony (as I know a lot of other twin moms do) and it had very strong suction. I felt as though whenever I pumped, I was completely emptying my milk. Highly recommend.

5)    Graco Blossom DLX 6-in-1 High Chair

If you missed my mini-review on this item from my previous post, then check out #11 on the list here. We’ve used these since the babies were 4 months and this is all we will ever need to feed them solids until they are sitting in a normal chair like the rest of us! 

Price: $199.99 each. You can purchase them here.

6.     Munchkin White Hot Safety Spoons

Okay, I love these spoons. Not only do my twins eat their solids well from these spoons, it's also easy to scoop any chin spills back up. The most important aspect of this utensil is that it turns white when the food is too hot, making it an even more ideal safety option. You must have a pack of these at home!!! We use them every single day now.

Price: $5.99 for a 4-pack. You can purchase them here.

 

 

 

Although I didn’t personally use them, I’ve also heard these additional items are helpful for other moms to feed their twins:

7)    Baby Brezza (for formula feeding)

If your twins are formula-fed and on the SAME formula, then I highly recommend a Baby Brezza. I have heard great things about this machine as it can mix your formula for you AND heat it up. While it’s on the expensive side – it will run you up to $179.99 – the Baby Brezza is definitely time-saving!!

Price: $179.99. You can purchase one here.

8)    Table for Two (for bottle feeding)
           Price: $279. You can purchase one here.

9)    Twin-Z Pillow (for bottle feeding or nursing)
           Price: $99.99. You can purchase one here.

10)    Bouncer Chairs (for bottle feeding)
           
Price: $~26 each. You can purchase them here.

11) My Brest Friend Nursing Pillow
           
Price: $44.99. You can purchase one here.
 

What We Fed Our Twins (Birth-6 Months)

Birth-2 months:

When the twins were born, the hospital staff brought in a breast pump for me to use from the day after the twins were born until discharge. I worked on getting the twins to latch and to express colostrum until my milk came in. Full disclosure, I didn’t really use the hospital’s pump as much as I should have those first few days. It was a bit of an aggressive task (in my opinion) for someone who had just had major abdominal surgery and could barely move. We supplemented the colostrum with formula until my milk came in on the third day. We had some difficulty with latch that required lactation assistance (but that was a struggle that continued even after we got home). Once we were discharged home, my overall feeding pattern in the first 2 months was this: bottlefeed pumped breastmilk during the day, bottlefeed formula at night, pumped every 3-6 hours and stored it in the fridge, then repeat. The reasons I incorporated formula into this pattern was three-fold: 1) my milk production was never good (however, this was likely more related to poor latch and not frequent enough pumping sessions that later resulted in insufficient emptying and thereby insufficient supply), 2) formula helped the twins sleep better at night as it made them feel fuller, and 3) my son was experiencing pretty severe colic and we didn’t know if it was related to my milk (or, in other words, my diet). As for the exact formula we mixed into their diet, my daughter was on Similac Sensitive (this helped with her reflux) and my son was on Neosure (as this has slightly higher calories and he had lost more weight than we desired after he was born).

2 months – 4 months:

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Once the twins turned 2 months, I stopped pumping and transitioned to all formula.  We continued with Similac Sensitive for my daughter and Neosure for my son. At the twin’s 2 month visit with the pediatrician, we discussed my son’s severe colic. He was crying incessantly with feeds. Per her recommendation, we started adding 2 tablespoons of rice cereal to every bottle for him to thicken it. The thought was that if his formula was thicker, it would be less likely to reflux up into his esophagus and hopefully reduce his crying episodes. (Side note: if you add cereal to bottles, please only do this per your pediatrician's recommendations; also, know that you either need to buy special nipples that allow for the cereal to pass through or you have to cut the nipples yourself like we did). At that same time, we started him on a reflux medication twice daily and changed his bottles several times to find one that helped with reflux/colic. All along, we of course kept him propped up during and for 30 minutes after feeds, as well. We tried everything. The first 3 months were brutal because of his reflux/colic. Feeds were taking incredibly long on top of it all. And yes, the infamous “witching hour” truly was real. Despite all of this, both babies were growing and thriving very well.

