Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Twins Tip: The "Feeding Station"

I can't stand disorder. That's not to say my house doesn't have disorder, because -- believe me! -- it does. But that does not mean I like it! So when two little babies arrived at my house about two years ago and I was inundated with around-the-clock feedings and bottles and dirty bottles and formula and parts of bottles to dry out, I knew I needed a system to survive not only those hazy first weeks, but the first year of bottle feeding. Instead of letting the feeding clutter overtake me, I created what I call the "feeding station."

First, the feeding system. With my first daughter, and initially with the twins, I prepared all my formula ahead of time, bottled it, and put it in the fridge. I had a bottle warmer which I shuttled back and forth from the kitchen for the daytime to the nursery for nighttime, and I warmed bottles up and fed them. But with the twins, it seemed like I was always trying to warm up those cold bottles, and if both wanted to be fed it took forever to get both bottles ready. My warmer was old, and I didn't want to waste the money on a second one, so I had to come up with a new plan.

I decided I would just mix up those bottles on the spot. You might say it's risky, but it's actually faster than trying to warm up a cold bottle. Here's what I do. I boil water on the stove top. When it's cool, I fill my clean bottles, put on the rings, nipples and caps, and leave them in a basket on the counter. See, it's pretty and neat, right?

I had those little formula dispensers that you use for "on-the-go," except I used them at home too. I pre-fill them with the correct amount of formula (I have two 3-serving ones and one 4-serving one).

When it was time for the babies to eat, I would twist off the bottle top, dump in the pre-measured amount, shake up the bottle and the babies would be eating within a minute. It's quick and easy. It's also fantastic to be able to grab what I need for the diaper bag at a moment's notice, and I don't have to fuss with keeping formula cold. I just put the bottles in one freezer Ziploc bag (so they don't leak) and grab a formula dispenser and pack up the bag.

When Bunny (that's what I'll call my girl twin) and Buddy (that will be the boy twin) were eating different amounts, I divided the basket in half to keep track of which bottles had 6 oz and which had 8 oz., and I color coded the formula dispensers -- blue for him and pink for her. The bottles of water were separated on each side of the basket so there was no confusion.

The "feeding station" cuts down on that stress when babies are hungry and want to be fed NOW. Keep everything "stocked" correctly and everything will be at your fingertips!

As for keeping charts, I didn't have the formal clipboard or binder that some MoMs seem to do. I just had a pad of paper on the counter where I jotted down who ate how much and at what time. Easy-peasy.

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