Solid Feeding Techniques for Twins Starting Solids
When the 4 month mark approaches, parents become excited about the thrill of introducing solids to their babies. For twins, this experience is doubly exciting! While there really are no tricks that will ensure your babies eat green peas and squash, there are things you can do to make the event less stressful and fun.
One of the keys to keeping your sanity while raising twins is to make things simple for you. When things are simple for you, you will remain in a better state of mind, and will not be easily frustrated. When it comes to feeding, stick to the rule of spoon-feeding at the same time, with one spoon, one jar of food, and two highchairs. Set them side by side, pull up your chair, and dig in! While for germs sake, you may feel compelled to offer two spoons and two completely clean jars of food, this will only make the endeavor more like a job. Consider that during this first year you will be feeding them A LOT! Why make it tedious and something you dread?
In the beginning, make one bowl of cereal and open one can of baby food. If you need more than that, you can certainly make it. Offer the spoon to each baby one after the other and enjoy the experience. Take a bit of the solid food and put it on their highchair tray to allow them to play and experiment with food. As they get older, make sure their tray has plenty of cheerios and that each baby has their own spoon to hold. This will facilitate their desire to feed themselves, which ultimately is the goal!
You are bound to run into one half of the daring duo refusing certain foods while the other can't seem to get enough. Instead of forcing compliance, respect individuality and offer them foods they will eat. After all, the goal is nutrition and having them feel satisfied after eating. Parents always adjust faster than children, especially at this age, so make accommodations as needed.
When you begin to offer whole foods like teething crackers, start them out eating in their highchair. You never know when a ‘choking' incident will occur, and it is much easier to handle when they are sitting together in one place.
As a parent of twins, you should definitely begin offering sippy cups as early as possible. The sooner they are able to hold their sippy-cup and figure it out, the easier your life will be.
When it comes to cleaning up after mealtime, this also is best done in tandem. Twins become very patient and accustomed to waiting a minute or two for their brother or sister to get through. In the years ahead, mealtime can be very hectic with twins, much more so than they are during the baby years. By making efforts to keep it simple for you and them, setting a specific routine for eating so they know what to expect, and sticking to it, you are paving the road for toddlers with great eating habits and table etiquette (relatively speaking of course). If you start out properly, by the time they are two, they will be able to sit through a meal in their highchairs or boosters without fussing and squirming.
Another bit of advice when feeding twins is that if one doesn't seem interested or is entering one of those phases where eating is an after-thought, allow them to get down from the highchair. Twins definitely emotionally feed off one another, and if one is in a cranky mood, trying to force them to eat or remain in their highchair will wreak havoc on the one that is hungry. Cut them loose, and when the next mealtime approaches, they may be more than willing to sit and eat.
Whether you have twins or one, it is important to set mealtime routines and rituals early in life. This will develop into good eating habits down the road and will ensure they have a healthy relationship with food. When you hit those phases where they don't seem to eat anything at all or they become extremely picky, don't stress! Experience and statistics indicate that without a doubt, the phase will pass!