Ginger of Just Another Mom of Twins

I just want to say how excited I am to be guest blogger on Multiples & More!  I submitted this post because when we found out we were having twins, I went into a little bit of a panic mode.  The endless searching for some kinda “guide” to preparing for their arrival and what to expect once they had arrived was painful.  I did manage to find bits and pieces but it became frustrating at times.So, I decided to write the following “Guide” to the first 6 months before multiples arrive and what to expect after those little bundles of joy do arrive.  (I figured it would be best to have all the information in one place and have expecting parents be overwhelmed once rather than over and over, searching different sites.  LOL!)

My husband and I have also been quests at informational sessions for parents expecting multiples and the following L-O-N-G information “sheet” is what we hand-out.  It has been passed on from family to family and we have been told how helpful, albeit a bit “overwhelming” the information has been.  I hope that you may find it somewhat “helpful” too!

After you’ve spent 1/2 your day reading my “Guide”…LOL… please be sure to stop by my Blog  Just Another Mom of Twins to check out life with twins after 6 months.
(It’s not ALWAYS just about the “kids”)


(re-print of original)

Hello & Congratulations!

It is important to know and understand that I am an organizational tyrant at times but I can’t emphasis how valuable this was before the babies arrived, and even more so now that they are here!  Many people have said before and even now how we “over-prepared” but we couldn’t disagree more!  All the information we are providing is how we decided to go about preparing for the arrival of our twins and how we “survive” everyday with our 2 beautiful bambinos in our lives.  It will hopefully offer a little insight into the world of raising twins! We do not suggest that this is the ONLY way to go about things…some suggestions may work, others may be a disaster…the following is what worked really well for us so far and we hope that it will be helpful to you as you await the arrival of your multiples! 

One thing we can say with certainty is get ready for the ride of a lifetime…ups n’ downs n’ sideways, it’s not easy and can be down right challenging and frustrating at times but in the end it’s all worth it!  Best of luck to you and your family!!
Ginger, David, Ave & Bryce 
HOW WE PREPARED FOR OUR TWINS ARRIVAL
Part 1~ The Shopping Spree
Purchasing of the following, which we deem “Baby Essentials”
  • 2 car seats (goes without saying BUT make sure they fit in your vehicle)
  • 2 cribs
  • Snap n’ Go Stroller (we love this one)
  • Large Diaper Bag & an Extra Large Diaper Bag (we use a large back pack)
  • Bottle and Nipple Sterilizer (microwaveable kind)
  • Diapers- preemie (we didn’t buy nearly enough…I would say at least 4 packages to get you started)
  • Baby Bum Cream- again, the more the better as we went through quite a bit
  • Wipes- by the cases
  • Baby Soap (for bath time)
  • 8-12 Sleep Sacs (we coined this term and our babies lived in them for the first 5 weeks) or sleepers
  • Gripe water (non-alcoholic SuperStore brand)
  • Infacol or Oval
  • Breast Pump
  • Breast milk storage bags
  • Breast Pads
  • Formula (even just a little for supplementing breastfeeding if needed…we kept with the hospital brand as they didn’t have a bad reaction…Similac Advanced…we bought the concentrate in cans)
  • Bottles and Nipples (we used the Playtex, drop in bottle liner kind then switched to Evenflo cheapy ones when we started using the Podee Feeding System)
Purchasing of the following, which we deem “Baby Survival Must-Haves”, although not everyone would agree:
  • 2 lower style baby bouncers (the rocking chair style ones are great after 3 months or so and we bought these as well)
  • 2 swings
  • 2 bassinets (co-sleeping didn’t work very long…they were movers and shakers)
  • 2 Baby High Chairs to Booster Seats (the kind that attach to kitchen chairs)
  • 2 baby carriers (Bjorn style, although we could have got away with only having one…better safe than sorry)
  • 2 snuggle me car seat inserts- no fiddling with bunting bags or snowsuits (for winter of course)
  • 2 Angel Care Monitors (not recommended but it keeps our minds at ease, didn’t use these until they moved into their cribs)
  • 2 change tables (one for each floor of the home)
  • 2 bottle warmers (although we didn’t use them until they began to drink larger amounts but would have regardless as they work well and use a lot less water)
  • 40 or more receiving blankets (I know it sounds extreme and while I have never used all at once, I have never been without one either and laundry is done only every other day rather than everyday)
  • Lots of baby facecloths AND Kleenex
  • 4-6 Swaddle blankets or really large receiving blankets
  • Tide Free Laundry Soap
  • Baby Oxy Spray (not a single stained piece of clothing as a result of using this)
  • 10 or more small baby bibs (they really do get lost in the average or large size ones at first)
  • Baby bottle medicine distributor and/or 1ml syringes
*Kijiji/Craig’s List was a huge money saver PLUS we met many other twin families along the way that were selling items in “2’s” AND we received some great pointers and tips along the way!
Part 2~ Organize…Organize…Organize
Completing the Nursery– fully stocked with diapers, creams, cribs made, clothes washed and sorted, rocker with blankets and bids and facecloths within reach (although we did not utilize the Nursery until 9 weeks, it was a blessing that it was ready to go by the time that rolled around, we were way too tired to get it ready)

