We got a question from a mom about feeding babies two at a time, when one baby is impatient. Oh, this is a topic close to my heart, as my little girl, who for the first three months was mellow and chill, has developed quite the strong little personality. Here is the question:
“Right now, my screamer (Alex) is so impatient that I give her a bottle propped on a cloth book while I give cereal to my other (Liz). Liz has recently developed this thing where she will start to shriek for no reason before the cereal is gone. There’s nothing wrong with Liz, I think she’s upset about Alex getting a bottle while she suffers through cereal. I can’t give them both bottles at the same time b/c I can’t cereal feed both at the same time – when I do that it causes Alex to scream uncontrollably b/c she’s so
impatient. After Liz eats her cereal, she gets a bottle and Alex gets her cereal. I could use some tips for how to conduct feedings without all the screaming and shrieking – by the end of it I have a tension
pain at the base of my neck and a headache.”
Here’s a couple of thoughts from the moms of HDYDI:
1. The general consensus was–feed them together! (For more details on this, check out the Foodie Friday post on this topic). You can do this quite quickly—one spoon, two open mouths, very speedy refilling of the spoon. Maybe try making the cereal a little thicker, if they will tolerate it? (We weren’t sure how old these babies were and very young ones may not be able to tolerate thicker cereal). Anyway, thicker cereal sticks to the spoon better. LauraC also suggested feeding with two spoons. She says this takes some time to master, but comes in handy. Try feeding the more impatient baby with the dominant hand (I think LauraC is more coordinated than I am!).
2. Another suggestion is to try washable toys at mealtimes. (Or, a mooing cow–check out Laura’s use of this tool here). A toy on a tray is a great distraction for an impatient baby. We also used finger foods for this purpose. Again, depending on how old the babies are, this might work. I recommend rice krispies! Check out this older post for other suggestions or look at my favorite feeding website, www.wholesomebabyfood.com.
3. Often for babies under 1 year, their bottles are more important to them than cereal. It may be very hard for one baby to see the other one eating! (I know my kids went through this with breastfeeding—they weren’t even very hungry until they saw that other baby latch on. Not fair!!!). So, another suggestion is to feed them their bottles an hour or so before feeding solid foods. That way, they aren’t super hungry for cereal and may be more patient. For babies under a year (and especially for those under 9-10 months), solids are really about the experience and much less about getting nutrition. That comes from breastmilk or formula!
4. Another suggestion is to feed one baby solids in a different room, while the second baby is in a swing, pack n play or on a playmat. That way, baby #2 isn’t even aware of what is going on. We did this with our “jealous nursing” issue if there were two adults, but could also be done with just one adult if you can find a safe place to put baby #2 (and baby #2 will not freak out at being left alone in a room by him/herself).
What do other moms think? Did you have an impatient baby? Were there strategies that saved you some screaming?
If you have a topic that you’d like to see Foodie Friday cover, write it in the comments!