Twinfant Tuesday: Baby Bottle Care

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Categories Feeding, Formula, Products, Twinfant TuesdayTags 33 Comments

We’ve written quite a bit about our infant feeding experiences here on HDYDI, but I realize that I’ve neglected to discuss my bottle feeding experiences. That realization wasn’t a surprise. As I’ve told you before, much of my identity as a new mother was tied up in breastfeeding. Baby bottles were up there with gavage tubes on the list of things that I’d rather forget.

The fact is that baby bottles are genius.

A baby bottle can allow a father to feed a child. A baby bottle can allow a working mother to provide her child with breastmilk when she can’t be with her baby. A baby bottle can allow the bond of feeding between a mother and child when breastfeeding isn’t an option.

It’s been nearly 8 years since my daughters moved on from bottles, so I’m not the person to tell you about the newest and greatest development in baby bottle technology. What I can tell you is that, like every other aspect of parenting, it’s not just about what you like. You’ll have to take your child’s preferences into account. With twins, that means two sets of children’s preference, and they may like different things.

With M and J, we used Playtex VentAire bottles for formula and Playtex Nursers with Lansinoh storage bags for expressed breastmilk.

Baby bottles are for formula and expressed breast milk alike.

Once I returned to work, J and M went through 6-7 bottles a day, each. Every night, I had 12-14 bottles to wash. During my limited hours home, I had to breastfeed, eat, occasionally shower, complete household chores, and do that thing where you lie down and close your eyes. I’ve heard it rumoured that it’s called “sleep”. That last thing I wanted to spend my time on was scrubbing bottles.

Since all the bottles we used were open at each end, a bottle brush wasn’t a necessity. I didn’t use it much once the babies had outgrown preemie bottles. Instead, I used my dishwasher.

I had three of these handy dishwasher baskets. All the small parts associated with baby bottles and breastpumps fit in the basket for dishwasher cleaning and disinfection. I was a master of placing all the nipples, rings, bottle valves, pump valves, and lids so that each one was fully exposed to water.

This basket holds small bottle parts for dishwasher disinfection.For the first several months, I would take the washed bottles out of the dishwasher and boil them in a pot of water for disinfection, but over time, I grew to trust the High Heat setting on the dishwasher. Before long, the girls’ immune systems had built up to where disinfection was no longer called for. After all, they were getting plenty of immune exercise from their time a group daycare.

For simplicity, I assembled rings, nipples and lips and stored those stacked beside all the bottles. That way, there was no need to spend time unscrewing bottles or pulling through nipples when it was time to feed.

What are your timesaving tricks for life filled with baby bottles?

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Twinfant Tuesday: Little Victories

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Categories Breastfeeding, Feeding, Infants, Mommy Issues, Parenting, Parenting Twins, Twinfant TuesdayTags , , , 1 Comment

I think the biggest thing to keep in mind with infant twins is that every victory counts, even the tiny ones.  One day, when the babies were 2 months old, Emily’s day care was closed for maintenance, or professional development, or something.  Just too months in, I had all three kids all by myself for an entire day.  Gulp.  So I thought it might be interesting to document the day.  Well, the morning.  And I wanted to share it here.

6:30 Em woke up (in our bed), checked on the babies and we played in bed for a bit.  Now let me just say that this day started off really weird since we are usually up and going before 5:30.  But still, little victories.

6:45 came down, cleaned a bit, did 2 puzzles and vacuumed the kitchen. (so far, not at all typical, why are the babies still sleeping? Did they eat at 4 or 5??)

7:00 made Emily breakfast, assembled and put away bottles (even odder that babies are sleeping, what a great morning!)

7:30 Spencer woke up and peed on the changing table, and at that minute, Em announced she had to go potty. Took Em to the bathroom, dressed Spencer, cleaned up said pee, started negotiations will Emily over today’s clothes (I am rooting for pants, she wants a dress… I will prevail, the negotiations are going my way…)

8:15 nursing Spencer, Sidney waking up upstairs (ok, need more hands now), Em eating and playing.  Chaos commencing.

8:20 Sidney crying, Spencer does not want to stop nursing.  Oh no.

8:25 Sidney changed, dressed, eating. Spencer in bouncy seat, Em hugging babies and telling them about her life as a baby

8:26 Spencer spit up, trying to reach to wipe his mouth without Sidney unlatching. unsuccessful.

