Tracking with Twins

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Posted by vera | Posted in Parenting, Twin Baby Shower | Posted on 15-08-2013

logoToday’s blog post is shared courtesy of Lynda P. Haddon, Multiple Birth Educator and creator of the recently released Jumelle app for multiple births.

For parents of newborn twins, triplets, quadruplets, quintuplets or even just two babies close together, many recognize the necessity need of a record of who did what and when and for how long.  Parents need to keep track of number of dirty diapers, feeding habits and duration, naps and bedtimes.   

The more children in the multiple-birth set, the more important accurate tracking becomes.  

Careful recording of each babies’ habits ensures that sleep-deprived parents are quickly on top of any issues with marginal room for error. Tracking minimizes the chances of guesswork: I know someone missed a bowel movement today but which one?

Medicating the Right Twin

An additional important issue to keep track of is if one, more or all infants are receiving medications or even vitamins.  Did I or didn’t I? and which one?  It could be dire if a baby received two doses of medication in error.  Remove the guesswork, anxiety, possible overlap and potential mistakes by keeping a recording schedule.   

Keeping Track Helps the Sitter, Too

A tracking schedule can be very helpful to other caretakers (grandparents, family members, friends, nannies) who come into the house to assist with baby care.  The formal record quickly identifies which baby may be facing a challenge, e.g. constipation, and allows the caregivers to step in a timely fashion to help rectify the situation.

Include the Essentials 

There are a couple of ways to keep track of which baby did what.  Parents may wish to include:

  • dirty diapers/wet diapers
  • breastfeeding [left/right breast]
  • duration of breastfeeding, or quantity consumed, if bottle feeding
  • time and duration of nap [morning and afternoon]
  • bedtime [duration of sleep time]
  • medications/vitamins given
  • teething issues 

Hard Copy or Electronic Tracking?

 Some families like to create a paper printout of a spreadsheet or chart “Birth and Beyond” Class and post it nearby.  Others prefer to track using an excel sheet on their laptops or an app on their tablet.  (One example of the latter is the newly released Jumelle, created by prenatal instructor and mother of twins, Lynda Haddon.)

Whatever your preference, keeping a record of each baby’s teething issues, feeding habits, fevers, and milestones can help you manage with newborn twins, triplets or more, and keep schedules a little more under control.

Preparing for the Birth of Your Multiples? Here’s What to Pack

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Posted by vera | Posted in Birth, Parenting, Twins or Multiple Birth Pregnancy | Posted on 23-04-2013

third trimester

While browsing “expecting twins and triplets” online forums and Facebook groups, we’ve seen the same question pop up a few times, regarding what to pack for the hospital, especially for the babies. 

Given that twins often come early, it can be helpful to have your hospital bag packed in advance.  That way, you’ll be ready to go when the time comes.

Below are some ideas about what to pack… 

Consider Both Mom And Babies

A large, comfy nighty and robe are essential items – remember that even once the babies are born, the bulge will hang around for a bit.  Don’t pack your pre-pregnancy sleepwear for this outing!  And if you are planning to breastfeed, remember to pack buttoned shirts or other “easily accessible” clothing.

Toiletries such as toothpaste, toothbrush and lipbalm will help make your stay more comfortable.  You’ll also need sanitary napkins, big ones!  (Sorry, ladies, you didn’t think your old friend was gone forever, did you?!)

Chewing gum or mints can help make the early stages of labour more manageable, and your breath more bearable for others, later, if you are having a C-section and just can’t get yourself from your bed to the washroom to brush your teeth that first night or the next morning!

For the babies, consider some small sized sleepers and/or onesies.  Some gentle wipes and several newborn sized diapers will also be a necessity, as most hospitals do not provide these.

paperwork for multiple birthsPaperwork, Paperwork… and More Paperwork

One thing a lot of people forget about is the immense amount of paperwork generated by two, three or more live births.  Each baby needs an application for a birth certificate, health card and SIN (optional).

The hospital can help with a precise list of necessary paperwork for your region. No matter what, be prepared to consume considerable time and ink!

Some forms can be completed online.  Consider having your partner complete some or all of the forms in the hospital, after the babies are born, and before you head home. 

Stamping and pre-addressing envelopes now for forms that need to be mailed off saves time in the hospital, and applications that need to be completed in hard copy can be sent off as soon as they are filled out after the births.

Don’t Forget Your Partner/Labour Coach

Your partner may be spending more time at the hospital than anticipated, so be sure to pack a bottle of water and/or some snacks for him/her as well.  A granola bar can be packed well in advance, and throw a piece of fruit in the bag on your way out the door, too! 

Consider packing change for the vending machine and/or parking meter, so that your partner can take care of those things easily.  

If you are past 26 weeks pregnant with twins, hopefully this blog post has given you a head start as you think about what to prepare for in the weeks ahead. 

A more comprehensive guide to when and what to pack for giving birth to twins, triplets or more at the hospital is included in Class Four of our online prenatal course for multiples

 

Strollers for Twins… but not Doctors!

