We already had two girls when we got Curious Bill and Gentle Bull. Usually, the girls aren’t fussy eaters, something they have maintained since birth. My prayer was the twins would follow suit because I couldn’t imagine having two toddlers throwing tantrums. After all, they hated food. As I hoped and prayed, my wife and I prepared to feed the boys.
You see, our first born daughter, Elizabeth is a fussy eater. Being first time parents when we had her, you can imagine the headache we went through just to get her to eat. We weren’t ready to do the same with twins. We secretly hoped they would follow their sister’s footsteps, Victoria, our second born. Vicky is a champ when it comes to food, and we couldn’t be more grateful that the boys followed suit.
Honestly, nothing prepared us for what was to come. But before we get to that, I’ll have to commend my wife here.
This mama was a superstar from the word go. She had sheer determination to breastfeed the boys as long as she could, which only took her to about a month. Still, I think she was awesome to have pulled it off.
Fast forward to when we started bottle-feeding, and I could finally get in on the action. How did we prepare for it? How did I help my wife? Is it recommended for your kids?
We had as many questions as you do now, so I will do my best to answer most of them as best as I can. Think of this as a complete guide on bottle feeding twins. Let’s get to it, shall we?
The Best Supplies for Feeding Twins
We considered having all the must-haves for feeding the twins in readiness for their bottle feeding. This helped us ensure a smooth transition for both the kids and ourselves as parents of twins. Having a list of supplies also made our lives simpler.
So here is a run-down of the essential items you will need to aid you as you begin bottle feeding your babies:
- Baby Bottles and nipples
- Bottle warmers
- Formula mixers
- Bottle drying rack
- Dishwasher rack
- Nursing pillow and bobby pillows
- Burp cloths
- Silicone bibs
- High chair seats (This will come in handy when the babies are old enough to sit up)
- Plastic bowls and spoons (When the babies are ready to start eating solids)
- Breast pump (If you will be pumping your breastmilk)
Do you need different bottles for the twins?
It is always a good idea to have a different bottle for each baby. This helps in instances when one baby develops an allergy or needs different milk from the other. Colour coding is an effective way to sort bottles for the twins, and it makes it feeding time more manageable for everyone.
How to Feed Twins
The first time you bottle feed your twins will probably feel intimidating and confusing. Take a breathe and relax as you try and take it one step at a time. These tips will help you ease into feeding your little ones. You will realize that it will be second-nature in no time, and you will master the skill effortlessly.
Preparing the bottles
One of the questions most parents of twins ask is how many bottles they should buy. There is no right or wrong answer. Babies are unique, and so is their feeding pattern. But most babies feed every 3 hours, and if you want to have bottles prepared in advance for the day, that means you should have 16 bottles for your twins. So, having 10-16 bottles is a good start.
Ensure that your hands are always clean when preparing the bottles for a feed. If you prefer preparing the formula on demand, have bottled or filtered wanted ready always. Measure the water required, add the formula with a clean, dry scoop as directed, and shake well. The formula is ready for the twins to feed. You can store it in the refrigerator after mixing the formula for a later feed. However, when your babies are ready for a feed, make sure that you warm the bottle by placing it in hot water to get the milk warm.
Change the diapers
To have a successful feeding time with your twins, ensure that you have changed their diapers. It makes your babies as comfortable as possible. This also avoids any diaper blowouts or leaks that could disrupt their feed.
Prepare your feeding station
Prepare your feeding station before the twins require a feed. Make sure you have all your supplies within reach to minimize any distractions during feeding. Some of the essential supplies you need at hand include prepared bottles, formula, bottled or filtered water, bibs, burp cloths, twin nursing pillow, pacifiers, and a bottle warmer. It is also worth noting that if you have enough space in your bedroom, have a ready feeding station for the dream feeds during the nighttime.
Take turns feeding the twins
It is important to ensure that you take turns to feed the twins to get as much rest as possible. Twins demand a lot of attention, especially during feeding time, and the more help you can get, the easier feeding time will be. It also helps the other parent get other things done around the house. This is also an ideal time to get in some quality “me-time.” Both parents also get to bond with each baby in their way during this time.
