Feeding FAQ: 8-12 weeks – Formula Feeding

My 12 week twins are distressed at their 6pm feed

My two identical twin boys Oliver and George are 12 weeks old. Until recently my husband has been able to get back in time to help me with bath time and the 6.15pm feed, but because of work commitments he will now be unable to do so. My boys get very frantic from about 30 minutes after the 5pm feed, and have recently started getting so cross and tired, that I am struggling to calm them down enough to take their feed after bath time. I initially tried feeding them both in their car seats so that I didn’t miss their sleep “window”, but they are getting so upset that I really need to hold each one individually. Today I bought bath time forward by 15 minutes, but this still happened. I find it so distressing and upsetting that I’m only able to feed one while the other one gets himself so worked up.
They are both approximately 12lbs in weight and sleep for 45 minutes at the morning nap, 2 1/4 – 2 1/2 hours at the lunchtime nap and approximately 1/2 hour before 5pm. One is sleeping through until 6.45am and the other until approximately 5.30am from 10.30pm. They are still getting their split feed at 5/6pm because I am too afraid to drop the 5pm feed in case I can’t manage to get either of them to finish their 6pm feed. I look forward to a response very soon.

Getting twins of this age bathed, fed and into bed before they have got overtired is not easy at all when you are coping alone. By structuring their whole day so one is ready to be fed before the other may well go some way to help ease the situation in the evenings.
This “tier” method allows you to follow a routine but it means that not both boys will be very hungry at the same time.
To start a better routine in the evening have one baby ready to feed by 4.45pm. Give him his feed and then let him sit in his chair whilst you feed the second baby. Both of them should be finished by 5.30pm.
From your description it would seem they may need a little more milk each at 5pm. This split feed allows a baby to take a slightly larger feed than he has at other times of the day. If the boys are taking 5ozs at most feeds they will be able to manage 6-7ozs over this period. Give them a 4oz bottle at 5pm so they will not be so desperately hungry and more able to cope over bath time. It was sensible to bring bath time forward. As you are dealing with two alone, bath time will take twice as long.
When caring for young twins, using dummies at certain times during the day can be useful. The word pacifier is more appropriate as that is what they are used for: to pacify one baby whilst dealing with the other. I would suggest you have two at hand at bath time especially when on your own. The dummies will only be a short term measure until the boys are just a little older, bigger and able to cope with waiting better.
So, bath the twin who was fed at 4.45pm whilst the other one has some free kicking time on the floor next to you. If he becomes distressed then use the pacifier to calm him down whilst you deal with the first baby. Then bath the second twin and use another pacifier for the first twin if he is beginning to get restless after his bath.
As there is now a 20-30 minute time delay between the first and second twins feed, the second twin should be content to sit in his chair whilst you offer the first twin a 3oz bottle. Then feed the second twin. You may find that the first twin will manage to wait for his brother, so you can put them down at the same time or you may have to settle him in his crib before feeding his brother.
If you begin to use the “tier” method throughout the day you will be able to give each of the boys some individual time whilst they sit with you for their bottle. The baby waiting or finished can sit in his chair near to you and watch.
Having twins is hard work and some crying is inevitable in the early months. Getting the boys to sleep so well at night is excellent. I feel sure that bath time will very soon be a much more enjoyable part of your day.