Seasoned travelers

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Categories Infants, Travel3 Comments

Forgive me if I have trouble putting words together into sentences today, as I have just returned from a cross-country trip with two seven-month-olds. And I am here today to tell you… it was actually great!

California Jet-LagOh, I was afraid. Very afraid. Boston to LA (6 hours), two-plus-hour layover, and then a short hop in a prop plane. At the ripe old age of 0.6-years-old, this was Daniel & Rebecca’s third round-trip air travel. Previous flights have been so-so, at best (or plain awful, at worst). The mere thought of planning this trip had me feeling faint.

Rebecca on hammockBut the travel gods were smiling down on us, and the kids did better than I could have hoped. They slept and were otherwise mostly content on the plane, they had a ton of fun with grandparents, aunts and uncles in sunny California, and adjusted really well to the new environment. They tried (and loved) avocado, took a dip in the (not-too-)hot tub, and attended their first wedding (my stepbrother’s). The worst I can say is that they mostly stayed on East Coast time, so they were awake and ready to play at 3AM. Ah well.

Though I am hesitant to claim too much credit for how well things went, and prefer to thank luck/fate/karma/God, I do think there were a few things that really, really helped.

Things that saved us:Daniel at the wedding

  • nap schedule – this is something we’ve been working on over the last few weeks, so the kids really do have some idea of when they expect to take a nap, and fight it less. Also, several of the flight times coincided very well with those nap times, so they fell asleep on takeoff.
  • sleep habits – we Ferberized a few weeks ago (that’s another post, entirely), so both kids now take significantly less intervention to get to sleep and stay asleep. No more swaddling, no need for rocking. Just a little bottle snack and their blanket. Very portable!
  • nice gate agents – upon arriving at the gate in Boston, the nice agent took one look at us and rearranged the seats so we had both sides of the aisle to ourselves. We had purchased four tickets, but had the full six seats to ourselves. Hallelujah, no one to bother or ask to move. We were lucky it wasn’t a full flight.
  • Twins and gramps at the weddinghappy babies – when they’ve slept and eaten, we really do have just plain happy kids. They’re also old enough that they’re somewhat more easily entertained. They love a few toys, they love a few books, and they even get a kick out of people-watching.
  • family – needless to say, the grandparents and aunts and uncles were nothing short of thrilled to see them. Extra hands, extra faces, and lots of attention went a long way. I even got to take a nap and get a pedicure!
  • fresh air – it was 80 degrees and sunny in the southern California desert, so when they started to get fussy, we plopped them in the umbrella strollers and walked around the development. No hats or sweaters! Hooray!

A few complaints:

  • not-so-nice gate agents – after our delightful woman in Boston, her counterpart on the way home in LA was far from helpful. In their infinite wisdom, United had placed the four of us in three different rows. The gate agent was quite unwilling, as she had “no seats available” except for middle seats. Infants in carseats are required to be in the window seat, because they’re so big that no one would be able to get past them. When my beloved husband pointed this out, she didn’t believe him. Despite the fact that numerous other airline employees had lectured us on the importance of window seats (which, on those occasions, we had already reserved). Anyways, they finally sorted it out as we boarded.
  • changing tables – or lack thereof. Seriously, it’s a 757. Big honkin’ plane. Flying cross-country. They couldn’t retrofit a single lavatory with a changing table? Apparently not. So I had to change Daniel (twice) with my changing pad on top of the toilet seat, Daniel doing a backbend and attempting to touch every germy surface he possibly could. Nothing like trying to clean up a poopy diaper in that situation. Thankfully, Daniel seems to enjoy backbends these days, so he wasn’t terribly put out. M said Rebecca was less pleased with the arrangement.

So, we survived our third trip with infant twins.  In style, even!  Let’s just hope we haven’t used up all of our good travel karma, as there are already more trips in the works.  This is what happens when you live far from all of your family!

