Saturday, April 11, 2009

Top 10 Mistakes

I just found out that April is National Multiple Birth Awareness Month. So, in order to celebrate this and increase awareness of the joys and challenges that families with multiples face, I've decided to post some fun facts and tips on pregnancy and parenting twins (from information I've found in my searches and also my own handy-dandy tips as I learn them with each new day, trial, problem, etc) I'll try to post daily - or at least weekly.
So here goes:

Top 10 Mistakes Made by New Parents of Twins/Multiples (taken from

1. Running Out of Supplies

With double the demand, baby supplies are consumed at a rapid rate. Stock up on the things you’ll use most: diapers, wipes, bottles and formula. An ample supply of onsies and light sleepers is invaluable. Keep items in their original packaging and hold onto receipts so that you can easily return the things that aren’t used. The clubs mentioned above hold annual sales; they are a fantastic opportunity to stock up on gently used clothes and equipment.

I had a boatload of clothes, enough to cloth them both for the first two years. I can not tell you how many I returned. Leaving some in the packages is a great idea. Most times we were too tired to dress up - the boys wore simple, comfortable sleepers or onesies for the first few months. Returned a lot and was able to get clothes in the now much needed 3-6 or 6-9 month sizes. You may think they will never be that big, but it comes quickly.

2. Not Napping

It may sound silly, but this advice is echoed repeatedly by nearly all parents of twins or more. It’s tempting to use the precious quiet time to get other things accomplished, but you have to remember your own rest requirements. It’s easy to become overwhelmed when you’re exhausted. Sleep is a precious commodity, so take advantage of every opportunity.
Sounds good but don't be surprised if you don;t get to nap. The old "sleep when your baby sleeps" gets thrown out the window with multiples who are not always on the same schedule. For a while we had one sleeping and one awake, and vice versa. That leaves no time for Mom and Dad to sleep.

3. No stroller or the wrong one

My suggestion - if you can afford it have one tandam and one side by side.

4. Confusing the Babies

How much did she eat? When’s the last time he had a wet diaper? Which baby are you anyway? Setting up an organized system for keeping things straight will ensure that everyone’s needs are met. Make a chart to track feeding times and amounts, diaper changes, medications and other important information. (Hint: if you’re having trouble telling your multiples apart – even if they’re not identical! – a small dab of nail polish on one toe will help distinguish them.)
People may think you've lost your mind because you are writing all of this information down only to throw it out at the end of the day but honestly it helped J and I immensely. Just being able to remember when they ate, who ate, how much, when diapers were changed, etc. helped a LOT. Things get confusing when you have more than one baby and you are sleep deprived.

5. Mixing Up Priorities

Keep it simple. Let things go. Your focus during the first few months with multiple should be on your newly expanded family. It’s not the time to cook gourmet meals, do spring cleaning or learn a new hobby. Focus on caring for your new bundles of joy, and let the little things slide. You’ll have time to catch up on those other things a few months down the road, when your multiples have established a schedule.
Take this tip from me: Throw out your Type-A personality and adopt a more "who cares" attitude. If your babies are healthy and you are together as a family, then it doesn't matter whether your house is spotless, what you eat for dinner, or whether the outfits they are wearing even match. Most times you will have pajamas with spit-up on them on and unwashed and uncombed hair anyway. When you do finally get it together enough to shower and leave the house with your twins the constant "how do you do it?" from others will be a huge boost to your ego!
You can now do pretty much nothing and look like a superwoman to others.

6. Hindering the Help

People love multiples, and they genuinely want to help. Take advantage of every offer. Delegate. Be specific. Let your eager helpers take care of meals, errands, care of other siblings, housework, yard work, laundry, shopping and all the details of life so that you can focus on priorities. (See Tip #6!)

Wish, wish, wish I had done this more. People offered. I didn't take them up on it enough.

7. Not Taking Time Out
Even though your identity has changed to encompass your new role as parent of multiples, you can’t afford to neglect your old self. It’s important to take time off every once in a while to focus on yourself and your spouse. Put a helpful relative, neighbor or even a teenage mother’s helper in charge of the babies for a few moments so that you can take a break. Soak in the tub, take a walk, or simply take a nap. You’ll be amazed at how refreshed you’ll feel after even a short break.
Again, wish I had done this more.

8. Becoming Isolated from Others

Meeting other parents of twins, triplets or more can be extremely reassuring and rewarding. Not only will they show you that life with multiples is do-able, they can give you solid advice on just how to do it. It’s crucial to establish a network of been-there, done-that veterans to call on in times of crisis. You can also meet fellow parents online; stop by our message forum to say hi.
Also, if you can't find a parents of twins group join a group of singleton Moms. They have extra hands to help you out (since they only have one child) and always make you feel like you are great because you are a Mom of multiples. Don't feel badly though if you can't get out of the house as much as you'd like. Leaving the house with twins is hard - I don't think we did it except for neighborhood walks and Dr. appointments for a few months at least. Cut yourself some slack and know that once they are a bit older you can manage to get out of the house with them. And trust me, even though my boys didn't see other people, aside from family, for the first few months, they have not been transformed into hermits.

9. Being Inflexible

A textbook approach doesn’t work with twins or multiples. Every family has different habits and needs and the “right” way is really whatever works best for you. As you establish a routine that includes your newest additions, be willing to try a variety of schedules, techniques and products. Remember that your multiples are individuals, and not a perfectly matched set. What works for one may not be appropriate for the other.
I'm still working on this. Read: Night Owl post

10. Losing Perspective

Keep things in perspective. No matter how bad things get, they are temporary. Babies grow up. They will start to sleep more and eat less often. It will become easier to take them out in public. With each passing day, you are one step closer to getting things under control. Savor the special moments of infancy: the sleepy snuggles, shy smiles and sweet smells of your babies. They will soon be only a treasured memory.
When you are in the throes of night wakings and lots of feedings and sleep deprivation it seems it will never end. but it does. At almost eight months my boys don't get up for night feedings on a regular basis anymore. They grow up so fast - try not to let it happen too fast - or to wish it away. You will sleep again soon.

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