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Posted by vera | Posted in Parenting, Strollers | Posted on 28-02-2013

twin-stroller2The Toronto Star recently published an article about a mother of twins who was asked to leave her stroller outside in the hall at the doctor’s office.

Anyone who has been on the go with a newborn will surely sympathize with the woman in this article; imagine having to juggle two babies, a purse or diaper bag, and whatever other “stuff” comes along on the trip (or, if grocery shopping or running other errands, comes as a result of the trip).

Families with Twins Face Challenges their Singleton Counterparts Don’t

It’s not uncommon for parents of multiples to struggle with strollers, even when not traveling the confines of narrow hallway at the doctor’s office or other tight space.

The truth is, being out and about with twin or triplet babies is both visually attention-grabbing and physically challenging. People are intrigued by seeing two, three or more same-aged babies side-by-side or in a row, and may often stop to chat, even when it’s inconvenient to you. And erecting that fancy, “easy-to-assemble” triplet stroller that’s been folded up in the trunk when you venture out to the mall for the first time, to run some errands with your babies in tow, can seem like an insurmountable task!

In our prenatal course, we address some of the challenges parents of multiples face when traveling – whether it’s around the block or across town – with their babies, and offer practical solutions to the stroller dilemma.

twin-strollersFinding Your Way in a World Designed for Singletons

I remember helping a client with quadruplets take public transit to the pediatrician several years ago… The stares of disbelief we got from our fellow passengers as we tried to wrestle two double strollers down the escalator at the subway were plentiful, but practical help from passers-by was not. People seemed just too stunned by the image of four babies to offer any sensible assistance!

The fact is that much of the world is not built to accommodate longer or wider strollers and the babies (and their gear) that accompany them. The consequences for those of us who have to navigate said world on a daily basis with two or more babies can range from minor irritant to major daily frustration.

Plan Now for Later Travels

If you’re pregnant with twins or triplets, take the time to think about how you’ll manage multiple babies with limited hands when you are out and about after they are born. Talk to other parents of multiples to find out what worked for them, and ask your prenatal instructor for practical suggestions, too.

A walk to the park or a visit to the doctor should be a fun adventure for you and your little ones. And with a little planning and foresight, it can be!

Twins’ Birthday Coming Up?

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Posted by vera | Posted in Birthdays, Parenting, Triplets | Posted on 17-02-2013

twins birthdayOne challenge faced by parents of multiple birth children is the need to foster their individuality while celebrating their twinship. (Or triplet-ship, or… you get the idea!) Especially during holidays, where all children in the set will get a gift, it can be tricky to strike the right balance between “special” and “fair”.Making each twin or triplet’s special day unique need not be an expensive endeavour, but it can be time consuming.

A Unique Valentine’s Day Treat

Our family celebrates valentine’s day each year with a little something for the kids. Usually this is a small chocolate heart or something of that nature tucked into each boy’s lunch bag. The treats are equal in size, but different in design. One year Alex got a chocolate “A”, for example, while Simon got a chocolate “S”; another year each boy got a chocolate heart, one wrapped in red foil, the other in gold.This year, my girlfriend made each twin a bag with his name on a card that read “26 things that I love about (name)”. Inside the bag were 26 little cards, one for each letter of the alphabet. On each little card was written word that begins with that letter of the alphabet, and that describes that twin.

Being Fair With Twins Or Triplets Is Critical

Although the boys loved their little alphabet card bags, they immediately checked their adjectives against their co-multiple’s bag to ensure that both had gotten similarly flattering descriptors. Thankfully, my girlfriend had suspected this might happen, and had carefully selected each child’s words to ensure fairness. (Nevertheless, Simon noticed that Alex got “quick” for Q, and protested loudly that he hadn’t therefore gotten “fast” for F!)

Celebrating Both The Twinship And The Individual

Although coming up with a fair yet unique gift for each child can be somewhat time-consuming, it is a great way to let your twins, triplets or more know how special each of them is to you individually, as well as in a group.So, if you have a birthday or another holiday coming up soon in your multiple births family, consider how best to celebrate both their collective and individual identities!

What Do You Do If You’re Pregnant with Triplets?

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Posted by vera | Posted in Parenting, Triplets, Twins or Multiple Birth Pregnancy | Posted on 15-02-2013

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tripletsMany people who sign up for our multiples-specific, online prenatal course are expecting twins. But what if you are expecting triplets or quadruplets?

If you are pregnant with triplets, then finding high-quality prenatal classes that deal specifically with multiple births pregnancies is even more important.

Most people wait until they are at least 8 weeks pregnant with twins before looking for prenatal classes, and I have had couples contact me as late as 33 or 34 weeks pregnant with twins!

Although the old adage “better late than never” could certainly apply to prenatal classes, in my opinion, sooner is better, especially with triplets. There are many things you can do early on in your pregnancy to increase the chances of a healthy outcome later on, and with a multiples pregnancy, you may not have as much time as you think you do…

Triplets Arrive Early

A full-term singleton pregnancy lasts about 40 weeks. Twins born at 37-38 weeks are considered “term”, and according to an article posted on Baby Centre’s website, most triplets are born at 33 weeks gestation (quads often arrive at 29 weeks or before).