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My version of "normal"

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Categories Infants, Other people, Singletons10 Comments

I don’t know what it’s like to have one baby. I’ve never done it. In many ways, I count myself lucky. Because a lot of moms (new or otherwise) looked at me with shock and fear when I said I was having twins. Clearly, they felt that no mere mortal could possibly take care of two babies at the same time. But I didn’t know any different, so I could only get so freaked out. And you know what? It has been fine.

But only knowing what it’s like to have two has warped my perception of all other people. For one thing, a phrase heard frequently in my house goes something like “those people with just one baby, what do they do with all that free time?” I know, it’s obnoxious, but I can’t lie. We think that way. We definitely also have romanticized notions about how much easier this thing or that thing would be if we only had one. I’m sure that I’d think life was plenty tricky if I had a singleton, but because I don’t, I can imagine how delightfully simple it would be. As Rebecca said so well this weekend, I totally get one-baby envy.

I also found myself, from about halfway through my pregnancy, kind of assuming plural whenever I talked about baby-related things. I forgot that most people only had one, that I was the weirdo.  It’s a mindset that’s hard to shake. Oh, you mean you only bought one crib? Where’s your other carseat? You didn’t trade in your Honda Civic for a Toyota Sienna? No? Huh.

When I first mentioned this to my husband (M), he thought I was crazy. Maybe that I was being excessively self-centered or something, locked in my own little world. Oh, how times have changed. My stepbrother’s first child (my first niece!) is due in June, and I was putting together a care package of some of our favorite newborn essentials. I bought three good waffle-knit blankets for swaddling. M looked at me like I was nuts. “Why would you get three?” he asked. “That doesn’t make any sense. Then you only have one extra… Oh wait. Nevermind. They’re only having one. Huh.”

See? It happens to all of us. For as often as people look at you like you’re a freak of nature, or (I’m not kidding) laugh as they walk past you, it’s sometimes easy to forget that not everyone has two babies at once.  For as many times as I’ve wished I could just pop in and out of the store for a “quick” errand, I look at people in the grocery store with the baby in the basket, and wonder who’s taking care of the other one.  So, if I meet you someday and take a minute to mentally adjust that there isn’t another one at home with dad, please forgive me.  I have a slightly warped sense of reality.

Dueling Exersaucers

So, you’re telling me that most new moms don’t have two exersaucers taking up half of their living room? No? Huh.

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Ask the Moms, part 2 – Pregnancy nutrition

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Categories Ask the Moms, PregnancyTags , , 4 Comments

This week’s question comes from Shree, who is about 20 weeks pregnant with mo/di twins. She wants to know what the moms of How Do You Do It? did with regard to nutrition during pregnancy, and whether or not we followed the guidelines in Dr. Luke’s book, When You’re Expecting Twins, Triplets or Quads. She also has the special concern of being a vegetarian, wondering about getting all she and the babies need while avoiding meat. So, here we go. Ask the moms, and we shall answer. This one’s for all the pregnant ladies in the hizzouse…

Yours Truly (Goddess in Progress) – Stats: gained 65 pounds (lots of retained water/swelling at the end), delivered at 36 weeks, baby weights were 6lb2oz and 4lb8oz.

I did read Dr. Luke’s book, and thought the recommendations were good in theory, but insane in practice. I thought I’d have to immediately quit my job so that I could eat, drink water, and sleep all day long. But I did try to make sure I was eating a fair amount, and while I did not forgo junk food altogether, I remember wanting to feel like most of the things I was consuming had at least some positive nutritional value. At work, I’d often take an early break in the morning and go to Starbucks, where I’d get one of their sausage and egg sandwiches (so tasty, plus protein – bummer that they’re discontinuing them!) and a chocolate milk (dairy!). A favorite workday lunch was stir-fry from the Thai place around the corner – lean chicken and lots of veggies. I definitely paid a lot of attention to having a source of protein at every meal. I also knew I needed extra iron, which I used as a great excuse to have cheeseburgers frequently. :-) I briefly, after reading the Dr. Luke book, created an elaborate spreadsheet to see if I was getting all of my servings every day. I don’t think it lasted 24 hours. Ah well. Oh, and then there was the water. I started the pregnancy with a minimum of two quarts a day. By the end (yay, pregnant in July), my trusty Nalgene and I made it through well over a gallon each and every day.
From the archives: Here’s what I thought when I read the book, and a wake-up call over the importance of hydration.

