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Weaning Twins

What is Weaning?

Weaning is a gradual process where babies move from getting all their nourishment from milk to having solid food like other family members.

At first babies are offered bland, smooth, runny foods, gradually getting more lumpy and more tasty. Eventually you will be able to finely chop their food and offer them drinks from beakers.
It is really important not to rush the whole process, starting only when the individual child is ready to be weaned.

It is not a race – it may be that a friends child of a similar age is ready to be weaned earlier than your child, or it may be that you have a hungry baby who will need a little more food than your friends child.
It may be that one of your twins is ready to be weaned first or they may be ready at the same time.

When Shall I start Weaning my Twins?

Are my twins ready to be weaned? How will I know?
If your babies are nearly 26 weeks of age and showing the following symptoms they may be ready to be weaned.
If they are younger than 26 weeks  please consult your health visitor for advice. Also if your twins were premature it would be worthwhile speaking to your health team before weaning. Please note that the current WHO recommendation is for babies to be breastfed exclusively for the first 26 weeks of their lives.
There are a few indicators that your twins may be ready for weaning.

Please note that very young babies showing these symptoms should NOT be weaned early, in this instance please contact your health visitor or GP for guidance.

•May not settle contentedly after giving a full breast or bottle feed when the same amount had previously left them happy for 3 hours or more.
•May be hungry within 3 hours of last being fed
•May start waking after sleeping through
•May be gnawing on hands in hunger
•May start showing an interest in what other people are eating
•May have doubled their birth weight

What do I do if one twin is ready to be weaned and the other one isn’t?
If one appears ready and the other one isn’t just wean the one who is ready. The other one will soon catch up.

What equipment do I need to wean twins?

•Some soft spoons
•A couple of soft spouted beakers
•Some small bowls. We found that ones with a lip on them made them a lot easier to hold
•If you are planning on making your own purrees you will need a hand blender, mouli, or liquidizer, and some ice cube trays or small pots to store prepared food in.
•It would also help if you had a plastic mat or old towel to go on the floor and a couple of bibs with arms for your twins.
•It is probably easier for you to offer them their food with them sitting in something to let you have your hands free. You can either use a bouncy chair if it is a fairly upright one, or a car seat or a high chair, or even sat up in their side by side buggy.

What is a good first food for my babies?
Many mums use baby rice as a first food. You can buy packets of baby rice at supermarkets, good food stores and chemists.

It is always really important to follow the directions on the packet. Never add any baby rice (or anything else) to a milk feed in a bottle.

The nice thing about baby rice is that it is fairly bland tasting and if you mix it with a little breast or formula milk it will taste fairly familiar to your baby. You can also make it nice and runny so it is easy for your baby to eat.

How do I start weaning my twins?
Firstly ensure that you choose a really good time of day to start – different families have different “good” times of the day. A mid morning, or lunchtime or mid afternoon feed might be a good time to start weaning.
Sterilize a couple of small pots. If you use babies bottles you can sterilize the lids and use those at first.

Give your twins half of their breast or bottle feed as you would normally do. Give their backs a gentle rub to get any wind up and then offer them a tiny amount of baby rice made really runny using some of your babies usual milk (or a small amount of cooled boiled water if you prefer) You will only need a really small amount of baby rice to begin with. Your babies will probably only want a teaspoon of baby rice or two at the first attempt. That is absolutely fine. Finish off the breast or bottle feed as usual.

For the rest of the first day give them milk feeds as usual.
The next day do the same again, offering a couple of teaspoons of baby rice at one meal.

How much baby rice should I give my babies at first?
At first they will need probably only a couple of teaspoonsful but all babies are slightly different so you will have to use your judgement as to how much each of your individual babies need.
Aim to slowly build up the quantities given.

One bowl and spoon or two bowls and two spoons?
I know that some mums do use just the one bowl and spoon, finding it easier. However for hygiene reasons it may be better to use two bowls and two spoons.
Also if you use two bowls and two spoons you will be able to gauge how much each baby has had where as it will not be as clear if you use just the one bowl and spoon.
When your babies are a little older you might want to offer them a spoon each. If you dip the spoon into their food they will occasionally get some in their mouths and this is the first step to them feeding themselves.
If you have someone to help you you can feed them both at the same time, but if not you will have to decide whether to feed one twin or triplet first and then the other(s) or to feed them each one spoonful at a time.

Introducing new tastes to your baby
Once your babies have got used to taking baby rice you can start to introduce different tastes.
Try at first giving a little cooked pureed apple or pear or a little raw pureed banana. Carrot or sweet potato cooked and pureed is also a popular choice with mums as a first taste.
If the consistency is too thick you can make it runnier by simply adding a little of their usual milk to it
Be patient with your baby, it can often take a while for a baby to like a particular taste.
Gradually increase the amount of food you are giving at each meal according to your babies appetites. Ensure they still get a good quantity of breast or formula milk. Babies should have around a pint or 500-600 ml of milk a day even when weaned.

If you are weaning your twins between 17 and 26 weeks of age avoid

•Citrus fruits
•Gluten
•Shellfish (not before 12 months)
•Nuts (not before 12 months)
•Honey (not before 12 months)
•Meat
•Dairy
•fish
•egg
When your babies are around 6-9 months old
Once your babies are 6-9 months old you can introduce pasta, bread, meat, dairy products, cooked eggs, and some fish.

When your babies are 6 months + it is fine to stop boiling tap water unless of course you are on holiday abroad or if there is a problem with your water supply. In this case it is still best to boil it.

Also at 6 months + you are able to use cows milk in cooking.

It is always a good idea to avoid salt and sugar in cooking if possible. Watch out for foods which also have a high salt content such as soy sauce, and ready made stock unless you buy the sort especially designed for babies.

Moving on to Family Food
As your babies get older they will be able to begin having their food mashed rather than pureed. It is a vital skill to be able to chew food but can take a little while to learn.

Introduce finger foods. Once your babies are around 7 or 8 months old you can begin to introduce finger foods. Finger foods can be anything that can be picked up and eaten using fingers.
At first your baby may chew on the food or attempt to suck it, don’t worry they will soon get the hang of it. You could offer a slice of toast cut into soldiers or a chunk of cheese, or a piece of bread. Small sandwiches can be made with soft fillings.
Ensure you stay with your babies when eating especially when introducing finger foods as there is always a  danger of choking.
By 12 months old your babies are likely to be eating similar food to the family and having it chopped up for them. They will still need around a pint of formula milk or breast feeds each day as well as a mid morning and mid afternoon healthy snack to keep their energy levels up.

Dropping a night feed. 
Once your babies are eating around 3 meals a day and are having plenty of daytime drinks you will probably find that they you will be able to drop a night feed. If you find they wake up and want to be fed, try to work out whether they are hungry or whether they are just needing comfort. Obviously if they are hungry they need a night feed so feed them.

If they do wake up hungry it may be worth trying to adjust the amount of food they eat in the daytime to prevent them being hungry in the night. Try offering them a slightly larger portion at tea time, or give them supper or a late night bottle / breast feed before YOU go to bed so that that you are not woken up in the night.

If they are waking up in the night wanting a bottle or breast feed and you think they are not hungry you could try offering them a bottle of milk but with less formula powder than usual (dropping one scoop of formula powder per night until it is just boring plain water) That often deters them from midnight meanderings! Never leave a bottle in your child’s cot.

If you have any questions about weaning contact your health visitor or GP for advice
You can also post a question or send a PM on Facebook www.facebook.com/twinsonline

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