Foodie Fridays – The Mess and Mayhem of Feeding Twins

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Categories Feeding, Foodie Fridays, Parenting, Solid Foods

It may be a while now since my kids have been considered toddlers, but one thing I clearly remember about that stage is the mess and mayhem that was feeding twins solids.

Feeding Twins Baby Food

Mealtime Mess BabyWhen my twins first began eating baby cereal and foods, we didn’t have high chairs, so instead we used their baby swings for a while.  Eventually we acquired two random high chairs from friends, and then for Christmas of that year, my in-laws bought us those seat saver booster seats.  No matter what seats they were in, babies, bibs, seats, trays, chairs, and floor all become one disgusting mess.

I remember traces of food ending up on eye lids, lashes, hair, ears, diapers, everywhere!  My husband and I would just have to laugh at the mess that was twin mealtime.Baby food

I remember disliking feeding my children for a long time (okay, I still do a little bit).  Not only was I already spending a large amount of my day breastfeeding two babies, (or supplementing with a bottle), but on top of that I also had to feed two squiggly, sometimes unfocused and uncooperative, babies sitting in high chairs.  And then clean up afterwards.  It sometimes felt like the vast majority of my day was spent either feeding babies or cleaning them up.  I often had to remind myself that I, too, needed to feed myself!Infant sucking on feeding while eating

One of my daughters is an avid two middle fingers sucker, and meal time was no different.  In goes the spoon, then in go those fingers.  It would create an even bigger mess as her fingers and hands were rubbed on her head, the chair, and more: all was now covered in colorful baby foods.

And bibs were a bit of a joke in my opinion.  Maybe if I had been willing to spend money on nicer, bigger bibs (why are they so expensive?) with snaps instead of Velcro (I don’t like the Velcro ones as my kids just ripped them off and the sticky grip of them lessened after frequent washings).  But, we were poor and I didn’t want to spend money on bibs, of all things.  I more often than not just stripped my kiddos down when it was time to eat.  Skin somehow seems easier to clean.

Feeding Twins Finger Food

Once my children got to the finger food stage, I thought maybe they would be making less of a mess (no more soupy baby food), but the mess just moved to the floor.  And like other new mothers of multiples, one of the first things to go was a regular cleaning schedule.  And some of those foods would get stuck, superglue-style, to the floor, and their chairs.The Mess and Mayhem of Feeding TwinsMy solution, especially after we moved to an apartment that had a carpeted dining area (WHY?!), was to lay down a plastic disposable table cloth underneath the two chairs, which I bought for a dollar each at the dollar store.  Every few days, (or once a week), I would pick up the table cloth, carefully dump the loose contents into the trash, and then wipe the tablecloth with a wet dish rag.  After that I’d give it a good spray with some Lysol and let it dry in my kitchen, then lay it back down.  I am so cheap, that I didn’t want to throw it away after only a few days. Eventually it would end up in the trash and a fresh table cloth laid down.twins eating at tableThe Lysol was sprayed because, like most toddlers, they would occasionally eat some of the food that accumulated under their seats.  Yes, the five-second rule turned into the two-day rule on some food items.  It seemed as if one of my daughters preferred hard, crispy day-old whole wheat tortillas to the soft ones.

Twins Feeding Themselves

Slowly but surely, our twins started eating with utensils, making eating foods easier and less messy.  In the slowly part, I always tried to make sure my kids had their bibs on, were pushed up as close to the table as possible, and I was always sitting there to supervise.  If I wasn’t, they would take the opportunity to play and make an enormous mess.

What have you done to make feeding your twins (or more) baby food, and finger foods less messy at meal and snack time?

ldskatelyn is the mother of twin three-year-old girls and a bouncing baby boy.  She is so glad the messy mayhem of infant and toddler feeding is mostly behind her so she can spend less of her day cleaning children, clothes, chairs, and floors.  She loves her life as a stay-at-home mom and blogs about her family and all their adventures at

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Katelyn is a stay-at-home mom to three year old fraternal twin girls, Lisa and Alison, and a brand new baby boy, named Michael. She is enjoying having a newborn again and also loving the dynamics (so far) of having kids of different ages. When Katelyn isn’t playing or taking care of her kids, she’s often reading a book, blogging, watching a movie, or taking care of business. She’s also a talented artist, a Sunday School teacher to a group of 6-year old kids, a supportive spouse to her graduate student/math teacher husband, and a musician. She works hard to have a clean house, great preschoolers, and a happy home. She shares bits of advice and much of her life over at her personal blog What’s up Fagan’s?