Cheryl – Stats: Gained 45 pounds (but lost a few before delivery), delivered at 36w5d, baby weights were 5lb14oz and 4lb14oz.

When I picked up the [Dr. Luke] book (mid-way through my pregnancy), I did feel a bit intimidated by it…my doctor assured me that I was on target weight gain-wise, so no, I decided it would be more stressful than helpful to attempt…especially with a “belated” start. Naturally dodged the recommended “avoids,” and genuinely tried to get more protein “down.” Nitrates I know are oft-verboten, but I craved gas station hot dogs (yes, the spin in the grease kind), and relented often. Since that was an a-typical craving for me in a non-pregnant state….felt it must be one those “trust your body” motivations. (Doc okayed in moderation!) Ate a lot of double cheeseburgers as well…protein intake was a primary concern nutritionwise for me. Did eat a great deal of dairy, too….always felt like the preggers Lucy Ricardo when I did! If I had to define the “diet” I followed, I’d have to say I went with the “Go With Your Gut” diet! Our kids were slightly small for their gestation, but both were breathing well and did great from the get-go, requiring no NICU time at all…nursery gen pop right away! With the benefit of time, we now know our “smaller” baby, our daughter is simply DNA destined — as opposed to prematurity/prenatally predisposed due to diet — to be small/svelte. She’s been a 3% weight curve girl and just now at age six rose to the 10%. Nuts and tofu were big satisfiers for me, as were yogurt, ice cream and homemade milkshakes and smoothies. If you are finding a craving a true craving (a palpable compulsion as opposed to “Hey, I can have 70 cookies, I’m pregnant!”), so long as it poses no danger (ask the OB-GYN), I’d go with it!

American Wife – Stats: Gained about 50 pounds, delivered at 37 weeks exactly, baby weights were 5lb7oz and 4lb14oz (no NICU!)

I don’t even know who [Dr. Luke] is! I did not avoid eating anything, unless it made me physically sick! I couldn’t drink coffee, or eat any fish that I cooked (yet I could eat cooked fish from a restaurant, as well as sushi). I tried to work in lots of Omega 3’s, so I used the Smart Balance PB, and ground flaxseed (which can go into almost anything). Also when I made mac n cheese, I used cottage cheese instead of milk for extra protein. My advice is to mix proteins and fruits! Cheddar cheese & Granny smith apples! Peaches & Fresh mozzarella with a little bit of balsamic (MY FAVORITE!). Salads with walnuts/pine nuts, fruits (mandarin oranges are good), and dark leafy lettuces/spinach with balsamic dressing. Another thing I did was to make smoothies using frozen and/or fresh fruit and either yogurt, soymilk, or sometimes tofu. I got lots of recipes from vegfamily. Here’s a decent guide to some foods that have important vitamins. A few more suggestions. Oh, also don’t eat an entire quart of Dulce De Leche by Hagen Daas in ten minutes, trust me. It tastes great going down, but coming up….
From the archives: How I got off to a really bad start.

LauraC – Stats: Gained 54lbs, delivered at 36w3d, baby weights were 6lb3oz and 6lb1oz.

Dr Luke book: YES. I read it the day after I found it was twins (18 weeks) and followed it to a T. I ate 100g+ of protein every day and 4000-5000 cals a day, as directed in the book. I avoided anything that made me vomit (eggs, soy, nuts, beans). And I generally gave in to real cravings. I was a vegetarian for 10 years before getting pregnant. Every form of vegetarian protein made me instantly vomit for the length of my pregnancy. I made the decision that the health/growth of my boys was more important than my reasons for being vegetarian and started eating meat. You CAN have a vegetarian twin pregnancy but I would recommend reading nutrition labels to get accurate protein counts. The book “Your Vegetarian Pregnancy” was helpful to me too until my m/s got so bad. The only special thing you would need to watch is your iron level. You should talk to your doctor about that.

