Foodie Friday: Weeknight Apple Crumble

Weeknight apple crumble. A quick solution to fresh apple pie.

Our weeknight hours are very limited. We get home between 6:30 and 7:00 and bedtime is 8:30. I try to squeeze as much quality as I can out of that time. My twin 7-year-olds and I talk about our days, discussing academics, relationships, and the international news. If I’m lucky, the girls will have liked the dinner served at childcare and I can put off my own dinner until they’re in bed. Sometimes, though, they come home without having eaten and I have to scramble to feed them before bath time.

I have a number of weeknight quick meals in my repertoire: hummus, chips and fresh fruit; turkey and cheese sandwiches with baby carrots; whole grain mac and cheese with frozen sweet corn. I can’t plan for these meals since I never know when the girls will decide that dinner at the YMCA is yucky.

On occasion, the girls will ask for dessert, and our default is ice cream. Last night, however, we had fresh-baked apple crumble. While I make a fine apple-cranberry pie in the winter, there’s no way I could whip one up in during the evening rush. Instead, on weeknights, I make a super-quick version of apple crumble

This is no healthy dish. It’s loaded with sugar and butter. However, I believe that giving in to hedonism every now and then is a good thing. I’m teaching my girls to indulge in moderation. And, as J put it the first time she tasted my apple crumble, “This is so good! The ingredients say it should taste like apple and sugar, but it tastes like love.”

Usually, when I share recipes, I at least pretend that I measure my ingredients and give measurable quantities alongside my ingredient list. You won’t get that here. Part of the way I keep this reasonable for weeknights is to minimize dishes that require washing. No measuring spoons. One mixing bowl. I pop the crumbles in the oven when I pop the girls in the bath and we eat them once the children are dry and dressed.

With no more ado, here’s my recipe:

Apple Crumble

  • Frozen single-serving pastry shells
  • 1 medium Granny Smith apple per 2 shells
  • Handful of brown sugar
  • 2 handfuls of all-purpose flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • Teensy touch of nutmeg
  • 1 handful of granulated sugar
  • Chunk of butter
  • (Optional) Handful of oats
  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F.
  2. Place your pastry shells on a baking sheet. If you think they need extra support, a muffin tin should help.
  3. Peel and core the apples. Dice into small pieces. We like the pieces tiny, but feel free to do as much chopping as you have time for.
  4. Place apples, brown sugar, salt, nutmeg and one handful of flour in a bowl. Mix. The mixture should glisten. If it looks watery, throw in some more flour.
  5. Divide the apple mixture between the pastry shells. Not enough apple? Mix up some more… or just make some extra crumble topping to fill it up.
  6. Mix the remaining flour, sugar and oats (if you’re using them). I just use the apple bowl because I’m lazy like that. Rub the butter into the mixture until it looks like breadcrumbs or you run out of time, whichever comes first.
  7. Divide the crumb topping between the apple-fixed shells.
  8. Bake for about 20 minutes. They’re done when you start to smell them. The apple mixture should be bubbling and the topping lightly browned.
  9. Remove children from bath and serve. Serve the crumbles to the children, that is, not the other way around.

Sadia (rhymes with Nadia) has been coordinating How Do You Do It? since late 2012. She is the divorced mother of 7-year-old monozygotic twins, M and J. She lives with them and their 3 cats in the Austin, TX suburbs and works full time as a business analyst. She retired her personal blog, Double the Fun. She also blogs at Adoption.com and Multicultural Mothering.

Twinfant Tuesday: Finger Foods For Infants

As much as I would love more than anything to remember the infant years of my twins, they have become a complete blue to me.  With a husband who works 80-90 hours a week, I was pretty much left to raise them on my own.  I was completely sleep deprived.  I would even go as far as saying that I ran on 3 non-consecutive hours of sleep a night, at the most, for the first 3 months (I hated that saying “sleep when the babies sleeps”).  But what I do remember is when my twins started finger foods around 8-9 months.

