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New Mom of Twins Needs Some Advice

by Psyche

I have just given birth to twin boys on August 23rd 2011. I also have two precious girls (aged 5 and 4 years old, there is exactly a difference of one year and two weeks between them). My mother has been here to help out, but unfortunately she will be leaving me next week (we live in different countries unfortunately) so i was trying to google as much info on tips to deal with my twins as possible.


To be honest with you, I have no idea how I'm going to manage to cope or maintain my sanity. My two girls go to school, so the craziest time of day is the mornings when I'm getting them ready for school and the twins always decide to wake up at that time, so when I'm doing this solo next week I don't know how I'm going to manage. so I would appreciate any tips you could provide me.

The twins cry constantly and have no interest in sleep. Even if they are fed, burped and changed they don't lie quietly, even when I give them floor time or try to massage them. so I would appreciate any tips you may be able to provide. I would love it if I could get them on a schedule, but it just isn't working.

I exclusively breast fed them for the first two weeks, but my milk supply wasn't up to par as I discovered at their initial doctors visit so I started supplementing with formula after each feed, and then it just got so overwhelming that I had to stop because I had to be realistic and with my mom gone I won't have the help I need so I'm just giving them formula now.

I was hoping that they would sleep longer and not cry as much if they are not hungry, but they still cry and fuss a lot. Even if I cuddle them, sing to them, I've tried a swing but they just scream when they are on it. I've tried pacifiers even though i refused to even consider it with my girls, but that hasn't helped calm them down. I would truly appreciate any tips or suggestions you could provide. Thanks!

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Starting with the older ones...
by: Heather ;-)

First off, let me tell you that you CAN do this. ;-)

Every child is a challenge, in their own way. Some perhaps more than others a different times...parenting is much harder than I ever imagined...I'm sure you can relate.

As for scheduling, I did write a quick paper on scheduling twins that may be helpful.

Don't feel guilty about using formula. Be thankful, instead that we live in an age that provides such a close second for our babies. I have supplemented in the past - breastfeeding or not breastfeeding is not the litmus test of a good mother. You gave it the 'ole college try, and that's worth some applause.

As for the morning schedule, have your girls get their stuff together the night before - part of the evening routine.

My 4.5 year old Elena requires a little supervision with this, (especially with picking out clothes!), but she can still pull it out. My older girls (8 & 4.5) have morning chores, where they make their bed (even Elena) and have a Cleaning Zone. Yes, the bed isn't perfect (pretty lumpy), but it's starting a helpful tradition.

Elena's Cleaning Zone is the living room and dining room, she's responsible to pick up and put away everything in those zones before going to bed. Then we read a chapter in a book, have some family time, (most nights anyway) brush teeth/dressed/set out morning things, and bed. I also know what's for breakfast and try to have that set up so when she's finished with her morning chores in the morning she can go sit and start eating without my help.

Granted, Elena has an older sister to help - but it is possible! That may greatly help you with the chaos in the mornings.


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Now about the Twins...
by: Heather ;-)

As for your twins, and their crying...besides the Scheduling Paper I mentioned above, here are some random thoughts:

First, the boys are fairly young, being only 4 weeks old (btw, they're only 2 days past my own birthday! Hooray for August! ;-). This does get better. If they're not projectile vomiting, and seem to be growing steadily, I would start by concentrating on gas. Have you tried Mylicon drops? Those helped Lauren, not so much with Elena and Bella, but worth a try.

Are you swaddling them? (Let me know if you don't know how to do this.) Newborns like to be snuggled - hence the froggy-like way the scoot their arms and legs in, it makes them feel secure like in the womb. That may also prove to be helpful.

I do encourage the pacifier, it's very helping it calming babies down, by allowing them to suck on something. Sometimes with newborns they have a hard time getting the pacifier to stay in (make sure it's a newborn size, btw), hold it in their mouth for a second, even if they spit it out. It may be their trying to push their tongue up to get a suck, and instead the tongue is accidentally pushing out the Nuk. However, if they're turning their head and screaming, then that may be them letting you know that they won't take a pacifier at all (it happens sometimes!).

Pacifiers have also been recently linked to reducing SIDS rates (something I just researched and wrote about actually). You can purchase the orthodontic ones, if you're concerned about teeth development - but with newborns that's not an issue really.