CarrieinAK – Stats: Gained 65-70lbs, delivered at 36 weeks, baby weights were 4lb11oz and 5lb6oz

I am not sure of the nutritional guidelines in the Dr. Luke book (I didn’t read it). I just tried to aim for about 3,500 calories a day (more than likely I ate around 4,000 calories), with around 75-100 g of protein…and a helluva lot of agua. I ate a lot of homemade egg salad, bean burritos and cottage cheese. I was a vegetarian for 28 1/2 years (raised that way), until I got pregnant and started eating chicken a couple of times a month. My body craved it. I did avoid soft cheeses, etc…all the usual guidelines. And I’d never had fish before, so sushi wasn’t an issue. Kids were born at 36 weeks (exactly) and they weighed 4 lbs, 11 oz. and 5 lbs, 6 oz. Reid had been diagnosed with IUGR, but once they were “out”, their weights were way different than the ultrasound said they were.

Krissy – Stats: Gained 49lbs, delivered at 39 weeks, baby weights were 7lb12oz and 6lb12oz.

I have to say that I didn’t count calories at all, but I did try to follow the basic March of Dimes guideline (24lbs by 24 weeks gestation.) I had major adversions to most healthy foods…could barely choke down a salad, which I typically adore. I tried to eat nutritious foods, but I definitely ate more high calorie crap than I ever had in my life. I avoided the usual stuff (soft cheese, fish, etc.) and avoided most artificial sweetners.

Cynthia – Stats: Gained 40-45lbs, delivered at 34w5d, baby weights were 5lb11oz and 5lb2oz.

I read the book cover to cover and then put it away. I applied some of the general concepts to my eating/shopping/cooking routines but I did not take the book out and try to follow verbatim. I avoided the soft cheeses, sushi and (obviously) alcohol and caffeine. Although I did have the occasional glass of red wine or cup of half-caf coffee to hold off a migraine. My concern was protein (see below) but I also just tried to eat veggies at every turn. Thankfully I enjoy them so it wasn’t too hard. I was not a vegetarian by choice. However, with pregnancy I tend to develop a severe aversion to meat (gag reflex and all). Particularly chicken, but pork and beef as well. I was religious about drinking high-protein Boost shakes (chocolate, of course) 3 times per day. My twins were misdiagnosed mono-mono until 23 weeks. I had read on the monoamniotic.org website about mommies drinking Boost or Ensure so I just started. Once I found out they were mono-di, I was still worried about TTTS and knew that Dr Delia (sp?) recommended protein shakes for those diagnosed. I figured if it helped once diagnosed, perhaps it would help to do proactively. At the end I felt so big that I was struggling to get in enough of anything (good or bad) during the day and I felt like the Boost helped me with the calories in that regard. I did put them in the blender with fudge swirl ice-cream somewhere around 30 weeks. A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do, right? :-)

Rebecca – Stats: gained 38lbs, delivered at 36w2d, baby weights were 6lb6oz and 5lb15oz.

So, no, really didn’t follow the Barbara Luke book. My weight gain got quicker towards the end. I had at least 2 weeks where I gained 4 lbs a week, which I think is what the Luke book doesn’t want you to do. Don’t they think you should do the weight gain pre-20 weeks? No NICU time. Roomed in and came home with us. Oh, I also had a really easy pregnancy—no blood pressure issues or sciatica or diabetes or anything. Or preterm labor–just my water breaking. I avoided unpasturized stuff, alcohol, all but one serving of caffeine a day, sushi, undercooked meats, cold cuts. Hmm, can’t remember if there was anything else. I tried to eat more protein than usual. I’m not a real big meat eater, so I tried to get chicken on salads, eat more cereal (for milk), yogurt, even some of the South beach diet bars, which have extra protein. I was also focused on avoiding empty calories, so I cut out crackers and cookies and stuff, for the most part, after the first trimester (first trimester, goldfish crackers were my friend).

