Nursing Pillows for Multiples

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Posted by vera | Posted in Gear, Parenting | Posted on 20-11-2017

Nursing Pillow for MultiplesNote from BabiesInBelly: We are excited to share with you this guest post from our friend and registered nurse, Angela Grant Buechner. This post has not been compensated for in any way nor do we have any affiliation with products mentioned in the article. With that out of the way, onto the good stuff!
 

Do you REALLY need a nursing pillow if you’re having twins?

…. Yes! As you are getting ready to welcome your new babies into the world, you may have started to look at ALL your options for supplies, gadgets and gear that promise to make your first few months with multiples easier. When planning to breastfeed multiples, you may have taken courses or read about tandem feeding in football and cradle positions, but what about nursing pillows? Are they really necessary?  Which one is best? I am a mother of three exclusively breastfed children, but I will be completely honest… they came out one at a time! I have not personally breastfed twins, but I have helped countless families with multiples to breastfeed and to develop manageable breastfeeding plans over 15 years in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit as a Nurse and Lactation Consultant (LC). I have also cared for families with multiples as a Birth Doula, Postpartum Doula, private practice Lactation Consultant and educator, so I promise, I will tell you what I’ve seen that works! Lots of LC’s will tell mothers that they shouldn’t use nursing pillows because they can interfere with achieving a ‘perfect latch’. Mothers need to be able to bring baby on to the breast deeply, so they assume that resting on a pillow will cause baby to slip down and be too far away from mom.

I disagree.

I am currently still breastfeeding my third child, and I don’t want to have to hold my kid’s head without support! You can still ensure a deep latch on to the breast, but can learn to use nursing pillows and rolled blankets as needed to keep your there! Especially with twins, it is very helpful to have the right nursing pillow to help support your arms and wrists in the optimal position. This works for moms of triplets too, but we’ll talk about twins because you can still only nurse two babies at a time!

What pillow is my favorite?

(I promise this is an unpaid recommendation – there is no affiliate link nor has anyone been compensated for this blog post!) …it’s the BrestFriend Twin Nursing Pillow, and here’s why! First, I think that firm & flat is best. Soft, squishy, curved pillows tend to ‘sink’ and babies can slip down into the contour of the pillow and make positioning uncomfortable. If a pillow is too soft then moms also tend to lean over to reach baby with their breast, and they get sore back and neck muscles. More importantly, poor positioning can lead to sore nipples if the latch isn’t deep enough! Baby could also slip off the pillow since it’s curved, so you need to be careful. Second, you need a strap! A strap that can clip around your waist to prevent the pillow from slipping away from you is a must. Constant repositioning of curved pillows that slide off your lap is NOT helpful when you’re trying to get baby in a good position for feeding! Adjustable straps are great for all sizes and you can adjust it if you eventually get smaller again after birth! You can even clip it on before you sit down, so you don’t need to hold on to it at the same time you’re trying to pick up babies. Third, it needs to be big. You have more than one baby, and you may need to use several positions for nursing. You need extra room, so a twin pillow is amazing. Some twin pillows are wide enough that they won’t fit into every chair, so make sure you have considered that, or you’ll always have to sit on the couch! It can be helpful if you try it out in different places before the babies arrive, just so you can get a feel for it.

Bonus features:

The wrap around back support is a bonus, since it keeps you from slouching, and kind of forces you to have good posture. Back strain is really common as you’re learning good positioning and getting comfortable with breastfeeding, so leaning back and putting your feet up can also really help. There’s a little pocket attached that is great! It may seem trivial at first, but having somewhere to hold your phone, bottle of vitamin D drops, water bottle or chocolate bar (hee hee) so you can reach it once you’re finally settled under your babies, is so convenient! Now the different patterns that are available are fun, so I’m sure everyone has an opinion on that. I live in the West end of Toronto and my favourite local baby shop carries the BrestFriend Twin Pillow (among other lovely things), so if you get the chance you can stop by DiaperEez if you’re in the Bloor West Village area, or you can even buy it online! https://diaper-eez.com/ Also, please feel free to reach out if you need help before or after your babies are born, because I believe that breastfeeding is so worth it in the end, but it takes determination, practice, education, help and time to get there! Breastfeeding twins can be a challenge, especially at the beginning (just like with all babies!) but remember that even if things don’t start out ‘perfectly’, breastfeeding can still be part of the plan! In case you wondered, I have known moms who have been able to exclusively breastfeed twins and triplets… so go for it!
Angela Grant Buechner, BA, BScN, RN, IBCLC is a Registered Nurse, an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), a Pregnancy/Birth and Postpartum Doula and an Educator who has spent over 20 years working with babies and their families. Angela is the owner of Nutmeg Consulting – Expert Care for Birth Babies & Breastfeeding , a Private practice which provides in-home and hospital support. Angela has also worked at Mount Sinai Hospital for 15 years as a Nurse/Lactation Consultant in the NICU. Angela has taught ‘Breastfeeding for Health Care Professionals’, Public Health Prenatal classes and has published a textbook chapter about the challenges of breastfeeding in the NICU. Angela is the mother of three cute children, and is passionate about helping mothers reach their breastfeeding goals, and helping them to cope with and enjoy the process of pregnancy, labour/birth and the newborn period!

Planning Ahead with Multiples: A Glimpse Into the Future

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Posted by vera | Posted in Parenting, Twins or Multiple Birth Pregnancy | Posted on 03-07-2015

When you’re pregnant with twins, triplets or more, it can be hard to imagine parenting teenage multiples. And yet, before you know it, you’ll be sitting at the doctor’s office with two 11-year-olds, wondering what happened to those two screaming newborns, and who these smiling, boisterous per-adolescents are!

Twins Relationships

IMG_9652One thing we always tried to do with our baby and toddler twins is to foster a healthy, “mature dependent” relationship. It’s a fine balance when raising multiples… too much time together, and you get closely coupled twins, triplets or more, who struggle with their self identity. Yet too much time apart can create extreme individuals, who negate or try to dominate their twin-ship.

Bigger Babies, Longer Stretches Apart

When our monozygotic twins were babies, we took care to provide some one:one time with each baby. As they grew into toddler twins, we ensured some “singleton time” at least once a week with each child. Sometimes I spent an afternoon with Twin A, while their dad spent time with Twin B, or vice versa. At other times, we would leave one twin at daycare for the day, and both parents would have “special day” together with the other twin, spending time at the park or the zoo or the swimming pool with just one child.

By the time they were three years old, our twins were taking short overnight trips with each of us. One summer I took a twin to the Montreal Jazz festival for three days while their dad hung out in Toronto with the other twin, and then the Montreal twin got special time with Dad while I spent a few nights camping out at the Toronto Islands with his brother.

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

This year, our boys will be spending their longest stretch apart: One of them has chosen to spend a full week at overnight camp north of the city, while the other preferred to stay here in town and spend the week improving his chess game with a family friend. The extended hug goodbye captured in the photo above was self directed; they clearly needed to share a physical sign of affection with one another before parting ways for the week!

Two days after his brother left, Twin A wrote and mailed a long letter sharing all the highlights of their time apart to date. And this from a kid who rarely writes outside of school!!

Thinking Ahead, and Parenting with Intention

As you prepare for the arrival of your little ones, consider how you will enjoy and celebrate their twinship, and how you will best foster their individual personalities. Thinking ahead can help you parent your twins, triplets or more with a view to avoiding the closely coupled or extreme individual ends of the multiples relationship continuum, and an emphasis on raising mature dependents.

Happy Twins Parenting!

Playtime with Multiples: Frugal and Fun

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Posted by vera | Posted in Books, Parenting, School | Posted on 30-12-2014

Parenting twins, triplets or more can be an expensive adventure.  If you think double (or triple) diapers and onesies are breaking the bank, just wait until two or more babies become twin or triplet toddlers:  All the companies that tried to convince you that you needed two (or three) Baby Bjorns, two bouncy chairs and two baby bathtubs will now be vying for your hard-earned dollars in exchange for all the latest baby toys.

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Alex and Simon

But there are ways around this, and they can be quite creative!

Lindsay, a teacher and mother of two, blogs here about making a family board book for her little one.  

Alex and Simon loved looking and pointing at books and photos when they were little, and I wish I had thought to repurpose old board books from yard sales in this fashion!

Dec 2014 colour matchy

Reblogged from FunkyLindsay.com

Another idea from Funky Lindsay is the colour matching game.  She paints the inside of a compartmentalised box with certain colours, and puts little toys and trinkets of matching colours in each compartment. 

Little ones love to sort and match items, and this is a great way to foster colour recognition and encourage clean up for toddler twins or triplets.  Miniature versions of the toy could be made with only two or three colours, and each twin gets a different set of colours.

Parenting multiples can be a blur, especially when they’re young.  Making toys and games with and for your toddler twins is an excellent way not only to save money, but also to keep materialism in check while bonding with your babies and beginning to foster a healthy family relationship with the environment by practising environmentally friendly playtime.

What is it about sleep and kids?!

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Posted by vera | Posted in Parenting, School, Sleep | Posted on 30-11-2014

If you are in the midst of newborn chaos with multiples, and are still trying to acclimatise to sleep deprivation, I am sorry to report that the sleep issues continue well into childhood!  Alex and Simon are nearly 8, and we adults still crave more sleep!!!

Even when they were babies, the boys consistently woke up around 5 or 5:30 a.m.  It was maddening!  Happy was the day they were old enough to recognize numbers, and we go them their very own alarm clock with great pomp and circumstance, and trained them to STAY IN THEIR BEDS until the first number was a 6!!! Read the rest of this entry »

Twins Beginning School – TO Separate or NOT to Separate?

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Posted by vera | Posted in Letters, Parenting, School | Posted on 30-11-2014

separate twins at schoolHere is an interesting letter from a mother of twins. I thought it may be useful to share her letter, and my answers, with our readers. Note: Minor grammar edits have been made for a smoother read.

Dear Vera,

I hope your boys are doing great!

I have questions re: twins & education. I always thought I’d want to keep the girls together, at least for kindergarden. They start JK next September.

I’m starting to change my mind and wanted to know what you think.

Twin A is precocious. She’s super smart, driven to learn, obsessive about doing things right… and loves rules. She’s very social and loves being with other kids.

Twin B is creative, relaxed… does things at her own pace. She has a poor sense of direction and can’t find something, even if it’s right in front of her. She likes playing and having fun with other kids, but isn’t as intense about being with others. She’s happy on her own.

A’s turned into a huge boss and tattletale with B. B can’t move without A telling her she’s doing things wrong. You can’t ask B something without A answering. B tends to repeat herself if she doesn’t think you’ve sufficiently acknowledged her statement – and A will report that “B said something twice, mommy.”

I’m starting the think that B would be better off being in a separate class right off the bat. I think she could use a few hours a day without A breathing down her neck.

Do you think it’s bad to split them right out of the gate?

(Adrienne, mother of twin girls, age 4, and baby, 18 months)

Answer:

Read the rest of this entry »

To Pump or Not to Pump

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Posted by vera | Posted in Birth, Parenting, Twins or Multiple Birth Pregnancy | Posted on 24-02-2014

medelaadvanced 3The Role of Breast pumps in the Twins + Breastfeeding Equation

Many families expecting twins or triplets choose to breastfeed, and wonder about pumping. “If you want to breastfeed”, they wonder, “why not just breastfeed?”

Good point!

Breastfeeding twins, triplets or more can be done, as Class Three, Feeding, in our 4-part prenatal course demonstrates.  And, if latching the babies on right after birth works for you, and feeding goes without a hitch, that’s great!

 


Preemies, Increased Milk Demands And Tired Moms And Babies

But, like any goal worth pursuing, breastfeeding multiples is not without its challenges.  Twins, triplets or more are often born prematurely, which means they have an even steeper learning curve when it comes to latching on and suckling effectively.  Multiple birth babies also require more milk production than a singleton, obviously.

