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.