The one thing my doctor told me to keep in mind is that you are eating, breathing, drinking for three people so you need to be very cautious with what you do. Same as with a singleton pregnancy, you have to maintain your own personal health to be able to ensure the health of your babies.
There are three essential things that you need to do during your pregnancy;
1) Rest-Sleep is essential in maintaining a healthy pregnancy. Feeling drained comes naturally due to your body working hard to grow two incredible little beings. Remember, sleep is a necessity!
2) Drink lots and LOTS of fluids-Water is vital in a healthy pregnancy especially if the weather is hot. Drinking water helps avoid constipation and urinary tract infections, as well as water retention.
3) Eat Healthy- As most moms know, the babies take the nutrients they need first and leave you with the remainder so its important to eat healthy foods with a lot of folic acid. My physician prescribed medication just to ensure I was getting enough folic acid in addition to the prenatal pills with an omega 3 vitamin.
If your like me, you may be on bed rest for some extent of your pregnancy. As hard as it may be to relax, it is important to follow doctor orders. After all, the sole purpose for rest is to keep those buns in your oven as long as possible. Kick your feet up and enjoy being catered too. Its not everyday that you can be waited on hand and foot.
Once your little angels begin eating table food, it’s like a new world has opened for them. They want to eat everything you put in your mouth and even try to eat things that don’t belong in their mouths. This is the perfect time to get them accustomed to healthy eating, feeding them lots of fruits and vegetables. Salt and sugar are just additives that we have grown to be accustomed too, but your little ones pallets are fresh and new and doesn’t need to be introduced to them so young. Natural sweetness from fruits are all the sweet they need and you may find the healthier the food you feed them, the more it forces you to make better eating decisions.
Now I’m no dietitian but I have learned how to eat better. This came in handy when it was time to lose that post partum baby weight. As important as it was for me, and the babies since I was nursing, I found it was crucial when I began feeding my little angels table food. As with any baby, they want whatever goes into mom’s mouth. If what you have is of nutritional value, that is what they will learn to desire.
Starting off at about 5 months, I fed my little darlings Gerber ® fruits and vegetables. At first they were willing to consume whatever I fed them, but once they became acquainted with the food, they became keen of some and not so keen of others. I continued to purchase baby fruits and vegetables while integrating more solids into their diet. By 10 months I no longer purchased baby food because they became more interested in what was on my plate than theirs. This held true when it came to drinking as well. I would allow them to have watered down cranberry and apple juice once a day along with water and breast milk.
I paid great attention to the type of food they were consuming and quickly found they enjoyed green beans, asparagus (surprisingly), corn, sweet potatoes, watermelon, grapes, ziti, brown rice and beans. As with anything with twins, they won’t always like the same things. My daughter loves broccoli and chicken while my son isn’t the greatest fan. Though they have a good diet, I have allowed them to taste cake and cookies and of course they LOVED it, but that is an occasional thing. As with anything balance is the key, and if you start off right they won’t desire anything but the good. Give your little ones a good start and it will take them far.
As mom, you need to keep yourself in the best health possible. Keep in mind the basics; wash your hands often, stay away from people who are sick or even think they may be, and always practice respiratory etiquette. I’m a firm believer in being proactive rather than reactive so I suggest taking vitamin C to boast your immune system even before you feel the onset of a cold. Drinking a glass of orange juice everyday is a great way to get your vitamin C ( check out http://nutritiondata.self.com for other fruits high in vitamin C). Taking echinacea (a natural herb) at the start of a cold can help boast your immune system and even help eliminate cold symptoms. I also encourage you to eat as healthy as possible incorporating lots of colorful fruits and vegetables into your diet. Getting enough rest allows your body to be at its best at all times. This is important ESPECIALLY if your nursing.
If you do get sick, the one benefit is that you pass along antibodies to your babies for that specific virus to help build their developing immune system. Remember your little ones are consuming whatever you eat and drink so make it count.
Traveling with babies can already be cumbersome, but when you have two babies it can become down right difficult. Hopefully you are a supermom of twins that fall asleep the moment the car starts moving and will only wake up to eat. If that supermom is you, I surely do envy because if your like me, your little sweethearts want to be held, and entertained along with the normal eat and be changed during a long car ride.