8:30 with 2 crying babies, washed Em’s breakfast dishes and last nights bottles while heating up water to make bottles for babies, made 2 bottles with vitamins, ate a handful of candy corn, helped Em unlace her sewing and got set up to bottle feed both at once (I need tea!!)

8:38 I swear Sidney just said “mama”!  She is clearly a child genius, talking at 2 months (or 3 weeks old adjusted, definitely advanced)

8:41 Sidney pushed away bottle to laugh at me, Spencer eating, Sidney regretting earlier actions and frantically looking for bottle

8:45 burping both crying babies, Sid spit up on me, Em asking for help with sticker game, I seriously need tea (Spencer took maybe half an ounce, but did a full nursing, Sidney 2 oz formula, 1 oz breast milk). I have 45 mns to finish feeding babies, shower etc, dress Em, and make a picnic lunch for today’s trip to the zoo with her friend. Oh and while I fed Sidney, Spence spit up. Now feeding him while she chills

9:00 both babies fed and happy, they are in bouncy seats, Em and I race upstairs. I take world’s fastest shower (may have only washed left side of body), while Em gets dressed and reports that they are both crying. Finish shower, babies quiet (crap, did they cry it out, damn!), get dressed, both crying again.

9:20 Sidney finishing earlier bottle, Spencer chilling (I am perfecting one handed typing :) ). Em is gathering pacifiers, I still want tea, and I need to put together our picnic lunch, and the diaper bag.

9:37 picnic packed, diaper bag packed, babies ready to go, heading to the zoo to meet friends, anticipate we will be 10 minutes late…

We arrived at the zoo 20 minutes late.

All in all, a fairly routine (except for the babies late start) morning.

And I never got my tea.

Twinfant Tuesday: Little Victories from hdydi.com

The twins are now about to be 19 months old now, and Emily is almost 5.  But re-reading that account of our day I am amazed first of all that we all slept that late.  Currently, 5:30 is a huge victory. I am also impressed with myself for taking such good notes (likely one handed).  The point, I think, is that that day was a huge victory for me, because I did it.  I won’t say I did it alone because Emily was there and from day 1 she has been a huge help.  But I still claim it as a victory.  The truth is, 17 months later, every morning is a victory.  And I think that as a parent of twins, you need that.  You have the right to celebrate every tiny victory.  Oh the celebrating the day the babies held their own bottles!  Every little victory counts.  Even if that victory is simply a fabulous cup of tea.  Peach tea.

 

Beth is known as mommy by a 4 year old and boy-girl 17 month old twins. She blogs about life, kids, and DIY, at Pickles in my Tea and in my Soup.

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Twinfant Tuesday: The Logistics of Feeding Two Infants

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Categories Feeding, How Do The Moms Do It, Infants, Solid Foods, Twinfant TuesdayTags , , 4 Comments

My fraternal twin girls just turned five on Sunday.  Over the past week, as I do every birthday, I’ve done a lot of reflecting.  In thinking back to their infanthood, the complicated logistics of feeding are still very clear in my mind.  By now they’re fond memories…but at the time, I remember any new stage bringing about great stress.  Here are the highlights from our journey…

My twin girls, born at 34 weeks, came home after 10 days in the NICU.  While we don’t have family nearby, my husband is a teacher and he was able to take an extended leave to be home with me those first few weeks.

During that time, we generally each fed one baby.  (I would breastfeed a baby, then supplement with a bottle, and then pump…rinse and repeat, again and again and again.)  During those first few weeks, we were mostly waking the girls to feed them.  On the rare occasions when I had solo duty, I woke one baby (the faster eater) and fed her, and then fed the other baby immediately thereafter, trying to keep them on the same schedule as much as possible.

As my husband neared the end of his leave, I began to panic.  How would I ever feed both babies by myself?  Keeping the girls on the same schedule was a huge priority for me, and I knew the wake-one-baby-at-a-time method wouldn’t serve us long-term.

I reached out to the only other twin mom I knew at the time for some advice.  (Actually, I didn’t know her…she was the daughter of a former colleague who lived about 150 miles from me…but she was kind enough to take my phone call at random.)  She described how she bottle-fed her infant twins, who were about three months older than my girls.  She somehow held both babies in her lap, facing the same way, her arm wrapped around one of them from behind.