Arranging Diaper Service– we decided to use a Diaper Service (Cloth Diapers).   Prior to their arrival I called and arranged the service, they delivered a “starter” package and all we had to do once they were out of the preemie size disposables was call them and delivery started.  You do not have to rinse diapers, in the pail they go and dirty ones leave your home once a week and clean ones arrive and they do not smell (hard to believe I know)  We did struggle at first as it takes some getting use to as there is a few steps to getting it right and they are a lot more bulky (compared to disposable, which we used to go out).  This option may not be for everyone but it has been very successful for us, until 6 months.  The cost savings are quite significant unless you buy in BULK when diapers go on sale, which we now do and have discovered the cost is relatively similar.   To use the cloth diaper service it was $4.51/day so, roughly about $142.00/mth PLUS the initial cost of the re-usable diaper covers (you can buy from them or elsewhere) and the pail(s). We used approx. 320 diapers a month, give or take a few. 
Packing the Hospital Bags – I had this done quite early just in case pre-term labor hit us without warning.  Here is what I brought and I assure you that I was not “without” during my 4 day stay:

Me– 2 long nightgowns with easy access to my chest, housecoat, 3 pairs of comfy pants and shirts (I showered and got dressed everyday starting on day 2), 6 pairs of underwear, socks, slippers, towels & facecloths, all grooming essentials (including a blow dryer)

Babies– 1 package of preemie diapers, wipes (they didn’t have these at the hospital), cream (they will provide Vaseline), sleepers (although we never used them while in the hospital, kept swaddled in blankets and that gave easy access for skin to skin contact), receiving blankets (but we never used these either, used the hospital ones), going home outfit and warm blankets to travel (if winter) and cuddle

Other Items I Recommend (that dad can bring the next day)

  • Your own bathroom tissue (hospital grade is a little unpleasant)
  • Always Maxi Pads size Night Long 14+ (they are HUGE but for the first little while you may need this protection and they are the closest I found to substitute the large hospital ones)
  • Breastfeeding Pillow and Privacy Cover (if breastfeeding)
  • 2 comfy baby blankets (for when you are snuggling them)
  • Your own pillow and small blanket
  • Eye Mask and Ear Plugs (it’s quite light and noisy)
  • IPod or MP3 or Book (if you are not going to order a TV, passes time as babies sleep)
  • Water Bottle (if you don’t want to use Styrofoam cups)
  • Tim Horton’s/Dunkin’ Donuts Delivery via Daddy every morning (ha-ha)
Breast Pump Rental– we ended up having to rent one, which dad got shortly after we arrived home.  Call around to see which pharmacy offers the best prices, longer term rentals are usually much cheaper and I would start with a commitment of at least one month. (You can then re-evaluate a longer rental if needed)

