Mission Motherhood

Fuss free bedtime: twin edition

I was scrolling through Instagram and came across a profile that I follow: Twinsandmoretwins. This user has two sets of twins about a year apart and she compares sleep patterns for her older set vs her younger set of twins. I totally relate to her methods with her youngest set of twins who learned to self soothe at an early age without cry-it-out methods.

1. Maintain a solid bedtime and nap time routine

We are blessed with mild tempered twins who are pretty easy sleepers. They are currently 17 months old and we’ve had a pretty solid bedtime routine for the last 6-7 months. We have dinner at 6:00pm, bath immediately after dinner every other night, sippy cup of milk at 7:00pm, jammies at 7:30pm, teeth brushed and in their cribs by 8:00pm. They are typically asleep within 5 minutes and generally sleep until 7:30-8:00am.

2. Allow them to fall asleep without needing snuggles

I think what really helped us was leaving them to fall asleep on their own as newborns. Before our twins were born my husband and I decided that we needed to be strategic with our snuggles. The idea of either one of us being alone with them and not being able to get them to sleep was stressful. If we used snuggles to get the babies to sleep they would be reliant on being held in order to fall asleep. This was our strategy as newborns: We’d feed then diaper and while they were still milk drowsy we’d lay them down in their bassinet or pack n play.

We still snuggled our babies… the good Lord knows I love my baby snuggles (and daddy is just as guilty of loving his snuggles). We just didn’t snuggle them to sleep. When they looked like they might be getting close to falling asleep we’d lay them down. They started sleeping 6-7 hour stretches around 10 weeks but the 4 month sleep regression ended that. They were 10 months old before they were consistently sleeping through the night again. But when they were getting up in the night, they got what they needed (binky, gas drops, water, Tylenol) and laid back down.

3. Avoid getting to the overtired stage by watching for signs of tiredness

I think since they’ve put themselves to sleep for such a long time it has helped them to recognize when they are tired and ready to rest. I will ask if they are ready to lay down, take a nap, or go to bed and they run towards their bedroom. I try to avoid getting to the point where they are overtired so I check in with them and ask if they want to lay down when they start showing signs of tiredness.

These are the signs I watch for in our toddlers:

  • Yawns
  • Eye rubbing
  • Irritability towards each other
  • Desire for snuggles
  • Climbing up on the couch just to sit
  • Laying on the floor
  • Standing at the baby gate closest to their room
  • Getting slap happy and giggly
  • Asking for binkies (because they only have them in bed – until I ditch my fear of bedtime without binkies)
  • Finding a quiet spot to read books

4. Learn the cues of your children and follow their lead

I keep thinking they will eventually stop wanting to take two naps a day, but for now they still very much ask for two naps. They have one at 11am and one at 3:30pm and sleep about 1-1.5 each nap.

Every child is different… their personalities, their communication. The twins are drastically different and they’ve never been away from each other. Just because these methods have worked for our family, doesn’t mean they’ll work for everyone. I think the biggest advice I could give is to listen to your child. Use their body language or changes in behavior as a form of communication. If you can recognize these changes it is so much easier to anticipate their needs before things escalate to utter frustration on behalf of your child who doesn’t know how to express their needs and frustration on behalf of parents who don’t know what the child needs.

What methods and bedtime routines have worked for you? What signs and signals do you watch for?

Mission Motherhood

I can wear a baby, but my shoes have to come off?

Navigating airport security is a bit of a cluster with little ones. Since Christmas will soon be here and many of you may be traveling I thought I’d share my perspective on flying with babies. My family recently took a week long trip to Orlando, Florida with our 11 month old twins. This was our first experience flying with them and I have learned a lot about how to make the process easier.

Things to keep in your carry on bags:

  • Change of clothes for mom and dad – if a baby has a blow out while they’re in your lap, you’ll need a change of clothes too. 
  • 2 extra outfits per baby
  • Extra pacifiers 
  • Snacks – we used the 3 compartment formula holders for a variety of snacks (gold fish, corn Chex and Cheerios) 
  • Empty baby bottles and extra bottles of water (Make sure you take them out of your bag and put them in a separate bin when going through security. Tell them you have water for babies and they will allow you to take it through after testing the outside of the bottle.)
  • Sippy cups if your babes are drinking water – it’s easy to get dehydrated while traveling. 
  • Books and small toys – preferably something they haven’t read or played with in a while. 
  • Changing pad for airport bathroom diaper changes. 
  • Gas drops. Our girl has a tendency to get gassy and squeals about it. So for the sake of the other passengers keep some on hand if your babes are prone to belly bubbles. 
  • Tylenol in case of unexpected teething pain. 

