If you’re new to the twin parent club, welcome! You’re going to love being a member! Nothing else in my life has brought me simultaneously so much joy and so many challenges. It’s great. Anyways, if you’re here, you’re probably looking for tips on bottle feeding twins. Let me tell you, you came to the right place! After exclusively bottle feeding twins for a year, I have a lot of tips to share.
The most important thing I want you to know is that I fully support your decision to bottle feed. Maybe you never planned on breastfeeding, or maybe, like me, you planned to breast feed twins and it didn’t quite work out.
Society can put a lot of pressure on moms to breastfeed, and we all know the benefits of breast milk. It is indeed liquid gold. However, breastmilk does not nurture and love your baby. YOU do that, regardless of how you feed your babies. Just feed your babies and love your babies, and that’s all that matters.
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Bottle Feeding Twins: Supplies
One of the first things that will make bottle feeding twins easier is figuring out the right supplies, so we’ll start there.
One of the most obvious things you will need is baby bottles. A common question I get is how many bottles do you need for twins? I wish I could give you a straightforward answer, but it’s truly a case by case situation. I suggest starting out with 4 bottles and not purchasing any more until you’re certain that your twins will take the bottle.
If you want to prepare all the bottles in advance, you will need 16-20 bottles. Newborns eat every 3-hours, which is 8 feedings in a 24 hour period. Since you have two babies, you will need two bottles per feeding, so 16 bottles.
If you are trying to be minimalist, you could get away with 4-6 bottles. I personally think that 10-12 is a healthy balance.
A bottle warmer is not a true essential. If you’re on a tight budget, you can get by with warming the bottles in a bowl of warm water. It will take a reeeaaalllly long time to warm bottles that way.
Some babies are actually fine drinking cold bottles, and my firstborn, Theo, drank them that way. However, if your twins were preemies and spent time in the NICU, they will be used to warm milk and the cold could be a shock to their system.
So, unless you are on a very tight budget, I highly recommend getting a bottle warmer. I’ve also seen people use rice cookers or slow cookers to warm bottles. Simply heat up some water on low in the cooker and place the bottles in them. Just make sure the bottles aren’t getting too hot!
The bottle warmer we had was a cheap one that we purchased at Babies R Us. It broke after about 10 months! And it was not a double bottle warmer! Holy heck, that would have been awesome! This KOLAMAMA Bottle Warmer has 5 star reviews and is a great price. If I was in the market, I would be checking it out for sure.
The Baby BrezzaBaby Brezza will automatically make and heat a formula bottle, instantly. It works with all types of formula and bottles. This is a total splurge, but I have heard that it saves a TON of time, which you have very little of when you have twins!
If you purchase a Baby Brezza, you don’t need a bottle warmer, as it warms the bottles for you. If you’re planning to pump and give your babies bottles of pumped breast milk, the Baby Brezza is pointless. It is only a good option if you’re going to formula feed.
A formula mixer is a pitcher that will mix and store 28 ounces of formula at once. We didn’t use one because we mostly used pumped breast milk. If you are exclusively formula feeding, this is a fantastic option for under $20!
Bottle Drying Rack
Some bottle sets come with a bottle brush, but definitely make sure you have one on hand. We put our bottles in the dishwasher, but you will probably run into instances when all of your bottles are dirty and you need a clean one ASAP!
Dishwasher Rack for Bottles
If you’re cleaning your bottles in the dishwasher, they make these convenient little baskets that you can put the nipples and other miscellaneous bottle parts in.
How to Feed Twins By Yourself
If you’re ever feeding your twins by yourself, you will need to put them in or on something for feedings. We used a Twinz Pillow, which is actually a twin nursing pillow that also functions as a double boppy. You can use two boppies, bouncers, etc. Sometimes I would sit on the floor and hold their bottles in their mouths, but other times I would prop the bottles and pump while they were eating.
For more information: Bottle Propping for Twins: An Essential to Tandem Bottle Feeding
How to Feed Twins At Night
When our twins, Josie and Margo came home from the NICU, we had to feed them every 3-hours, round the clock, for several months This was due to them being 8 weeks premature, so it’s definitely not the norm for a newborn!
We were very intentional about how we went about things. For the first few nights, my husband and I both got up to feed the twins. It would take sometimes 60 minutes to feed them, and I would usually pump after giving a bottle. By the time you factor in the time it took to make the bottles, we were getting at the very most, 90 minutes of sleep at a time.
We finally decided that we would split up into shifts and feed the babies by ourselves so that we could get at least some sleep.
Prep the Bottles in Advance
We gave our twins pumped breast milk and had to supplement it with Similac Neosure. Neosure is a higher calorie formula that is intended to help premature babies put on weight. Adding the Neosure to breastmilk made it even higher in calories.
We would premix the formula and breastmilk into four bottles and pack them in a cooler with ice packs. The cooler came upstairs with us, and I would store pumped breastmilk from the middle of the night in it as well.
Having a Feeding Station Upstairs
Walking all the way downstairs to make bottles was a serious waste of time! If you have a single story house, you may still consider having a feeding station in your bedroom, depending on how far away the kitchen is.
Before we went to bed at night we would bring our cooler with prepared bottles, bottle warmer, my pump and supplies, and the TwinZ pillow upstairs. We had a lot of counter space in our master bathroom, so we designated a section as our feeding station. That’s where we set our cooler and bottle warmer.
If you have a mini fridge and space in your bedroom, that’s an excellent choice as well! If you use a cooler, any leftover milk will be warm by morning.
I know bottle propping gets a bad rep, but it seriously saved our sanity. Here’s what our middle of the night feeding schedule looked like:
- 10:00 PM: We gave the girls a dreamfeed and then I pumped while Ben prepared the nighttime bottles
- 11:00 PM: Bedtime for us!
- 1:00 AM: Ben would feed the girls by himself
- 4:00: I would feed the girls by myself and pump at the same time
- 7:00 We’d both get up, I’d feed the girls and he’d get ready for work.
I’d get a 5-hour stretch of sleep from 11-4 and then Ben would sleep from 2-7. 5 hours was amazing. Granted, it was still broken sleep, because chances are we’d still wake up when the other did, but it was definitely better for us that way.
Bottle Feeding Twins: Hacks
Use Different Colored Bottles
If your twins end up with any allergies or on medications that you’ll put in their bottles, it’s a good idea to give them different colored bottles from the beginning. Most bottles make a pink or blue option.We gave Margo pink and Josie blue.
Josie ended up having a severe dairy allergy, so I had to completely cut out dairy and we had to fortify her bottle with a dairy free formula instead of the Neosure. They also were on reflux medication so we needed a way to track who had finished their medicine. So, their bottles were completely different!
Find a Way to Prop Their Bottles
I know I mentioned it above, and linked to my post on it. When you are alone and both babies are hungry, you can either sit and hold their bottles, or prop them. I found that if I held them, I’d have to put both bottles down in order to burp them. If the bottles were propped, I could let one continue eating while I burped the other.
Put the Bottles in the Dishwasher
It’s such a time saver if you wash your bottles in the dishwasher!
Bottle Feeding Twins and Pumping
This was my journey. I exclusively pumped until my supply dried up at around 10 months. I started supplementing with formula at around 6 months because I simply wasn’t producing enough. At 10 months I stopped completely because my milk production had just about dried up.
You can read more about pumping in the links below:
I hope this helps you figure out how to handle your twin bottle feeding journey. Every family situation is different and if something doesn’t work for you, experiment with a way to make it better. If you have any brilliant hacks that I didn’t mention, PLEASE let me know so that I can share the tips with everyone!
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