The First Months: Actually Leaving the House

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Categories Breastfeeding, Feeding, Formula, Infants, Pregnancy, Travel5 Comments

After a particularly successful outing with my nine month olds, I was reviewing the trip, analyzing it to figure out exactly why it went so well. And although I doubt I could duplicate the success of the day, I have noticed a few themes that occur more often than not on our good days. As such, I would like to pass along a few tidbits I have learned over the last few months…most of which I learned the the hard way!

When I brought home my two little screaming bundles of joy from the hospital, I was so relieved to be freed from the confines of my pregnant belly, that I couldn’t wait to get out and about without the careful chaperoning of my husband. However, as a new MoM, I wasn’t going anywhere with out said shrieking bundles. The first few weeks I had lots of family help, and was chauffeured as I wasn’t able to drive post c-section. But bright and early on a Monday morning, 3 weeks after Faith and Jonathan were born, I was on my own. So what did I do on my first day flying solo? Well, I went to the mall.

I desperately needed to be around people, and simply could not tolerate being in the house another day without going a little stir crazy. I can’t remember much about that trip, but I do remember the drive home, because both babies were WAILING the whole time. My hormonal nerves were frayed, and I begged each red light to change. Obviously, I had pushed the envelope, and was now paying for it. I arrived home with two babies who were certain they were starving, and were going to pass out if they were not fed right now! After feeding them, they quieted, and my stress level lessened. I realized that I should have fed the babies prior to loading them into the car and heading home…and that is tip #1. Always plan your outings around your feedings.

Babies with full tummies travel and tolerate changes much better than hungry babies. Expect your newborns to need to be fed while you are out and about, and prepare for it. If your babies are drinking their milk in bottles, they can be fed two at a time while in their carseats. If you will need a private place to breastfeed, consider nursing in your vehicle, or in a handicapped changing room. The handicapped rooms have enough room for maneuvering a double or triple stroller, and are great for quick diaper changes, far removed from the prying eyes of all those interested in your “double trouble” duo.

My second tip would be to #2. Quit while you are ahead. And by this I mean, reconsider your time-line. Before I was a mom, I could easily go from one store/activity to the next, with barely a bathroom break in between. But my little ones do not have the ability to go from location to location without a break. Lets face it, no matter how scheduled we try to be, there is nothing like two or more infants to throw a wrench in your perfectly choreographed day. If you overbook your day, or your expectations are too high, you might find yourself frustrated, and itching to check just one more thing off of your to-do list. I vividly recall feeling so annoyed that my babies would barely tolerate one (1.7 mile) trip around the park….didn’t they know that Mama does two laps? I definitely had to change my thinking.

Today, we left our outing with enough time to get home for naps, and before the kids melted down. In this way, I ended the trip feeling quite pleased with our day, rather than put out that I couldn’t window shop/walk/sip my coffee longer.

Lastly, I want to talk about # 3. Technique. The idea of loading and unloading my kiddos from the house to the car and getting them into different restaurants/stores/doctor’sappointments was overwhelming for me. Before I gave birth, I couldn’t imagine how to do it. My babies were in infant car seats from 0-6 months. To get us out the door, I would:

  1. Load babies into car seats, and place by front door.
  2. Run purse, water bottle and diaperbag out to car, and start it with A/C or heat on, depending on the weather.
  3. Carry the babies to the car and snap them in. When they got older and heavier, I would leave one on the front porch, and snap the sibling into the carseat base.
  4. Repeat.

From six months on, we have been using convertible car seats. The trick that I employ is placing a pac-n-play by the front door as a “staging area.” I will take one child out to the car and come back for their sibling, who was contained in a safe place. This has become especially useful as the babies have recently started to crawl. Using the pac-n-play provides me with peace of mind as I shovel the walkway, or scrape ice from our windshield.

I also like to keep a bjorn or similar carrying device tucked into the basket of my stroller. This has come in very handy during meltdowns, and I can comfort one by carrying them while having my hands free to push the other baby in the stroller. It is hard on the back, but then again, nearly everything about motherhood hurts my back!

Also, whenever possible, I park near handicap entrances, and utilize the ramp, automatic doors and lower curbs. And a good trick for grocery shopping or doing your Target run…place one infant carrier in the front of the cart, and carry the other in a bjorn or sling. This leaves your cart free for your purchases.

Leaving the house with two babies is absolutely possible, and totally necessary for the mental health of MoM. Remember, you are strong and capable! The way I figure it, the very worst thing that could happen is both babies could cry/scream/poop/pee/vomit and you could turn into a hormonal pile of mush. Face it, that could just as easily happen at home! But at least this way, you can make good use of the Starbucks drive-thru!

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The Milestone Competition

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Categories Identical, Infants, Other people, Singletons7 Comments

It is interesting to me how much of a competition mothering has become. Sure, conversations about our children appear to be nice and friendly on the surface, but underneath it is there. Lurking. Our natural competitive nature secretly keeping track of whose child did what first. And by how much. And who is doing it better.

In an ideal world, all babies would hit their milestones at the same time thereby eliminating this Mommy Milestone Competition. With my older daughter, I found myself getting caught up in the game. I would (subtely) brag when she accomplished something before one of her “peers”. I would wonder what I could do better as a mother when someone else’s baby accomplished something first.

But since my sons arrived, I no longer have the drive to compete with other Mommies. Part of the reason is that I am very content watching the competition in my own house. Currently we are waiting for Brady’s first tooth to break through and we expect he will crawl across the room any day. While Aaron doesn’t appear to be near-ready with either of those things, he sits unsupported and holds his own bottle. Brady isn’t interested much in either of those things. The race to be “first” is an ongoing event between the brothers and as I am the Mommy of both – I always come out a winner!

But, it’s also something more than that. My sons share the exact same DNA, are raised in the same home, and are in the same room with the same teachers at daycare. Yet, even THEY do not hit their milestones at the exact same time. With these differences, do I consider one to be “ahead” or “behind” in any particular area. Do I think that I’ve parented one of them better than the other? No, absolutely not. They are simply different.

So, if they – the identical twins with the exact same nature and nurture influences – are different from each other, what possible benefit can come of me comparing them to other children? Especially if those children were born a) full-term; b) a singleton; or c) first in their family. My sons have taught me that every single child – and their family situation – is truly unique. And that often makes comparisons a bit unfair.

This time around, there is no more dwelling on who is “ahead” and who is “behind”. There are only warm, well wishes and proud feelings when something is accomplished. Very liberating and much more enjoyable!

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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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