The push for pumping is mainly to build up your supply.  Breastfeeding can be a bit tricky sometimes with two or more babies at first, and often everyone’s so tired and overwhelmed… and the pump offers a perfect latch every time, allowing new moms to effectively build up milk supply in those important early days.

 

Getting Help With Pumping

Pumping right away also ensures you have plenty of help around if needed:  Most hospitals now offer the services of a lactation consultant on site, and they are generally more than happy to spend a few extra minutes with mothers of multiples, showing them how to work the equipment.

There are also many good resources available on the Internet, through the hospital and from support groups such as La Leche League which can offer guidance and support with pumping and with breastfeeding in general.  Look for things that are twins- and multiples-specific.

 

Many Paths With The Pump

The idea is not to replace breastfeeding with pumping, but rather to use the pump as a supplement to breastfeeding, to encourage adequate milk production.

I’ve had several moms of multiples tell me that they breastfed each baby, and then pumped for a few minutes afterwards, just to build up milk supply in those early days at the hospital and get things flowing.  Then, once things were in order, they exclusively breastfed, and ditched the pump.

Others kept up with pumping because it allowed spouses and other family members to feed expressed breast milk (some just used formula), and others still never touched a pump, and breast fed exclusively from day one, and everything was fine.  And of course, many choose to or end up bottle feeding exclusively, too.

The real message here is that there are many pathways, and lots of “sub-pathways”… Our online prenatal course presents several pictures and videos of real-life families with multiple babies feeding in action, to help you navigate the maze more effectively.  Ultimately — as the new expert of your twins, triplets or more — you will find what works for you and your babies.

 

New Twins Book Falls Short

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Posted by vera | Posted in Birth, Books, Parenting, Twins or Multiple Birth Pregnancy | Posted on 23-11-2013

Involved fathers are often overlooked in pregnancy and baby books, even though they play a key role, especially with twins, triplets or more.

Involved fathers are often overlooked in pregnancy and baby books, even though they play a key role, especially with twins, triplets or more.

Twins by Carol Cooper and Katy Hymas (published by DK press) recently found its way into my professional library.

What first attracted me to this book was its subtitle: “the practical and reassuring guide to pregnancy, birth and the first year”. Who doesn’t love “practical and reassuring”, especially when you’re expecting twins?!

I also appreciated that it was not an American publication – nothing against Americans, but as a Canadian, I am very aware of how saturated the market can get, and it is nice to be able to read a different perspective sometimes (this book is a publication out of the UK).

Another thing that attracted me to Twins by Cooper and Hymas was the fact that it is coauthored by a family doctor and a writer, both of whom are parents of twins themselves.  These are important factors to consider when picking up any book about twins and multiples; does it have credible voice from both a medical perspective and a practical parenting perspective, from someone who’s walked the talk?  This book, presumably, offers both.

 

Non-inclusive Images Of Twins Families

Upon doing a pre-reading picture walk, though, I became a little wary… There are three things I am looking for, visually, when I leaf through a new resource: Families of colour, LGBTQ representation and images of dads with their babies, as these usually give me a sense of the overall flavour of the book, philosophically speaking.

This book had precious few of any of these three.  Although there were a few black women included, the vast majority of images portrayed light-skinned families consisting of a man and a woman and two white babies.  (I did discover one image of a father without a woman beside him; he was bathing a baby.)

While such a book may be “practical” and visually “reassuring” for white couples who happen to be straight and who have mom doing most/all of the child rearing, it does little to promote the sense that all kinds of different people are having twins these days.

 

Comprehensive Overview Of Topics

Determined not to judge the book (too much) by its pictures, I flipped to the contents.

The usual topics were included: Pregnancy, labour and delivery, babycare, and considerations for the first year.  The subtopics looked practical (“your hospital bag – what to pack” and how to manage “outings and holidays” once the twins arrive) as well as informative (“common symptoms” and “complications” in twins pregnancies, and “presentation of twins”).

