Since those first glimmers of smiles around 6 weeks I seem to spend a lot of my time hovering over the twins with my phone trying the capture the beautiful image that I can see when they finally let that grin take over their little faces. The first weeks with any baby seem endless and with two it is a constant cycle of feeds, changes, sleeping but then come those moments when their waking hours and filled with curious eyes watching, spontaneous smiles and the beginnings of gurgles as they make sense of the world and people around them. It’s no secret that this is the most amazing time for a parent, the moment when everything is worth it; the exhaustion, night feeds, all the tough bits seem that bit easier when your face is the one that your baby looks for above all others, when your voice is the one they move their head to follow and when your daft faces and silly voices are the things that can make them beam. It feels so needed; that little confirmation that you are doing the right thing, that you are their everything and that the bond you feel is totally real.
While trying to capture the precious smile I’m also treated to the funniest of faces, how could I not share?!
Having newborn babies over the winter period means that whenever we leave the house there are lots of layers, blankets, hats and little mittens. Luckily a lovely little package arrived from Wauwaa with two adorable Zip Zap cardigans perfect for two adorable little boys. They couldn’t have arrived at a better time and we love how they look on the twins. They are really chunky and look so warm; the boys are always so snug when they are wearing them, they fasten right up under those teeny chins and the hoods mean I can cover their tiny heads without struggling to find a hat that stays on. All of the family have commented on how nice they are and can’t resist having a feel of the gorgeous cable knit.
I think the boys just look super cute in them, I just love the little double breasted front. Unfortunately, Brandon wasn’t playing ball for his photo but Arthur was more than happy to model his cardigan!
Wauwaa is a brilliant one stop shop for all parents and parents-to-be; they have a fabulous shop featuring some really unique brands, real life videos and heaps of advice and tips. I love the funny videos from real life parents and having a browse through the online shop.
Disclaimer – We were sent the Zip Zap cardigans free of charge to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Although spending a little time baking with Lucas is completely ordinary it is also totally special as it’s something we manage to do just the two of us; a quick 15 minutes stolen when two little brothers are peacefully sleeping. As soon as he sees me setting up for baking he starts pestering, ‘get chair, get chair’ and he sets him self up in a prime position. He helps with measuring, the mixing and loves dolloping cookie dough onto the baking trays. All the way through this I am constantly telling him he can’t eat the mix…YET! I see him pretend to mix then look at me as he slowly lifts the spoon away from the bowl and towards his mouth then his confusion when I tell him he must finish the baking. Then finally that glorious moment when I have scraped out the last of the mixture, popped the baking trays in the oven and hand over the spoon. ‘Wowww’ is what I hear while he dances in excitement, hopping from one foot to the other while gripping the spoon for fear I will change my mind and take it from him. Instead I sneakily run off with the whisks before he can get to them too!
It’s taken eight weeks for me to brave the weather with three little ones on a solo walking trip but this week we made it out up to our local park. It must have taken close to half an hour to get us all ready but the weather was too nice to pass up the chance. Lucas is refusing to go on the buggy board so he’s having to get used to some long walks, I wonder how far we will have to go before he finally gives up and hops on. The twins were all wrapped up Lucas had rather independently put his hat on back to front and his gloves on the wrong hands and we remembered a little bag of monkey nuts to tempt the squirrels, one little chap was very friendly until Lucas starting squealing and running after him in delight. We had a quick play at the playground but it was getting cold so Lucas was happy to head home were we both had some warm blackcurrant juice and unwrapped two very cosy babies.
Despite the effort needed to actually make it out the front door I really did feel better for the fresh air and seeing Lucas back where he loves to go exploring always makes me smile. He often goes for walks with my mum but I’ve missed seeing my little adventurer out in the wide world and it’s lovely to get a little bit of that time back. It will just be that little bit easier when spring is truly with us and we don’t need quite so many layers!
These two are totally settled in now, to the point were it is hard to remember a time without them. As the weeks go on it’s lovely to start to get some interaction with them and we have plenty of smiles and gurgles. Is there anything better than a big grin when you suddenly appear in their eyeline? They seem desperate to get going, they are such wrigglers with legs and arms always on the go. Their little eyes follow us round the room and they constantly watch Lucas as he plays. They are getting used to a fair bit of mauling from Lucas and he brings them toys and teddies; he likes to hug them and now they are getting bigger he needs to be reminded to be gentle with them.