The first trip we took with the babies was for family get together in New Jersey. It was a six hour car ride and they were 3 months at the time. Being a breastfeeding mom, it took a little more work on my part to keep them calm and satisfied. At that time they were nursing every 3 to 4 hours, and my daughter (that little diva) refused to take the pacifier and would only nurse to sleep unlike my son who would sleep just fine with a pacifier. After a few times of taking them out the car seat, nursing them and getting them comfortable, they finally fell asleep with only 3 hours left of the trip. In hindsight, it wasn’t that bad of a ride. The only thing that made the trip challenging was the lack of space to comfortably nurse.
At 10 months, we took a trip to Albany which thankfully was only a 3.5 hour trip. This time the trip went a little differently. They did not want to just sleep and eat, instead they wanted to stand, look around, and see the fascinating scenery. Entertaining them was most of the battle. Since they were on table food, I could feed them in the car seats and give them their sippy cups to satisfy them until I could nurse. Thankfully I had them on a sleep schedule so around the time we left they slept a good portion of the ride. Trying not to throw off their schedule too much, when we arrived I continued our normal routine which was to bathe them, nurse them and lay them down to sleep through the night. Surprising enough, this did work and even when we returned home they maintained their regular sleep schedule.
Though somewhat challenging at times, from each trip I learned a few things;
- For smaller babies, make sure you make their car seat as comfortable as possible. Place a plush blanket behind them and on the sides to keep them in place. When the car hits a bump you don’t want to disrupt their sleep so make sure they are secured in the midst comfortable fashion.
- If nursing, nurse one at a time and make sure they are well satisfied so you don’t have to constantly take them out the car seat or have to pull over to nurse.
- Drap their car seats with a light blanket (a receiving blanket) to shield them from the sun if traveling during the day. Though car seats have visors, some babies need darkness to sleep so a light blanket can do wonders.
- For older babies, bring lots of entertainment such as their favorite small toys, DVD player if they have a favorite tv show and snacks to keep them happy. The best toy for them often times is you mommy so get your best funny faces and tickle fingers ready. As with younger babies, you want to keep them as comfy as possible, so bring a nice blanket to help them cuddle into and hopefully sleep will be sure to follow
As another supermom once told me, it only gets easier, so as always enjoy the journey where you are and make the most of the time you share.
Now I already know your saying to yourself, “I barely have enough time to pee, let alone romance.” As accurate as this thought may be in early months, it is still very important to maintain the relationship with your honey as you did prior to becoming a “supermom.” Though you may not go out as often, or “romance” as frequently as before the babies, it’s still important to work that back into your lives. You would be surprised what a little “one on one” time can do to boost your energy and change your attitude for the better.
In early months, spending time together for us meant watching t.v while I nursed the babies to sleep. If we were lucky, my husband and I also got the opportunity to eat together:-). Once the babies were about 3 months, we went on actual dates and even met up with friends for the evening (Thank God for grandma’s). At 10 months, we are FINALLY able to get back to our normal routine now that the babies have a set bedtime. Just like I cherish all the moments I spend with my children, I cherish even more the time I spend with my husband because he gave me the greatest gift of all; becoming a mommy.
Never forget your men supermoms. They need love and attention the same way your children need it. Love them as you want to be loved and everyday as the love for your children grow, so will the bond between you and your husband.
Having twins can definitely be time consuming, so much so that it may seem as though you have no time to spend with your older children. Well I say “Make time”. It can be hard for your older children, depending on their age, to understand how much your new little joys are dependent upon you. My son was 6 when my twins were born and was surprisingly understanding of my time once I explained to him what I needed to do for them on a daily basis. As understanding as he was, my first love still had his moments when he would become quite discouraged when I couldn’t play at a moments notice, or when he had to quietly play with his toys because I was putting the babies to sleep.
As patient as my little boy was with me, I still wanted him to know that he was not forgotten and still held a VERY special place in mommy’s heart. Prior to the babies birth it had been just the three of us, so we decided to pick him up early one day from school and treat him to lunch at his favorite pizza place and a movie. Needless to say, he LOVED it and was appreciative of the time we spent with him.
On the weekend when dinner and a movie weren’t an option we have what we call “sleep overs”. During our “sleep over” we spread covers on the floor in the front room, watch t.v, eat snacks, and laugh and play until we fall to sleep. My son LOVES this and I love the quality time I get to spend just him and I. Seeing him smile brightens my day, so knowing how special our “sleep overs” are to him is quite rewarding.