They do need sleep - a lot of it, the trick is trying to figure out what it is that keeping them awake and unhappy. Upset tummy? (formula change - talk to pediatrician perhaps for a free sample of a hypoallergenic formula), sleeping preferences? (try laying on stomach on your chest, or closely monitored in a bassinet) Sensitivity? (make sure not too hot, keep arms and legs tightly swaddled).

Elena has proven to be my most sensitive child. She has skin allergies and is very sensitive to clothing and other things. Looking back, I can see those things peeking out in those first few weeks. Those little personalities shine through at SUCH a young age!

Hang in there, it does get better. Feel free to write back and we can keep working on it.

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Response
by: Psyche

Thank you so much for your quick reply! Happy belated birthday. ;-)

I definitely appreciate your tips on making the mornings go by more smoothly. To be honest i'm just looking forward to the time when the twins sit up (when is that by the way? i can't manage to remember) and sort of entertain each other and have a long enough attention span to play with their toys.

The twins seem to be difficult to settle. They continue to cry even if they are held. i try to cover all the bases: they are fed, burped, changed, cuddled. i've tried infacol for any tummy issues, but it doesn't seem to have made any difference.

I've tried putting them in swings, but they just scream. They've just begun to accept the pacifiers, and that isn't all the time. Sometimes they'll take it, sometimes they just don't. I did swaddle them for the first week, but then they started squirming out of it and screaming until they would have their arms out. My eldest daughter hated being swaddled as well.

Thank you so much for the scheduling article. To be honest I'm not sure which method to try. The aspect that appeals to me the most in the stagger approach is the fact that even though they are twins, the boys are individuals.

It's funny but the first twin reminds me so much of my eldest daughter, and the second twin reminds me of my second daughter (they are fraternal twins btw), so I've noticed that they have different temperaments.

I also think it might be the better approach for me personally because I tend to panic when both are awake and crying, especially when i know it's because they are hungry. The way things are now is that the twins tend to have different sleep times throughout the day, but they'll both wake up demanding a feed at the same time at least twice a day and thats when my stress levels go into overdrive.

I seem to be able to cope with the sleep deprivation more than their screaming. Both twins hate being on their tummy, and I've noticed that one of them tends to feel warmer and sweat more than the other so I don't know if that might be a reason why he's uncomfortable. I try to dress him in lighter onesies and not put a blanket on him.

Also the first twin is about 2 pounds heavier than the second twin, but i think that's just down to their body types because again, my eldest daughter had a slightly bigger build then my second daughter who has always been petite, even though she has a healthier appetite and eats more.

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Advice...
by: Maria

First of all...Congratulations!!!! And welcome to the "mom of twins club." :) I have identical boys that are 2 now. I feel your pain with some of the things you are going through. Keep breathing...it does get better. I know my guys needed the gas drops when they were younger so I would definitely give them a try. It couldn't hurt, right? I also found that a bath in the evening really relaxed them. We had a glide that the enjoyed more then the swing, Fisher Price makes it and it was great.
As for a schedule...you'll get one don't worry. One thing that we did was when one ate, the other ate. Even if I had to wake him to do it because otherwise someone was always hungry! I breastfed for a while as well but then had to switch due to lack of milk. We ended up using Enfamil Gentlease because it was easier on their tummies. They had some issues with iron, maybe that could be why your guys are fussy? In any event I hope this helps a little. Now that mine are 2 I would love to have that stage back...even the no sleep! LOL. Hang in there!! :) Maria

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Mommy with twins
by: Maggie

I am also a mother of twin baby boys there 9 months now. At first I to was trying to grasp how to manage two babies at once. My best advice to you is that once you get into your own routine it's so much easier than what you think :) for your fussy babies my boys calmed down instantly when they laid beside one another it was the coolest thing :) my best tip is to try and take time for yourself even if it's for a hour! But having twins is such a blessing and it will get easier. I wish you the best :)