I can still remember the first time I decided to try out finger foods with my boys. As a nutritionist and foodie, I had been looking forward to this stage forever. I remember watching other parents in restaurants giving their toddlers pieces of food they could hold and eat on their own, allowing mommy and daddy to eat their meal. I was so envious as I fed my boys their pureed food and asked for my meal to go. In my brain I sincerely thought the day when my kids started finger foods would be magical. A few months later that day came…and it was NOT so magical. I was all alone and after making and offering many types of fingers foods, all of which were treated like a baseball, the three of us were covered head to toe in food. Since my kids were hungry, but didn’t actually eat any of the food I worked so hard to make, I had 2 screaming toddlers on my hands to boot. What did I do? I cried!!! That’s what I always do when I don’t know what to do next. And I have no shame in admitting it to anyone.  From that day on I developed a fear of giving my kids finger foods. But I did persevere and got through that messy eating phase just like all of you who have and who will.

It can be an extremely messy stage, especially with twins, but it is fantastic for your toddlers’ development and it builds self-esteem.  It also frees up some of your time so you can eat while they are eating (or pick up most of the food your toddler has decided to throw off his or her tray rather than eat, like I do – less cleanup later on always makes my day).

Like I said, extremely messy!!!

Little Fufu has always eaten whatever I put in front of him (and whatever I put in front of his brother).  He’s very pro-food and gets very excited about the thought of eating.  Nibbles, on the other hand, well that’s where he got his nickname.  He doesn’t really like the idea of food and eating too much, although I can’t complain as he is getting much better.  He likes to take his little fingers and tear of teensy weensy pieces of food (almost crumb-size) and veeeeerrrrrry sloooowwwwly put them in his mouth.  So I do know firsthand the frustration of dealing with a picky eater and not being able to come up with ideas to feed him or her can make it even more stressful.

It’s pretty clear from this picture which one Fufu is.  He loves birthday cake just like his mommy.

As a nutritionist and a mom, I was constantly asked what types of finger foods I gave my kids.

Here are some ideas for infants aged 9 months and up:

Dairy:

  • Mild cheeses, cubed or grated (ie: marble, mozzarella)
  • Ceam cheese, goat cheese or ricotta (on bread, crackers or rice cakes or as a dip for steamed veggies)
  • Yogurt (if using a spoon)
  • Cottage cheese, with or without fruit (if using a spoon)
  • Cottage cheese muffins or pancakes
  • Homemade yogurt popsicles

 Grains:

  • Cheerios or other low sugar cereal (ie: Bran Flakes, Rice Crispies, Puffed Corn)
  • Rice cakes
  • Crackers (preferably whole grain)
  • Pita triangles (with or with a dip)
  • Mini muffins (ie: carrot, zucchini, banana, apple, sweet potato, bran)
  • Mini pancakes (ie: pumpkin, blueberry)
  • Waffle strips
  • Well-cooked whole wheat pasta with homemade cheese sauce, tomato sauce or butter and parmesan cheese
  • Ravioli or tortellini, cut into pieces
  • Well cooked noodles (ie: soba, rice, vegetable)
  • Toast, cut into strips (with or without a topping)
  • Rice (squish into small globs to make it easier to pick up)
  • Quinoa
  • Oatmeal (if using a spoon)
  • Corn muffins
  • Homemade rice pudding (if using a spoon)
  • Peanut butter cookies
  • Polenta cakes
  • Naan bread
  • French toast fingers
  • Sandwiches without curst cut into strips or small pieces (fill with egg salad, tuna salad, peanut butter, hummus, cream cheese, mashed avocado)
  • Grilled cheese (you can add finely chopped veggies)
  • Homemade pizza, cut into strips or pieces
  • Homemade cheese quesadillas, cut into strips or pieces (can also add veggies and/or beans)
  • Baby Mum Mums
  • Cookies (preferable whole grain and low in sugar)
  • Homemade fruit and oat bars

 Vegetables:

  • Sweet potato, cooked and cubed or cut into French fry shape (season with cinnamon or chili powder)
  • Sweet potato and black bean patties
  • Roasted vegetables, cut up
  • Mini carrots, cooked
  • Peas
  • Corn
  • Asparagus tips, cooked
  • Green beans, cooked and cut up
  • Butternut squash, cooked and cubed
  • Broccoli and cauliflower pieces, cooked (can add butter or parmesan)
  • Tomato, cubed
  • Grape tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • Beets, cooked and cubed
  • Zucchini, cooked, peeled and cubed or sliced
  • Potatoes, cooked and cubed (can add butter and season with parsley, garlic and/or paprika)
  • Cucumber, peeled and cubed or sliced
  • Pickles, chopped
  • Potato pancakes
  • Roasted sweet peppers, chopped
  • Pureed vegetable soup (if using a spoon)
  • Vegetable stir-fry
  • Veggie and cheese patties or muffins

Fruit:

  • Bananas, cubed or sliced
  • Banana slices coated in pancake batter and cooked in frying pan
  • Avocado, cubed (or mashed and used as a spread on bread/crackers or a dip for vegetables)
  • Apples, cooked and cubed (or cut into French fry shape and cooked/softened in microwave for 2 min, sprinkled with cinnamon)
  • Cherries, halved and pitted
  • Peaches and pears, sliced
  • Mango, cubed or sliced
  • Melon, cubed
  • Kiwi, cubed
  • Blueberries
  • Raspberries and blackberries, halved
  • Strawberries, sliced
  • Mandarins and clementines cut into small pieces (can use canned mandarins, drained and rinsed)
  • Plums, peeled and sliced
  • Applesauce with cinnamon (if using a spoon)
  • Grapes, halved or quartered
  • Olives, chopped
  • Raisins (softened in boiling water)
  • Freeze-dried fruit (no sugar added)
  • Homemade fruit popsicles

Meat and Alternatives:

  • Tofu, cubed (marinate to add flavor)
  • Meatballs, cubed
  • Pork, cubed
  • Turkey, cubed
  • Beef, cubed
  • Chicken, cubed
  • Chicken nuggets (preferably homemade)
  • Chicken/turkey/meat loaf
  • Salmon or salmon/potato loaf/patties
  • Tuna patties
  • Fish sticks
  • Cooked fish such as salmon, sole, tilapia, halibut or haddock, flaked (you can use pureed vegetables as a sauce or just some butter)
  • Hard boiled eggs cut into pieces
  • Frittata or omelet with veggies and/or cheese, cubed
  • Egg muffins
  • Homemade turkey and apple breakfast sausage
  • Nut butters (on bread, crackers or rice cakes)
  • Beans (larger ones should be cut in half)
  • Baked beans
  • Lentils
  • Edamame, shelled
  • Falafel balls, cut into small pieces
  • Chickpeas
  • Hummus (spread on bread, crackers or rice cakes or used as a dip for steamed vegetables)

Unsafe finger foods:

  • Nuts
  • Raisins
  • Gum
  • Whole grapes, grape/cherry tomatoes and olives
  • Popcorn
  • Candy
  • Raw vegetables
  • Fruit that isn’t very ripe
  • Thick globs of nut butters
  • Hotdogs and sausages
  • Fish with bones
  • Stringy foods like asparagus or celery or stringy meat

Fufu is so happy with his plate of food, as usual.

Nibbles just poking at his.

Foodie Friday: Getting Dinner on the Table

Getting on the table can be such a challenge! Some tips for getting it simple and healthy

Recently my long-time friends and I were sharing an email thread describing our shortcoming when it comes to getting a healthy dinner on the table during the work week. We are three intelligent ladies living in different areas of the US, each with different daytime duties and schedules and yet we all have one thing in common: we feel like we are failing when it comes to seamlessly feeding our kids at the end of a long day. I’m no expert, but I did come up with a list of ideas that have made my weekdays easier. Maybe some of these ideas will help make your dinners easier too:

  1. Instead of trying to plan out five meals to cook during the week, pick three.  I have found that five is too many to put together and you can usually float two meals between leftovers and schedule changes that come up as the week goes on.
  2. Make (at least) three of the same things every week.  You can switch up little things like the starch and/or the veggie side dishes (and you can change your three meals monthly if you fear you will get board) but making the same basic things during the week will save time and will help you get into a groove.
  3. Don’t make elaborate dishes.  I’m not sure about your kids, but mine really like individual foods.  Chicken legs, broccoli, avocado, rice.  Done.  Hamburgers (no bun because they really don’t eat constructed sandwiches at this age), sweet potatoes fries, veggie.  Done.  Red meat sauce and pasta, side veggie, yogurt.  Done.  Rice, lightly seasoned black beans, avocado, pork, done.  Pizza with whatever topping we have left in the fridge.  No chicken pot pies, no stews, no chili, limited soups.  I love the thought of them, but my children don’t eat them as well as individual foods, and they take too much time and effort for little return on investment.
  4. Prep SOME things on the weekend.  I have been cutting up a batch of onions, sweet potatoes, washing greens and cutting up broccoli on Sundays.  Then I just grab and go from there depending on what meal I am constructing.
  5. Make some grains on the weekends.  Make a batch of rice and cook some noodles or quinoa to have ready to go with any meal.  You can construct a lot of meals under pressure if you have these things cooked and in the fridge ready to use.  Refill your stock of one grain on Wed.
  6. Make ONE of your weekly meals on Sunday (the one that takes the longest to cook).  Roast a chicken, cook a giant package of chicken legs, cook a pork shoulder (I cook my pork shoulder completely plain then season it for other meals later e.g.  pulled pork (add bbq sauce) or tacos (pan cook it with taco spices), burrito bowls (reheat the meat with Mexican spices add it to a bowl of roasted veggies plus rice and avocado, cilantro, fresh tomato).  Cook this beef, chicken, pork, item relatively plain then add spices later to make it work for whatever you are doing.
  7. Anything you make a batch of (e.g. chili, soup, red sauce), freeze half immediately to be used for another meal.  I found that we get board of leftovers and I was consistently throwing some foods away. Having one meal in the freezer from a previous cooking adventure can be more helpful in the future.
  8. Frozen peas can be added to any meal to round it out :)

Those are my helpful tips and how I have managed to keep meal time somewhat sane.  Feel free to add any insights that have helped to get healthy meals onto your table.

Foodie Friday: A Healthy Alternative to Thin Mints

I’ve been rather obsessed with making different types of energy bites or energy balls lately for middle-of-the-night nursing snacks.  As much as I like them though, I will be THRILLED when we don’t need nighttime nursing snacks anymore!!! (Please tell me that some day our triplets will sleep through the night!!)  I started making these little balls of goodness a couple months ago after seeing a recipe on Pinterest but have since done a lot of experimenting with various flavor and ingredient combinations.  In general, I am a “just wing it” type of cook who likes to look at recipes for inspiration but then just throws things together.  Measuring is not really something I do, which is why baking isn’t really my strong suit.  The great thing about these little energy balls is that they are “no bake” gems that are very forgiving to imprecise measuring.  I’ve only made one “I bet this would be good in here” batch that flopped and the rest have been pretty tasty. These little energy balls are pretty quick and easy to throw together, which we MoMs know is clutch because “free time” tends to come in short bursts!  I’ve made many a batch of these wearing a baby or two.

Because you now know how much I despise measuring, I hope you will appreciate the effort it took me to actually measure and write down this recipe for you!  I would catch myself about to just toss something in and then remember that I needed to measure it so I could pull this recipe together.  But for those of you out there who are creative cooks like myself, please feel free to add “ish” after all these measurements! I’ve also added notes about substitutions that would work nicely if you don’t have these things on hand.

The raw ingredients!

The raw ingredients!

We love having these for nighttime nursing and since they’re chock full of oats I think they’re good for our milk supply.  They also have a little protein to help them stick with you.  And the best part is that they are delicious!  I’ll grab one from the fridge and it feels like sneaking a bite of cookie dough without the guilt!

The finished product!  They look a lot like meatballs, but trust me, they're delicious!

The finished product! They look a lot like meatballs, but trust me, they’re delicious!