13 thoughts on “Foodie Fridays – The Mess and Mayhem of Feeding Twins”

  1. Oh my gosh my kids are so messy. Even when they are obviously doing a good job eating, they are messy. I totally have a two-middle-fingers-sucker too and he does the exact same thing – food in, fingers in; rubs his eyes, hair, ears…ugh. And he gets so excited about what’s in front of him, he’ll spit out what’s in his mouth to eat it. Even if it’s the same food, lol! My other guy is remarkably neat – until he’s done, and then look out! He likes to smush food to check it’s consistency before eating it, watch things drop, and try to escape from his high chair. Sigh. One thing that has helped is to give them only 1-2 pieces of food at a time and to serve “courses” – protien or veggies, then grains, then fruit, for example. It’s easier to see when they are really done vs just need a little novelty to keep them going. When do you typically start giving them plates/bowls? I sometimes let them hold their utensils, but honestly only if I’m in a patient mood :o)

    1. I don’t remember exactly when I started giving them plates and bowls, but not for a long time. Because it all just meant one more thing to clean and to supervise and to buy! Ugh! I think I probably started bowls at maybe 18 months? Spoons probably around that same time.

  2. Mine are 7 and STILL messy. I’ve finally figured out the reason my kids still take food off their plates and place it on the table is that don’t want anything touching anything else. Switched to divided tray style dishes and that’s helped some. They still won’t eat over their plates, though, so I have to sweep and mop after every meal.

    1. My kids take food off their plates and put it on the table when they don’t want that food too! It’s so annoying! Divided plates could be a good help for that.

  3. I still shudder thinking about feeding the girls from the time they were 6 or 8 months old until they were more than two. Ick!!!

    It was the projectile spitting that drove me batty when they were infants, and the hands-to-the-hair that made me cringe when they were older.

    I don’t know if it was the “right” thing to do, but I fed my girls for the longest time. They started feeding themselves when they were probably 15 months old, but I’d only give them a piece or two at a time on their trays. I didn’t let them start using utensils until they were about two. It was just really hard for me to give up that control…both from a “mess” standpoint, and also from the standpoint that I wanted them to eat and not have the temptation to play.

    These days, at 4 1/2, our girls are pretty neat. Still, they wear bibs when we’re at home. :) [I did invest in the most awesome bibs from Bumkins — they’re about $7 each, but they’ve last forever, AND they can be washed in the machine.] My husband thinks I’m crazy to put bibs on them still, but I’d rather wipe up a bib than try to get oatmeal / soup / raspberries out of the front of a shirt on a daily basis.

    Even as cringe-inducing as the thought of those baby feedings is, I still treasure some of the messy pictures I have…so darn cute…long after the fact, that is!

    1. Yes, I shudder looking back, too. I understand. And I hate that it does go on past their second birthday! I think that’s funny your 4.5 year olds are still wearing bibs at home! But, it’s smart. My girls lately have decided its awesome to slowly gurgle juices and water down the front of them, for fun… I guess I just do my best to remove stains from clothes, and live with the fact kids’ clothes will just get stained. And I was torn between sitting their manually feeding my kids so they’d make less of a mess, but have it take way more time, or give them finger foods and not have to sit there the whole time, but know that they’d end up chucking food. I like your idea then of just giving them a few items at a time as courses… but that still seems time consuming. Twins ARE time-consuming!!

      1. It all feels like a trade-off…more time feeding, hoping for less mess.

        Bibs at 4 1/2 are potentially embarrassing…but my hands aren’t burned from bleach stains.


    2. Oh, and I also agree with looking back with fondness. I mean, seriously, aren’t the picture I included so disgustingly cute?! It may have meant an hour of cleaning, but it’s adorable now!

  4. The mess is so annoying! I kind of cried a bit when it was time for my guys to get three meals in their high chairs because it was that much more time that I would need to spend cleaning up. I have to say my number(s) one and two cleaning weapons are my dogs (that is, until they got sick of eating fruit and have now decided to snub those juicy bits that are left on the floor). Weapon number three is to eat outside. We bought a second set of cheepy IKEA high chairs and leave them at the outside table. Luckily we are in CA and can eat outside most of the year. It is way easier to take a hose to the patio and chairs than a mop!

    1. Ah, yes, dogs. Always helpful for cleaning up with young children! Love it! I look forward to having a dog some day, partly for that reason. I forgot to mention that I too send my kids outside to eat certain foods right now! The foods are things like crackers and chips, things that leave tiny bits all over the place! I just make them eat it outside on the patio, no chairs or table at all. They love it!

      1. I have a childhood memory of getting pomegranates from a neighbor, who had a tree. My mom made us eat them in the bathtub. Clothes on, no water. Totally contained the mess of that very-messy, once-a-year, food :o) And we thought it was so much fun!

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