Thursday, February 28, 2013

Adventures in Feeding Twins Real Food

I've been a terrible blogger. I've been largely uninspired and in some kind of slump. I'm not sure what the deal is, but I hope I get over this... How long can I blame my crummy moods on hormones? Do we get a pass on this for at least a year? 

I think Ella is teething. That or she is developing colic at 5.5 months of age. She has periods in the afternoon when she will just cry and scream. She is inconsolable. It's awful. Nothing wears on me more than a crying baby (especially when the other baby needs attention/needs to eat at the same time). Tylenol calms her down within 15 minutes, but it's just awful. I've had a few rough days....

Thanks for all your responses on my last post. If that damn manual shows up I will be sure to make and distribute copies! I love the support I have found via blogging. You ladies are awesome! I promise I will catch up on your blogs soon!!

I wrote this, but then thought 'I sound all high and mighty about my choice of food.' This is not my intent. If you are using jars for food you go right ahead! We have a bunch of jars in a cabinet because I don't have time to make food sometimes. This is just what I have chosen to do. Making food for the babies is enjoyable for me and it's what I'm doing. It's good for us. You do whatever is good for you!

The time has come. We have moved on to food. AHHHH! At our 4 month appointment our pediatrician said we could start whenever we felt the babies were ready. I did a lot (I mean A LOT) of research online. For some reason, I felt like I was getting a lot of mixed messages regarding feeding the twins food. Some sources say to wait until 6 months before feeding anything. Others say to follow your babies lead and feed when they are ready. As a follow the rules kinda gal, I found this confusing. Feed them too early and they will be obese adults. Feed them too late and they won't have developed a taste for food and will be picky. What the hell is a mom supposed to do? It didn't help that my husband was on board with whatever I wanted to do. I'm not good at making decisions...

One day we just went for it. That fancy blender we got as a wedding gift 6.5 years ago came out of the basement and we started making food! (Who knew blenders were good for more than just making up a batch of margaritas?! Up until this point, that's all we used the blender for-summer fun!) The babies had gone from taking in about 26-25 oz per day each to pounding down over 40 a few days. We both thought they were eating more, watching us eat and they were ready. At around 4.5 weeks we attempted feeding. We started with rice cereal (not with successful results). I found the Wholesome Baby Food Guide online to be a source I liked so I ordered their book off of Amazon as well. I wanted to make our babies food if possible and they had a no fuss laid back approach to why you should feed your babies certain foods at certain times as well as how to make food and a variety of recipes. I like the information the book provided in terms of feeding (why certain foods are important, how to add spices to their foods, when to try foods etc.)

We ordered high chairs from Target (we went with the Graco DuoDiner 3 in 1-and love it!). I wish we would have ordered the chairs sooner. They love to sit in them (they recline) and play with toys. It's a great way for me to get cooking done. They love to sit in the chairs with toys with music on while I sing and dance around the kitchen making dinner or baby food. They smile (and sometimes laugh) at my dancing-what this says about my dance moves you can figure out for yourself... When the book arrived we jumped on to the feeding train and haven't looked back.


Ella took to eating instantly. She was grabbing for the spoon, opening wide and making little 'mmm' sounds on every bite. Evan was a little more reluctant. He would just take a few bites initially and did not find it to be useful; he found playing with his new meal time bib to be much more entertaining. After about a week, Evan started realizing the stuff we were putting near his mouth was useful and he started to enjoy it as well. They both eat very well and I have yet to find something they have not liked. Evan is always skeptical on the first bite. He slowly swallows and furrows his brows in deep concentration while Ella 'mmm's' and is ready for more! These two could not be more different...

They initially started out only eating about 1-2 tbsp once a day. I fed them after their morning nap. Over a few weeks they have moved on to about 1/2 cup. They are still taking it about 30 oz of formula a day. Since they have gotten the hang of it, we started feeding them in the evening as well. I try to have dinner cooked/nearly ready when my husband gets home and we all sit down to eat. I LOVE it! We bought a new 8 chair dining room table in Dec and I absolutely love sitting down in the dining room to have a family dinner. I have dreamed about this...

Since we started feeding food at dinner, they have had large improvements in sleeping through the night. We now have a great routine down-we sit down to eat around 6-6:30. One of us cleans up while the other unloads the babies onto a blanket in the living room. We have play time for a while then change into PJ's and feed around 7. By 7:30ish they are in bed and sleep until 5-6 (7 if we are lucky). Someone will typically need a paci around 4, but other than that they are sleeeeeping. One Sunday I woke up on my own at 7:48 am. WOKE UP ON MY OWN! WOKE UP without a baby crying! WHOA! Of course I thought they were dead or someone stole them. Anyway, I honestly think the food has helped keep them full and satisfied overnight.