Some of the chapters themselves fall short for those readers who are keen for specifics.  Current philosophy (when it comes to the rights of multiple births children) is also not reflected.  For example, the section on “twins demystified” refers to “identical” twins, the layperson’s descriptor for twins who originate from the same zygote. (It is commonly understood within the multiple births community now that monozygotic twins – though they share the same DNA – are unique individuals, and that this should be reflected in how we refer to them, i.e. “monozygotic” rather than the less empowering “identical”. Similarly, “fraternal” twins – who may not always be boys, as the label suggests, are more accurately “dizygotic”, meaning, from two zygotes, regardless of sex.)

On the other hand, a relatively in-depth discussion of relationships and learning is included.   “The Year Ahead”, moves beyond the basics, and gives practical ideas for how to help growing baby twins develop their own identities and learning, which is sometimes a rare find in books about raising twins.

 

Non-Inclusive Material Shines Through

Unfortunately, the suspicions I had from the photos when I first flipped through the book were generally confirmed when I began reading.

Potentially practical sections like “doctor’s advice” and “ask the parents” sprinkled throughout the chapters are overshadowed by almost oppressively mainstream assumptions like “Even some midwives don’t always realize [that the number of placentas isn’t linked with the number of eggs]” (boy, would I ever be mad if I were a professional midwife!)

The assumption that “all aspects of childcare, meal preparation, errands and light housework” will be done by the mother, and that it could be useful to have a “mother’s helper” (sorry to all the Dads I know who are raising or co-raising twins; you don’t get a “dad’s helper”!) is stifling in this day and age.

The entire book seems to be aimed at mothers (from the very beginning, the chapters are addressed to the women pregnant with multiples, inviting her to remember when she first discovered she was having twins, and talking with her husband about this, that or the other). This is surprising, considering that dads – and especially fathers of twins and multiples – are more involved than ever in preparing for and raising their children.

Interestingly, the word “partner” is often used instead of “husband”. Yet the photos would suggest that said partner is always male.  It’s as though the book makes a token effort at being inclusive, but doesn’t follow through with the substance to support it.

Twins by Cooper and Hymas offers a somewhat informative and easy read for white, mainstream mothers.  If you’re looking for something more comprehensive or culturally current, look elsewhere!

Tips for Choosing the Right Prenatal Class – Part 2 of 2

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Posted by vera | Posted in Health, Parenting, Travel, Triplets, Twins or Multiple Birth Pregnancy | Posted on 05-09-2013

PPL_logoOur previous blog post, by  Alba Aguanno, RN, BScN, LCCE and Director of Childbirth Education at Port Perry Lamaze investigated how best to consider credentials and more when choosing the best twins prenatal class for you – here are four more tips on choosing a multiple births prenatal class.  Thanks, Alba!

In addition to credentials and experience of the instructor, location of class and testimonials of other clientele, consider also convenience, content, currency and instructional style before selecting your twins or triplets prenatal class:

5.  Convenience

Most prenatal instructors offer their classes as a series of 6 to 8 weekly sessions, each running 2 to 3 hours.  Typically, these are offered after dinner on weeknights, or sometimes on weekends. Ask what nights are offered and make sure that your calendar can accommodate all of the sessions – plan ahead.

phone prenatal course instructorFor shift workers, commuters, professionals, those who need to travel for business, and those with either lots of commitments or unpredictable schedules, a 6 or 8 week commitment may not be feasible.  In this case, consider instructors who offer the content delivered in 2 full-day sessions.  You’ll get the same content, but delivered over one or two weekends.  For many, this is a much more convenient option.

For those who find such a condensed format challenging, or who can’t attend an on-site childbirth class due to work schedules, time constraints or medical conditions, online classes may offer a convenient alternative.  Be sure to find an online class that is multiples-specific, taught by a qualified instructor, and one who is willing to respond to individual questions either by email or telephone throughout the class.

6. Class Content

Ask for – and carefully examine – an agenda or course outline.  Look at the topics to be covered. 