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Inquiring twin moms want to know

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Categories Famous Twins, Multiples in the News, Pregnancy12 Comments

~First, a shameless quick plug: Don’t forget to submit a question for this week’s Ask The Moms segment! Post it in the comments here, or through our Features page.~

Pregnant J.LoAnywho, last week brought us the news that Jennifer Lopez gave birth to her boy/girl twins. Congrats, J. Lo, and a hearty welcome to the secret society of twin moms. I hope that your fame doesn’t prevent you from connecting with others around you, as I have found networking with fellow twin moms has made a big difference in my life. Hey, feel free to visit our blog, even! :-)

I was struck, though, by the short announcement carried by all of the news outlets. Time, date, weights, genders. Parents are thrilled. End of story. Clearly, the interview was not conducted by a mother of twins. While we certainly like to hear the stats that were reported, the questioning would have taken a more detailed turn if we had been in charge. It’s not even a fame thing, we give this same interview to any new twin mom.

How many weeks were you? First thing we want to know, and a stat that any twin mom will immediately relate to you. Anything before about 34 weeks is pretty preemie. The 35-36 range gets a nod for being solidly average. 37 and over and you start to enter the realm of impressive, and you’ll get immediate sympathy as we know how uncomfortable you must have been. As for J.Lo, I’m assuming at least 35+ weeks, as the weights on her kids (5lb7oz and 6lb) were very respectable.

Any NICU time? Another factoid we’re all ready with. We know what it means if you say they were there “for 37 days, but were just feeders and growers.” If you managed to avoid the NICU altogether, more power to you.

If someone is feeling bold, we might ask whether or not you had a c-section. Practice varies so much between different hospitals and doctors. Is one baby breech? Discordant size? Only one head-down but you went for the vaginal, anyways? Did you get the dreaded combo platter (baby A vaginal, baby B emergency c-section)? The moms of How Do You Do It? speculate J.Lo had a vaginal birth, given the reported 12-minute separation in times of birth – way more time than your standard c-section, but probably not so long that she had one vaginally and then a c-section. The time of day (just after midnight) also suggests it was not a scheduled c-section. That’s our guess, anyways. 

Then, we’ll ask you about your pregnancy…

Did you have to go on bedrest? It’s not the news anyone wants to get. “Restricted activity.” Sometimes they just tell you to put your feet up, sometimes you’re only allowed to get up for the bathroom, and the really lucky ones get hospital bedrest and learn about things like steroid shots and terbutaline. Good times.

Any other complications? Pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, any other of those rotten side effects of pregnancy. We sure hope you avoided them, but we know that sometimes you don’t. Especially with the extra strain that double babies put on your body.

When did you find out it was twins? Some of us have an early ultrasound for any number of reasons, and pretty much knew all along. Some bounce along happily all the way to 20+ weeks, and then get a big surprise at the anatomy ultrasound.

If you have identicals, we might even ask if they were mo/mo, mo/di, or di/di twins. We not only know what the abbreviations stand for, but we know that each step along the spectrum means a whole different level of risk. But we solemnly swear that we will never ask J.Lo or any other mom of boy/girl twins whether or not they’re identical. Argh.

——-

So, fellow moms of multiples, what other questions are on your standard twin-mom interview sheet? Note that these are the questions other twin moms ask. We’ll deal with the crazy questions other people ask some other time.

And, for the record, I went to 36 weeks exactly, c-section (baby B breech and discordant size, born 45 seconds apart), a week in the NICU just for transitioning. No bedrest, but pregnancy-induced hypertension and a lot of associated swelling/water retention. And we found out at an ultrasound around 6 weeks.

