Tackling Feeding Time with a Large Family

By Charlie Whitmer

Having a large family is something my wife, Brynn, and I consider to be such a blessing. We love our four children dearly and are so proud of their budding personalities. The sweet moments with them are about as good as it gets in life. We feel grateful every day to have found each other, but there is no denying the challenges that come along with having four toddlers.

Feeding Challenges from the Start

One of the hardest moments that we face each day has consistently been mealtime. The triplets, Bobby, JP, and Arden, were born prematurely at 28 weeks and 6 days. They all had NG tubes to help with feeding for the first 4-5 weeks of their lives while in the NICU. This caused the sphincter muscles in their esophagus to not strengthen or form correctly. One of the main side effects of this is acid reflux, which leads to extreme reactions during mealtime. All three triplets reacted differently to their reflux, especially when we were still bottle feeding. Between the burping, screaming, and spitting up after each bottle, feeding time often took 45 minutes, every three hours. As you can imagine, this was grueling, so it was crucial to make sure that each feeding went well. Shaving off even 5 minutes of a feeding felt like a gift.

We were so grateful to find and start using Dr. Brown’s Bottles. The Options+ Anti-Colic Bottles were the only ones we could use successfully for all three babies. The vent system allowed for a smooth flow of formula and minimized air bubbles in the liquid. The different flow rate of nipples available, ranging from Preemie to Level 4, meant that we could use the bottles starting on day one through their first birthday.

The Toddler Feeding Tricks

One thing that is important to Brynn and me is that our kids eat a nutritious and varied diet. When the kids got older and started eating solid foods, it was easy to continue with Dr. Brown’s to help transition our kids to be more independent during mealtime. When introducing them to new foods, we usually offer them a vegetable first, before giving them the rest of the meal.

If you have kids of your own, you know it is no small effort to get the kids to eat. We love the Dr. Brown’s Designed to Nourish Divided Plates because they are divided in three differently sized sections. When we give them a vegetable they like, we put it in the largest section. If they are unsure about a new food or are still trying it, that goes in the medium section, and new foods go in the smallest section. We’ve found that this system helps the kids understand that they only need to try a small amount of a new food along with the rest of their meal.

We also love the Dr. Brown’s sippy cups. The variety of transition bottles Dr. Brown’s offers helped us quickly move from bottle to cup, and the kids love to pick out their cups in the morning. Their favorites are the Dr. Brown’s Cheers360™ Spoutless Transition Cup With Handles and the Straw Sippy Cup with Lid – if we put water in these the kids will drink right up! The absolute best part about Dr. Brown’s plates and sippy cups is that they are all dishwasher (top-rack) safe.

Dr. Brown’s has been there for Brynn and me from day one. We love their products and can’t imagine using anything else at mealtime.

About the author:


Hello from the Whitmer family! We are an Illinois family with four kids, ages two years and under. I was blessed with triplets, Bobby, JP, and Arden. Plus, baby Ollie and my wife, Brynn, make us a family of six. As you can imagine, we never seem to have a moment in public where a stranger isn’t remarking, “Wow, you guys have your hands full! How do you do it?” You can see for yourself by following along on Instagram at @the_tripwhits_dad.

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