Chocolate Peppermint Energy Balls

  • 1 cup cashew meal (I find this at Trader Joes.  Almond meal also works great)
  • 2 cups oats (I use gluten free oats from Trader Joes, but any will do)
  • 1 cup oatbran (if you don’t have this you could sub oats or more nut meal)
  • 1/2  cup cacao powder (standard cocoa powder works fine too)
  • 1/2 cup finely diced dates (not tightly packed)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (can subagave or honey)
  • 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
  • 2 Tbs chia seeds
  • 1/3ish cup hot water
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips (I like to use mini chips but was out when I made this batch)

Instructions: Mix all dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.  Put chia seeds in a measuring cup and then add water up to about the 1/2 cup line and let rest for a few minutes.  When you come back to your chia seeds they should have absorbed the water and be pretty thick and gel-like.  Add maple syrup and peppermint extract to the chia and water mixture and stir that and the dates into the dry ingredients.  It can take a bit of work to fully distribute the dates and wet ingredients.  The “dough” will be pretty dry and crumbly looking.  Mix in chocolate chips.  This is where it gets messy.  Now grab a small handful of “dough” and smush it together.  Some recipes say to “roll” the bals, but in my experience it’s really more of a smushing than rolling to get them to stick together.  This recipe will make approximately two dozen balls about an inch in diameter.  Usually about halfway through making the balls my hands are so sticky that the balls aren’t smushing well.  So I just wash my hands and come back for another round of smushing.  For those of you with older kiddos this would be a great job for your kiddos to help with!

Other flavors I’ve made include chocolate peanut butter, almond joy, chocolate almond, and honey peanut butter banana.  I’ll try to find the time to measure out the ingredients for these recipes and post them on our blog therrientriplethreat.blogspot.com.

 

One Grilled Cheese

A mother makes dinner for 3 on autopilot, instead of just for herself and one of her twins.

This year, my daughters’ after school care provider, the YMCA, began offering free dinner to children who are still in their care at 5:30 pm.

While it take some relinquishing of control on my part, I’ve come to love it. The girls aren’t grumpy from hunger when I pick them up. Waiting to feed myself until after they’re in bed gives us that much more time together. I don’t have to do backbends to ensure that they’re fed before evening activities such as dance lessons and Girl Scouts.

Sadly, as the novelty has worn off, my daughters have discovered meals they don’t like and won’t eat. They’ve always skipped the same meals… until last night.

M overheard her friend Tori’s mom say that there were bad unhealthy things in corn dogs, so she decided to do without. J, on the other hand, gobbled dinner down.

When I learned this, I offered M a couple of dinner options, from which she chose a grilled cheese sandwich. When we got home, I sent the girls off to wash their hands and put their backpacks away while I made M’s sandwich. I began heating up the sandwich press, washed my hands, laid out two slices of bread, topped them with cheddar cheese slices, layered on a second slice of bread.

Once the sandwiches were warm but not crisp, the way my kids like them, I put them each on a plate and assembled a turkey sandwich in the sandwich press for myself.

When I served the sandwiches, J didn’t come to the table, of course, since she’d already eaten. And then I realized what I’d done. From habit, I’d made a sandwich for each child, even while consciously aware that only one would eat.

M ended up taking the extra sandwich, plus an apple, into school today for dinner. And then, after a friend sneezed on her sister’s dinner, she gave her half.

What do you do on autopilot?

Foodie Friday: Mini Master Chefs in the Kitchen

Our three year old twins are at the fun age where they want to help out around the house, and they can actually do things in a helpful way! Yesterday after picking them up from daycare, I decided to get them involved in preparing a side dish for dinner: a vegetable stirfry. Taking some of the week’s leftover vegetables like broccoli, baby carrots, zucchini and cherry tomatoes, I chose to make it Asian style with a mix of ingredients for the sauce.

Missy was in charge of washing the cherry tomatoes and zucchini while Mister took care of the broccoli and carrots. Both took their little stepstools to our double kitchen sink and washed their veggies (with some help from Mama) in their respective bowls. As an added bonus, a bunch of the cherry tomatoes and baby carrots ended up in their mouths.