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Ask The Moms, part 1 – Travel

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Categories Ask the Moms, Travel5 Comments

Thanks to Jessa for our first “Ask the Moms” question! You and I must have been psychically connected, because this was going to be my topic if no one asked anything.

Yes, today’s topic is air travel with twins. Not for the faint of heart. If you thought it took some organization to bring your multiples out to the park, just imagine what it takes to prepare for several hours on a plane. Here, for your enjoyment, are tips from all over.

Trip Planning

Whenever possible, buy as many seats as you can reasonably afford. Those airplane seats seem to be getting smaller and smaller, so you’ll be glad for the extra space. If extra seats are not in the cards, however (and with flight prices the way they are, that’s no surprise), be aware that there can be only one lap infant per set of three seats due to oxygen mask limitations. So you and your husband/travelmate will have to at least be across the aisle from one another, or in different rows.

If there is a secondary airport near where you live (I’m thinking Manchester, NH instead of Boston, or the like), I have found it very worth it to have the minor tradeoff in convenience and density of Starbucks, to have the smaller airport with friendlier TSA folks, smaller crowds, and generally happier fellow travelers.

Consider the time of day you’ll be flying. While some people swear by flying at bedtime because the kids will sleep, I have sadly found the opposite to be true for my kids. I don’t have easy sleepers, and they are very accustomed to their bedtime routine. When we flew at bedtime once, it was a screaming disaster. Know your kids…

Pack efficiently, and buy it when you get there

Depending on where you’re going, consider what you might be able to purchase when you get there. Especially if you’re visiting family, consider purchasing a few things and leaving them there. We now have a stash of bottles with both sets of grandparents, and two handy umbrella strollers in Florida. Also check out the local craigslist or try to find the moms of multiples club in the area. Especially if you have helpful parents or in-laws, they might be able to pick up a few gently used things for you before you arrive. Also, only pack enough diapers, wipes, baby food, formula, and the like to last the flight. Obviously pack somewhat generously in case of delays, but don’t bring a week’s worth of double diapers in your suitcase. There will be a grocery store or Target when you get there. Remember that, not only do you have to carry all of that luggage around while wrangling two babies/toddlers, but some of the airlines are even going to start charging for more than one bag per passenger. The nickel & diming never ends.

Travel Day

Get to the airport early. You do not want to be rushed trying to check in and get through security, because Murphy’s law dictates that it will be then that your babies have blowout diapers, or your toddlers have blowout temper tantrums. Give yourself plenty of cushion and everyone can be more relaxed.

Pack your carry-on judiciously. While you want to be well-equipped, you also don’t want to have to dig around and completely unpack everything in the middle of the airport just to find that spare pacifier. (Speaking of which, Lissa recommends a good stash of extra pacifiers if your kids take them. You never know whether the local store will carry the “right” ones.) Consider compartments, packing things in plastic bags for easy organization and retrieval. Obviously plenty of diapers and wipes, as well as extra clothes for everyone (nothing like arriving at your destination covered in spitup…). For older babies and toddlers, plenty of non-sugary snacks.

When checking in and checking your baggage, remember that even if you are not going to have the carseats on the plane with you in extra seats, you can keep them all the way until you board, and then gate-check them. Well worth it to have the seats/strollers with you all the way through security and to the gate. Reader AKLizzy also suggests that using the phrase “non-ticketed infants” is special airport code for “dear god, get these people a whole row to themselves if you can.” Hey, can’t hurt!

Security
Speaking of security, this one involves careful maneuvering. In addition to the usual shoes, jackets, and laptop rules that you have to deal with, you will most definitely need to have both children out of their stroller and/or carseat. When traveling with infants in carseat carriers, this is indeed a feat. Here’s how we did it: keep babies in carseats in the double stroller all the way up to the security table. Get shoes, jackets, etc. into the bins (good lord, avoid bringing your laptop if you can!). Assign one parent to be the carrier of babies. Undo both babies, parent 1 can go through security with both of them. That leaves parent 2 with free hands to turn over the carseats (they go through upside down, make sure you take hanging toys off and put them in your carry-on first), collapse the stroller, and push all of your stuff through the screener. Hopefully you’ll have helpful TSA folk and patient fellow passengers. If not, well, try not to scream at anyone.

