Do you take care of your twins by yourself?

Discussion in 'The First Year' started by waitingfortwins, May 13, 2013.

  1. waitingfortwins

    waitingfortwins Well-Known Member

    Hi I am interested in knowing how many of you take care of your twins all day while DH goes off to work or if you have a family member come relieve you?

    I'm finding i'm having a very hard time caring for my twins when there are three other people who helps me! We are currently staying with the in-laws for help. They help with watching the kids, playing with them, doing laundry here and there, cooking, feedings, diaper changes and bath time. DH and I maintain the mountain of bottles and all the sterilization that comes with it (ps we are using Dr. Browns bottles) but for some reason i'm struggling with caring for my kids.

    Maybe a little sleep deprivation is taking it's toll or I suspect i have a case of PPD. If you do it all your own how do you do it? i.e. putting them to nap, bathing them or yourself, cooking, laundry etc... Since my LO's take short catnaps, all i can squeeze in is pumping. I know one baby will be left alone to cry but i tried pumping and putting the kids on their activity mats but they ended up crying while i pumped. Also nap time is such a huge thing. I wish i can put them down in their crib at the same time but i have to put one in the swing while i put the other one down and hear the one in the swing scream bloody murder! I hope I get a handle on this!
  2. AKilburn

    AKilburn Well-Known Member

    Since they were 5 weeks old its just been be. My husband was able to take 4 weeks for maternity leave and that was a huge help but after that it was up to me to figure out. We dont really have family that is able to help and our friends that are close all work. It takes some time but you do figure it out. My biggest piece of advice is get and stay in a routine. I've maintained a routine since they were born pretty much and its saved my sanity.

    I was only able to bf for 4 weeks and then I had to switch them to formula. I will say bfing can be exhausting but it gets easier from what everyone says.

    I was typically up for good around 6, I'd feed Jackson and then adalynn put them back down for a nap, then when they woke up it was bath time for both, play time, another bottle and nap, this was when I'd get my shower and dressed , get some laundry in, after they woke up then we'd typically get out of the house ... That was huge for my own sanity, even if it was just a trip to target to walk around, come home, feed them, another nap, and then playing and then daddy was home! They're usually up until 7 when they have their night bottle and pass out, Marshall handles washing and making the bottles for the next day.

    Our baby duty is, I handle weekdays he does weekends and holidays, but there have been many a night he's been up with me helping during the week or just letting me sleep bc I'm so dang exhausted .

    The first month of him being back at work was rough, trust me ... Many moments of questioning if I'd be able to do it, but it got better little by little as I figured out our routine.

    Even now Mondays are tough bc they've had daddy home all weekend and both being held and paid attention to and then monday rolls around and its just me and they're both needy. Or if Marshall works a side job, ha... They cry most of the times and that's when I just have to tell myself I'm only one person and I'm doing the best I can. They eventually calm down and get occupied with a toy or music I have on or a show and I can tend to one and then the other. Tuesday -Fridays are a lot better bc I guess they remember its just momma.

    You can do this!! Btw ... How old areyour twins?
  3. Katheros

    Katheros Well-Known Member

    I had my twins by myself during the day. I actually worked at night, from midnight to 8am, then had them all day. I did that until they were about 18 months old. My two were great sleepers though so that helped a lot.
  4. FGMH

    FGMH Well-Known Member

    First of all, a big hug. I am not sure how old your babies are but the first weeks and months are hard. Often DH would come home from work to find all three of us either crying or in an exhausted sleep on the big bed. I took care of the babies on my own after DH went back to work. I never did it all - my focus was building my supply, nursing and caring for the babies. In the early days, simplify and reduce everything else was our motto.

    For us, simplifying meant for example:
    Proper baths happened twice a week or so, otherwise I just did sponge baths on the changing table.
    If I managed a few household chores on a day with good naps, fine. If I did not, fine too.
    DH did our laundry and shopping, we ate really simple meals - literally cereal and milk or yoghurt and an apple or a carrot for breakfast and supper five days a week; pasta and pesto or sauce from a jar was a treat in those early days. My parents came one half-day per week so I could take a shower or a nap and they would cook us a proper warm meal that day.
    If you have a moment while both babies nap, have a cat-nap too.

    A few other thoughts:
    Are you exclusively pumping, or nursing and supplementing with EBM while your supply builds? Pumping and bottle-feeding and sterilizing all that equipment takes a lot of time.
    Have you tried baby-wearing one baby while taking care of the other so you do not have to leave them crying so much?
    Try putting them down for naps together - position yourself between them and soothe them together. It may be a bit uncomfortable if they are in cribs but worth it if they sleep together and you get a few moments to yourself.
    Or you could try co-sleeping with them for naps.
    Do the sleep in the pram? I often went for a walk during their afternoon naptime. They slept well and I got some exercise and fresh air which was good for me.

    Things will get better, but please go and see your doctor or a midwife for a check-up if you suspect PPD! There is help for this. The exhaustion could also have other reasons, thyriod issues are common after pregnancy and during nursing, anemia also sometimes lingers after pregnancy.

