Baby Led Weaning with Twins
Congratulations! You have made it past the newborn stage with your twins. At this point, you probably have a decent handle on how you feed your sweet babies. (If you need help with breastfeeding twins, check out my breastfeeding twins resource page–> Breastfeeding Twins) Time for a new challenge. Solid food. How do you introduce solid food to two tiny humans at the same time? Baby Led Weaning is the way to go with twins. Here is everything you need to know about Baby Led Weaning with twins.
Baby Led Weaning
What is Baby Led Weaning?
The name Baby Led Weaning (BLW) can be a tiny bit misleading. It isn’t about weaning your twins off of anything exactly. Breastmilk or formula should be your baby’s primary source of nutrients for the first year of life. BLW is a method of introducing solids food where you let your babies take the lead. Instead of spoon-feeding your babies store-bought or homemade purees, you give your babies regular food that is, of course, served in safe textures and sizes. Your babies feed themselves at their own pace while the rest of the family eats as well.
Baby Led Weaning Safety
You can’t just hand a steak over to your baby to gnaw on, there are a few safety rules to be following with this method of feeding solids to your twins.
When Are Your Babies Ready?
Babies are ready for BLW when they can sit up in a high chair unassisted. They need to be able to hold food and bring it to their mouths. (They don’t have to be good at it, they will make a mess. But the main idea and ability need to be present.) Babies have a tongue thrust reflex to help prevent choking that fades away around six months of age, and this reflex needs to be gone if baby is going to eat solids. A lot of twins are premies, so be sure to talk with your pediatrician before starting any solids to make sure your children are physically ready.
Food Safety for BLW
The food you serve your little ones needs to be safe for new eaters to eat. This means making sure food is appropriately sized and a good texture for your baby. This tends to mean you go one of two ways. Food can be little enough to be swallowed whole to help prevent choking, or large enough that there is no way your baby could fit the whole thing in their mouth. The reason for food being large is that it makes it easier to grab. The pincher grip takes time to learn, and baby can’t eat if they can’t pick up the food. Allergy precautions should be taken too. Start slow, adding new foods every few days and watching for allergic reactions. Remember that one twin can have a reaction when the other doesn’t.
Baby Led Weaning with Twins
So what makes this method a good fit for twins? I loved BLW when we did it with Ben. It just made sense to me to introduce food in a way that allowed him to eat real food and have the whole family eat together. This method just worked even better with twins. To me, it is the only way to go.
BLW with Twins is Faster
Spoon feeding a baby takes time, and doing it with two babies takes twice as long. Being able to feed both babies at the same time just makes sense. This is especially helpful if you have two food motivated babies. No one has to wait, there is no taking turns. It is much easier to keep your twins on the same schedule when they eat their meals at the same time, and this is true for solids as well.
BLW is Easier with Multiple Children in General
This method is easier not just if you have multiples, but if you have multiple children in general. When Ali and Sammy were starting solids I was feeding them and Ben, who was just about to turn 3. While he could eat on his own we all know toddlers still need a lot of attention at the table. BLW let me feed all three children at the same time on my own. I didn’t have to make two different lunch times, one to spoon feed my twins and a second one to feed my toddler. Family meal time is such an important time to connect with your children, and BLW let that still happen. All five of us could eat at the same time.
Food Prep is Easier and Cheaper
BLW tends to be cheaper in general. You don’t have to buy baby food from the store. And with twins, that money adds up fast. My twins ate what we ate. Sure I had to make sure it was a good size and texture, but that is really easy to do. Making your own baby food takes time as well. Instead of having to steam and puree dinner for my girls I just had to pull out a couple appropriately sized pieces to put on their tray. It took about one minute of extra time to plate.
BLW Helps Establish Independence Early
Look, none of us want our babies to grow up too fast. They need to need us! But when you have twins it really helps to get them doing things independently as early as possible. I’m one mom, I can’t be in two places at once. So if my twins can do things for themselves life is just smoother. Feeding themselves is a step towards independence. They learn from the start how to handle food. This makes the first few years of meals so much easier.
There are a few drawbacks to this method. No one method is perfect, and one method isn’t going to work for every family. Every parent has to evaluate what is best for their family.
Double the Mess
BLW is messy. Of course, it is, you are letting babies feed themselves! And, as with everything in twin life, you have it times two. The mess is just something I had to accept. Food would fall to the floor, some would get thrown. It is all a part of the learning process. This means I had to meal plan a little more carefully to make sure I had clean up time if we were having messy food. You learn pretty quickly what your children can eat with a low mess and what needs to be saved for bath night. Quality bibs matter. Since we live in a hot climate I would also have my twins eat in just bibs and diapers. The benefits of BLW outweighed the mess issue for me.
Double the Diligence
Babies gag when they eat solids. This is part of the learning process and usually just fine. But, total honesty here, the possibility of choking exists. As such you need to be diligent when your babies are eating. Make sure the food they are eating is safe. Never leave them alone when they are eating. You do need to keep safety as the top priority, and that means double the diligence. This was something that I was comfortable with. If the fear of choking is too much for you, don’t do this method. And that is not meant as a slight. If you had premies or are dealing with postpartum depression or anxiety, this extra stress might be something you just do not need to deal with. There is nothing wrong with that. There are other methods of introducing solids. Do what is best for you as a mom and your family.
Real Mom BLW Tips
I’ve done this method twice now, once with my son and again with my girls. We loved baby led weaning and had great success with it. I do want to be very real about our experience though and leave a few last thoughts.
Don’t Be Afraid to Mix and Match
One thing I want to point out is that BLW doesn’t have to be an all or nothing approach. You can do some solids and some purees. Think about what we eat as adults. We eat all kinds of foods. Some have hard textures and some soft. We eat ‘solids’ but we also eat soups and mashed potatoes, which are very similar to purees. So you can offer some BLW foods and do some purees. You can bring pouches to eat mess free on the go and still serve up regular dinner. Do what works for your family.
BLW Does Not Eliminate Picky Eating
A plus I read about when I was researching BLW was that it can help eliminate picky eating. Great, no one wants a picky eater! I want to let everyone know right now that this is not a guarantee. It does expose babies to a variety of textures and flavors from a young age, which is very helpful in creating adventurous eaters. But picky eating can be a very complex issue. (You can read about our picky eating journey here–> The Picky Eating Chronicles) Basically, don’t assume that you won’t get a picky eater just because you use BLW. All three of my kids have different levels of pickiness. One is super picky, one is willing to at least try a lot of foods, and one falls somewhere in between. And did I mention two are identical? Eating is a very complex issue, so don’t look for this to be a promise of avoiding future food issues.
Baby Led Weaning is for Twins
Like every parenting method, there are some drawbacks to baby led weaning. It is very messy and you need to be extra diligent during meal times. But the benefits outweigh any negatives for me. And with twins? This method is, in my opinion, the way to go. You can feed both your babies at the same time and other children. The whole family eats together, building important family bonds and traditions. And you help your twins work on important and needed independence. I have no regrets and am so happy with our BLW experience. If you are a twin mom it is something to at least consider seriously. BLW was meant for twins.
Additional Resources on Baby Led Weaning: