• Tue, May 28 - 11:00 am ET

Twinning: I Survived Transitioning To Solid Food

baby food jarsHaving twins can be the most amazing experience of your life. It can also cause you to wake up in the morning wishing you were someone else. Twinning offers an honest depiction of life with twins from a mom who tries to keep things somewhere in the middle.

When my twins were babies, it always seemed that by the time I got used to some aspect of caring for them, it would completely change and they’d be on to a new phase. Feeding my twins was an ongoing example. Bottle-feeding seemed a ludicrously time-consuming process given the amount of formula that had to be made, the amount of bottles to be prepared, the time it took to feed and burp two babies, and then to wash and sterilize the bottles—each step seemed to take an hour.

Eventually though it became second nature. I could have measured out the powder and water blindfolded. But just when we were getting cozy with the formula, I was supposed to introduce rice cereal. I thought things could get messy from a little vomited formula, so I was in for a rude awakening once solid food was introduced. There was hardly even any cereal in the tiny bowls! But it didn’t matter—at the end of a feeding, both babies had food all over their faces, hands, bibs and whatever part of their outfits the bibs weren’t covering.

With the introduction of solid food came the need for baby seating, so I bought two Bumbo seats and would feed them on the kitchen table, side by side. My son had chunked up so much in five months that he looked like a fat kid stuck in a school desk in that Bumbo, while my little featherweight daughter was skinny enough to work her way out of the Bumbo. Once feeding time was over, I would place both babies (still in Bumbo seats) onto the floor, get my daughter out and put her wherever we were going next (say the TV room or stroller) and then come back for my son and pry his thighs out of the Bumbo.

I started making my own baby food for my twins, because apart from apricots and a few other fruits, jarred baby food tastes pretty terrible. I had a fantastic book called Super Baby Food that needs a good edit but I’d recommend anyway. The upside of making their food was knowing my kids were getting the best nutritious ingredients possible, but the downside was how fast it all disappears when you have two babies to feed. Compared to shaking formula—peeling, cubing, steaming and pureeing butternut squash is an absolute shitload of work.

Within a few months, the Bumbos were obsolete and we had moved on to full-fledged enormous high chairs that were so big and cumbersome they took up permanent residence in my dining room because getting them in and out of the kitchen was a spatial relations nightmare.

And then my twins turned one, and it was on to cow’s milk. Of course at this point, both twins were holding their own bottle and feeding themselves! So it was the perfect time to ruin all that and move on to sippy cups. I remember the first day I brought their new cups up to the nursery—my son just looked at his and cried, and my daughter promptly threw hers straight at my head.

Everything had gone smoothly though with solid foods—both my son and daughter were good eaters. It was a different story however once we moved on to food with texture, and my son stopped cooperating and started spitting everything out. As with every “new phase” they entered, I was back to Square One, trying to figure out how best to navigate our way through.

It turned out that distraction was the key to getting my son to eat textured foods such as apple bits or Cheerios. I began showing them flashcards or reading a story to them while I fed them in their enormous high chairs. My son would be so interested in whatever I was showing them that he’d just open his mouth when I held a spoon to it.

My daughter never had any issues with food. Despite being thinner than her twin brother, my little girl has always eaten more than him. But back then, she just wanted to get a meal over with so she could continue to toddle around the house looking for things to potentially choke on.

The frazzled new mom I was at the beginning of all these stages would have loved to see my twins now: eating with utensils, sitting in regular kitchen chairs and staying clean without wearing gigantic bibs. Just some proof that one of these days, we won’t have to go back to Square One.

(photo: Africa Studio / Shutterstock)

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  • DrStephanieDVM

    Your last paragraph gives me hope! My twins eat great but the mess is impressive! Looking forward to (effective) use of utensils, regular chairs and no bibs.

    • Gloria Fallon

      It took a long time for us to get there, but it’ll happen! Hang in there!

  • Page

    I always wondered what kind of mom would be dumb enough to put bumbo chairs on top of a dining room table

    • Gloria Fallon

      There’s nothing dumb about it if you place the chairs on the floor once feeding time is over. Thanks for your comment.

    • http://www.whatwouldshethink.com/ Rachelle

      I know that sometimes Moms have to be resourceful, but Page is right. From Bumbo’s website (only because it’s easier than whipping out my box with the instruction leaflet)

      Can I use my seat as a booster seat ?
      No. It is important to follow all of the product instructions
      and have a clear understanding of the new warning label provided with
      the restraint belt kit. The Bumbo® Baby Seat is designed to be used only on the floor. Do NOT use the Bumbo® Baby Seat as a booster seat or in place of a highchair. The Bumbo® Baby Seat should never be used on raised surfaces.

      They also say never to transport the baby while still in the seat.

      But this comment is for other mothers reading the article and thinking it may be a good idea to use Bumbos as highchairs. Don’t.

      You already did, so it is what it is.

    • R Zhao

      They make those warnings largely in part to avoid getting sued.

    • http://www.facebook.com/valerisexton.jones Valeri Jones

      Oh, whatever. Don’t listen to these people, Gloria. We’ve all used some infant/child equipment in some way that is “not recommended” on the label. It’s fine as long as you’re being a good parent and supervising them and not expecting the Bumbo/nap nanny/walker at the top of the stairs to care for your child.

      Geez. People can be so judgey.

    • Gloria Fallon

      Thanks Valeri! ;)

    • Blooming_Babies

      There’s nothing dumb about it if you don’t walk away. Old fashioned high chairs were just as dangerous.

    • DMH

      What’s a bumbo chair? I assumed it was one of those cool chairs that attached to the side of the table… :/

  • CK

    I not trying to be a Judgy MJudgerson, but is setting your son up to be distracted while eating a good habit to get him into?

  • Lisa

    When the only way your baby will eat is if they are distracted-yes. At one point we were spending 7-8 hours a day just trying to get ours to take a bottle. No joke. Yes we saw the gastro-nothing wrong just a phase. But when you have an already small for age former preemie you will do anything! Videos were a godsend

  • Alisande F

    I really enjoy this column. I think you’re doing a great job keeping up with all the stages. My step-twins are now eleven and, um, we’re still working on table manners and cleaning up after themselves cos it’s not something that’s really thought about in their mum’s house (five children, lots of stress, etc.).

    • Gloria Fallon

      Thanks Alisande! I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your comment! Good luck with your step-twins!

    • Alisande F

      Even having them at the ages they are now is hard work. Cannot imagine the baby and toddler stages! x