Whatever you do, make time for your older children. Let them know how special they are to you and that no matter how many more children you have, their place in your heart will only and forever belong to them.
When your milk first comes in it can be quite uncomfortable. Your body creates an abundance of milk and takes a little while to adjust to your newborns feeding needs (in most cases). Once your milk comes in, you want to make sure to feed or pump promptly. Failing to do so can lead to clogged milk ducts that if not relieved can result in mastitis (infection in the breast). If your a first time mom, you may wonder how you’ll know your milk ducts have become clogged. All I can say is “YOU WILL KNOW”! The first time my breast became engorged (heavy and tender from an abundance of milk production) I was at wedding reception. I left and went promptly to the ladies room to pump. After releasing all the milk I could, I still felt milk in my breast that I couldn’t relieve even after pumping for a half hour. I felt a very uncomfortable pain/pressure under my armpit and knew right away I had a clogged milk duct. So what to do when this happens? Use a hot pack to help release the milk. If you don’t have a hot pack take a nice warm shower. This along with massaging your breast should help unclog the milk for you to feed or pump. After the milk is released, you will most likely still feel some tenderness. A cold ice pack helps to relieve the pain. Try using a frozen pack of vegetables if you have no ice pack. My physician suggested taking Tylenol® to assist with pain relief. The soreness from a clogged milk duct lasted for about a day for me. Since my twins birth, I’ve have about 3 clogged ducts in the same breast and this regiment has worked for me. Lucky for me I have never had mastitis, but from close friends and relatives who have and from watching them it’s definitely not something you want to experience. Mastitis is not only inflammation and soreness in the breast but it’s also accompanied by flu-like symptoms. This needs to be taken seriously so call your physician immediately. In some cases medicine is necessary and if bad enough, hospitalization may be necessary. To avoid any complications follow these few guidelines;
- Feed or pump often as to not risk becoming engorged.
- If you miss a feeding, pump or feed as soon as possible and make sure you have relieved your breast of all the milk.
- Wear a comfortable and supportive bra making sure it is not too tight.
In the event that a cold arises, first thing to do is drink lots of fluids to keep your body hydrated. As always, speak with your physician or pharmacist to determine what medications they recommend, especially if your nursing as to not interfere with milk production or even more harm your babies. I was told to take Tylenol® for fever and Sudafed® for sinus pressure, sore throat and headaches. Gargling with warm salt water can also help a sore throat as well.
For a more natural approach I suggest taking ALJ® made by Natures Sunshine (www.naturessunshine.com) which provides respiratory support. I have taken this herb and it works WONDERS! Even more than actual medication at times. Lastly, rest as much as possible. This is the time to enlist the help of others so that you can try and rest. Allow your body to work and fight the cold off so that you can get back to being Supermom.
Though getting a cold sucks, its even worse when you have little people to take care of. Wash your hands consistently to avoid spreading your cold to your little ones. As cute as their little cheeks are, resist the temptations to kiss them until your cold has passed. The one benefit of being a nursing mom and catching a cold is that you pass along the antibodies of that particular cold virus which boosts their little immune system.
Being a mom can have its moments when you just need a breather, especially when dealing with little babies. Just like any person, babies have mood swings as well and your the lucky one who gets to deal with their emotional roller coasters while still dealing with your own. It wouldn’t be so bad if your little angels could express themselves with words, but until then crying is their main form of communication.
So what to do on those days when you wish you could just run and hide? Take a breath and remind yourself that this wont last always. I know it sounds easier said than done but BELIEVE me it works! When my babies bombard me with the trail of tears I just look at their precious little wet faces and remind myself how lucky I am because not everyone is fortunate to have children but God saw fit to give me two. Once that reality hits me, I change my attitude, pick up my little loves and focus on making them smile and laugh. Positivity attracts positivity and your little ones can sense it.
But what happens on those days when your optimistic thoughts aren’t enough to get you by? Take a break. This is when dad, grandparents and friends come in handy. Drop the babies off or have someone come over and take a few hours for you. For me a nice nap can sometimes do the trick. If no one is available, place the babies in a safe place, such as their crib, and take a few moments to relax. Its completely natural to feel this way SOMETIMES, but if these feelings persist don’t be ashamed consult your physician. Woman are hormonal by nature and sometimes your problem could be physiological.
Regardless of the issue, just know that this too shall pass and sooner than later this will be nothing but a distant memory.