If you have kids in convertible carseats, LauraC heartily recommends the GoGo Kidz, which essentially turns those seats into a rolling suitcase. Much less bulk than a stroller!

To Pre-board or not to pre-board

Depending on the age and energy level of your kids, you may or may not want to consider pre-boarding (yes, you now qualify as someone who needs extra time getting down the jetway!). If you have infants in carseat carriers, or if you’re bringing your carseats into the plane with you, consider pre-boarding so that there is less of a risk of hitting other passengers in the head with all of your stuff. If you have mobile toddlers, and especially if you are keeping them on your lap, LauraC advocates waiting until much later to board, letting the kids run around (controlled, please, don’t let them pester other travelers) and burn off energy before the confinement of the flight.

On the plane

First, we all remember back in our pre-parent days when we were traveling. A parent came on the plane with a child, and we crossed our fingers that they wouldn’t sit next to us, and hoped against hope that they wouldn’t scream the whole flight. Be considerate of your fellow travelers. Make extra efforts to keep your kids happy and entertained. Some people have even been known to bring a bunch of inexpensive earplugs and pass them out to seatmates. It’s a thought.

For sensitive ears on takeoff and landing, it helps to suck on something. Nursing (please be discreet and considerate of fellow passengers – yes, you absolutely have the right to nurse in public, but I would argue that this is a good time to put effort into garnering goodwill with nearby strangers), bottles, pacifiers, even a lollipop will help with the changing pressure and avoid some of the worst screams.

For all but the youngest babies, new (small) toys can be something interesting and keep their attention for a few extra minutes. LauraC also suggests asking the flight attendants for extra cups, stirrers, etc. if they get bored (much in the same way that boxes are almost always more fun than what’s in them). This also may be a time when parents of toddlers might consider an exception to a no-TV rule: consider a portable DVD player, or find the kiddie channel on planes with televisions in the seat. Also some of their favorite books will come in handy. Reader AKLizzy suggests playdoh and finger puppets!

We have heard some people suggest a little dose of Benadryl to help kids sleep during the flight. If you’re considering it, please discuss it with your pediatrician. If you decide to use it, try it first at home, as some children actually become more hyper instead of drowsy. We aren’t advocating it, but we’ve heard of it being done. Desperate times and all…

Traveling diaper changes

Be aware that not all planes have changing tables in the lavatories, and even the ones that do can be next to impossible. For short-to-moderate length flights, consider a fresh diaper before boarding, and then tough it out until you get to your destination (unless you have diaper rash concerns or a poop incident, of course). The plane bathrooms are awfully hard to navigate, and people don’t take too kindly to you busting out the changing pad on your seat.

At your destination

Remember how it always felt like you waited forever for your bags at baggage claim? There’s a funny side effect to being the last one off the plane and stopping for diaper and outfit changes: twice I have gotten down to the baggage claim and found my flight was already long gone and they were moving the bags off to the side! From now on, I take the kids into the ladies’ bathroom (where there’s more likely to be a changing table, anyways) and do diaper and clothing changes while my husband heads down to the baggage area. After all, since I gate-checked my stroller, it was right there waiting for me!

Hotels

Some hotels offer a babyproofing service. Not sure if it’s worth the expense, since how much time will you be spending in the room, anyways? LauraC found a great (and cheap) method on Parent Hacks. Also, while some say they offer portable cribs, a lot of times they just mean a Pack & Play.