Tips and tricks for navigating the airport:

  • Have your travel partner or a family member drop you off curb side rather than parking in long term parking. My husband dropped us curbside and then took our car to long term parking and rode the shuttle to the terminal. It was easier for him to ride alone than it would be for us all to lug babies and luggage onto a shuttle bus. 
  • Take a stroller that will hold your infant carrier car seats (if you’re going to have to travel with car seats). We took the Baby Trend Snap n Go for easy airport transport and rented a double jogger stroller at our destination. 
  • Take wearable baby carriers. We used the Ergobaby carriers. As you near security strap those babies to your chest. Security will want the car seats and stroller to go through the x-ray machine so it’s easier to already have the babies out of the stroller when you get to that point. 
  • Wear shoes that are easy to slip on and off because getting shoes on and off while baby wearing can be annoying. 
  • Put the babies back in their car seats/stroller while navigating to your gate. 
  • When you get to your gate, make bottles up and have them ready for takeoff because it’s is obnoxiously cramped on the plane to try to hold onto a baby and fix a bottle. We wanted our babies to have bottles for take of to aide with releasing pressure and easing ear popping. 
  • As soon as your flight starts boarding, get the babies back in their wearable carriers. Put your stroller and car seats into their “GATE CHECK” bags
  • Board as early as they let you. (We flew Southwest which we loved, but we didn’t check in ahead of time because we assumed we could board first with family boarding. With Southwest families board after zone A boards. If we checked in ahead of time we may have had the opportunity to load in group A.)
  • Sit accross from the aisle from one another or in front of/behind each other (depending on the size of airplane). We were on a 757 and they have 3 seas together on either side of the aisle. There are only 4 oxygen masks for the 3 chair groupings so they won’t let you have 2 lap children in the same row.
  • Keep your diaper bag with toys, snacks and bottles between your feet. 

Happy traveling, Mommas! Stay calm and go with the flow. Things can go awry even when you’re prepared. Although it still helps to be mentally prepared! 

Mission Motherhood

Are they twins? 


Moms of multiples everywhere can totally relate.  Generally about everywhere we go we get some sort of comment or question  from about 5-10 different people. Here are some that I’ve heard recently and my silent sarcastic quips I’d like to throw at poeple:

  • Are they twins? Well, I bought a double stroller and thought I’d bring the baby I found in the parking lot because shopping with 2 infants seems like a lot more fun. 
  • Do they run in your family? No, do you generally ask new moms about their genetic history?
  • You have your hands full. Not as full as my heart. 
  • Better you than me. If you have the heart to say this, you don’t have the heart for twins. So it probably is better. 
  • Do you breast feed two at a time? I don’t ask you what you do with your boobs, don’t ask me what I do with mine.
  • How did you find out you were having twins? Modern medicine. 
  • What was your response? What would your response be?
  • Did you want twins? Uhh, I wanted children so I guess the answer is yes. 
  • How far along were you before you delivered? 35 weeks (ok – no sarcasm here)
  • Did you have them naturally? When you say naturally do you mean – did they come from my vagina vs surgical methods? Did I use drugs or essential oils? 
  • Are they both yours? Actually, this one is mine and that one is my husbands. It’s been rough on our marriage to raise his lovechild, but we’re trying to make it work. 
  • How close in age are they? Approximately 8 min. 
  • I don’t know how you do it. Some of us are capable of putting on big girl panties and getting shit done. 
  • You have two babies there. Uhhh, thank you?!
  • Oh, two boys? Yeah, I make one wear pink so I can tell them apart. 
  • General comments about their differences (this one has dark hair and that one has light hair, this one is bigger than that one). Thank you for describing the physical appearance of my children to me. 
  • I’ve always wanted twins. I would be an awesome twin mom! Yeah… maybe. 
  • Do they have different personalities? Do your children have different personalities? You don’t have children? Do you and your siblings have different personalities?
  • Do they nap at the same time? Only if God wills me to take care of the rest of our household. 
  • A boy and a girl… so one and done huh? As if this is the perfectly magical combination of children that everyone strives for so why would I ever dream of having another?

