Feeding Many Mouths

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Posted by vera | Posted in Parenting, Twins or Multiple Birth Pregnancy | Posted on 26-01-2010

Patricia-feeding-4Many expectant POMs wonder how they will breastfeed two or more babies.  Ironically, this important consideration is really only relevant in the intial stages of parenting.  Few consider the longer-term question of how to manage the logistics of multiple feedings once babies are eating solids.  For example, is it okay to use one bowl/spoon, or does each baby need his or her own feeding utensils?  Do you feed one at a time, saving valuable real estate vis-a-vis high chairs, or do you line ’em all up, and shovel the food in simultaneously?

Although there is no “right” or “wrong” way to feed your little ones, it may be helpful to consider some of these questions before your babies get to the solids stage, so that you and your family can think about how best to manage time and space with multiple babies.

One family I worked with fed their quads simultaneously.  As you can see from the photo, the feeding parent surrounded herself with high chairs, popped a wipeable plastic bib on each baby, and began feeding: A-B-C-D.  Although this was logistically the “easiest” way, mom points out that with four babies, one or more often became impatient with waiting his or her turn.  Using a helper at feeding time allows one feeder per two babies, a slightly more manageable ratio, and one which may allow for better monitoring of food intake.

We, too, fed our two simultaneously, and usually out of one bowl, although friends of ours tried to keep germs at bay by assigning each baby his or her own colour bowl and utensil.  While we personally did not go this route, I can see the advantage of colour coding feeding “tools”, especially as the babies get older and want to “feed” themselves.  Allowing each child his own plate, bowl, etc., helps foster individuality, a sense of ownership of something uniquely his.

Feeding time is also an ideal time to bond with your little ones.  We often had greatly animated “conversations” while I was shovelling in the food.  Sometimes, after dinner, I would sit and play flute for the boys while they were still in their high chairs.  (They didn’t mind that I wasn’t very good at it, hehe!)  And eventually, we just pulled the high chairs right up to the dining room table and allowed Alex and Simon to join in the regular mealtime routine with the adults in the household.

Those concerned about the amount of space the high chairs take up may want to investigate booster seats, many of which also recline.  These can be attached to already-existing dining room chairs in order to minimize the amount of space taken up with high chairs (never mind the folding kind–feeding 3 times a day, you will not be folding up two or more high chairs constantly!  You need a more “permanent” solution)!  Booster seats can also be easily packed and taken along to grandmas, or to smaller restaurants, which may have a shortage of high chairs for families of multiples.

Whether you choose to feed together or individually, and whether you use high chairs, booster seats or some other arrangement, planning out what your feeding time will look like allows everyone to get the most of out this regular part of your daily schedule.

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