Mar4'09 036
Two Boppy pillows were a lifesaver at our house!

I couldn’t begin to imagine how I’d manage my girls in that fashion, but her advice encouraged me to try propping up the girls in different ways.  I remember the look of astonishment when my husband came home to find me feeding both girls…with a huge smile on my face, to boot!

This set-up worked for us for many months, until I started giving the girls bottles in their highchairs, probably around 7 or 8 months old.

Once I finally had bottle-feeding under my belt, I was feeling pretty good about myself…until the pediatrician told me it was time to start feeding the girls cereal.  WHAT??!!!  I **just** got comfortable with milk!!!  Can a twin mama get a break??!!!

I set the girls up for their first feeding, their highchairs side by side and the husband and the camera at the ready to capture what I knew would be the most adorable faces.  Their faces may have been adorable…but the MESS they made wasn’t.

Getting Ready for the First Feeding! 051709 (2)I quickly decided I would take to spoon-feeding the girls one at a time to curb as much of the MESS as possible.  That approach I never changed, although I did have to devise a system, as one of my babes wasn’t very patient once she learned how yummy those fruits and veggies were.

While I have since read about some twin mamas who adamantly rotated which baby was fed first, I never did.  I put Patient Baby in her swing and fed Anxious Baby first.  When Anxious Baby was finished, I could sometimes put her in the swing to feed Patient Baby.  There were times, though, when I would position Super-Anxious Baby in a bouncy seat at my feet.  I would wedge my foot under her and bounce and jiggle while I fed Patient Baby.  Once the spoon-feeding was complete, I would load both girls into their highchairs for bottles.

It was not until the girls graduated to finger foods, around 14 months, that I let them eat at the same time.  And I was right there in front of them…yes, to make sure they didn’t choke…but also to try to keep the smearing of avocado cubes in the hair at bay.

So…in looking back through the trials and triumphs of feeding two babies during that first year or so…I can’t say I had a consistent, or even judicious approach.  But I did manage to experiment to find a methodology that worked for us through the various stages.  It’s OK by me that the girls don’t read this post in a few years, though.  Unless they have twins themselves, may they never know that one was temporarily labeled Patient Baby, and one, Anxious Baby.

MandyE is mom to five-year old fraternal twin girls.  She blogs about their adventures, and her journey through motherhood, at Twin Trials and Triumphs.

DSC_0761This picture was taken on the girls’ fifth birthday.  Yes, they’re still wearing bibs, as this mama still tries to avoid messes, when possible.  And yes, they’re still a mess…but in their partial defense, they requested homemade blueberry syrup for their French toast…and this mama just let them go to town.

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From the Archives: Infant Feeding

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Categories Breastfeeding, Feeding, Formula, HDYDI Blog, InfantsTags , , , , , 3 Comments

Link Party Button #milkingitI wanted to take this opportunity to highlight the variety of posts here on How Do You Do It? on the subject of infant nutrition, whether breast milk, formula, or some combination. Obviously, there have been several posts over the past several days, but there’s a larger body of wisdom and experience that The HDYDI Moms have gathered here over the years.

Breastfeeding

WBW-Button-150

Expressed Breast Milk (EBM)

Breast Milk and Formula

Formula Feeding

Feeding Tube

We don’t actually have any posts on long-term NG-tube feeding on HDYDI yet, but we have a couple of post-NICU feeding tube mamas in our ranks. If you have questions, please let us know.

Weaning

Infant Feeding in General

Phew. Is anyone else emotionally worn out from the heartfelt intensity of the breastfeeding posts here and elsewhere over the last few days? I cried writing my own post and cried again reading the others. It was cathartic, but it hurt like crazy.

Feeding our infants strikes me as being representative of motherhood in general. We put every part of ourselves into being the best moms we can be, but we never feel that we’re doing quite enough. Or maybe that’s just me.

Do you have other online infant feeding resources to share? Please tell us about them in the comments.

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Product Review: Our Favorite choice of bottles!

