The T-W-I-N-S Method for Thriving with Multiples + $100 OFF Package

Because twins are not easy, and YES, two is so much more than one

by Krystle Gard

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My twins are almost four, and I am constantly thinking that I should write something about having twins. But when I stop and think back on those early days, I can barely remember anything. I was so sleep deprived that I ended up with postpartum depression when my twins were eight months old. So, I don't have any flowery words about the wonders of twins. What I do have is practical advice, that I like to call the T-W-I-N-S Method, that will help you thrive during the first year, so you can enjoy all of the many sweet moments amidst the chaos.

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As hard it can be to admit we need help...admit you need help! We often feel we have to do it all ourselves - I certainly did. But we don’t have to. I wish a friend would have recommended a postpartum doula, or a family member who doesn't live close by would have bought me a gift certificate for some postpartum doula hours. It would have been life changing. Partners are wonderful and are priceless. And at some point you both need sleep and support. Imagine for a second… a wonderful, kind woman comes to your door. She sends you off for a nap, engages your older child (if you have one) in something fun while she washes, dries, and folds a load of laundry. She feeds the babies and preps some food for dinner. Then, with her help, you set a new record for getting everyone out of the house in under 36.8 minutes. Every twin mom, whether their twins are their first babies or not, deserves that kind of support.

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Looking back, this could have really changed how that first year went. I decided at some point I was going to follow the advice and “never wake a sleeping baby.” With my babies on opposite waking schedules, this meant I woke every two hours to feed one of the babies for 11 months, which really translates as For. Ever. This is where I lost all my sleep. Take it from me: Dream Feed* the twin that doesn’t wake up. It will save your sanity.

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You are going to hear the same things over and over: “Are they twins?” “Are they identical?” “Wow, you must have your hands full.” Or my favorite: “I don’t know how you do it.” If you get bothered every time you hear one of these comments, you will be stressed all.the.time. Accept that you will hear at least one of these each time you go out - and just let it go.

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To save time and give yourself more freedom, try to feed your twins at the same time. This may seem impossible, but practice makes perfect. There are a couple of great nursing pillow options** and several positions to accomplish this. Hiring a lactation consult is a fantastic way to get the help, support and knowledge you’ll need to feel comfortable nursing both at one time. A postpartum doula can help with bottle feeding, and she’ll come armed with a ton of pro tips and ideas to make it as easy and streamlined as possible. With some practice, you’ll be able to feed like a champ, even in public.

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Sleep deprivation is no joke. We don’t realize how bad it is when we are in it, and it can compromise relationships with our partners, older children, other family members and friends. Getting one or two nights a week of good sleep, or 4-5 consecutive hours of sleep in each 24-hour period, is absolutely necessary. Having a friend or family member come to help with feedings and baby care for an overnight once or twice a week in the early weeks can be a lifesaver. If you don’t have friends or family able or willing to help out some nights, look for outside support -  hiring a postpartum doula will give you the freedom to get a good night’s sleep while trusting your babies are in good hands. Plus a postpartum doula can also do some light housework and meal prep!

Twins are amazing and so adorable. My boys are now starting to call each other their “best friend,” which makes my heart melt into a happy puddle of mama-love. Twins are such a blessing - and when you have the support you need in those first few months, you can create some of the best memories of your life.

*Dream feeding refers to feeding your babies while they are sleeping, such that you can sleep more, too. You can dream feed just before you go to bed, or throughout the night if they wake up on different schedules. Read tips here and here to learn more.

**Krystle’s favorite nursing pillow for twins is the Twin Z Pillow. The My Brest Friend for Twins is also popular.

Krystle Gard is a postpartum doula with Bridgetown Baby in Portland, Oregon. When she isn’t writing or supporting other families during their 4th trimester, she is hopefully outdoors somewhere beautiful with her three young boys (including 3 year-old twins) and husband.

 

This Mother’s Day, Give Yourself the Gift of Support

For those families who need it the most, we are offering our Multiples Package at a $100 discount for the month of May - $1,190 (Regular rate $1,290)

The Multiples Package includes two 9-hour nighttime shift and three 4-hour daytime shift for two or more babies born within six months of each other.

Multiple babies are without a doubt, overwhelming and exhausting. They also give more smiles and snuggles as they grow. It may not always feel like it, but a family is very lucky to have multiple babies. A postpartum doula helps a family feel lucky. First and foremost, she helps the family sleep, which makes everything else better. 