Kitchen Safety

The tricky thing about the actual cooking part was to make sure both kids are safely away from the flame while I was cooking and had a task to do at all times. I would keep the knife well out of reach on top of the counter and helped them to add ingredients to the pan from a safe distance. Also, I was within arms reach of them at any point, whether they were hovering around the stove, or at the kitchen sink, or rummaging around in the pantry. Lucky for me they stayed together so I wasn’t chasing anybody around the kitchen.

Mini Chefs at Work

In the spirit of teamwork, Missy opened the cupboard I asked her to while Mister retrieved the big plastic bottle of olive oil and even helped pour it into the pan. I searched the fridge and pantry for different base ingredients to use for the sauce like soy sauce, oyster sauce, garlic & ginger paste to name a few. When I asked for ‘masala’, M&M ran to the pantry to grab some spices. Missy chose the red pepper flakes and Mister got the parsley flakes.

We also added onion flakes, sesame seeds and flax seed (yes, flax seed!) to the stirfry. With every ingredient, I would place some on the palm of my hand and let them taste it. Another playful way to sneak in some fibre without them realizing it! Good thing they were tasting throughout the process because when it came time to eat the finished product, they weren’t interested!

Here are the instructions for this easy-peasy 5 minute stirfry. You’ll notice there are all approximate measurements. Since I allowed Mister and Missy to shake in the spices, a lot of the ingredients just got sprinkled or poured in!

veggie stirfry

Mixed Veggie Stirfry

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2Cute lives in Ottawa, Canada and is mom to 3 year old fraternal boy/girl twins. She and her hubby are quickly learning the benefits of utilizing child labour to get the simple yet mundane household tasks done. She blogs at 2cute.intiaz.com and tweets at @2cuteblog

Foodie Friday: The Very Versatile Pizza Roll

I ran across this recipe for Buffalo Chicken Garbage Bread a year or so ago.  While anything with the name “garbage” in it isn’t inherently appealing (or is it just me???), the thoughts of ooey-gooey-spicy-chicken-and-cheese were enough to win me over.  I made the Buffalo Chicken Pizza Roll, as I prefer to call it…and it was soooo good.  I loved it, Hubby loved it, and my girls would have eaten thirds if I’d let them.

Over the past year, I’ve tweaked the recipe a bit, and I’ve tried it with any number of filling options.  One of our favorite combinations is the Philly Cheesesteak Pizza Roll.

DSC_0174I use leftover meat of some sort…in this case, peppered pork tenderloin.  I dice it, along with some veggies….here, onions, peppers, and mushrooms.

Then I saute my ingredients.  For this iteration, I cooked my onions and peppers first, and then I added my diced meat and mushrooms.  Because I was using peppered meat, I didn’t season it any further.

DSC_0175Then, roll out some pizza dough.  (I use the refrigerated kind that comes in a can.)  Roll your dough pretty thin…although not too thin so that it tears when you roll it up.

DSC_0177Then spread on your filling (meat and veggies) and sprinkle with cheese.  Here, I used a blend of Mexican cheeses, as that’s what we had.  Some Swiss or Provolone would have been even better.  The original recipe calls for almost three cups of cheese, but I use considerably less, not more than a cup…just enough to help hold everything together.

DSC_0179Very carefully, roll up your dough and place it, seam side down, on a parchment-paper lined baking sheet.  Tuck in the ends of the roll.

Bake at 425 for 15-20 minutes (or according to the directions on the pizza dough).  Allow it to sit for about five minutes before you slice into this deliciousness!!!

DSC_0183This basic recipe works with so many combinations, and it’s a fantastic outlet for leftover meat.  In addition to the Philly Cheesesteak version, I have made the Buffalo Chicken roll with leftover rotisserie chicken, wing sauce, and blue cheese.  And I used leftover turkey at Thanksgiving to make a turkey + onion + bacon (cooked and crumbled) + Swiss cheese roll.

(Reference the original recipe for approximate measurements.  I don’t measure the filling…if I have more than I need, I save it to go in an omelet the next day = double win!)

It seems the sky is the limit with this recipe, and the results at our house are guaranteed to garner some cheers at the dinner table.  I hope you enjoy this as much as we do!