Some classes just focus on labour and delivery, while others spend equal time on what happens after the babies are born, such as feeding, diapering, bathing, settling crying babies, caring for the birth mother immediately after birth, postpartum depression, changes in the family, and other related topics.  This is an especially important consideration when you will be bringing home two or more babies!

online-twins-triplets-course

For labour and delivery, make sure classes include a range of options for pain management including breathing, positioning, and relaxation techniques plus drugs and other interventions you may be faced with during labour and birth.  Caesarean section births should be covered in detail, as this is a birthing reality that families pregnant with twins and higher-order multiples must be ready to face.

A good twins-specific prenatal course provides couples with the knowledge and motivation they need to advocate for their childbirth health decisions and to provide care for their newborn children. This is supported through:

• Helping women realize their inherent abilities to give birth.

•  Providing current evidence-based knowledge on childbirth procedures and outcomes in the multiples context.

• Increasing the confidence of both women and their support persons that birth is a normal, natural process and encourages you to work with your body’s natural abilities.

• Helping couples understand their childbirth options and their role in the childbirth decision-making process in the multiples pregnancy context

• Teaching couples how to communicate their childbirth decisions to healthcare providers through verbal and written means

• Providing information on post-partum parenting and baby care of more than one baby

7.  Current Information and Resources

Ask what resources are being used, and try to determine how up to date these are.  Many instructors purchase videos and other resources and continue to use them year after year, without investing in refreshing the resources as new versions come available.  You may be learning with outdated information.

Pamphlets and other handouts should also be assessed for their currency and relevancy to the multiple births context.  Recommendations change over time as the results of new medical research come available.  Try to determine whether or not your instructor is keeping up to date with the latest developments.  

Some professionals, such as registered nurses, are required to stay current to maintain their nursing license, while Lamaze-certified instructors are required to take a number of continuing education courses each year to help them stay current.  Even a non-certified instructor, if she is a professional, will attend conferences and classes and keep up to date with reading.

laptop-course

Find out when your instructor last held a set of twins or triplets in his arms.

8. Teaching Style

What is your learning style?  Do you learn best by reading, listening to lectures, watching demonstrations, or participating in activities?  

The best instructors use a variety of teaching techniques to ensure that all participants leave the class with the required information, regardless of their preferred learning style.  Ask your potential instructor what techniques they use to teach the class.

Conclusion 

Participation in childbirth classes has been known to decrease physical complications during labour and delivery and also to improve physical and mental health in the postpartum period.  

Following the tips outlined above will help you choose the right childbirth class for you.

Tips for Choosing the Right Prenatal Class – Part 1 of 2

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Posted by vera | Posted in Birth, Nannies, Parenting, Triplets, Twins or Multiple Birth Pregnancy | Posted on 03-09-2013

PPL_logoThanks to Alba Aguanno, RN, BScN, LCCE and Director of Childbirth Education at Port Perry Lamaze for inspiring and contributing to this blog post on the important topic of choosing the best prenatal class for you!

Expectant parents sometimes wonder if they should take childbirth classes at all. With a range of childbirth education options available, choosing the right class can be confusing, especially for those expecting twins or triplets!

Here are some tips to consider when choosing a childbirth preparation class.

1. Credentials

certificateFirst, inquire about the credentials of your potential instructor. Some have formal medical training or educational certification, while others have none. Are they health professionals (registered nurse, physiotherapist, medical doctor, chiropractor, or midwife), or do they have considerable experience with expectant parents and newborns?

Have they completed a recognized, formal course on childbirth education or education in general: Lamaze International certification (LCCE), International Childbirth Education Association (ICEA), Childbirth and Postpartum Professional Association – Childbirth Educator (CBE), Childbirth International (Dip CBEd), or Ontario College of Teachers (OCT) or a Masters in Education (M.Ed.) with an emphasis on early learning and/or adult education?

The Lamaze-Certified Childbirth Educator (LCCE) credential is the most widely-recognized and respected qualification in this field. It is the only childbirth education credential accredited by the U.S. National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), a government body ensuring quality in certification programs.