My most favorite from a recent trip to a local second hand store involved a few gray haired ladies wearing loud floral prints:
“Are they twins? Let me get a look. Oh they must be identical.”

Me: Actually they are boy and girl twins so there’s no way they’re identical.

“Oh, but they look just the same. They both have blue eyes.”

I have no hate for those who are fascinated by the idea of carrying, birthing, and caring for two babies… but golly, it amazes me how much people lose all social filters when they spot twins. I will always put on my happy face and respond kindly, but that doesn’t mean I won’t come up with more ridiculous and sarcastic responses that will never come out of my mouth (of which I get to share with you).

What weird questions have people asked you mommas?

Mom Must-Haves

Twin Essentials for the 1st year

When I found out we were having twins I was so overwhelmed with the amount of things that we would need.  If you are a soon to be twin mom and you’re looking for ideas for your registry, you’ve come to the right place. Here is my list of essential items:

  • 2 Cribs – we bought ours second hand and spent $300 which was a huge savings
  • 4 waterproof mattress covers
  • 6 sets of sheets – My grandma and aunt made cute sheets for me because I couldn’t find any gender neutral sheets that I liked in store.  Here is a “how to“.
  • 2 car seats (obviously) – We loved our Britax B-Safe 35 infant carriers which we are still using at 1 year old.
  • 2 days worth of bottles (approximately 16) – We loved the Avent classics, but don’t buy new nipples until you know your babes are ready for the next step. We bought size 3 nipples and we will be done with bottles before they ever use the size 3 nipples.
  • Bottle drying rack
  • Spectra S2 breast pump – this is hands down the best investment I made for our babies
  • Handsfree pumping bra
  • Bulb syringe – I tried the Nose Freida too, but I found the bulb syringes to work best for me
  • The First Years Lanolin Free Nipple Butter – This was in a gift basket I received and it was by far my favorite nipple cream. It was silky smooth making it easier to spread than thicker lanolin creams I had tried.
  • Insulated lunch bag for packing bottles
  • Back pack – a diaper bag just wasn’t cutting it after 3 months.
  • Portable changing pad for the back pack
  • Changing table – I didn’t think I’d need one but after the first week of changing endless diapers my back needed the relief of a changing table. We bought a used one off of Facebook Marketplace for $25.
  • 2 high chair/booster combos
  • 2 Summer Infant travel high chairs
  • 2 Chicco Lullago travel bassinets – we absolutely loved these and used them until our twins were 6 months old
  • 2 waterproof bassinet mattress covers
  • 4 bassinet sheets
  • 4 Swaddle Me swaddlers – worked great for the early months
  • 4 Halo Sleep sacks – loved using these after the babes started rolling
  • 6 plush bath towels – we were gifted the small hooded baby towels which worked great but knowing how quickly they outgrow them it may be easier to start with standard towels that are exceptionally soft
  • Diaper Genie and refills
  • 12 Terry cloth bibs and burp rags – these were great to use when they were itty bitty for bottle feeds.  They often dribbled from their mouth or spit up so it was nice to have an absorbent bib. Family members made mine but here is a “how to“.
  • 2 silicone bibs
  • 2 extra laundry baskets with wheels (because you don’t want to lift anything late in your pregnancy or soon after birth)
  • Postpartum belly support band
  • 10-12 outfits per child and 8-10 sets of pajamas in each size
  • Aquaphor
  • Triple Paste
  • Gas Drops
  • Calming Lavender Baby Lotion
  • Baby bath tub
  • Summer Infant Dual Video Monitor
  • Summer Infant Portable Playard– we love spending time outdoors so this was awesome to have. I could work in my flower beds and let the babes hang out and play. It was also great for our camping trips.
  • 1 push behind walker
  • 1 activity table
  • 1 exersaucer (we bought ours used for $35)
  • 2 play mats
  • 2 auto Rock n Play
  • 2 Pack n Play (we bought ours used for <$20 each)
  • 2 Boppy pillows
  • Double Baby Trend Snap N Go stroller
  • Double Baby Jogger City Mini GT
  • Double umbrella stroller (bought used for <$15)
  • Canvas storage baskets – we have 8 and use every one of them
  • Leather rocker recliners – we decided to forgo your typical rocker glider for the nursery because they share a nursery which means we didn’t rock the upset baby in the nursery while the other was sleeping in there. We just bought rocker recliners for our living room instead. Leather is essential for cleaning up spit up and spilled milk.
  • Amazon Subscribe and Save diaper and formula subscriptions
  • Photographer package – I would’ve saved so much money and avoided annoyances if I would’ve just signed a contract with a photographer who did newborn, 3 month, 6 month, 9 month and 12 month photos.
  • DSLR Digital Camera

