Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Mothering Twins - {Part 1}

I LOVE having twins!!! And with that being said, I must confess that it keeps me crazy busy and addicted to coffee! :) It has been about a year and half since my husband and I found out we were expecting twin girls, and my life has never been the same. Throw a toddler into the mix (because my son was only 21 months old when the news came), and you've got the potential for major chaos!! I was about 5 months pregnant at the time and immediately began my never ending Google search for "managing twins, twin pregnancies, etc..." I have learned a lot from other mothers of multiples  - both those whom I call friends and those I've never met!  And well, now that my twin girlies are toddlers, I finally feel like I can post about about our lessons learned from their infant days.

I initially titled this series "Managing Twins", but almost immediately thought otherwise. Our journey has not been about "managing" and getting by, but rather embracing this as a wonderful opportunity that is not entrusted to just anyone! HOWEVER, the first 6 - 8 weeks were basically a nightmare - not to scare anyone who might be expecting twins because I survived, but it was definitely SURVIVAL MODE.

 Our family all lives at least 6 hours away, so they were only able to help as their travel schedules and other responsibilities allowed. And since I was put on bed rest at 36 weeks, I had to learn a LOT about letting some things go - you know, the stuff that doesn't really matter to anyone but you. And honestly, I really am mostly just thankful that I had a healthy pregnancy and my girls were born healthy at 38 weeks. Kourtney was 5 lbs. 13 oz. and Kaelyn was 5 lbs. 9 oz. - and YES, that's a lot of baby! So, now for some practical ideas and tips! And these are in no particular order and may actually appear random as I just write what comes to me next - don't have time to make this a big production!! lol!

#1 - DON'T STRESS and let others help!!
Now, some may not have issues in this area like I do, but I am the type who would clean my house spotless before the cleaning lady came.  I had to learn to let others help, even if my house wasn't what I considered "company ready".  And also, I should point out that I learned a LOT about how to help other people through all of this! If someone says to me (as well-meaning folks are so often apt to say), "Let me know if there is anything I can do" - Ummmm, yeah right! Like I'm really just gonna walk right back up to ya when I feel like I need something!! :)  There were a few precious people in our church who made it a point to say, "I want to help you! Tell me what I can do!" and then they waited for me to think of some area in which they could be a blessing. And another would frequently call and say, "I'm going to be out running errands today. Can I stop by your house and watch the kids so you can take a nap?" Umm, YES!!! Another lady asked for a list of things she could pick up for me while she did her own grocery shopping.

#2 - We implemented a very strict schedule.
  I followed advice found in the Babywise books and also in the book My First 300 Babies.  We kept the girls on the same schedule as each other. If one woke up to eat or be changed, we woke the other up as well.  Some may (and have) argued that it is best to listen for baby's cues for when to be fed, changed, etc... And while I agree somewhat, I more strongly believe that it is also important to make sure I am well taken care of, and keeping the girls on a strict schedule took away some of the craziness. Of course, we never let them go hungry and did demand feed for the first week, but we really tried to anticipate their next need rather than always feel like we were one step behind because they were crying for something. I won't delve into scheduling here, but I do plan to post our schedule soon as many of my friends (even those with singletons) have tried it and liked the results.

#3 - LESS is MORE!!
We decided ahead of time to buy double of only a few necessary things.  Because this was not my first pregnancy, I already had one of most things. And fortunately, I did have some experience with babies and knew what I really needed and what I didn't.  Here are the items we felt we needed two of:

• Carseat - obviously! I actually got a complete new travel system with a double stroller. I researched and found the Baby Trend Double Sit N Stand travel system would best meet our needs since we had a toddler (and a budget!) as well.

• Bassinets and Cribs - We wanted them to sleep separately from day one. And, by the way, have not regretted it! They are awesome sleepers! I borrowed the bassinets and found very similar cribs on Craigslist. As a side note here, I also got a changing table even though I did not need one for my first baby. I just felt it would help me stay more organized.

Bumbos - LOVE these!! I got the second one in EUC for less than $10! They take up so little space and are great even for feeding when solid foods are started.  I must say that I probably could have gotten by with one, but I was really glad that I had two!!

• Boppy Pillows - A MUST!!! I used these multiple times every day!!! Feeding, nursing, tummy time... you name it and the Boppy can help!! :) Again, I bought the second one used for less than $10 and just got a new cover for it (on clearance for $3!).

• Pack n Play - Well, I do NOT have two of these because we don't have room in our house and it is a rather pricey item. But for traveling purposes, it is almost a necessity. I am fortunate that my mother and MIL both have one that I can borrow when we are visiting them. If you stay in hotels, most of them have portable cribs available, but you will need to reserve TWO ahead of time! I have never let my girls sleep in the same bed just for safety reasons - especially when they were younger and the risk of suffocation is greater. But even now, they are both very active in their sleep, and I'm sure they would wake each other up if they had to share.

For everything else, we just used a rotation system.  When one was in the bouncer, the other was in the swing. And then we'd move on to the playpen or Around-We-Go, etc...  And since you can only bathe one infant at a time, we only had one infant tub.  However, as with many other things, we quickly ditched the infant tub (after about 8 weeks) so we COULD bathe them both at one time!! lol! I used hand towels on the bottom of the tub so they wouldn't slip and just laid them side by side. Of course, you will need to master picking them both up at the same time first! :0

Well, this is defnitely going to need to be a series as there is SOOO much to know and learn about having twins! :) Next post, I will discuss feeding - bottle vs. nursing.

My girlies at 6 weeks!

3 comments:

  1. It's strange how interesting I foudn this...since I do not have twins! lol I would love twins but have always said that first couple of months must be insane! And the pregnancy... oy! One baby head pressing on your vital organs in uncomfortable enough! Praise the Lord how healthy your girls were/are! My husband's aunt have triplets (natural conception... wow!) and they were all nice sized and healthy as could be! Amazing. She was quite done after that though... =)

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  2. I know this will be a big help to any expectant parents (whether twins or not)! I am amazed how you kept the girls on the same schedule, and it certainly did pay off! I know most of your success has been your scheduling but a lot of it is because they are such sweet little angels!!

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  3. Kayte, it's especially fun to write about. I could literally go on and on and on about life with twins. It's wonderful! :) But really the same principles apply to any mom with multiple children. If I could choose, I'd have twins my next pregnancy as well... or maybe triplets?? :)

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