Certification doesn’t necessarily ensure an ideal learning experience, but it can certainly inspire expectant parents’ confidence that they are getting the most current and correct information.

2. Experience

Consider the instructor’s years of childbirth education experience: If they have been doing this a long time, they may offer a wealth of experience, but they may also be “burnt out”. Conversely, a newer instructor may be enthusiastic, but a little too “textbook”, lacking extensive real-life experience with twins, triplets and their parents.

Also, consider the amount of experience in other class content areas such as breastfeeding and early parenting support, especially with multiple births families. The last thing you need as an expectant parent is a child birth educator who has little or no experience with twins, triplets and quads.

3. Testimonials/Recommendations

handshakeDoes the potential instructor publish testimonials and endorsements for their classes? Read the feedback carefully to get a better picture of what past participants have thought of the classes.

Also, consider who is recommending the class. Have you found it on your own, were you recommended by a friend who heard about it or who took the course, or were you recommended by your obstetrician, family doctor, or midwife?

Many providers will collect endorsements from past students, and will publish at least a few of these on their website. If not, ask to see some, or speak to someone else to see what they thought of the class or instructor.

4. Location & Class Size


all-four-300x199Ask where (specifically) the classes will be taught.

Educators teach in a variety of environments. Some teach in hospital classrooms or medical offices, while others teach in community centres; some even teach in their homes or yours! Increasingly, prenatal classes are offered online, even prenatal classes for twins and triplets. Be sure to check the other tips before enrolling in an online class.

Some providers keep their class sizes small to maintain the quality of instruction and to facilitate meaningful interactions with participants. In certain cases, private classes may be offered. This can be ideal if you are in a remote part of town, where there are no other couples expecting twins or triplets, and you don’t want to be the class circus side show with unique prenatal issues particular to your multiples pregnancy.

There can be a lot to think about when deciding to enroll in prenatal classes, but for families expecting twins, triplets or more, the decision is among the first steps to a healthy twins pregnancy, labour and delivery.

More tips coming in Part 2… stay tuned! 

Begin as You Mean to Go On

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Posted by vera | Posted in Birth, Parenting, Sleep | Posted on 01-09-2013

twin boysI had the delightful opportunity to spend an evening with a colleague’s family, which included their 2-year-old son and his new 10-week-old twin sisters the other night, and I was reminded of the incredible amount of power held by parents, when it comes to paving the way for their children’s future behaviour.

It’s no accident, in my opinion, when children are polite and well behaved, like that night, I witnessed how this magical seed is planted: While we were finishing up the dinner that my partner and I had prepared and brought to the family we were hanging out with, their two-year-old left the table (he was “done”, and wanted to go play).

In their family, these parents have decided they it’s important to eat together, and to ask to be excused when one is finished at table.  So, in gentle yet firm tones, they instructed their toddler to return to the table, and to ask to be excused.

He did so, wiping his hands and face on a cloth they had laid out for him, and then went off to play.

Later that evening, when it was time for bed, parental patience and consistency were once again on display as Mom gave advance notice of the impending bedtime expectation, and Dad went to follow up when Toddler tried out a few tricks to delay the bedtime.  A few removed “Thomas” toys later, Toddler could be heard crankily settling down to sleep.

I marvelled at Mom and Dad’s consistency; each parent had a sleeping newborn in a sling next to their bodies for most of the evening, and even though my partner and I had brought dinner, and tried to do most of the set up and clean up of dishes, it was still busy – between feedings, diaper-changings and, chasing after the family dog and the toddler, there was little or no “down time”.  Not to mention, the sleep deprivation that comes with new twins was evident in their tired eyes.

Yet both parents found the energy to continue to guide their first-born through the mundane but important daily routines that would lead to his becoming a polite, well-adjusted child and young man later on.

Parenting can sometimes feel like a grueling, relentless task, especially when one is facing additional challenges like looking after new born twins or triplets while continuing to parent one or more older singletons.  But it is a task that – if done responsibly and with pleasure – can bring enormous rewards.