 

Things we got that we didn’t need

  • Wipe warmer
  • Bumbos – we used them for such a short period I’m not sure they are worth it
Mission Motherhood

DIY Party Flag Banner

Happy Sunday, friends!  Today is a day for rest, Jesus, and craft projects. 

My first-time-mom paranoia is heightened  as cold and flu season starts so we watched church on Facebook Live this morning.  The idea of sending the twins to church nursery when EVERYTHING goes in their mouths freaks me out. I love that our church offers the option to watch from home!  The kiddos were peacefully napping and I was in my pajamas… but still at church. 

After church I worked on the twins’ birthday party decor.  The will be 1 in 5 weeks and we’re putting together a barnyard birthday party. Today I worked on their bandana flag banner. It has been so easy to put together and super cheap.  

Supplies:

  • 10 Bandanas (I used these ones – but you could use any kind of fabric or even paper) 
  • Jute twine (you can also buy at any craft store)
  • Hot glue gun (and about 10-12 hot glue sticks to refill it)



Steps:

  • Cut your fabric into triangles. I cut mine 5 inches wide and 8 inches long. (I purposefully wanted scraps to make a high chair banners like the ones below)
  • Lay your jute twine out and run a bead of hot glue about a 1/4 inch from the top of your flag. 
  • Fold the top of your flag around the twine and press it into the hot glue. (Warning: its hot glue so don’t burn yourself)
  • Space them out as you like. I spaced mine 5 inches (the same width of the flag). I also saw some on Pinterest that had the flags right up next to each other with no spacing between. 
  • Cut a piece of cardboard into a rectangle and cut an inch long slit in one side. Slide the end of your twin into the slit and wrap your banner around the cardboard as you go (making sure your hot glue is completely cool and dry before your wrap). 

Final product


Tips:

  • You could do any kind of fabric or even paper to accommodate an endless amount of party decor themes… burlap, lace, scrapbook paper with letters to spell something out, you could even buy fabric scraps from your local fabric store for next to nothing… the possibilities are endless.  
  • Don’t stress about the fabric pattern or of the cuts aren’t perfect. When it’s hanging you won’t be able to see those imperfections. 

I’ll share more pictures when we have them hung at our barnyard parts in a month. Happy party planning!

Mission Motherhood

Parents as Teachers 

Has anyone utilized the services of Parents as Teachers

Our local school district offers Parents as Teachers as a service to families in our community. The idea of Parents as Teachers is to help support parents in the community be the best parents they can be by providing educational resources. As a first time mom to twins I am far from a parenting expert so I will take all the community support I can get. 

We had our first home visit for our 10 month old twins a couple weeks ago and I’m so impressed with the program. We had someone come to our house to meet the babies and talk more about the program. When she came in our house she already knew the kids by name… “This must be Steven and this must be Vaida”. She was so excited to meet them. She brought a Mary Poppins bag and everything to come out of it was the best thing ever – according to the twins. 

She asked me questions about our life – our general routine, family roles, what we like doing as family, how we’re adjusting to life as parents, if I had any concerns or needed help with anything and we talked a lot about what the kids are doing developmentally.  She let me know that she has a lot of resources at her fingertips and if there was anything I needed information about or help with I could call/text/email. It could be anything from questions about helping them sleep through the night, developmentally appropriate activities, or even age appropriate events in the community that I could take the twins to.  