I'm feeding them a fruit or veggie in the morning (usually by 9:30) and they get a grain (barley/oatmeal/brown rice) with a fruit or veggie mixed in during the evening. So far they have had green beans, avocado, squash, sweet potatoes, bananas, pears, applesauce, barley, oatmeal and brown rice as well as combos of them (green veggie monster-avocado, green beans & apple sauce).  I just started adding cinnamon to a few dishes. The book has spices you can add to help develop your babies palate-I love this concept! All of the foods I have made and they didn't take much time (less than 30 minutes for blending, clean up etc). I read during my research that babies who are fed food over jars will be less picky in the long run (we'll see!). It's really not a lot of work to cook a few sweet potatoes, throw them in the blender and freeze them in ice cube trays. The food defrosts quickly and there is a big difference in taste and texture between the jar food and food I make (we've tried a few jars along with way). We're moving on to the next section in the book for foods recommended for 6-8 months and I can't wait to try out new recipes.

I really love feeding the babies. I love cooking myself, so being able to cook for them and watch them eat and enjoy the food is great! It's one of my favorite things so far!

Now I need to get inspired to make it out of this slump. I want to finish the week strong. Was there a meltdown Monday? Yup, sure was.... I'm having a hard time feeling inadequate and feeling like I'm not doing a good enough job. It's impossible to get it all done. Maybe I can figure out how to add more hours into the day. In the meantime there is coffee....

8 comments:

Charlotte said...

First of all - you are SO not inadequate and I'm sorry you're feeling that way. Just look at this post you wrote with all the awesome mothering you're doing! Look at that picture of two happy, healthy babies!

I'm also glad you wrote this because we're just now thinking about when to start O on solids. His pediatrician doesn't think he'll be ready for at least another month (tongue reflex, I guess?) but I know it'll be here before I know it!

Jen said...

You make me feel inadequate! All this cleaning and cooking! :) You are doing great. We have been giving the babies oatmeal with banana mixed in, but I'm guessing it's time to branch out a bit. I've done this before and still feel like I have no idea!

S said...

For what it's worth, I've read that postpartum mood disorders can occur for up to a year post-delivery. . . so yes, I think you can still blame your crummy moods on hormones. :-)

I enjoyed making my sons' first foods, too, and their reactions were similar to your descriptions of Ella and Evan's: one took to the foods immediately and was vocal about it, while the other was skeptical and cautious about every new food but eventually warmed up. It's so fun watching them experience eating food (vs. just breast milk/formula) for the first time!

Re the teething pain, Tylenol is great. Another product we used with good results: Hyland's teething tablets. Ask your pediatrician about them; most are OK with them and will tell you they are safe. I dosed our sons with them routinely, without waiting for fussiness to recur, when they were in heavy teething mode, especially MJ. (Oddly enough, AJ still has no teeth at 13 months.)

Our Journey Through This Lovely Life said...

You are doing a great job! and they are so adorable!! I love the picture of them in their highchairs!! Soooo cute!! Have a lovely weekend!

Amber said...

@Charlotte-Thank you. I'm not sure what my deal is. Winter blues? Something more serious? I just hope it passes. Good luck with the solids! I think it's fun (obviously). It took Evan about 1.5 weeks to get over the tongue thrust before he started actually eating. I figured he was tasting new foods/textures so I kept it up while his sister was pounding down the spoonfuls of food.

@Jen-Thank you. It's tough...all of it! I'm glad I'm not the only one wondering about this food stuff!

@S-THANK you! I'm glad I can still use the hormone thing. It will pass right? I hope it doesn't stick around...I'm not sure what is going on. I'm going to check out Hyland's tablets. Thank you for the suggestion! I've gotten a small sample of teething and what's to come...and I'm scared!

Jules said...

I always love reading your updates, not just because they are hilarious and full of fun tips, but they give me so much to look forward to in the future! Like both of them sleeping through the night til 7 am??? What's your secret?? Did you do any sleep training with them or did they just fall into that by themselves? Thanks for the book rec, I will check that out. Their 4 month checkup is next week and I really hope adding some solids will help them feel fuller and more sleepy... :-) And that pic of the 2 E's in their chairs makes me smile very much.

polycysticinside said...

Sounds like fun!!! We are preparing for real food too. I am reading about baby led weaning which says you can forego the purees. I'm going to try it, we'll see how it goes. I am excited by your success, I hope that our babies like food as much as yours!!

Mrs. F said...

We just started with avocado this week. So fun! I got a baby bullet at our shower and can't wait to use it.