4 months- 6 months:

By ~4 months, things seemed to magically improve from a reflux/colic standpoint. My son’s crying spells during feeds were a thing of the past, the duration of feeds quickened, and nobody seemed to be suffering from reflux anymore. At the 4-month pediatrician visit, the doctor was so thrilled with the twins’ growth, especially my son’s since he was on the special higher calorie formula. At that time, she switched him over to the same formula as my daughter since he was doing so well and for ease. We were so happy to finally only have to buy ONE type of formula!

Right before the 4-month visit, I had started putting rice cereal in my daughter’s last bottle of the day, then increased the cereal to the last 3 bottles of the day. This was for mild reflux and the added bonus of helping her sleep better at night. It was working! Both babies were sleeping for 7-8 hours straight at night (with no night feeds) by 4 months! The problem, though, was both babies were getting constipated. Rice cereal is known to constipate babies. Per the pediatrician’s recommendation, we then switched to oatmeal cereal (but kept the same amount) in bottles. This change helped their constipation a great deal. We kept prune juice in the refrigerator if they ever went >3 days without a bowel movement or if they were straining. If they ever needed prune juice, I would give them 15 mL prune juice mixed with 15 ml of formula/water in a bottle. Since my son’s reflux/colic was significantly improved, we took him off of his reflux medication (so he was only on it for ~2-2.5 months total).

It's best to start offering solids by mouth in a high chair to babies around 4-6 months. So, at 4 months, we started offering Stage 1 solids a couple of times per week, starting with sweet potatoes. As a side note, traditionally, pediatricians will recommend starting with rice cereal or oatmeal cereal mixed with formula/milk, but since we had already put that in our bottles for reflux reasons, we skipped that and went onto vegetables for a new taste. We only introduced a new solid once every 2-3 days so that if someone had a reaction (i.e. rash, lip swelling, breathing difficulty, etc.) we would know what the cause might have been. By the way, after trying cereal, I recommend starting with vegetables and then gradually making your way to fruits (since those are sweet and you don’t want your twins to have a preference for that instead of vegetables!). Also, I recommend giving solids in the morning or early afternoon (instead of in the late evening) so that if there's a reaction, you will notice it (and not be asleep).

6 months (now):

When I look back and compare, things are so amazing now. The babies take only 5 bottles/day, ~5-7 oz per bottle, they finish their meals within 5 minutes, and they sleep for 12 hours at night. Talk about a dream come true, right?! Both babies are still on the same formula (Similac Sensitive). I still put the oatmeal cereal in all my son’s bottles for reflux, but plan to wean that off over the next month. My daughter gets the cereal in her last 2 bottles of the day to help with sleeping purposes (this will also be weaned off in the next month as solids increase). Everyone’s reflux is essentially a non-issue at this point. Nobody is on any medications. They take Stage 2 solids once daily in their high chairs. At this time, they are eating pretty much everything (vegetables, meats, fruits). My goal is to increase them to 2-3x/day solids by the time they’re 7 months.

 

How Much Our Twins Ate and Feeding Schedules (Birth – 6 Months) 

I am THAT mom that documents all of my kids’ intake. :-) That said, I have records of how much and how often the twins were drinking all along. In part, I think it’s a byproduct of being a pediatric nurse practitioner AND it just makes it easier to know which twin ate what (especially when I’m brainstorming why someone might be fussy). Our twins were born full-term at 37 weeks + 4 days. Our daughter was 6 pounds 5 oz and our son was 5 pounds 15 oz at birth. After feeding them as described here the past 6 months, our daughter is now 17.5 pounds (69th percentile for her gender), our son is 18.3 pounds (64th percentile for his gender), and they’re both very tall at 6 months old!

Here is a table that summarizes how I’ve fed my twins from birth-6 months.

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 Of course, please follow the instructions of your twins’ pediatrician when feeding your babies. The way I fed my twins may not be the best for your twins. However, I hope that this information just serves as a helpful reference for some. Feeding two babies at once is NOT easy, but we all manage to figure it out eventually. :-)  Good luck!!

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