We’ve had 8 week jabs and another weigh in and check up. My husband took them to have their vaccinations as Lucas wasn’t well and one of us had to stay home with him, I completely wussed out as I hate seeing them have their injections but apparently there was only a whimper out of the pair of them. Brandon is now heavier at 9lbs14 and Arthur is 9lbs11, feeding has been going well but I really can’t wait for the end of the ‘windy’ period. It’s so difficult dealing with wind with two babies when I only have one pair of hands! Some days they are just so unsettled and it’s such a shame to see them in pain as I feel like they’ll be so much happier when this stage passes.
Night times are much better now they are only feeding once in the wee hours and as a rule they go down really well and sleep. The only thing I dread is bath and bedtime, urgh it is a nightmare! We have a bedtime routine but it is a little manic as most nights we have two crying babies, the only time they stop is when they are placed in the water and then it resumes again when they come out. Every now and again we have an amazing evening when they are both quiet, happy, relaxed; I have no idea what is different about these nights! It’s trying to reach that point were they are hungry enough to want to have a good feed before bed but not too hungry that they are frantic. On top of that Lucas needs to be bathed and settled down and it’s hardly the most relaxing environment. To be fair they always go down fine after the feed but by that point I am ready to scream. We just keep plodding along hoping it will improve as they get older, I know it does; Lucas cried at every single bathtime for a good six months! Part of it is us still finding our feet with a new routine and making sure that Lucas is still feeling secure, sometimes it seems that there aren’t enough hours in the day!
This is a subject which has been playing on my mind a lot recently and while I’m no means an expert, my own twin pregnancy was full of ups and downs, some tears, some laughter and a lot of smiles. Looking back over medical care I received there are things that have left me feeling like I should have armed myself with more information and stood up for myself, and my babies more fiercely. I don’t want this to be a post slating another hospital as I came across so many people who were amazing and one Doctor in particular was a saviour for us. However, we were given such little information, actually no information, when we discovered I was pregnant with twins that I thought it might be useful to do a round up of what we learned for ourselves going though the process.
- Read the NICE Guidelines on multiple pregnancies. The NICE Guidelines should be followed by all hospitals and you should give it a read to make sure you are aware of the care you entitled to so you can insist upon it if needed. I didn’t read these until 20 weeks when I realised I should have seen a specialist at 12 weeks and I wish I had read them sooner.
- Find out what type of twins (or other multiples) you are having. At your twelve week scan they should be able to tell you if you are expecting non-identical twins or identical twins. Non-identical twins have separate placentas and are in separate sacs, they will be in your notes as DCDA. Identical twins can either share a placenta and be in separate sacs (MCDA) or share a placenta and a sac (MCMA). You should also be aware that some twins that appear to be non-identical can still actually be identical but testing needs to be done after the birth to confirm this.
- Have an appointment with specialist or a consultant. This should happen with all multiple pregnancies but especially if you are expecting MCDA or MCMA twins. Please insist on seeing someone as soon as you know you are expecting twins, we didn’t and we really should have as it would have saved us a lot of worry. Don’t be afraid to ask for the care you entitled to as this is for the safety of yourself and the babies.
- Write a list of questions. You might think you are being a real pain by doing this but I can’t tell you how many times I came out of appointments forgetting to ask something. If you want to know something, write it down! You will forget things and even the littlest of things will be important to you.
- Ask about the hospital’s policy on multiple births. All hospitals should have a policy for your appointment and scan schedule, when to deliver twins, the type of delivery and the medical staff available. If you expecting identical twins expect to be seen and scanned every two weeks, non-identical is usually every four weeks. MCMA twins are usually delivered at 32/33 weeks, MCDA 36/37 weeks and DCDA 37/38 weeks and type of delivery can depend greatly on the type of pregnancy you’ve had; previous births, hospital policy and your own preference all play a part too.
- Ask about Doctors and/or Midwives who specialise in multiple pregnancies and births. Another thing I didn’t know to do but is really important as some hospitals have a dedicated multiple pregnancy team including Doctors, midwives and even sonographers (this can be really important if they aren’t sure what type of twins you are expecting). My hospital didn’t but by chance I saw a Doctor who had multiple experience and I requested to see him at all my appointments from then on, it made such a massive difference to my own care and helped me to overcome some the the worries I had.
