I’ve been a mom to twins for almost three months now and here are some revelations and realities about motherhood (that I can remember):
STUFF YOU SHOULD HAVE
- Get a smartphone. Picture this – It’s 3AM, you’re feeding your babies. One starts making a weird noise and you wonder why he’s refusing to eat. You reach for your smart phone with your free hand, use the voice activated search function and google it. Voila, you have ten different forums addressing your concern. It’s also good for staying on top of your email, both personal and work. It’s amazing how much actual work I’ve been able to do in the middle of the night on my smartphone. You can also take pictures, make movies, download baby apps, watch movies (see #2), read books, order diapers, etc.
- Netflix or some service like it. I think this is making it possible for my partner to not lose his mind during night feedings. Plus, I’ve discovered lots of new shows.
- Get used to snacking. Most days, I don’t eat real food until my partner comes home from work. This means that I survive on nuts, fruit, crackers, and cookies until about 7PM. Very hunter/gatherer (except the cookies).
- Pacifiers are amazing. It’s worth the risk of nipple confusion. Just do it. Deal with consequences later.
- You can’t have enough bibs. I used to think bibs were for babies that ate food, but they really help cut down on outfit changes.
- Don’t swaddle in blankets. Swaddles with velcro were invented for a reason. Use them. (I used Swaddle Mes, but other people love the Miracle Blanket, a non-velcro, but secure option. I liked having the option of leaving you babies’ arms up.)
- Velcro is my best friend (see #6) and worst enemy (it sticks to me and everything in the wash).
- Papasan swing. It swings front to back and side to side. It’s amazing.
- Ergo (with heart to heart infant insert). A great carrier that doesn’t hurt your back or your baby and can be used for a long time (up to 45 pounds!). It also has a pocket so I don’t have to carry a big bag. I often take a single stroller and Ergo so my twins and I don’t attract so much attention.
- If you have twins, a double brest friend. In fact, I have two, I use them both, and if I had two more, I’d use them too. It’s a big pillow, so it helps to have extras to leave places you frequent, like a friend’s house.
- Roomba. It’s not baby related, but it’s the only thing that is keeping us from being covered in filth and dog hair.
STUFF YOU MIGHT WANT
- Wipe warmer. I thought this was a ridiculous contraption, but someone gave it to us and it’s turned out to be pretty handy. Maybe our babies are high maintenance, but they do not like getting their butts wiped with a cold, wet wipe.
- Wubbanubs. It’s a type of pacifier with a stuffed animal hanging from it. They’re adorable and babies learn how to grab/hold them. They were invented by a pediatrician.
- Stim mobile. My babies are fascinated by this.
- Car seat cover. You never have to remember to bring a blanket. It’s built in to your carseat, but doesn’t compromise your carseat’s ability to protect your baby the way some car seat inserts do.
- Compact blanket. This thing is so useful. It folds up really small and has a shoulder strap. It’s wipeable and it’s big – big enough for two babies and two parents. Totally worth it.
- Large changing pad. I have the Patemm Pad, which is expensive, but they sometimes have sample sales where they’re half off. I love it because it’s circular, so there’s plenty of coverage for your squirmy baby and it’s big, so they won’t outgrow it for a while. It also folds up in a compact rectangle and has pockets to fit your essentials (wipes, extra outfits, diapers, butt cream, hand sanitizer).
INEVITABLE LIFE CHANGES
- I do laundry at least once a day. We used to do laundry twice a month. You should have a washer/dryer or start buying disposable clothing, blankets, sheets, etc.
- Showering is a luxury. You should make the time to do it, but it’s on par with getting a massage pre-baby. You should also get massages.
- You might have to get a minivan. You might need to get some therapy to be okay with it.
- You will no longer think it’s gross when you have spit up, pee, or poop on you. Okay, you’ll probably still think it’s gross, but it won’t be as shocking as before. Actually, it will become shocking when you don’t get at least one of these things on you every day.
- If you’re nursing, there will be breastmilk sheen on everything for at least a month. Oh well, it’s good for your baby!
- You can start exercising at 6-8 weeks, but you might fall asleep while you’re exercising or you might decide you’d rather sleep. Either is okay and both will make you feel good.
THINGS THAT ARE NOT TRUE OR NOT POSSIBLE
- Someone once told me that breastmilk poo smells sweet. This is an utter lie and reminds me of a certain Outkast song.
- “They” say sleep when the baby sleeps. That sounds great except there are things that I need to do during the day that can only be done with the babies are sleeping. Also, it’s not that easy to fall asleep at the drop of a dime in the middle of the day. Plus, ten minute naps are not that helpful and who’s going to soothe the baby who is waking up so he doesn’t start full blown crying and wake the other baby if you’re sleeping? (This might only be an issue if you have more than one baby!)
- Sleeping through “the night” does not refer to any night that I knew of before having babies. We now celebrate sleeping that lasts more than 3 hours.
- It is hard to leave the house alone with two babies (probably also with one). You need to do it, but it’s hard. Feel proud of yourself every time you accomplish this, especially if you have to get in the car.
- You can’t make uninterrupted phone calls. If you’re making a work call from home, manage expectations. Tell them up front that you’re at home and you have a baby (or two). This prevents people from being annoyed and elicits empathy.
- Do not attempt to put your baby in clothes that go over his/her head in the first month. It’s not worth it, no matter how cute that outfit is.
- It’s okay if your baby wears the same outfit for 3 days straight. Consider this an accomplishment. There will be many other days when your baby goes through three outfits before lunch.
- Sometimes your baby will go through three diapers in 20 minutes. Try to find this amusing instead of annoying. You’ll live longer.
- Try not to view spit up as a failure on your part. It’s normal and there’s a limit to what you can do to reduce the amount your baby spits up. As long as (s)he is gaining weight well, it’s just an issue of laundry.
- It’s really helpful to hear what other parents are going through or how they do certain things, but trust yourself and your baby(ies) too. Sleep is a great example. I read a bunch of books, talked to other parents, but everyone does it differently, so just take in all that information and figure out what works for you. Believe me, your babies will tell you what they want anyway and it’s much easier to go with that (within reason) than to force them to do something you want!
- You will think your babies’ crying fits are adorable, especially when their lip quivers. I don’t know how long this lasts, but at least 3 months.
- You will take 1 million pictures of your babies. Don’t force people to look at them. Use some kind of opt in system (facebook, shuttefly, twitter).
- Cloth diapering is awesome, but wait at least a couple weeks after your babies are born to start trying if these are your first babies. Also, be prepared to have little babies with enormous butts. At some point, your baby is big enough that it doesn’t look as ridiculous, but at first, it’s pretty silly looking (and adorable).
- Even if you never thought you’d be a stay at home parent and don’t become one, you’ll understand why some people do and any judgment you had about people who do will be replaced with awe and admiration.
- If you have twins or more, the single best thing you can do is join your local moms of multiples club. It’s an invaluable resource for advice and cheap gear times two.
- Tandem nursing is amazing. If you have twins, learn how to do it. It will change your life.