Feeding: how do you do it?


I’m hoping moms of singletons, twins, or more (!) will reply to this. Essentially, how the fuck do I feed these kids?

Textbooks say they should be eating every three hours, but that formula fed babies might eat every four. Mine do have alarm clocks in their tummies, but these ring about every 2.5 hours…sometimes every 2. During their six week growth spurt, they did eat every three hours and in massive quantities. Now they are eating a good deal less, but more often.

Do I stretch things out and make them wait?

My goals:

Have them efficiently eating when they DO eat, preferably at least three hours apart.  Have them eat most of their calories during the day, so that they need to eat less at night.

I worry that Coconut is all jacked up. She is eating every 2.5 hours today – but a tiny, TINY feed followed by a normal sized feed. Is she sick? Has the snacking nature of these shrinking feeds fucked with her? A mom on Twitter suggested I stretch things out, and this will make them eat more when they do eat. I think this is solid sense.

But the second Coconut cries? Bam. Bottle. Sometimes she has to wait and she screams the whole time. Snort is also eating every 2.5 hours, but still normal feeds.

I just spent some time with her in the kitchen singing an Existere remake of a song that goes like this….

Damn, you’s a sexy baby,
damn you’s a sexy one.
Damn you’s a sexy baby.
Damn damn damn damn.

Somehow I don’t think the parenting books would advocate this method of childrearing, even though I sang it in a very cheerful voice while dancing around with her. She stared at me, a bit perplexed as to why the room was spinning around so rapidly and I was singing/swearing at her in such a manic way. Still, it was more effective than my earlier:

You down with OPP? Yeah you know me.
You down with OPP? Yeah you know me.
You down with OPP? Yeah you know me.
Who’s down with OPP? ALL the babies!

So. Questions. (Please answer any or all!)

Do I stretch things out? How do I manage this, realistically, with twins? Do I feed them one after the other, forcing them onto some crazy schedule, or keep following their lead? What about cluster feeding in evenings? Is there an effective way to actually tandem feed? How much SHOULD they be eating? How often can one expect them to go between feeds? What else have I forgotten to ask?


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9 Responses to “Feeding: how do you do it?”

  1. Diane Says:

    Mine have both been snacky nursers. I have no idea if I SHOULD make them go longer between feeds, but I always found on demand was easier. My 9-month-old will nurse for about 5 minutes, often once an hour. Even when she goes longer (such as first thing in the morning, or after a 3 hour nap), she still prefers just to nurse for 5-10 minutes. I sort of just accepted it.

    I don’t think it sounds like she’s sick (just based on my experience), and I think you should go with your gut. It would be reasonable to try to stretch out the feedings to a schedule, but it’s also reasonable to go with the flow. I know it can feel like you’re “messing them up forever”, but I promise you aren’t! It may just be in her personality to be a grazer. Good luck, mama. You’re doing a great job.

  2. qtpie1602 Says:

    ACK! I feel for you…I only had 1 at a time…so it was easier to go on demand…With 2 to feed…often around the same time must be challenging to find a happy medium for everyone. I think all babaies go through a “snacking” stage…and some are content to eat that way all the time…I used a soother when mine tended to snack to see if they just wanted to suck or if they were really hungry…Some say babies need 2.5 oz. per pound per day…so if your baby is 10 lbs…they need 25 oz a day…not sure how they come up with that number…but it is something to at least go by if you are worried they are getting too much/not enough…Good luck! I love reading your updates! Keep us posted!

  3. Della Says:

    Hey there. I heard about you when you were preg, and just now today saw a tweet about you again. Congrats! and because I came straight to this post and to comments, I dunno how old your kids are, but it’s possible that Coconut is going through one of the major/standard growth spurts perhaps? I just mention it because I’m pretty sure that’s what’s going on with my 3 week old, who started doing the same thing you describe. She will eat her arms off and she doesn’t want a paci, she wants food!

    I’m interested to see what other suggestions you get, because I definitely have the same goals with my little one, to get into a better living schedule when I’m alone 13 hrs a day with her and the 19 month old!

  4. Katie Says:

    I have identical boy twins that are now 15 months (plus a 2 1/2 year old). I nursed all of them, although I only made it to 8 weeks with the twins because my milk just stopped. I found it IMPOSSIBLE to stretch out their feedings. Also, I wasn’t willing to listen to both of them cry for an hour straight while “waiting it out.” When I couldn’t take it any longer (the every 2 hour thing) I began giving them “snacks” of formula. It wasn’t ideal, but it saved my sanity.
    Good luck!

  5. Tatiana Says:

    I just let Maia nurse when she’s hungry. Now that she’s on solids, I find it easier to “stretch out” the time between nursing sessions because I can pad them out with solids, and when she wants to nurse — as opposed to just wanting to eat — she definitely lets me know. Which is, of course, no help to you.

    I think that you need to do what works for you. For me, listening to my baby cry when I could do something about it (feed her) wasn’t an option, but I had only one, so it was easy to follow her lead.

    Patience & flexibility are the name of the game. Hope things get better for you three soon.

    Keep your chin up as best you can. You know we’re all cheering for you! Try your best not to take your anger and frustration out on TMD, and remember, it’s perfectly normal if you end up feeling some bitterness towards the babes and the change in your life. Motherhood is hard.

  6. Christina Says:

    Our twins are 4 months old. They were premature and in the hospital for 10 days, and the nursery there put them on a strict schedule of feeding every 4 hours (at the same time). We kept that up for a couple months (in the beginning setting an alarm and waking them at night), but now we are more lenient. They generally eat every 3 hours during the day and once at night (sometimes not at all at night!).

    My recommendation is to keep encouraging the slow eater to finish her bottle. Our girl would stop eating pretty quickly, but in order for her to go home from the hospital, she had to finish a feeding in about half an hour. So we learned to sing to her, turn the nipple around, rub the roof of her mouth with the nipple, etc. to get her to finish the bottle. When she was really little we used to actually move her chin in a sucking motion. It all worked, and she’s good now about finishing her bottle (for us… other people give up pretty quickly).

    We do feed them at the same time, either propping them in boppys or putting them side-by-side in their high chairs (now that they are big enough to not slouch. our high chairs also recline).

    Never tried cluster feeding in the evening. If you want to chat further, feel free to e-mail.

  7. CJ Says:

    Have you tried giving them some steak??

  8. Jinxy Says:

    I’m too tired to read any of the other replys so if I’m repeating just ignore me.

    I nurse Lily on demand. Just about any time she cries she gets a boob in her mouth. It works for us.

    I have no idea what to tell you about formula fed babies. But I can tell you as the big sister to twins (ok I was only 3 when they were born but I was their little mommy) getting them on the same schedule is key. I know you’ve heard this before but it’s all I’ve got.

    Sorry when I’m tired I’m punchy, I hope this makes some sense.

  9. Kim Says:

    Hi- Stumbled across this! My twins are now 5-1/2 years old! I fed them on demand when they were little, waking the second one up at night so I could feed them together. It kept me (barely) sane. Then, when they got a bit older- 3 or 4 months, I would try to feed just the one who woke up to see if the other would sleep through. If she didn’t, for a week or so, I’d go back to waking the other to eat when the first woke. In short, I would say feed on demand, but force them on the same schedule to the extent possible. Don’t get in the habit of feeding individually- you’ll drive yourself nuts.
    GOOD LUCK! It gets MUCH easier.

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