She played with the kids, watched them interact and brought different toys to see what they do with them. She brought a big stainless steel bowl and some wood blocks and she would put the blocks in the bowl and see if the kids tried to do the same. She gave me some literature to read and we talked about some different activities that I could do with the kids that would help with their development.  We’ve scheduled for her to come back in 6 weeks since so much happens developmentally right now.  I’m looking forward to our next visit!  I don’t know how many school districts around the U.S. offer this type of program but I would definitely encourage you to find out if your area has a similar service. 

Mission Motherhood, Mom Must-Haves

15+ Things to Steal from the Hospital after Childbirth

Ok… it’s not stealing if you’re paying for it… and trust me… you’re paying for it. Here’s a list of things that are so worth lugging home:

  1. Barf buckets – we seriously use them for everything. As newborns, we fixed up baby bottles of water and put themin our “night bucket” and a can of formula and took it to our bedroom which saved us from having to go to the kitchen 4 times each night.  We use them for water play activities, packing supplies into our camper, washing bottles, storing things in the bathroom…. the possibilities are endless.
  2. Peri bottles – you’re going to want that refreshing splash of water for at least 2 weeks postpartum… and ask for extras if you have multiple bathrooms because you will want one in every bathroom you use.  (I was also thinking the other day that they might be fun bath toys for the babies. HA!)
  3. Baby toiletries – the travel sized soaps and lotions are great for weekend trips.
  4. Stay dry pads for the bed – these can be used for so many things… that may not be baby or mom related.  Lay one on the driveway when the husband is changing the oil in your vehicle… then throw it away.
  5. Disposable underwear, pads, ice packs and tucks (or the like) – and ask for extra. I wore disposable underwear for at least a week.  They were comfortable and wearing them saved my everyday underwear. You will go through pads and tucks like crazy (at least I did). 
  6. Diapers, wipes, diaper cream – I wish I would’ve packed a little of these away each of my 4 days in the hospital so they would replenish them like they replenish toiletries at hotels. But honestly, my nurses were great and brought extras for me to take home (I think they pity the twin moms).
  7. Nipple shields, nipple cream – again, ask the lactation consultant for extra. And ask for multiple sized nipple shields.  You may find that in a matter of days you need a different size.
  8. Breast pump parts – even if you don’t plan on using the same brand of pump that the hospital uses take them home. The hospital I went to used the Medela Symphony and I used the Spectra S2, but you can buy conversion parts that allow use on different pumps and it is so nice to have multiple sets of parts so you don’t have to wash them every 3 hours.
  9. Insulated hospital cups – I ended up with two and I tried to keep them filled at all times. One next to my recliner and one next to my bed. Drink tons of water, ladies!
  10. Receiving blankets – the hospital blankets were a bit heavier than the other receiving blankets we had and since our kiddos were born in November it was nice to have something a bit heavier.
  11. Baby thermometer – We didn’t have one at the time our babies came home from the hospital so I’m glad they sent one home with us.
  12. Bulb syringes and pacifiers – again, ask for extras if you can.  The bulb syringes should be thrown out fairly regularly so it’s good to have extras. And the pacifier fairy swoops in and does her thing more often and not so it’s best to have extras on hand. 
  13. Premixed formula bottles – ask for enough to get you through the next 48 hours at home (even if breastfeeding is the main goal, it’s always good to have on hand).  I didn’t produce enough milk for both babies to have 100% breast milk, so having these were great for throwing in diaper bags.  Plus it took about 6 days for my milk to come in, so we had to help supplement with formula to keep our preemie babies growing.
  14. Belly band (abdominal binder) – generally the hospital will send you home with a belly band when you have a c-section.  Even if you deliver vaginally the belly bands are nice to have.  My belly was so stretched out that my skin physically hurt after delivery so wearing the band helped me keep my skin from hanging which reduced the discomfort.
  15. Compression socks – I was hospitalized for 19 days prior to delivery, so I was lucky enough to get a couple pairs.  It took a couple weeks for my swelling to subside so I’m glad I took them home.

 

What did I miss from the list? Anything you would add?