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hang in there!
by: karincro

I only have one three-month-old, but I did use to be a full time nanny for several families with triplets! They weren't infants though, but between 1 and 3 years old, but I can kind of sympathize. Have you tried carrying one or both of your twins in a wrap or sling? I think there's some where you can put both in at the same time, maybe the Moby wrap? My little one usually isn't too crazy about being stuffed into a wrap, but once I start moving around he just falls asleep. That way you'd have your hands free for your older girls and/or the other twin. Also, something else that has worked well for my baby is to go "shhhh" really loudly to calm him down or make him go to sleep. Everybody knows that you shush a baby, but I read that you're supposed to do it really loudly, as loud as the noise of a vacuum cleaner. I tried that one day and felt pretty silly shhh-ing at the top of my lungs, but it was amazing to see: he just closed his eyes and nodded off immediately. It doesn't always work that well, but is definitely something to try. And the last thing that works well for us is holding him while sitting on one of those big exercise/birth balls and bouncing around. Makes my back hurt like hell, but sometimes it's the only thing that'll make him stop fussing. None of these tips are twin specific, but maybe there's something in there that can be helpful to you. Also, just something to keep in mind: you know the idea of "the missing fourth trimester" by Harvey Karp (I think)? He thinks that babies basically have to be born too early so that they still fit through the birth canal, but that they really need another 3 months to mature and during that time they have a hard time dealing with their environment and can be fussy and sensitive. That's why it's helpful to imitate their previous environment (the womb) by creating shushing noises, holding them close, rocking them, etc. Not sure how true all this is, but maybe a good way to think about it and stay patient with fussy babies!? Best of luck to you and keep us posted!

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Raising Twins
by: Kim

There is a website called Raising Twins.com that also runs a forum for new and expectant twin parents. I found spending time there during my pregnancy and after I was able to learn so much from others experiencing the same!
Just remember that everything is a stage. Enjoy every minute because the time will pass by very quickly

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Our hair dryer was my life saver!!!
by: Anonymous

First of all...congratulations! Twins are such a blessing!

My one tip I will share is to use the hair dryer. :)

Most infants love the sound and it is soothing to them. When you have two babies and they like to cry (I can say from experience this can be so draining!!) anything that works is fair game. There were times I would leave the hair dryer on for 30 minutes, on the cool setting and in a safe place, of course. But you will be amazed at how the sound soothes them. It worked better than any other expensive sound machines we had!

If you need to deal with one while the other is screaming, just give it a try.

Enjoy your babies every second!!!

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You CAN do this!
by: Bernadette

Congradulations! What a blessing to get twins. My daughters are 15 months old now and I am a single mom so I know exactly how you feel....it's so overwhelming. I tried to breastfeed also but the girls were 8 weeks early so neither could latch at first. I pumped and supplemented but by the time they were three months I just used formula. Don't regret it a bit. Thank goodness we have an option now! Gabriella definitely was (and sometimes still is) more of a non-sleeper while her sister Lily had created her own schedule that I could set my watch by. But putting them in the same crib helped Gabby quite a bit and she also hated to be swaddled while Lily liked it. Every baby is different...even twins! I found Mylicon worked best for Gabby's tummy-she did have a lot of gas and that a small amount of apple or prune juice (about a tsp per 4ounces of formula) helped Lily's tummy. of course, I checked with the pediatrician before adding the juice. I had to really be a poop detective but by 5months they were much more comfortable. However, I have to agree with trying to make feeding times and naptimes the same if you can...it was the only way I got any sleep whatsoever. But if any friends offer their help-TAKE IT! Even if it's reading a story or watching TV for an hour with your older ones, it really helps. Now, I have two nearly 25lbs each smiley, giggly girls who, yes, do entertain each other much more effectively than Mommy. But after this, you will look at mom'm of single births who are complaining of lack of sleep, etc., and smile slyly .

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hang in there
by: Julie

First of all...wanted to share that my twin girls are now 8 years old and it does get better, so just hang in there.

I think my only pieces of advice would be to tap into as many resources as you can through your church or from support within your community.

The book "Baby Wise" really helped me get my twins on a good sleeping and eating pattern. Even if you don't agree with every part of the book, there is still valuable information and it was written specifically for parents of multiples.

Lastly.....as much as you can be organized the night before...getting the kids clothes ready for school, etc.....this will be helpful to make your mornings less stressful.

Take care of yourself and give yourself breaks but also know that if there are certain things in your life that you may not get to do as much....that as the children get older, you will have more time to do those things, so it's not forever that you may have to focus a lot of your time and energy to your family.

Take care and I will pray for strength, courage, and patience for you. It's tough, but you can do it!

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Thank You!
by: Psyche

Thank you for all your contributions and support! I will try out all the tips you provided and hopefully get positive outcomes out of the twins. Yes, having twins are a huge blessings, and having any children. They are the most precious and innocent souls and it just feels overwhelming at times how vulnrable they are and how they soley and completely depend on me to provide for all their needs. It's a huge responsibility and i want to be the best mom i can be to all my children. Again, thank you to all of you for your time and help and support. I truly appreciate it!

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