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Categories Feeding, Infants, ProductsTags 9 Comments

Very late on the post for today!  Sorry MOMS, but my weekend was C-R-A-Z-Y!  If you were wondering why?  Well, my sister, who is prego with her second child, hasn’t been feeling very well lately.  SO, being the nice sister i am, i volunteered to have HER daughter over for the weekend.  She is 3 months younger than my older daughter, so it was REALLY like having 2 sets of twins.  With that being said, GOD BLESS you ladies who indeed DO have two sets of twins.  The older ones were fun…but it was chaotic.  A semi-organized chaos…but Chaos non the less.  Entertaining four children is A LOT of WORK!  BUT, crazy fun!  We ended our evening with a slumber party for the big girls…and me on the floor in the room going back and forth to the bathroom, since both of the big girls are potty trained! 

Ok, now on to my post! 

I had decided earlier this week to do a post on sippy cups and bottles.  But after polling all our HDYDI MOM writers, I felt i received SOO much info back, that i’m going to do one post on bottle this weekend and another post on sippy cups another weekend.  WHEW, talking about lots of input!  :)

BTW, thanks for all your input, ladies! 

First, let me say that every pedi i’ve met, will say that breast feeding is the best way to feed your child, for the first year of life.  And i totally agree with that!  BUT, along the same line, if you are reading this, then you more than likely have twins or multiples and breast feeding becomes even more difficult and most women I know personally, either ended up pumping and feeding or just using good ole’ formula(which, by the way is JUST as good as breast milk, it just doesn’t include the immunities your baby gets from you when breast feeding).  I, myself, pumped and fed for a while.  But due to exhaustion, frustration and my girls not really liking my milk, i ended up feeding them formula from about 6 weeks on.  I’m embarrassed and sad to say, i had a FREEZER FULL of breast milk, i ended up pouring down the drain, because my girls REALLY didn’t like it, wouldn’t drink it and cried when i tried to feed it to them!  Weird, i know.  BUT, when you are already all stressed out and exhausted, you do what you have to do to keep your head above water.   

Second, let me say, with all the BPA info going around, i don’t want to point anyone in the wrong direction.  AND most importantly, every child is different so you really have to use your own intuition on the bottle dilemma.  I, myself, have gone through too many bottles in the past 4 years and honestly never really found a bottle i REALLY liked enough to really emphasize that much.  I started out with the gerber bottles and similiac nipples with my first daughter.  Those actually worked great.  That is, until i found i couldn’t just go purchase the similiac(disposable) nipples at the store.  I searched and searched and the only way i found them, was by buying them on ebay for a large amount of money.  

With my twins, things were very different.  I decided to try a different kind of bottle because i didn’t want to go searching for those darn nipples AGAIN!  SO, we bought avent bottles and nipples.  They worked, but ALWAYS seemed to leak.  The babies would be drenched from the neck to the belly button in liquids and i just couldn’t seem to ever figure out how to screw those darn lids on right.  I finally asked my sister what i had been doing wrong.  She actually said there is a gasket on the lids(don’t ask me where or how it works), but that if you screw them on too tight(too many times), you can strip the gasket and they will leak forever.  Uh, that’s probably why mine leaked till the end.  I just learned to use a burb towel underneath their chin, every time i fed a baby.  That makes for TONS of laundry and a very unhappy mom! 

As i polled our MOM writers, here is the feedback i received from others, who used bottles. 

Most moms LOVED Dr. Browns(lots of pieces though)

Playtex ventaire wide were good

avent was good(i, myself, didn’t like the leaks and trying to screw them on just right, as i stated above),

medela were good(BPA free, i think)

Gerber/Gerber clear view were good

evenflo/glass evenflo(which i’m pretty sure are BPA free)

Also note: medela rings & caps leaked badly for one mom, so instead she used gerber caps.

Well, i think that sums all that up, quite quickly and appropriately.  As one MOM stated, each baby has his/her own preference.  SO, we could all go on and on about what is good and what is not good all day long. BUT, My best suggestion is(if you have the money and patience), buy a few kinds and try them out.  SEE for yourself, which one works the best, which on your child likes, which ones don’t leak and most importantly which ones are BPA free.  I went on my weekly target excursion the other day and it seemed like the new thing is the born free bottles.  I don’t have any first hand experience with them, so i can’t say either way. If you do have your own suggestions..please feel free to leave comments!  It may help a fellow MOM and/or pregnant MOM, awaiting the big day! 

With all this being said, i’d like to share a pic of ONE of the best days of a twin mommies life: This was the VERY FIRST day Sarah & Samantha held their bottles and my hands were FREE at last!  Ahh..the joys of having two babies at the same time! 

 

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