One more thing…

More than anything, and this is obviously the case with all stressful parenting situations, keep your patience and sense of humor about you. If you’re stressed out and snippy, you probably won’t have happy kids on your hands. Practice and model good behavior ahead of time, prepare older kids for what to expect. Stick to routines and rules whenever possible, and listen to your kids’ cues and respect their need for rest (even if they claim they aren’t tired). If you stay positive and consistent, your kids are more likely to be relaxed in a new and overwhelming situation. And remember what my mom told me: “once you have kids, they aren’t vacations anymore – they’re trips.”

From the archives, travel stories from the moms of How Do You Do It?

LauraC had a successful trip with her boys to Florida, and a more harrowing one to exotic Fargo (though she did see a newly-twin-mom-minted Mia Hamm in the airport).

Yours truly has made two trips so far, once at 4.5 months to Chicago for Christmas (when I learned the “don’t fly at bedtime” lesson for my kids), and a month later to Florida for some grandparent time. God help us, we’re flying cross-country in two weeks for my brother’s wedding. I must be insane.

TraceyS had a busy trip to Washington, DC, and quite a Christmas saga this past year.

Major props to CarrieinAK, as there are no short trips to and from Alaska. She made it to and from Chicago in one piece, and then did it again at Thanksgiving to Washington and Oregon. Her boys are super travelers!

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How Do You Do It?

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Categories Ask the Moms, Infants14 Comments

As a mom of twins, I get asked the same questions over and over (and over) again whenever I’m in public with them. The list is long, and perhaps a post for another day. But easily one of the top three is some variation on “how do you do it?”

It’s sometimes asked with a twinge of admiration, sometimes concern, sometimes all-out disbelief. I usually just shrug, mumble something vague and incoherent, and try to continue whatever errand I’m attempting to run before one or both children totally lose it.

Truth be told, the answer the person is looking for isn’t really there. In the end, the answer is an unsatisfactory, “I just do.” Moms of multiples are not superheroes. I don’t believe we were somehow marked for our superhuman abilities by a mysterious force, deeming us “the ones” who would have high-risk pregnancies, twice the colic and spitup, or extra-large cars. No, we do exactly what you would do if you found out you were having more than one baby. We do exactly what all new parents do. We figure it out.

This website is a way for some of us to share what we’ve figured out (or what we haven’t). We invite you to read along, make comments (we love to know someone’s reading!), ask questions. We’ll have weekly features, including product reviews, food talk, and an ask-the-moms segment. Please feel free to visit our features page and use the comments to ask your questions, and we’ll address any topics we can. Our goal is to have something new for you to read nearly every day, so check back often and bring your friends!

For today’s tidbit, I give to you what I think the most important things are for survival as a parent of multiples. Also known as, “that which I think I have sort of figured out in the last six months.”

Organization – if you don’t get organized, you’ll never get anywhere. Instead, you’ll always have babies screaming while you prepare bottles, or you’ll get to your destination and realize you have two poop explosions, one diaper, and no wipes. Life with babies and children has plenty of uncontrollable chaos. Eliminate as much as you can by planning ahead. With one child, you can sometimes get away with fudging it a bit. Not with two.

Go with the flow – While you have to be extremely organized, I also find that having two infants has actually made me strangely more relaxed. I just can’t afford to freak out about every little thing. Compared to other first-time parents, I find twin moms to be somehow among the most laid-back. It’s a survival mechanism.

Community – Given the stares and questions you get when you go out in public, it’s easy to feel like a little bit of an anomaly with your double stroller. Other, more experienced moms are reluctant to offer any advice because, “oh, but I didn’t have twins.” Joining my local moms of multiples club, and finding this virtual online community as well, helps bring a sense of normalcy to my life. I can ask people questions and they don’t have to “get over the twin thing.” Because sometimes, having twins is very different than having one. And sometimes, it’s not that different, it’s just… more. Having a community of other moms who have been through it already is absolutely invaluable.

That’s today’s words of wisdom from yours truly. Welcome to our new blog, poke around, make yourself at home.

Just don’t ask anyone if their boy/girl twins are identical. We hate that.

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