Weaning Esther and William was always going to be a bit different, because there are two of them but also because of their prematurity.
With premature babies teeth and tummies develop according to actual age but everything else is by adjusted or corrected age. This makes weaning something of a conundrum, never quite sure what you should be doing when!
Our main concern has been that Esther and William were ready to eat finger foods before they could grasp them themselves and also each baby has developed slightly differently. This is an adventure that is following a rather zig zaggy path for us and involves some rather steep curves of learning.
We started the weaning process back in January 2011 when Esther and William were very nearly 6 months. They just seemed ready, hungry for food. We began as all the books and websites advise with baby rice. To begin with both Esther and William seemed to enjoy this new taste and texture, albeit in very very small doses.
Esther and William had their first meals in their bouncy chair. I fed them one at a time to begin with as I wanted to enjoy the process with each baby. I found that first taste of baby rice very emotional to be a part of and I am glad that I had special time with each of them. Daddy was there too taking the photos!
At this time Esther and William could not sit independently so when we began feeding them together we fed them in their Fisher Price Newborn to Toddler Chairs. We also sometimes used their Bumbo seats but this proved to be very messy. After a couple of weeks we bought their highchairs which are Chicco Polly Magic ones that are just perfect for premature or tiny babies. The highchairs have a special insert for smaller babies to raise them up in the seat and they also have 3 reclining positions so that as baby is able to sit more independently the chair can offer them less support. We have found them to be excellent as part of our tweaning process.
After a week of baby rice we started to try different vegetable purees. Following advice to try vegetables before fruit to avoid giving Esther and William a sweet tooth. I was very good at making purees at the beginning. I made batches of carrot, sweet potato and butternut squash. I made ice cube portions and kept them in the freezer. I found the whole process to be very time consuming though and knew that if I wanted to continue breastfeeding and spending quality time with Esther and William making purees myself might not have to have much of a priority. In fact in the end David and I decided that it would be better for us to buy ready made baby food for Esther and William This has eased the pressure on my time and meant that Esther and William have me for more hours in the day, and also the ready made food is actually very good and very very tasty. I will be reviewing soem of the brands we have tried as part of the Edspire Tweaning Series so watch this space!
From the beginning Esther has always loved her food and tolerated everything that she was given. William started to have some tummy aches and be a bit sick in the evenings and so we stopped giving him solid food for a while. It was clear that his digestive system was not yet ready for more than milk. Esther continued to eat three meals a day and there was a while when Esther was eating solids while William was not and then Esther was eating Stage 2 foods whilst William was begining Stage 1. We have been baby led in the best way that we can for their developmental capabilities.
I am still breastfeeding Esther and William alongside their exploration of solid foods and they both love having milk. I have decided that I will stop breastfeeding at 12 months when they will be weaned on to full fat cows milk. For now though breast milk is still the main component of their diet particularly now that we are able to start introducing finger foods. Now meal times take longer but are more about trying and testing than filling a tummy.
Esther and Willam are almost 10 months old now and are both great eaters. They love purees and fruit. They eat fromage frais and cheese. They have just started to eat sandwiches and sausages. Today they had prunes for the first time and Esther in particular really liked them. Neither one of them has any teeth but they chew brilliantly and are finally able to hold finger foods for themselves. They love banana, mango and fingers of toast. They just love food and it is wonderul watching them explore different tastes and textures.
Our next step is to start having more family meals and doing more home cooking as they begin to eat similar foods to us. I am very excited about the idea of family meals as I feel that this is something that is so important. I love the idea of our growing family sharing meals and conversation around a big old table. It is a tradition I want to begin from the start. I also am excited about gettig Esther and William involved in the cooking and preparation of their foods as again I believe that this is really important.
From 6 months til now has passed in something of a blur which is why I am choosing to document the rest of our Tweaning process in the hope that it will help others who are weaning young twins and to help me remember what we have learned should I need this information again in the future.
I hope that you will join us on our journey into the world of food.
Here are some of my favourite weaning photos so far. You can tell, I think, that Esther and William love their food and are enjoying their meal times. Can you spot Esther trying to help with the spoon? What a mess! What a joy!