Burp the twins
Once your twins are fed, you must burp each baby. Burping helps to get rid of the air that babies tend to swallow during feeding. It also ensures your twins are comfortable, helping them sleep longer. This is an essential step of feeding a baby, whether you are feeding your twins breast milk or formula.
Bottle Feeding Twins at Night
Nighttime feeding, especially with twins, simultaneously can be a monumental task. Whether your baby is breastfeeding or formula feeding takes a little more effort from you during the night. The key to these dream feeds is to maintain a calm and quiet environment to get the babies back to sleep as soon as possible. This will help you get a little more rest. However, there are tips and tricks you can use to conquer nighttime feeding. One thing you need to practice is consistency. Babies love consistency. It helps them anticipate what comes next, which allows them to develop a routine ensuring sleep success. Keep both babies on the same routine, so you don’t have one baby waking up while the other is asleep. Have their bottles prepared in advance and have a bottle warmer within reach. Remember to change their diapers before feeding. You could alternate who gets to wake up to feed them to ensure that both of you get some quality sleep. Do not overstimulate the kids when they wake for their dream feed. Keep the room dark and speak softly if you have to.
How to Bottle Feed the Twins Alone
What do you do when you are alone and have to feed the twins in tandem? After all, you only have two hands. One of the biggest challenges parents of twins face is bottle feeding twins’ logistics when you are alone. When you are feeding the twins simultaneously, you need to master the skill of keeping the babies on the same schedule to reduce the feeding time in half. It is also important because it is not always that you will have help around the house. To minimize the risk of getting anxious when you are alone, put in some practice whenever you can get so that you can get used to feeding the babies by yourself.
When the twins are still newborns, their necks are fragile, so it is not advisable to prop them up on a nursing pillow. You can find a comfy spot and feed each baby one at a time. However, once they can hold their heads up, you can place each baby on the twin nursing pillow or Boppy for each. This way, your hands will be free for feeding. Make sure that they are not lying flat on their backs when feeding. Keep their heads slightly elevated. Car seats are another great option to use when you don’t have pillows. If you have high chair seats that recline, place the babies on them while you sit on a stool or chair between the babies so you can feed them simultaneously. Once they are done feeding, do not forget to burp them.
Babies can get fussy during a bottle feed, one can have feeding problems, and a host of other challenges can arise when tandem feeding your twins. Always remember to stay calm and ask for help if you find it unmanageable.
Night Weaning Your Twins
Your bottle fed twins should be ready for sleeping through the night without a bottle from 6 months. They have started eating solid food and should be getting enough food during the day for healthy growth. However, weaning your twins should be done if your babies are developing well. Before you decide to wean them off their dream feeds, consult with the pediatrician and get the right advice for your twins. Make sure that you ease your little ones to ascertain they have a seamless transition.
Bottle feeding or breastfeeding twins is an arduous task for any new parent. It can also be challenging for parents with older children. From pumping breast milk from your already engorged breasts to preparing formula for your twins, feeding your twins is a labor of love. It may feel hectic when they are young and require a lot of attention. But with time, feeding two babies, especially in tandem, will become natural. Your twins will also learn to be comfortable with the bottles making feeding time an enjoyable experience. Strive to get the twins on the same schedule to maximize your time and give you more opportunities to have some much-needed self-care.
Frequently Asked Questions
In the first few weeks, infants need to feed 8 to 12 times a day. This means they feed once every two to three hours day and night. Each session should ideally take 20-30 minutes. The baby will then signal to you when they have had enough by slowing down on the sucking rhythm.
If you want to have enough bottles that can take you at least half a day without washing them, you need 10-16 bottles for your twins.
Most parents do not mind sharing bottles among their twins, but you should have different bottles for each twin. This could help in an instance when one of the kids has an allergy. It will not spread to the other
Ensure you have all your supplies at your feeding station in your room to avoid the hustle of shuffling between the kitchen and bedroom. Secondly, have your water prepared in advance to have your baby’s milk ready when they wake up. Be sure to keep the room dark and minimize any excitement so that your baby can feed and get back to sleep more easily.