When I set out to exclusively nurse my twin daughters, I knew it wouldn’t be easy. But somehow we made it through those first exhausting weeks when it seemed like I was actually spending every waking second nursing, and by the time they were 2 months old, we’d managed to establish a workable routine.
Once my girls reached 6 months, it was time to introduce solids. Now I know some parents jump at the chance to start feeding their babies real food (well, as close to “real” as pulverized vegetable goop gets), but on my end, I was hesitant. Although nursing was tough, I’d admittedly gotten quite spoiled by virtue of being my daughters’ food source. I didn’t have to deal with preparing meals or cleaning up afterward, nor did I have to worry about packing food when I left the house for extended periods of time. But despite the fact that I’d become comfortable with our nursing routine, I had to take the plunge into solids for my daughters’ sake.
For the past three months, my daughters have indulged in everything from avocado to mushed peas to tofu, and I’m happy to report that—knock on every piece of wood within a 400-miles radius—they’re pretty good eaters so far. However, I’ve also come to the conclusion that feeding twins at 9+ months is much harder than feeding them at 2 months.
See, I’m still nursing my twins, only now I’m feeding them three extra meals a day on top of their previously established nursing schedule. I thought, back in the day, that we’d be able to cut out some nursing sessions once we started solids, but my girls are slow gainers and apparently need all the calories they can get. As per my doctor’s advice, I’m still offering up the breast as frequently as I used to, and they’re still taking it for the most part—only now instead of nursing them five or six times a day between morning and bedtime, I’m nursing them five or six times a day plus incorporating three solid meals for a grand total of eight to nine feedings. Each.
Not only that, but I’m now dealing with all the prep work that comes along with early solids. I’ve been trying to make as much of my own baby food as possible, which means spending hours washing, cooking, and pureeing all those fruits and veggies.
There’s also what I call the ick factor that makes our new feeding schedule so challenging. Breastfeeding isn’t messy—at least not for me—but solids are a whole other story. My girls have this way of getting green bean and carrot particles into corners of their high chairs I didn’t even know existed. If I had the time and energy, I could easily wash their bibs after every single meal and be justified (usually I change their bibs at the end of the day and figure any residue they might lick off between morning and night counts as a bonus snack). I frequently find bits of mush in their hair, and in my hair, and in the dog’s hair…and while my son taught me that it is indeed possible to get more food up your nose than into your mouth, my girls have far surpassed him, going so far as to get things like banana and sweet potato between their toes.
I think part of my—OK, I’ll say it—frustration stems from the fact that whereas nursing is somewhat relaxing, the whole solids routine is the exact opposite. And that’s probably why I do have my days where I sit there shaking my head, marveling at the fact that I’ve done nothing but feed infants for X hours and counting. But when that happens, I try to remind myself that nourishing my children, no matter how I do it, just plain takes priority above all else.
I could bemoan the fact that all these meals limit my ability to get most tasks done during the day, but in reality, what task could be more important than feeding my babies (other than maybe dealing with the digestive aftermath of said feedings in the form of numerous daily diaper changes)? I’ve learned that a big part of being a parent is figuring out how to prioritize, and if, for now, I need to spend the majority of my time on feedings, I can definitely learn to accept that.