Saturday, August 20, 2005

How Much Do These Kids Eat, Anyways?

One of the most puzzling things for any new parent (i.e., "ME") is figuring out how much newborn babies eat.

The books aren't much help. Besides giving you rough estimates, they are also quick to point out that "each baby is different."

Both Katherine and Caroline were small when they were born, and didn't eat much when they were born. Newborns generally only take a few teaspoons of colostrum during their first few days of life.

By the time Kat and Carol came home from the hospital, they were breastfeeding, but taking about 15-20 ounces of formula each feeding to supplement their diets.

This worked well for the first week and a half. Sometimes, one or the other would take up to 30 milliliters (30 milliliters = 1 ounce) of formula during a feeding, and then we would be really happy.

The "X" factor, of course, is that one has no idea how much breast milk each baby is getting during each feeding.

Luckily, our doctor told us not to worry too much about it. "Babies know how to tell you when they're hungry, and when they are done eating, they will simply stop feeding." Consistent weight gain, not the amount taken each feeding, was the benchmark.

And happily, during their first check-up last week, both Katherine and Caroline had not only re-gained their original birth weight, they had surpassed it!

So all's well in the realm of weight gain.

Katherine's "Waiting to Eat" Face

Still, I continue to be amazed at trying to figure how much each child needs to eat.

Katherine, for example, is a more voracious eater than Caroline.

Kat can be asleep, yet she'll still pull the bottle into her mouth and feed contentedly on it even while sleeping!

Kat was consistently taking about 30-40 ml's each feeding, until about two days ago.

Starting this past Thursday, it seems as though Katherine can't get enough food.

She has gone up to taking 75-100 ml's each feeding.

She is ravenous. She is waking up every 2-4 hours to feed. And when she wants food now, you HEAR it from her!

This is normal, we're told. Babies often go through a growth spurt during their 2nd to 3rd week of life.

So what Katherine wants, Katherine gets!


Caroline's "Waiting to Eat" Face

Caroline, on the other hand, is done once she falls asleep. And just to prove that she's done, she'll take a few pulls on the bottle, then spit the whole thing back up onto herself and you when she doesn't want to eat anymore. Only by waking her back up will she get back on the bottle and finish eating.

We've learned you have to wake up Caroline because she's so small, she will tire out before getting all the nutrition she needs. So you need to wake her up -- we're not just trying to raise fat babies!

Happily, though, as Caroline grows, her ability to stay awake and feed gets better. Even now she is better than she was at the beginning of this week.

And from what friends have told us, we haven't even begun to see REAL voracious feeding yet.

All we can do is keeping making formula, and keep on feeding our girls.

Click on any photo for a larger view.


Here's a photo of Terri bathing Katherine:


Childsplayx2 said...

You will get growth spurt times when they want to eat every hour and a half - it's crazy!

Also, knowing how they are doing with breastfeeding is difficult. We ended up bringing in a lactation consultant who rented us a high tech scale so we could make sure they were getting enough breastmilk. We ended up having to teach them to suck with a haberman bottle and only now at 11 weeks are they beginning to get the breastfeeding thing.

My only advice, when one wants to eat, try feeding the other and get them on a schedule. Otherwise you'll be feeding babies all... the... time.

Of course, it probably will feel that way anyways.

Congrats on your twins and good luck!

Anonymous said...

The larger of my 8-month-olds (there's about a 5-lb. difference between them) will just keep eating cereal as fast as you can shovel it into his gaping maw. Seriously--I don't know how he does it, but I can't get the spoon back up to his mouth fast enough for his taste.

So the self-limiting thing doesn't work QUITE as well with him as it does for his brother. We've learned to stop feeding him as soon as he starts slowing down.

The little glutton.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and I agree with Matthew. In our house, as soon as somebody's hungry, it's chow time for both. Especially at night.