- Consider visiting the Special Care Baby Unit. Special care may not be necessary for your twins but the facts are that half of all twins are born prematurely and therefore have a higher chance of needing some additional care. Some people like to visit the SCBU before hand so it isn’t as scary if any of your babies do need to that care. Bliss have some great information about premature births if there is a possibility your babies will arrive earlier that 37 weeks.
- Make contact with multiple groups/agencies. Depending on your area there may be special antenatal courses or twin groups that you can visit while pregnant to speak with other twin parents. I’d recommend visiting the TAMBA website who run groups and courses if you are struggling to find any provided by your hospital. We went to a Practical Preparing for Parenting run by them which was invaluable. If you become a member of TAMBA they also have a Twinline which you can call for advice.
- Research for yourself but be sensible. There is a wealth of information out there in books and on the internet but do try and avoid the horror stories, they are there for every pregnancy and even more so for multiple pregnancies. I found Babycentre had some useful articles and helpful, supportive forums. Don’t forget us bloggers too! There are lovely friendly twin parents out there blogging or even just on twitter and speaking from my own experience they are happy to help.
- Look after yourself and enjoy! Becoming a parent of twins or more is incredibly special, yes the pregnancy can be more complicated and you are monitored much more frequently but everything is in place to keep the pregnancy and birth as risk free as possible. Stand up for yourself at appointments and make use of professionals who have that extra knowledge and are willing to offer the extra support. Try to relax as much as possible and it will make the whole experience that bit easier!
You can read more about my twin pregnancy here and I’ll be writing up my birth story soon (before I forget the details!). After some bumps in the road I found an amazing Doctor I could put my trust in and he delivered my MCDA twin boys by elective c-section at 37 weeks exactly, they were 5lbs11oz and 5lb9oz and luckily needed no special care. We were back home after two days and they are now 8 weeks and thriving.
There is no getting away from the fact that there are extra risks associated with multiple pregnancies and births so it is important to know where you stand in regard to the care you should be receiving from your hospital, having said that being pregnant with twins is amazing; lets face it, to be able to have any babies is pretty incredible but having two (or more) is going the extra mile! Hopefully this will help you feel that extra bit prepared and reassured and if you are expecting or already have twins I’d love to hear about your experiences.
Earlier this month Kiddicare sent me a lovely little pack with some bits to get me started on keeping a Sleep Diary with my twins. As well as a diary for the babies and one for me there was a copy of Baby Sleeping Trust Techniques by Rebecca Welton. Even though the twins are my second babies there was so much I had forgotten about forging good sleep patterns and this book has given me a refresher with some great tips on babies sleep. The sleep deprivation hasn’t seemed as bad this time round but then I was expecting it (it was a BIG shock first time round) and I know there is light at the end of the tunnel!
I’ve been completing the diaries now for just over two weeks and they have been very useful for keeping track of what happens over 24 hours and has helped me to see were I might be going wrong. One of the first things I noticed is that the twins had a few days were we had a very grumpy bath and bedtime. Looking at the hours before this they were awake for much longer than I thought and it was easy to see that they had become over-tired by the time we wanted to settle them for the evening. Looking through the book I found a helpful section about nap times for babies; how much is needed, how to stop the cat naps and tips for encouraging good nap routines. This has been especially useful for me as my first was a terrible napper and I suspect much of that was my inexperience.
We started a bedtime routine with them quite early on, around two weeks old and as I’ve been filling in the sleep diary I can really see the benefit of this as they are gradually settling easier each evening and sleeping longer overnight. Again I found some tips in book and ideas for bedtime routines that helped to remind me of some of the tricks that worked with my first. We take both boys upstairs for a bath, a baby massage, a quiet feed in a darkened room then a final kiss and cuddle before we settle them down in their cot. When they are a little older we’ll add the bedtime story in; my eldest already has several bedtime stories so I’m looking forward to snuggling up with all three of my boys before bedtime.
Looking over my diary I could see that was actually getting a reasonable amount of sleep, sometimes six hours but it was split up over the night which was obviously making me feel worse. This last week we’ve really made an effort to get the daytime naps sorted, make sure the daytime feeds are good amounts and we’ve moved them to only having one feed overnight. Its amazing what a few hours of uninterrupted sleep can do for you! Let’s face it sometimes you just have a bad night and there seems no rhyme or reason but at least if I’m consistent in my sleep techniques I feel a bit more in control and hopeful that the next night will be better.
Kiddicare are running a competition on their blog to win a copy of Baby Sleeping Trust Techniques and they will also be posting extracts from our sleep diaries so keep a look out over the coming months!
