So, it’s been three months already and time definitely does fly by as quick as they say it does. As we have been going along our little journey so far there have been a few tips and tricks I have learnt that I think might be worth sharing. Please take as many or as little as you like and remember that everyone and every baby is totally different. You will find your own ways of working and juggling two beautiful bundles of joy as time goes by, so don’t worry about taking everything you read or hear as gospel. But here is what I, personally, have learnt so far. Here is my Top Ten Do’s and Don’ts.
1. DO invest in two of some items to make your life easier. A couple of things I have found it is invaluable to have two of are bottle warmers (because inevitably at some point your babies will want feeding at the same time) and rockers or pods (rockers are brilliant for feeding in when you are flying solo and the double feed does happen). We have loved using PoddlePods for our twincesses. With two to juggle and the rest of the world still moving, it is vital for me to have my hands free as much as possible. Pop them in a comfy pod and you know they’re safe and snuggly while you are free to answer the door!
2. DON’T buy tons of cute outfits in smaller sizes or fall into the trap of buying double of the same outfit in the same size. Of course you want your little ones to look as adorable as possible but unless you have the patience of a saint, cute outfits and all their poppers and buttons and pulling over the head are just a bit of a nightmare with two to change and freshen up. Babygros and sleepsuits are so much easier, warmer and more comfortable for both me and babies for everyday wear. With twins it is also easy to want to dress them the same. I know I do. However it is likely that one of your twins will be smaller than the other. In my case the difference is a whole couple of pounds, which means a whole different baby clothing size. My littlest is still in Newborn, while my bigg’un in nearly out of 0-3months. Which means all the cute outfits I bought double of in the same size category will never be worn at the same time, unless one twin is swamped!
3. DO be prepared to have the majority of advice you hear not apply to you. At all. Twins are a beautiful, but rarer occurrence than Singleton babies so a lot of things that people tell you will probably not work for you. For example, sleep when the baby sleeps. This is near impossible when you have two babies that alternate their sleeping. “Sleep when which one sleeps?” Will become your answer.
4. DON’T stock up on milk. I think this goes for every baby to be honest but more so for twins when you have two different digestive systems to satisfy. Both of my girls have GERD (read more on GERD here) and so one of my babies is on a dietary milk for Reflux. However my other little one has a suspected Cows Milk Protein Allergy (read more about CMPA here) so she is on a prescribed milk specially formulated for babies like her. When we found out we where pregnant we didn’t know about all these digestive problems that could easily arise so we picked a milk and stocked up on it. Big mistake. When we did the first milk swap we assumed that that milk was the milk of the gods and would solve all the problems and so stocked up on that milk. Even bigger mistake. My babies have now been on six different milks between them and we have a cupboard stuffed with stock of at least three of them that we will now need to pass on to someone who will use them. Although we are happy we found milks they are both happy on, the cost and faff of all the different unused milks we have now stored up is annoying!
5. DO research your travel system. With two babies to sort you need as simple a travel system as possible. There are limited options out there for multiples but there are a few different ideas and styles to look at. We went for the tandem style of the iCandy Peach Blossom twin (find out more here). It is the same width (although longer) as a normal buggy as it uses the same chassis so being out and about in shops etc isn’t as much of an issue as a double width buggy would be. I also found this the best system for me as I could easily see both babies at the same time, whereas some systems had the second baby hidden or turned completely away from me. It is also the best we found for adaptability and compatibility (it works great with the MaxiCosi car seats we wanted to use). The chassis also folds down nice and compact if space for storing or boot space is an issue.
6. DON’T be too proud to ask for help. Luckily my partner was able to be at home with me for the first three months of the girl’s lives. Even though there were two of us here though, we still had days where we needed a break from having a baby in both our arms constantly. This is where family and friends come in. The first time we had someone watch the babies for us I felt like a failure as a parent. Why can’t I cope with my own children? Why do I need help? Does it make me a bad mum? No! You need to catch up on sleep and eating (and just generally being able to use your own arms) just as much as the babies do. If you don’t like the idea of babies being with someone else at a young age, let your family do the cleaning or the cooking while you stay with babies. Help is help. And people will want to help. Let them do it!
7. DO get everything ready early. Even earlier than the early expected due date they will inevitably give you. With multiples it is more likely you will be susceptible to things such as pre-eclampsia. Unfortunately I was admitted to hospital with pre-eclampsia just before the girl’s arrival and lost over a week that I expected to have for last minute jobs and preparation. It is also very possible that your little ones will want to escape their limited womb space earlier than you think. So get everything ready nice and early so it is one less thing to worry about if you have to rush in to be delivered!
8. DON’T expect your pregnancy to be like in the movies or like your other pregnancies if you have had singleton babies previously. I have no idea what it is like to have a singleton pregnancy. I have no idea if it would be better, worse or the same. What I do know is that with al those extra hormones rushing around your body it is more likely that you will be sitting on the bathroom floor trying not to gag at the smell of fresh air than smiling and glowing like the women on the front of the pregnancy leaflets they give you. With that extra weight on your body you are also more likely to get things such as SPD (read more about SPD here). I couldn’t turn over in bed or walk up the stairs without being in huge amounts of pain. NOT the glamorous pregnancy I quite expected.
9. DO get involved in your local multiples group. It’s a great way to share info, stories and tips or tricks. It’s a place to have a chat (or a rant) with like minded mummies and daddies who know exactly what issues and hurdles you are coming up against. With more than one baby to buy for it is also a great place to find people who are willing to swap or sell their baby supplies at a discounted rate. Maybe someone there will want all my extra milk? 😉
10. DON’T panic! When you find out you are having multiples of any number all the information you get is about the risks, complications and issues that can arise with it. I know in this blog post alone I have probably scared you with all the symptoms you can contract. But you will be amazed at what your body can do. You’ll also be amazed at what your body can stretch to so (one last one) DO remember to moisturise a lot. It wont stop your tiger stripes from appearing but it will aid your skin in not being amused too much! They also say it will help your skin ‘ping’ back a tiny bit easier when your beautiful bundles have arrived. Having multiples is amazing. You feel like you are part of a special group of mummies and everyone, and I mean everyone, will stop you when you are out to marvel at your tiny miracles. It’s also lovely to think about how your child will never be lonely and you have a ready made family. If you’re happy to stop at two then you never have to be pregnant again. And if you had a pregnancy like mine, then that’s enough to make it all worth it alone!