Wednesday, April 25, 2007

First 3 months revisited

D: I never thought I would be the type of parent that offers unsolicited advice to other parents or soon to be moms and dads. I remember the outpouring of advice that we received when I found out I was pregnant. I was amazed at how ‘black and white’ people where on issues surrounding sleep, crying, strollers, diapers, breastfeeding and more. I now realize that their passionate counsel may stem from a lengthy run of trials and errors…and trials and errors again.

This is why, at 3 months into parenthood, I feel inclined to share what I've learned. This is what brings me to rave enthusiastically about diaper creams and swaddles. While I realize that advice is often obnoxious (especially when it comes to parenting, since every body seems to have some to offer) please keep in mind these are only suggestions derived from personal successes with the Deuce. Also, I am well aware that what works for one baby (or two, in our case) will not work for all. Therefore, these suggestions are probably useless, but here goes anyway…

Sleeping: There are what seem like ten million sleep books out there, and I feel like I’ve read them all. After a while, the books all seem to contradict one another. If sleep deprivation is not enough, struggling through all the ‘fool proof’ methods and schedules from these books will have you going nuts. Luckily, I’ve found the nuggets of knowledge that have worked for our family, and have bagged the rest. Those nuggets are:

Swaddling is a must for our boys. I haven’t really figured out when you stop swaddling, but for now it is working. Our favorite is the Miracle Blanket. Nothing wraps tighter and stays wrapped all night.

A routine has been really important in getting the boys to understand the difference between ‘night sleeping’ and 'napping.' This was important for our kids, since they were big sleepers throughout the day, yet were not able to sleep more than 3 hours without eating, day or night.

Once we got the nighttime routine started, and remained consistent (that part is much harder for the parents than the babies!) the boys were falling asleep much easier and staying asleep for longer and longer periods of time. Currently, their bedtime routine starts with a bath at 7pm, then a bottle of breast milk in their nursery (in the dark with no noise) and then they are swaddles and put down by 8pm. They usually sleep until 3ish for a 30 minute feeding and then they will wake around 6am. For awhile we were doing a ‘dream feed’ at 11:00pm, but we started pushing that earlier and earlier and it just became their last feeding at 8pm.

Breastfeeding: I don’t really have a lot of advice in this department because I fully recognize how lucky I have been to not have run into many problems yet. Don’t get me wrong, I am constantly worried about a reduction in my supply, but it hasn’t happened.

In addition to feeding the kids, I pump in the mornings and in the evenings to try to keep my supply up. In those first weeks, I recommend Lanolin for tenderness and cracking. I have gotten extremely creative with the positions of the babies in order to tandem nurse. If it weren’t considered ‘private’ I’d be pleased to post pictures, since it is something I am actually quite proud of. But instead I’ll just encourage any new mom of twins to get real comfortable with having tons of pillows stashed conveniently around the house. (And don’t forget lots of burp cloths stashed in the couch cushions!) Don’t be afraid to stack those kids on top of each other! Here is one position I can safely show you:

Useful purchases: I do not know what people do without bouncy chairs. Our kids are perfectly content watching us go about our daily activities, as we sing and dance as we pass by. Of course they get lots of holding and cuddling and time to roll around on the floor with each other. But I gotta say, they love their bouncy chairs almost as much as I do.

Second to a bouncy chair are the swings, for an entirely different purpose. You put my child in a swing and in 10 minutes he will be sleeping. Like magic.

We’ve just purchased the Safer Bathers bath pillows that make bathing both at the same time totally doable. (Until now we were bathing one at a time next to the sink in a little baby bath in the counter.) They are totally supported by the cushions and love kicking around in the big tub. Here is a picture:

Another geeky, yet handy purchase has been my Bluetooth cellphone headset. The outside world opened back up to me again, once I was able to talk hands free. This really is a lifesaver when you’ve got twins.

Diapering: The decision to cloth diaper was kind of a non-issue for W and I before the kids came. It was one of those decisions that was a 'given' for us, yet we had no idea what it entailed or how complicated it could be. For those of you who are cloth diapering you may have experienced some of frustrations that come along with getting it ‘just right’. Lets face it, there are a ton of options out there and not all of them work for you. We decided to go with a diaper service which is pretty darn cheap when you’ve got twins (they charge for the service, not the amount of diapers). We use the ProRap covers, which I did not like at first since they are plastic, but they seem to fit the best. We double up the diapers at night, which makes the boys look like they’ve got huge bubble butts, but we can successfully make it through the night with zero leaks, which is key.

Activities to keep you from going stir crazy: I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it, the key to a happy successful day with twins involves anything OUTSIDE of the house. Even if it is a trip to the drycleaners, I feel much more satisfied as a functioning member of society if I’ve completed a task outside of my home. (And yes, a trip to the coffee shop is definitely an important task.) I also can not stress the value of a good stroller walk once a day. The dog loves it, you need it, and the babies could not be happier to get some fresh air.

My only parting tip is the cliché that everyone will say, but I really could not stress it enough: don’t sweat the small stuff. So what if our house is a mess and I haven’t vacuumed in 2 weeks. So what if the babies don’t get changed out of their pj’s till 3:00pm some days. Who cares if right now I am wearing a shirt that’s been covered in spit-up and pants that Finn peed on while sitting on my lap. When I look back on the last 3 months these are the furthest things from my memories of our time with the boys. And if I do remember them, I hope I laugh.

Oh yeah, and take lots and lots of pictures!!

Posted by Walker Lockhart @ 9:46 PM

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I'm going to have to bookmark this entry and attempt to re-read it sometime around August...

Yes, maybe not everything works for everyone, but at the moment, I'll take any suggestions and stockpile them away. And I hope I'm as lucky as you when it comes to breastfeeding!

Posted by Blogger ETownDZ @ Thursday, April 26, 2007 6:25:00 AM #


These are great suggestions! I have been meaning to do a post like this...but more of a "Top 10" type of thing for new parents.

As far as swaddling is concerned...we are still swaddling Finn & Reid too. I read in one of my million books that by 8 weeks, swaddling does not make any difference in their sleep quality. I think we both proved that wrong! They fuss at first (while they are being wrapped), but they sleep so much better!

It is also good to know that you are up at 3am as well! Our night routine starts at 8:30 with a sponge bath and baby massage, then they eat and are usually in bed by 9:45. Then they wake up again, like clockwork, at 3:15am. Eat again. Then sleep until 7am or so. With the screwy daylight hours here, maybe they will not want to go back to sleep again after their 3am feeding since, pretty soon, the sun will be shining by then.

I find it very interesting and helpful to know what type of schedules other babies are on. Just because, as a new mom, it is trial and error until you both figure it out. I thought they were sleeping TOO much, now I know that they need 16 hours of sleep a day. Now if only I could get 1/2 that much!


Posted by Blogger Carrie & Brook @ Thursday, April 26, 2007 5:15:00 PM #
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