Read the rest of this entry »

Twin Names – To Match or Not To Match?

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Posted by vera | Posted in Naming, Parenting | Posted on 09-02-2013

twin names

Naming twins, triplets and more can be an exciting part of preparing for the arrival of your multiples.

Websites for choosing twin names abound (even Googling “names for triplets” turns up a number of online resources), but the research on the impact of naming your twins, triplets or more is less publicly accessible.

As both individuals and members of a set, multiple birth children face a unique self-identity struggle which their singleton counterparts don’t.

The frenzy with which some expectant parents choose “matching set names” underscores this:

Help!”, writes one expectant mother of triplets in an online forum post, “I really need 3 beautiful matching girls’ names! TRIPLETS!”

Matching Names for Multiples

Although the image of three beautiful little baby girls makes me smile, the alarming sense I get is that mom is already seeing her babies as a group only, and forgetting to consider their individual identities.

In her 2011 article addressing “ego fusion” in monozygotic (a.k.a. “identical”) twins, researcher Sophie Cassell considers the naming of twins:

“On a basic level”, Cassell notes, the naming of twins often takes into consideration the twinship. Parents often use rhyming names or alliteration to signal that they are part of the same unit (Stewart, 2000, quoted in Cassell, 2011).

This automatically labels the twins as two parts of one whole set, which is a social reinforcer of ego and identity fusion.”

 Read the full article here.

Although there is good evidence to support celebrating the special bond between twins, triplets and higher-order multiples, expectant parents of multiples should consider the importance of helping each child develop her own unique, “whole” identity in addition to her identity as part of a set.

Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee?

Having rhyming names or some similar “twinsy” type name may seem cute when they’re babies, but can cause considerable turmoil to multiple birth children as they grow up, especially if they are too closely coupled.

Another option that is less obvious but still signals the special relationship between multiple birth siblings is to use anagrams, names whose letters can be rearranged to form another name, for example:

Alan and Nala for boy/girl twins, or Alanis and Salina if you’re expecting two girls.

This way, the “match” can be more subtle.

Considering how best to address the individuality and co-identity of multiple birth children is an important subject matter for families expecting twins, triplets or more.  We explore this topic and many other relevant issues in our twins-specific prenatal class online.  If you or someone you know is pregnant with multiples, we encourage you to sign up here.  

 

Oops, I Did it Again!

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Posted by vera | Posted in Clothing, Parenting | Posted on 10-11-2012

I cannot believe I succumbed to it… the allure of the flashy children’s clothing store, at the mall, with the perfectly coordinated outfits for every occasion… ugh!

My Bulletwin readers from a few years ago will know exactly what I am talking about (and if you don’t, you might want to catch up by clicking here, first!)I am so dis-GUST-ed with myself!  For almost four years, I have been “dry”, shopping primarily on Craigslist, at Goodwill or the Sally Ann, or sometimes buying new at discount outlets for my now-8-year-old twins’ clothing.

But, like the true clothesaholic I am, I could not resist the temptation walking past the colourful store window during my most recent trip to the mall, and was beguilingly (and predictably!) drawn into the Gymboree store at Sherway.I was just going to buy a coupla pairs of socks.  Honest.  The boys were down to about 2 hole-less pairs each, and we splurge for so few “new” things for them these days, I figured, would it really be that bad to spend a little more than usual on some stripy or animal-themed socks for my two special little men? Read the rest of this entry »

They don’t stay babies forever…

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Posted by vera | Posted in Parenting | Posted on 13-10-2012

Once they’re out of diapers, you can still connect with those other POMs you met through your local twins club, and get together with other multiples for fun outings about town.

Here are friends of ours, Age 9, with their 11-year-old friends, at the AGO in Toronto this past summer.

Keeping Your Babies’ Skin Pure and Safe with Beneficial Products

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Posted by vera | Posted in Parenting | Posted on 17-06-2012

The following is a guest post contributed by Patricia Rock, Arbonne Skincare Consultant, who writes about healthy skin for expectant mothers of multiples and their babies. Thanks for your contribution, Patricia!

Our first instinct as mothers is to hope for healthy babies! Hope is important but intangible. We can play a large hand in our babies’ health when it comes not only to what products we put in them but also on them, and this process begins before they’re born. Read the rest of this entry »

A Fun Birthday Tradition

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Posted by vera | Posted in Parenting | Posted on 16-05-2012

birthday-ballons-high-chairs

April 2012 marked my boys’ 8th birthday. For those readers still expecting, or newly minted as parents of multiples, I know 8 must seem like an eternity!! Believe me, I can hardly believe we are out of the baby and toddler stages, and well into middle childhood!

As I was pouring through photos from this year’s events, I couldn’t help but smile at the evolution of a tradition we started on Alex and Simon’s first birthday.

When the boys turned one, we wanted to mark the day with something a little out of their ordinary routine, so we attached a helium-filled birthday balloon to each high chair. They were mesmerized by the floating orbs, and delighted in looking up at them as they waited for their “breakfast” (mushy cereal, of course, at 12 months!) Read the rest of this entry »