Thursday, 1 December 2011

Getting Ready: Part 3 - feeding


Breast feeding is trickier than it looks and getting the babies to latch on for long enough to stimulate my milk production was the hardest part. Quite simply it's a question of supply and demand: you need to feed ALL the time at first to establish a decent milk supply. Most of the time (due to exhaustion, not eating properly, doing too much etc.) I wasn't producing enough milk so I topped up with formula. Up until 8 weeks when I admitted defeat. Of course I didn't want to bottle feed my babies, and I still struggle with the guilt associated with "giving up", so my advice is give it the best shot you can. If you breast feed you don't really need any equipment (apart from the obvious) but I suggest you get breast pads (or cups that you empty), freezer bags for storing breast milk, a pashmina for feeding in public, and a breast pump and steriliser if you want to express.  

If you decide to bottle-feed twins you will need the following:
-          12 bottles: don’t bother with the little bottles, go for the 9oz ones straight away. The small ones go up to 4oz and they will be taking more than this really quickly.
-          Teats: the large bottles come with 2-hole teats which should be fine for a newborn, although you can buy 1-hole teats as well.
-          Formula: buy some cartons of ready-made milk as well as a couple of boxes of powder to get you started. I just went for the brand my babies were given in hospital (Aptamil), but I think they are all fairly similar.
-          Kettle: you need freshly boiled water for the feeds and I bought a second kettle just for the babies, which turned out to be really handy. Whenever I boiled a kettle to fill my bottles for the day I always had the best intentions to fill them immediately. In reality I got distracted and dashed off to do something else, in which time my husband could have stumbled, bleary-eyed into the kitchen and flicked the kettle on again for a cup of tea. Having a second kettle eradicated the risk of being back to square one.
-          Steriliser: you can either get one that sits on the side and plugs in (usually takes 6 bottles, sterilising takes 6 mins) or one that goes in the microwave (takes 6 bottles, sterilising takes 4 mins).
-          Bottle brush: you can get special ones from baby shops but I think a bog-standard washing-up brush is exactly the same thing. Keep it separate and only use it for bottles.
-          Bibs: you need a lot of these. Go for the ones with the spongy dibble-catcher around the neck and the babygro underneath might survive the feed. You really need as many as you can lay your hands on (ebay, ebay, ebay). Ditto muslins for mopping up spills and puke.

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