Organizing a Baby Station in Kitchen– We cleared out a large portion of our kitchen counter to set up all the breastfeeding items, bottle-feeding items, medications, sterilizer, warmers, etc.  Made for very easy access and having it all in one place helped with feedings.
Setting Up a Laundry Station– located both upstairs and on main floor, it amazing how many sleepers, facecloths, blankets, bibs, etc. you will go through.  We also always have a bottle of Baby Oxy hanging from the basket to spray the stains on everything, works great and keeps a baby item looking new for donating or re-sale.
Making Meals– This was a total lifesaver!  I pre-cooked/prepared many different meals and deep froze them a month or so before the twins came.  Lots of casserole type dishes as well as meat spaghetti sauce divided into smaller containers, meatloaf’s (from fresh meat and then frozen uncooked), marinated chicken frozen fresh, etc.  I also attended 2 Dashing Dishes sessions (a company where you self assemble fresh, delicious meals that you freeze and cook later) So we had lots of meals and we didn’t have to cook for the first 12 weeks.  I strongly suggest this because when I think of the energy it takes to just “think” about what to have for supper let alone to have to make it…I don’t think we would have eaten very well at all.
Stocking the House– We made sure we had all our needed supplies, it felt that we were preparing for the millennium again…ha,ha…we had an abundance of toilet paper, Kleenex, paper towels, cleaning supplies, coffee, our favorite snacks & drinks, etc.  Not to frighten you all but it may be just a bit before you get back out in the world and why be without life’s little comforts. J
Joining a Twins, Triplets and More Association – The membership is usually reasonable and you get a variety of membership perks such as discounts at stores, discounted classes (CPR, parenting strategies, etc.), citywide playgroups and coffee groups, children’s parties…just to name a few.  It is also a great way to connect with other families of multiples and to have someone who can truly relate.

