Double Baby: Double Duty
In the early weeks and months of having Twins, a major cause of physical stress among parents may be lack of sleep, exercise and irregular meals. Even with sufficient time to rest, handling an around-the-clock cycle of feeding and changing babies and doing laundry is hard enough, especially if there are other siblings to care for. There willl be days when you’ll be wishing you were a mother octopus able to do eight things at once (rock Baby A, diaper Baby B, prepare lunch, and run the bath all at the same time). But the reality is that you’ve got two (or more) babies and only two hands so a lot of creative juggling is in the cards for you. Here there are measures that can help to reduce the strains of double duty.
How to stay sane. Is to get help! Don’t be afraid to ask relatives and friends or regular baby-sitters to provide relief. If you do not wish to hire a nanny; get your little cousins, your youngest sister. In this part of the world, the mother or mother-in-law is the number 1 candidate for such tasks… who ever you use, getting extra pair of hands is the surest way to keep your sanity.
How to rock two at once. When both babies want to be held and rocked — and you’re the only adult on the premises — put one in a front-pack carrier or sling and hold the other in the crook of one arm. When they’re a bit older, you can put one in a bouncy seat on the floor (get it bouncing with your foot), while you hold and rock the other. Just alternate eye contact from one baby to the other, so both benefit from the interaction with you. (And switch who gets held and who gets the bouncy seat next time round.)
How to sync their naps. In fantasy parenting world, you’d hope that your babies napped at different times so that you’d be able to spend quality one-on-one time with each of them. Hello? Let’s get real! You’ve got so many things you’d like to do when your babies nap (bills, laundry, e-mail, dishes, sleep!) that simultaneous snoozes are definitely your goal. If your babies’ naps are out of sync, take them for a spin. Most newborns drop right off in the car, so taking them for a drive may get them back on the same nap track. A trip around the block in the stroller may work, too. This is not a technique you want to use every day — making sure that they can fall asleep without the “crutch” of motion is your ultimate goal. But it can be a sanity saver on those days when Baby A is ready to party as Baby B drifts toward dreamland.
How to get some sleep (even when they won’t). This may sound brutal but it works: You and your partner can try sleeping in shifts for those first few weeks. (The gold standard will be four to six hours of uninterrupted Z’s.) That’s not impossible, once you give up on pesky adult notions of “night” and “day.” Try to make yourself go to sleep at 6 p.m. or so, and let your partner be on baby duty from 6 p.m. until midnight. Then he can sleep from midnight until 6 a.m. (and perhaps you can even sneak in another catnap before his workday starts). Keep in mind, your babies will sleep through at least part of these shifts, so you may wangle an extra hour or two with this strategy. (Plenty of twinless adults get less than six hours of sleep in a day, so you can join the rest of humanity on this schedule.)
If you’re breastfeeding exclusively and trying not to give any bottles, your partner can bring the hungry babies (one at a time) to you and let you nurse without getting out of bed. (Learn to love the side-lying position.) If you are supplementing, he can feed both babies with expressed breast milk, formula, or a cocktail of both while you snooze. (Rest boosts your milk supply and your stamina, so try your best to get some.)
How to soothe them (when nothing seems to work). If you’ve got two screaming newborns on your hands, there are a few calming techniques to try: Hold them both at the same time (one in a sling and one in your opposite arm works well) or enlist your partner or even a friendly neighbor to hold and walk one while you hold and walk the other. Try letting them comfort each other by putting them side-by-side in the same bassinet or pram, or take them for a spin in your double stroller. Pacifiers can be a huge comfort for some babies (and now have a stamp of approval from the American Academy of Pediatrics). If the binkie works for one and not the other, don’t be afraid to take your lil’ screamer into a different room to let your calm baby enjoy some peace and quiet in the crib. If none of these methods work, soothe yourself with this thought: This too shall pass. Babies cry; it’s what they do, and sometimes there’s nothing you can do but let them blow off steam.
How to tell them apart. A big fear for the sleep-deprived mother of newborn twins is that she’ll feed the same baby twice, and accidentally leave the other hungry. This isn’t likely to happen. (Mainly because newborns have an excellent alarm system when they are hungry; it’s called screaming.) Still, it’s probably a good idea to keep a diary in the early weeks of feedings, wet diapers, and bowel movements for each baby. It’ll make answering those questions during those early trips to the pediatrician a whole lot easier (and it will be a hilarious relic when your twins hit elementary school and that unavoidable potty-humor stage).
If you have identical twins (or same-sex fraternals), you may need some extra help telling them apart in the beginning. (Note: This doesn’t make you a bad mommy!) One trick is to keep their hospital bracelets or anklets on for as long as possible. After that, you can periodically mark one baby’s big toe with nail polish or a permanent magic marker. Or simply put on different colored bracelets or strings on their wrists (or use name bracelets).
How to keep healthy. Your lifestyle will definitely change. You wont be able to cook at the usual time, your exercises may stop all together. Take naps when getting a full nights sleep seems impossible, eating small more frequent meals when there’s no time to prepare a full meal will help keep your tummy satisfied.
Just don’t fall into the trap of relying on coffee, cola and junk foods high in sugar and fat to keep yourself going; it is possible to maintain good nutrition with frequent snacks of cheese, raw vegetables and fruits, whole grain sandwiches; eggs or soup will do the trick.
Physical exercise may not appeal to you when you’re exhausted. but regular activities such as a walking. jogging. stretching. yoga. swimming. bicycling and aerobics can actually be energizing. Meditation also can reduce stress and increase your energy level. Whatever you choose. make it something you enjoy. rather than just one more obligation.culled from Whattoexpect.com photo from picocool