Even Though You Didn’t Ask
By Whitney of A Pair of Ones
Once my husband and I started telling people we were expecting, it opened the door to endless unsolicited advice. Some of this advice was fantastic, others not so much. I was especially surprised when people in the check-out line at the grocery store started giving me advice. Now I am the first to admit as a first time mom I have no idea what I am doing and yes I need advice and help and truly wish these babies came with a manual, but some of the advice we received was either common sense or just wouldn’t work with twins.
Throughout nine months of pregnancy I quickly learned to let people give you whatever advice they wanted and then decide what you want to take and what you want to leave.
Some of the best advice I received was:
Start your babies on a schedule from day 1 and keep them on that schedule.
This has been one of the best pieces of advice I received. From the day the babies were born we have always had them on a feeding schedule. The boys eat every three hours almost like clock-work so we haven’t had much issue with them not being on the same schedule, but when one does go a little longer between feedings than the other baby we make sure both babies are awake and let them eat until they are full. I am looking forward to getting the boys on the same sleep and nap schedule, but everything I have read says you should not start sleep training your babies until they are 4 months old. Only 2 more months to go! If anyone has any advice for sleep training twins I would love to hear it!
Techniques for bottle feeding both babies at one time
When the boys were 2 weeks old my family left town to move my sister to Kentucky, my husband went back to work, and I was left all alone with 2 infants. I quickly discovered that I needed to learn how to bottle feed both babies at the same time or else I would spend my entire day feeding babies. One of my friends suggested this great technique that would allow me to feed both babies at once while still enjoying snuggle time and eye contact with each of them. Learning this technique has changed my life!
Don’t talk to your husband during 2am feedings
For the first few weeks conversations between my Hubby and I were very entertaining. We were both sleep deprived, but would laugh at all the silly things the other said in their sleep deprived stupor. After a few weeks the silliness of 2am conversations wore off and quickly turned to snappy remarks and frustration. We now claim a baby for the night (rotating babies each night) and are responsible for getting up with that baby. We also do not talk during the night time feedings. This has cut down on any frustration we had with each other. By claiming a baby for the night you do not feel like you have to get up with both babies and are not frustrated as you watch the other person sleeping in bed while you feel like you are doing all the work. Although not talking may seem like a bad thing in marriage, avoiding 2am conversations has been a great change for us. We do not say things we wouldn’t normally say because we are tired and frustrated avoiding any hurt feelings that would stem from these thoughtless comments.
You don’t have to do everything by the book
When I found out I was pregnant I started reading every pregnancy book that was recommended to me. As I read these books I found myself feeling more and more overwhelmed. What would happen if I didn’t do these things exactly as the book says? Would my children be stunted because of a mistake I made? What if I missed something and my babies ended up in therapy when they are older because I didn’t do something exactly how it should be done? One of my dear friends told me that my babies would survive if I didn’t do everything by the book. This thought was so freeing for me, I suddenly felt so much more relaxed and comfortable in my Mommy skills. Knowing I didn’t have to be perfect or remember everything I had read took a huge weight off my shoulders. In fact my imperfections may actually make me a better mom.
Don’t feel guilty if you do things differently than someone else does, everyone’s path looks different
This also was a freeing truth for me. So many times as moms and women we compare ourselves to each other and put pressure on ourselves to be the best and make the best choices for our children. When I was pregnant I was asked many times if I was planning on breastfeeding, I always told people that I truly desired to solely breastfeed, but wasn’t sure if I would be able to. Then they would respond with a story about their friend’s cousin’s sister-in-law who had twins and breastfed them for an entire year so there was absolutely no reason why I wouldn’t be able to breastfeed. What these people didn’t know is that I have had a breast reduction and because of this procedure was unsure if I would ever be able to breastfeed. Well the babies are born and I try to breastfeed but do not produce enough milk for both babies so I spend the next 4 weeks pumping as much as I could and supplementing with formula. I experienced a very challenging recovery after the babies were born and after 4 weeks of dealing with postpartum complications, being a new mom to newborn twins, and trying to pump I prayerfully made the decision to quit pumping. I was only able to pump about 5 ounces per day and decided the effort was not worth the benefit. This was a difficult decision for me and there were times I felt judged for the decision I made. A dear friend told me that I should not feel guilty because my path looked different from every other mom’s path. I simply needed to make the decision that was best for my family and know that even if my choice was not popular or varied from the choices my friends made I was making the perfect decision for my family.
Make time for your husband
This was a piece of advice I heard often, but never thought I really needed. I have always made time for my Hubby so of course once the babies arrived I would make time for him. Well was I ever wrong?! My time with my husband has to be much more intentional than it ever had to be before the babies arrived. It is so easy to get sucked in to the day to day activities and simply pass by each other in the house but never really make time for each other. We have tried hard to have a date night every few weeks, even if this means grabbing dinner, bringing it home, and watching a movie while the babies are sleeping. I never realized how important it was to set aside time with your spouse, even if it is only a few minutes a day, those few minutes focused on each other can make the world of difference in your marriage.
The absolute worst advice I received was to sleep when the babies are sleeping. Whoever gave me this advice obviously did not have multiples. I do good to get what little sleep I do get at night, let alone getting any during the day. Throughout the day my two boys hardly ever sleep at the same time and if they do they are not both asleep long enough for me to get a nap, usually I use this time to grab lunch and celebrate if I get to eat before 3pm. Hopefully one day I will be able to get a nap, but for now I will cherish the quiet moments I get throughout the day, occasionally stay up late at night when my two little ones and my hubby are asleep and the house is quiet, and read a few chapters in a book to relax a little.
What advice would give a new mom of twins? What advice (good or bad) did people give you while you were pregnant?
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