MandyE is mom to five-year old fraternal twin girls.  A food photographer, she is not, but she blogs about her girls’ adventures, and her journey through motherhood, at Twin Trials and Triumphs.

Guest Post: 7 Tips to Nursing Twins Together

The basics to establishing a great simultaneous relationship with your multiples from a certified lactation consultant and mom of preemie twins.

The thought of nursing twins together can be daunting! And yet, a mom of twins or higher order multiples (HOMs) will spend a significant amount of time during the first year of life feeding her babies – no matter how she chooses to feed them. In many ways, breastfeeding can be a much easier and less time consuming feeding method, once a new mom and babies figure things out. So what does it take to nurse twins at the same time?

It might be easier than you think. Here are 7 essentials to establishing nursing with your babies at the same time.

  1. Establish Your Milk Supply

    The majority of twins and HOMs will arrive early. The earlier they arrive, the harder it will be to nurse at the breast in the beginning. There may be prematurity, health issues, low birth weight, lack of buccal fat pads in the cheeks, etc. that make nursing at the breast challenging. But, building a strong milk supply so that you can continue to feed your babies milk once they grow is important. It is critical to transitioning them to the breast so that they don’t face slow let-downs and frustration that keep them from learning to enjoy nursing at the breast and prefer that fast, effortless flow of a bottle teat. If you are pumping, a general rule of thumb is that you want to produce 25 ounces for each baby every 24 hours.

  2. Help Each Baby Individually, First

    Yes, you have two (or more) babies but they are also individuals. One may be an expert at nursing from the beginning while the other may have tongue tie, be too tired to nurse effectively, or a variety of other issues that keep her from breastfeeding at first. Helping to establish effective breastfeeding for each baby individually will make nursing them at the same time infinitely easier. A baby who struggles to nurse well will need both of your arms which will then make nursing two at the same time much more challenging. Take as long as you need to get each baby nursing well with a good latch and milk intake. Then you can transition to feeding both at the same time. There is no time frame for this. Healthy, near-term twins may both nurse great the first day and you can begin nursing together almost immediately. It may take weeks or months to establish this with other twin sets. And remember, if one baby isn’t nursing well, make sure you pump to build/maintain your supply for two babies.

  3. Allow Lots of Time and Grace if Premature, Near Term, or Small for Gestational Age

    Every baby is different. Just because one twin nurses well early-on doesn’t mean the other can or should. Each baby is an individual and it’s important to treat them that way. Babies who are small or come early will almost always need more time to grow/mature before they can breastfeed well. Don’t get frustrated with the slower twin…he will get it.As a personal note of encouragement – I brought my preemie twins, born in Egypt, home from the hospital at 32 weeks/3 days when they were 5 days old, losing weight, jaundiced, and just 3 ½ pounds. One of my boys could have nursed at the breast from the beginning. But the other lost weight nursing and had to have a bottle. Because I was converting a breast pump from 110 to 220 volts I could only pump on the kitchen counter – not conducive to nursing my other preemie at the same time. Therefore I ended up pumping and giving bottles for a couple months before they were able to nurse effectively, and together, at the breast. But, eventually, they did both get it! You can read my story here.

  4. Have Lots of Pillows and a Comfy/Relaxing Nursing Area

    You are going to spend a significant portion of the first year feeding babies. You need to be comfortable. Having lots of pillows built up around you for support will allow your arms to relax and not have to hold the weight of each baby. When you use enough pillows, your babies should be able to rest comfortably on either side (nursing in the football hold for example and your arms should be free to help each baby latch). Once nursing, you can use your arms to stroke, touch, and cuddle each baby. Experiment until you find the right pillow combination for you (whether it’s commercial twin feeding pillows or just regular pillows stacked around you).