A postpartum doula will do everything she normally does; support the mother’s recovery, provide healthy cooking, laundry and light housekeeping, plus teach valuable skills that will make it easier to feed, bathe and wear two babies. A postpartum doula can teach the parent/s, grandparents, and other caregivers. It’s a Party/It Takes a Village: The Multiples Package is an invaluable gift for every family expecting multiple babies, but especially those without extended family close by.

C.V.’s Story: Double Twins Dad!

by Kari Hastings

Photo credit: Nicole Wasko Photography

Photo credit: Nicole Wasko Photography

Stay-at-home dad C.V. already had 4-year-old twins (the bigs) when his second set of twins, boys Carlyle and Sebastian (the littles), were born in fall of 2015. He had forgotten what it was like to have two babies at once, but reality hit full force those first few months. And this time, the infants’ round-the-clock needs were compounded by having two other young children.

“Having twins, again, for me as a Dad … was overwhelming,” says C.V., who quit his job as a pastor to stay home after his first twins, a boy and girl, were born. “In my fuzzy memory, it was as though I was reliving a bad dream.”

Overnight, life turned into an endless rotation of diapering, swaddling, feeding, sleeping and bottle-washing. Competing with these demands were C.V.’s older children, who needed to be fed, entertained, bathed and parented. The sleep deprivation was brutal. The mental exhaustion was punishing. C.V. knew he and his wife, Stacy, needed help.

Stacy’s friend referred them to Bridgetown Baby, and a Go Fund Me account helped them purchase 36 overnights over a six-month period. The help, in the form of postpartum doulas Merriah Fairchild and Emily Darley Hill, brought a measure of sanity back to the household.

The North Portland father says although well-meaning family and friends tried to help, the complex feeding system and efforts to sync the twins’ feeding and napping schedules was difficult to navigate. But when he explained everything to Bridgetown Baby’s doulas, they not only got it, they helped him achieve his goals with professional guidance and seamless care.

“We continue to be in over our heads,” C.V. says, laughing. “But I look back on those overnights with such a sense of gratitude. They made me feel like I could keep going. I really don’t know what we would have done without them.”

What would he tell other parents about to welcome twins into their families?

“Know that you will get to the end of yourself,” C.V. says. “You need to prepare yourself to ask and to receive help. With Bridgetown Baby, you can trust your babies will be well taken care of. It’s a very significant release to be able to hand them over with peace of mind. Just know that when you are at your end, Bridgetown Baby is hope and support … and sleep.”

Carmen and Anand’s Story: Managing Multiples & Reflux

by Kari Hastings

Photo credit: Clicks by Suzanne

Photo credit: Clicks by Suzanne

When Carmen and Anand’s twin daughters made their debut in October 2016, the couple got initiated into baby land – times two. “Neither of us had any experience with babies, like zero,” Carmen says. “The first time Anand held a baby was when he held our girls.”

Going from zero to 60 overnight was intense, and both Carmen and Anand say they couldn’t have done it without Bridgetown Baby’s Welcome Home and overnight packages. Carmen had a cesarean birth at 34 weeks. Her babies, Anais and Amara, spent 20 days in the Neonative Intensive Care Unit, which she describes as “baby boot camp.” “We learned a ton from the NICU nurses,” she says. “But it’s different when you’re home with them, and you have to figure out what to do.”

Anais, born at just 3 pounds 12 ounces, had significant reflux issues and screamed in pain after every feeding. Bridgetown Baby postpartum doulas Merriah Fairchild, Rose Otter and Catherine Akerson Bailey all worked with the twins, demonstrating how to get them to breastfeed and bottle-feed at the same time, and how to massage their tiny bellies to relieve pressure, burp them and wear them around the house in a wrap. The doulas also assisted with practical things, like setting up an organized bottle-feeding system and figuring out which bottles and nipples worked best.

Anand says having their input was calming

“I’m a research-oriented person,” he says. “I do a ton of reading and look up everything online. I was able to just let go, save up my questions and ask the professionals when they showed up every week. It really helped our relationship with the babies and our relationship with each other.”

Carmen says the “overnights” were the best.

“Those overnights were a godsend,” she says. “We just bought it like it was another resource. It’s really not a luxury item. It’s a need to have, not a want. Merriah would leave the next morning, and the babies and I would be happy and rested, the kitchen would look great, lactation cookies would be baked and breakfast would be on the table.

“The biggest gifts they gave us were confidence and peace of mind. Our postpartum doulas really were a bridge to our new life.”