Part 3~ LIFE AT OUR HOME- the first 6 months

#1 Piece of Advice-Keep a Log Book– We did this from the day they arrived home and STILL do! It really helps keep track of how much each baby is eating, peeing, pooping and being given any medication.  Everyone who helps out knows that they need to record these “stats”.  I can’t tell you how many times we have had to look back to see who had a bowel movement last or to compare the amount of formula they got from day to day and most importantly, when medication was last given.  Our system is very simple…we used a notebook until we found a day-timer with full page hours in it:
Date/Time
Baby A
Baby B
Diapers
Wet-12 Dirty-3
Wet-12 Dirty-2
12am
Pee
1
2
3
180 cc
pee
175cc
Pee/poo
4
5
6
7
190cc
Pee/poo
185cc
pee
8
Pee
Infacol
9
Infacol
Pee
10
Pee
Pee
11
185cc
Pee/poo
190cc
Pee/poo
12pm
1
Pee
Pee
2
Pee
3
190cc
pee
185cc
pee
4
Pee
Pee
5
6
Pee
Pee
7
190cc
Pee/poo
185cc
pee
8
pee
Gripe Water
9
Gripe Water
pee
10
pee
11
Total Formula
935cc
920cc
Living Quarters– We have a 2 storey house and if you also do I would suggest that you have a “living station” on the main floor, in fact we lived on the main floor for the first 9 weeks…taking “sleeping” shifts on the couch.  This may likely not work or be desirable for everyone BUT at the very least, we do suggest that you have a diaper changing station on the main floor as well as a supply of clothing changes, blankets, bibs, etc.  Once you do get them down in the morning from upstairs, you won’t have the energy to be running up and down for items…trust me, especially if you have had a C-Section.  If you will all be sleeping upstairs I would also suggest that you have an equal amount of supplies there.  If you will be bottle feeding you may like what I did when we transitioned upstairs (see feeding)
Breastfeeding– I tried to breastfeed, unsuccessfully for the first 6 weeks, so unfortunately I do not have any invaluable advice except to keep trying (if this is what you chose) for as long as you can until it becomes more stressful than enjoyable.  I pumped faithfully on a daily bases and each baby received approx 1 oz of breast milk at each feeding, supplemented with formula.  Having a breastfeeding pillow (on loan from our Multiples Association) was very helpful as well as a privacy cover.
Bottle Feeding– We bought enough bottles to make formula 1 ½ days in advance so on our babies schedule that meant having 14 bottles and we color coded the lids for each of them as they didn’t always drink the same amount.  We therefore pre-made our bottles, which we highly suggest as there is nothing more stressful than a crying baby, or worse, two crying babies awaiting feeding as you try to fiddle with preparing a bottle.  In addition, we had a pretty good feeding schedule so we always tried to have them pre-warmed a few minutes before we knew they would be hungry (not an option if you will be feeding on demand)
  • Feeding Schedule– Our babies ate faithfully every 3 hours for the first 9 weeks, and then every 4 hours or so after that.  We were adamant about keeping them on the same schedule, a piece of advice we received time and time again from other twin parents.  Therefore, if one woke to feed the other was woken to feed.  Sounds a little harsh perhaps as I am sure you have heard “never wake a sleeping baby” HOWEVER we believe the rules change with multiples.  We also believe that their excellent feeding and sleep schedule at 4 months was because of this strategy we used.  Again, you will need to decide what works best for you and yours.
This is how the feeding schedule looked for the first 9 weeks
6am-9 am-12pm-3pm-6pm-9pm-Between 11pm-12pm-Between 2am-3am
Starting shortly after 9 weeks the feeding schedule was:
7am-11am-3pm-7pm-11pm-3am *they moved to their cribs at this time and for the night feed I would bring a cooler bag with their bottles and ice packs upstairs along with the warmers to eliminate the upstairs-downstairs dilemma…it also helped not wake me up too much J
At about  4 months the feeding schedule was: (eating 8oz bottles)
6am-7am-11am-3pm-7pm
5pm- “cheater bottle” 60mls
8pm- Bedtime
Between 3am-4am *sometimes they would get a “cheater bottle” 60ml and then back to sleep
They Slept until 6am-7am
At about 6 months the feeding schedule was: (eating 6-8oz bottles)
7am- Bottle
10am- Bottle, Cereal and Fruit
2pm- Bottle, Veggie/Meat
6pm- Bottle, Cereal
7pm- Bedtime
They sleep until 6am-7am *occasionally up for “soother replacement” but no more feedings*
  • Feeding Multiples– For the first 10 weeks we had help (I know, we were VERY lucky) so we always had 4 hands to help with the feedings, except at night which I, the mommy, did alone as everyone slept so they could take over at 5am and I got my 5-6hrs of restful sleep (I know, I was VERY lucky)! 
However, when the help left, so did that extra set of hands so I sprung into action, way before that date and purchased the following two feeding systems.  Both work great but you can’t get them in Canada…a little costly but trust me worth every penny! 
BeBe Bottle Slings– Car seat feeding system, I used this one upstairs for night feedings using 2 older car seats…a lifesaver!  I also use this one when going out during feeding times. (You have to order these online from the USA.)
Podee Hands free Feeding System– I use this one throughout the day.  We purchased 6 conversion kits so we didn’t have to clean in between every feeding. You can order these online as well, I had family from the states ship them to me as they can be purchased at Babies R Us in the USA only. It does take a bit for the babies to get the suction going and to be consistent, but a great tool nonetheless. 
