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              Weaning Twins: How I did it (Part One, The Beginning)        

    Two of Everything: Weaning Twins: How I did it (Part One, The Beginning)

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Weaning Twins: How I did it (Part One, The Beginning)

Weaning twins can be a tricky thing.  When do you do it?  How much do you give them?  Baby Led or purees?  What if one likes something and the other doesn't?  How do I feed two squawking, open mouths at the same time?  In this two-parter, I'll tell you about how I did it with my twins.  (I'd just like to say though, I'm not any kind of health expert or anything, this is just my own experience so if you choose to do anything I mention here, on your head be it...)  

When I was pregnant, I really wanted to do Baby Led Weaning.  I can remember sitting in the hospital's SCBU rooming-in room, devouring Gill Rapley's book.  But when it came to the 6 month mark (the advice is that you wean babies based on their actual, not adjusted, age) my babies weren't sitting up enough to be able to do it safely, so I decided I would need to start with purees.

Before I started:

- I bought Annabel Karmel's Baby and Toddler Meal Planner book, simply to have a plan to follow.  I don't think there's any point in trying to pluck things out of the air when you can use something like this to help you along.  I didn't follow it to the letter, far from it, I just used it as a guide to give me an idea about what order to introduce things.
- I bought a big steamer.  
- I made some batches of purees and froze them in ice cube trays.  I knew it would be unmanageable to do it as I went along - I didn't want to be frantically microwaving and mashing a single carrot with two babies screaming at me!
- I started to give the babies a spoon to hold, especially if they were watching us eating.

I didn't bother with baby rice as it doesn't have much nutritional value.  Anyway, it tastes vile and I couldn't feed my children anything I wouldn't eat myself.  I launched in with carrot, and pureed it fairly roughly.  By 6 months most babies will have lost their tongue-thrust reflex (where they push their tongue out when you put a spoonful of food in - it's not that they're spitting it out) and they can cope with a bit more texture.

When I started:

- I gave the babies a bowl each on their trays.  I used Vital Baby's Unbelievabowls which suction on to the trays, so we didn't have flying food receptacles...
- We had three spoons - one each for them to have a go (which I would load up for them), and one for me.  I found that if they had a spoon it stopped them screaming for more food in between mouthfuls, after all I only have one pair of hands.
- I offered them a little more than I thought they would eat simply because I found it easier to have a bit of wastage than to have to start defrosting and reheating half way through a meal!

As far as quantity goes, I just let them eat however much they wanted to (still do) - every child is different so it is impossible to be specific about quantities.  I found Little Man ate far more than Little Miss for quite some time.

Some things to expect: 

- Mess, and lots of it
- You might not get out much for the first few weeks, it feels a little like feeding them constantly in one way or another for a while!
- They might not take to it in the same way.  For us, Little Man launched himself at it, using a spoon from the beginning and eating lots.  Little Miss wasn't at all sure to begin with and she hadn't quite lost her tongue thrust reflex either, so anything that did go in would come out again.  Once this stopped she would eat a bit if she could feed herself, so I tended to mix whatever they were having with a bit of mashed potato to help it stick to the spoon!  I kept offering her exactly the same things at the same time and eventually she decided to join in.  It took a while (about 7 weeks!) for her to start eating properly.  She started to put her hands in the food first, then she would be happy to eat it in quantity!  I got a little anxious about it, but I needn't have been; once she started there was no stopping her.

Sometimes, it was just all too much!

Some more top tips

- I found green vegetables, once pureed, can be really strong, so I would tend to mix them with either sweet potato (sweet potato and spinach was a big favourite) or with ordinary potato (another favourite was potato, courgette and broccoli).
- I started going mashed rather than pureed as soon as I could, to encourage them to chew - it was just a case of trial and error to see what they could manage.
- I introduced finger foods after about 6 weeks, once they were sitting up better - things like sticks of carrot, broccoli trees and toast soldiers to begin with.  Little Miss mainly sucked toast to get the butter!
- Large quantities of broccoli have a similar effect on your wee to asparagus - Little Man used to have some really smelly wet nappies!
- You will sometimes get stripy poos.  One day they had eaten carrot for lunch and avocado for tea, so Little Man's poo came out half orange and half green ( I was slightly alarmed, but once their digestive system matures and they start eating a wider variety it does turn into proper poo!)
- If you're going out over a meal time in the early days, just take an avocado and a banana - easy to transport, just mash into a bowl and feed (not together, that's just wrong...)
- I used to put a load of newspaper under their highchairs which could be gathered up at the end - much easier than getting on your hands and knees trying to scoop up mounds of puree which have been launched from a height...

Our routine for the first 6 weeks or so:

7am Bottle
8am Breakfast (I introduced this 'meal' second - fruit to begin with and then, after a little while, some rice porridge, made with wholegrain rice flakes (more nutritious than baby rice, you can get them from health food shops) and formula. It tasted like rice pudding!)
11am Bottle
12 noon Lunch (this was the first 'meal' to be introduced)
2.30/3pm Bottle
5pm Tea (this was the last 'meal' to be introduced - I just followed Annabel Karmel's suggestions for when!)
6.45 Bedtime bottle

Want to see more?  Check out Weaning Twins, Part Two.


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