Splitting my time and affections between three little ones isn’t easy but every now and again I have moments with each of them that remind me that I’m as important to them as they are to me.
Once a week Lucas goes with his Grandma to our playgroup (while I’m still trying to pluck up the courage to go with the twins) and I get to spend the morning with my twin boys. These mornings are lazy and quiet and they are able to have my full attention for a few hours. I try not to do anything in this time other than enjoy their company; the dishes can wait and I’ll find another time to tidy the toys away but this time is special, just for us three. I snapped this photo on my phone while Brandon was having a cuddle on my knee. He was happily sat there playing with my fingers and watching me talk to him. The tiniest of moments that seem all the more special because unfortunately they are rare.
Sometimes I can’t help but feel that I don’t give any of them the time that they deserve but even grabbing a few precious minutes to hold Brandon’s hand, sing to Arthur or dance with Lucas can make them smile and that is what I remember as I sit down at the end of the day. It’s something I hope I always remember when these days pass and my beautiful boys grow up, that I could make them smile just by being their Mummy.
The lovely people at Wauwaa have sent us this cute little guy, he has been living with us this past week and has provided hours of play and entertainment for a very happy little toddler in our house. As soon as he arrived, packaged in a little box with his face peeking through the window, Lucas took to him. Once he was out,we realised how amazingly soft he is and lovely and tactile with little tags on his arm and legs.
He has arrived at the perfect time for us; with our new additions Lucas has trying to look after his soft toys just like he sees us look after the babies. The Indian Bro is perfect as he can be dressed up in his outfit; he’s very hugable and it’s easy for little hands to move him around. Lucas likes to hug him close against his cheek and walks him around our living room while taking his headband on and off. I love that it’s great for his fine motor skills and encourages plenty of imaginative play from Lucas; he looks into his face while he talks to him and quite often he takes him off ‘flying’ on a tour of the house. He is quite different from most soft toys as he has different parts to explore, different materials, the feely tags and the removable clothes and headband mean that Lucas interacts with him much more than other toys. I think Snoozebaby products are totally different and unique, the Dutch brand has a range of products all focusing on being super soft with different fabrics. The Indian Bro Dress up Doll has been a total hit with Lucas; I wasn’t sure how much he would take to him as he isn’t like anything else we have but he has leapt up into prime spot at bedtime so I think it’s safe to call him a favourite.
Wauwaa are a Snoozebaby retailer and their products will be avaiable from the 17th February as part of their Toy Week. Head on over and check them out as they offer some amazing prices on brands that really stand out.
Disclaimer – We were sent the Snoozebaby Indian Bro free of charge to review. All thoughts and opinions are mine and Lucas’.
This week has been a bit of a turning point, we have had smiles out of both boys and they are so much more alert. Those first smiles are so special, a true sign that you have an emotional connection to your baby and have really been heart warming in the middle of a tough week. They are starting to grab at things and their eyes follow us as we move around. They also seem to focus on each other a lot and when we lie them next to each other they seem to be reaching out to the other twin, I wonder how long it will be before they are grabbing and pinching!
The feeds are still going well and the thicker milk seems to have stopped the worst of the reflux. They still bring milk back up now and again but as they are both still gaining weight (rapidly) I’m happy to stick to this rather than go onto something medicated. Brandon now weighs 8lbs8 and is 52cm long and Arthur is 8lbs11 and 53cm long. I wonder if they will always be so similar, I’m just so pleased how quickly they are gaining but I don’t worry too much about the centiles as the averages are based on singleton babies so surely not very useful when compared to multiples but nevermind.
I can’t really complain about how easily they sleep but they do wake like clockwork, every three hours for a feed so I’ll be feeling more perky when they stretch that out. Still, the fact that they go down in the night a sleep until the next feed means we get a couple of precious hours sleep which can make all the difference.
This week I’ve been feeling a bit like I’m just on a treadmill of changing and feeding, there never seems to be time to fit anything else in! Inbetween feeds I’ll wash and sterilise bottles then feed or play with Lucas and before I know it we are back to a feed again; it has been exhausting and it is starting to hit both of us. There is no let up for either one of us as we both do the night feeds and we have both felt under the weather this week. I remember 8 weeks being a bit of a turning point for Lucas thought so I think we’ve done ok getting this far without major tiredness setting in! This has probably been the hardest week so far but even then I wouldn’t change a thing, it still feels so, so special to have two babies!