*As we know and are told, feeding is an important time to bond with baby but survival is also key to healthy bonding that is why we chose to use these feeding systems when parenting alone.  Whenever possible, we try to feed our babies while holding and cuddling them
Sleep, Eat, Expel, Sleep, Eat….– Were not sure what we were expecting but we were really surprised how our lives for the first 8-12 weeks was one big merry-go-round.  Babies eat, sleep and go to the washroom and really not very much else.  As the weeks go by they stay awake a little more each day and become more and more aware of their surroundings but don’t expect any coos and such until the latter part of this period.  You are probably thinking “We know that”, well so did we but it really amazed us how being new parents was all consuming.  By the time the babies were changed, fed, slept and you’ve grab something to eat or taken a shower or had a brief “rest” the cycle began all over again…and again, and again and again (you get the picture).  We were often quoted saying “We live our lives 3 hours at a time”.  So, I guess we just really wanted to emphasis to you that this fact is so true, only after those 8-12 weeks does life seem to return to some kind of “normality”, although with multiples it never quite gets there, or so we have heard. J
Venturing “Out”– For the first few outings, I always had someone with me to help.  This was extremely beneficial as it allowed me the time to figure out a good “system”.  It only took a few trips to get it down to a science but I will say that you need to provide yourself with lots of extra time…it’s amazing how difficult it can be to find a parking spot large enough so you can open your car doors wide and get out the car seats…LOL!  As well, it helps to pre-plan (as best you can) to venture out around feeding times, once they went from 3 hour feedings to 4 hour feedings; this became a lot more realistic.  I ALWAYS pack “cheater” bottles because the one time I didn’t, I regretted it and the outing was cut short.  Keeping your diaper bag(s) fully stocked (we replenish after every outing) with the following items was also very helpful as we never are scrambling to gather items right before heading out the door:  diapers, wipes, change pad, 2 changes of clothing, plastic bags (for diapers and/or soiled clothes), bum cream, infacol/oval, hand sanitizer, extra bibs, facecloths and receiving blankets.  Getting out on a regular basis has really helped me remain connected to society and I would strongly encourage you to venture our from time to time…at first it’s a lot of work but becomes second nature after a short time. J
Medical “Stuff”– We use the Health Pod Baby System, a little compact binder system.  It is a little costly but we have found it to be invaluable at keeping track of medical visits, immunizations, sicknesses and growth.   Whether you use this system or not, we do suggest keeping a “log” of these things for future reference and ongoing monitoring.
Some Extra Tips You May Find Helpful
  • The Tupperware pickle container is an excellent transport for 4 standard bottles (including a gel cooler pac), also serves as a great warmer while out
  • The Click Heat Baby Bottle Warmer is great for keeping bottles warmed for short outings (up to an hour or so)
  • Harvey Karp’s 5 “S’s” were extremely helpful to know in the first few weeks when the babies were “fussy”- Swaddle, Swinging, Side Stomach Position, Sucking and Shushing Sounds
  • Swaddling has been a sleeping miracle for our babies- SwaddleMe Blankets come in Small and Large (up to 22lbs), although at 6 months we are struggling with getting them to sleep without them, so there are some pros and cons to doing this long term
  • The little bottles they give you at the hospital make GREAT “cheater” bottles at home. (You are suppose to throw them away each time but we smuggled them out)
  • Organizing all your baby clothes by month and/or weight will help ensure the babies wear everything at least once…I use the “clothing-store” method in the closet and marked each section- Newborn, 3mths, 3-6mths, 9mths, 12mths, toddler.  I also use the same system as they grow out of clothes, only I use boxes. (They are then ready for donation or re-sale)
  • If you are going to send out birth announcements, try to have them picked out, pre-made, ready to go and all you have to do is insert/add birth information as well have envelopes addressed and stamped
  • We decided to plan a Meet n’ Greet 6 weeks after the twins were born rather than have all our friends come and go…this worked out so well.  We sent out a really friendly email stating how excited and anxious we were about introducing our new arrivals to everyone but that we would appreciate a little time to get settled before having visitors, we then attached an invite to the Open House Meet n’ Greet.
I am sure we have forgotten something so if you have any questions please feel to ask away or email me directly at justanothermomoftwins@gmail.com …again, Congrats!!!
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2 comments

  1. Wow, Ginger!! What a great little getting ready or twins manual!! To say you were prepared is an understatement!
    Andrea recently posted…ME Challenge – Week 29My Profile

  2. Wow…this is helpful, but should be read in doses by any pregnant Mama. I so agree about waiting 6 weeks…love the idea of a Meet n’ Greet!

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