  5. Have Support from Family/Friends/Breastfeeding Moms Group

    Having support, encouragement, and a personal cheerleader cannot be overestimated. It is critical to success. Ideally you will gather a team of supporters around you while you are pregnant. If your partner isn’t on board, use pregnancy to read and learn together why breastfeeding is a great (and reasonable) option for feeding twins. Find those in your family and circle of close friends who will support you and not encourage you not to give up. Finally, make sure to plug into a breastfeeding support group while you are still pregnant. Not only will you meet new moms that might become lifelong friends, but you will also have experienced support and help when your babies are born.

  6. Request to Meet with an IBCLC

    Even if everything is going perfectly, meet with the IBCLC at the hospital. Have her watch the latch, or develop a plan to build your milk supply if your babies are premature and not breastfeeding yet. Find out what type of IBCLC support is available in your area once you leave the hospital. If you cannot continue with the one at the hospital find one in private practice. Many insurance companies are beginning to cover this and, even if they don’t, the cost is miniscule when compared with buying formula. A qualified IBCLC (who has experience with preemies, multiples, etc.) can help potential problems from even getting started and make sure you are doing everything possible for success. And don’t be afraid to find another if the first isn’t helpful (just like you would any medical doctor or professional).

  7. Determination is Your Key to Success

    Realize every baby is different so it may take a day or months, but don’t give up. Have your supporters and cheerleaders surrounding you for constant encouragement. Allow others to help with housework, cooking, and older children. Your job is to focus on feeding these new babies. Determination can overcome even the most difficult of situations and is so important for success. Don’t give up mama…you can do it!

KristaKrista Gray is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), La Leche League Leader, and mother of four breastfed children, including preemie twins. At Nursing Nurture Krista shares research-based information and experience to help moms in their breastfeeding journeys. You can also connect with Krista on Twitter @nursingnurture and on Facebook {http://fb.com/nursingnurture}.

Foodie Friday: Roast Chicken and Root Vegetables

Roast Chicken andVegetables(1)

Whenever I can make it work, I like to cook for leftovers. I’m a busy working single mom. We only have about 2 hours between the time we get home and bedtime, so quick dinners are my preference for weeknights, despite my love of cooking.

If I can cook a whole chicken with roasted vegetables and gravy on a Sunday, that can keep us (me and 2 7-year-olds) fed all week. We can have a nice chicken dinner, with plenty of meat left for sandwiches and other variations throughout the week. Even the cats get in on the action, occasionally being given some fatty skin as a treat.

To me, “real” gravy is the kind I make from a vegetable trivet, where I use a layer of vegetables to keep the chicken off the pan. My kids call it British gravy, since I told them it was what I grew up with in the UK. My children aren’t fans of vegetables unless they’re raw, so the roasted veggies, apart from the trivet, are for me. However, J deigned to try a roasted carrot the last time I made this meal and pronounced it, “surprisingly delicious.”

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Twin Manibreasto: A Success Story of Milk and Multiples – A Book Review

I was given a copy of Twin Manibreasto by the author, Mercedes Donis, for purposes of this book review, but opinions are all mine!

I have twin daughters, and they were my first babies. Being a first time mom of twins, I had to learn a lot of things diving in head first. One of these things was breastfeeding. And having to learn not only how to breastfeed one child, but two, simultaneously, was not a natural process. That’s why I am so grateful HDYDI’s very own Mercedes of Project Procrastinot wrote Twin Manibreasto – A Success Story of Milk and Multiples.Twin Manibreasto - A Success Story of Milk and Multiples

Twin Manibreasto is the book that needed to be written. It’s a short little ebook, but it’s full of practical, straight-forward talk, from a twin mom who knows about the unique breastfeeding struggles twin mothers face (unlike many breastfeeding books). Her twins are 15 months now and still breastfeeding! Twin Manibreasto - You can't get too prepared!

In Twin Manibreasto you will find helps on supplies, positions, pumping, nursing garments, dietary helps, and more. Plus, at the end of the book there is a great list of further resources and articles to read up on, including some recipes. The big thing Mercedes Donis wants you to take away from her book, is that you can do it! If you really want to breastfeed your twins, this book will help!

If you are expecting twins, I suggest picking up a copy of Twin Manibreasto!

If you had twins, did you breastfeed them? What obstacles did you face? Did you find there to be a lack of support, of resources?