    Edited for spelling.
  5. Danibell

    Danibell Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    My hubby had the first 3 weeks off, but I was totally on my own after that. He often works 12hr shifts, and since it's an hour to work, and an hour home, he was gone most days for 14 hrs. I did have help with my two older kids, my mother in law took them to and from school, and to any sports games they had, especially since I couldn't drive for 6 wks.

    Routine was huge. I couldn't accomplish anything without it. I bought a ton of paper plates, plastic silverware and plastic cups to use to cut down on dishes. Hubby brought home takeout at least 3-4 nights a week. When one twin developed reflux and colic, and cried from 5pm until 10pm nearly every night, I thought I was going to go insane. One of us has to hold her all evening, we took turns who got to eat first each night ;)

    You can do this. Try to find a routine that works for all 3 of you, and stick to it. Cut out little things. They don't need baths every day, 2-3 times a week tops, unless they have a poop-splosion or puke everywhere. A quick wipe down with a babywipe will suffice in between. Stick to sleepers or onesides, you can throw a TON of them in a load of laundry. I bought lots and lots of white onesies so both my boy and girl could wear them. I also had a ton of receiving blankets so I didn't have to wash them very often, and used them for burp cloths. Do you have to sterilize bottles every time? I only used playtex dropins, so much easier and far less cleanup. I only had to wash nipples. I don't know much about Dr Brown's specifically. I don't think sterilizing every time should be necessary though...again I don't know much about those bottles specifically though. Try to take a nap in the afternoon if you can, even a 20 minute nap helps you recharge those batteries. :youcandoit:
  6. AKilburn

    AKilburn Well-Known Member

    In regards to sterilizating the bottles, I used dr. Brown's for a little bit and then switched to playtex ventair and didn't sterilize every time but I'd throw them in those sterilizing bags you pop in the microwave, medela and munchkin make them ( I'm sure there others) ... They were awesome!
  7. waitingfortwins

    waitingfortwins Well-Known Member

    Thanks everyone! my twins are 16 weeks old and are going through a sleep regression/growth spurt so they are waking up lots and are clingy and fussy in the day.

    As far as sterilizing- DH feels we should do it twice a day until they are 6 months old. We wash in the dishwasher and then sterilize in the microwave.

    Thanks for letting me know! I feel that if i was alone doing this i'd probably handle it but this PDD sure puts a damper on it all. I have no time to even see a doctor! oh well- i have a lot of people helping me so hopefully that'll help.
  8. efaith

    efaith Well-Known Member

    Glad you've had lots of good replies! Nothing worse than feeling like you're the only one not managing when everyone else seems to be doing just fine. I vaguely remember 4 months, it's hard work and I was just breastfeeding, didn't have to muck around with bottles which must take so much time. I second (or third) the advice to just simplify, I tell people there's clean and there's twin-clean. Applies for housework, baby care, whatever!!! I'm guessing these are your only babies? First babies are bewildering and isolating, I really struggled with my first and had days where I just felt like it was all too hard and I was never going to manage and she was only one baby! Your body goes through such an ordeal with pregnancy and birth and then no sleep for months on end, be really gentle with yourself, you will totally be supermum when you can get some sleep!!!
  9. rrodman

    rrodman Well-Known Member

    I was back at work by four months, so I can't comment on balancing everything. A super early bedtime was key to survival at that age.

    Also, we had enough bottles to make up 2 days worth at a time (I was bottle feeding, and I realize you are only supposed to keep formula refrigerated for 24 hours, but I ignored that). I also never sterilized a bottle. Not once. It's just not necessary to sterilize everything twice a day. I don't think it necessary to sterilize at all after running them through the dishwasher. Did your pedi tell you to do that? Are they immuno compromised? If so, obviously different rules apply.

    I think you need to cut yourself a lot of slack. You have to be okay first and foremost. It concerns me that you literally don't feel like you have time to address your mental health and yet you are forcing yourself to find time to sterilize bottles multiple times a day because your husband thinks you should. Does he understand how you feel? I'm sure he'd want you to prioritize your health. Your babies need a healthy mom before anything else--sterilized bottles, home cooked dinners, etc. Please see your doctor. You may find that everything seems easier once you take care of you!
    4 people like this.
  10. Danibell

    Danibell Well-Known Member TS Moderator I have to agree that the sterilizing twice a day is totally unnecessary. Unless, as Rachael said, they are immuno compromised. In actuality, kids/babies/children need "germs". It helps to build their immune system. However, washing in hot water, or in a dishwasher, is all that's necessary. That's definitely one step I would look into cutting back on.
    1 person likes this.
  11. rayceryin12

    rayceryin12 Well-Known Member

    I don't sterilize at all except if they are new. Other than that, we just wash in hot water.

    Please consider getting to the dr. I have PPD and while I'm still zombie like because if no sleep! I know without my medication I would have never made it. I was so unlike myself and not bonding with my boys. You need to feel better to take care of them!
  12. daisies

    daisies Well-Known Member

    I agree with all.. go to the Doctor! first and most important your kids need you so take care of yourself!

    Bottles - We sterilized when they were new and after that just hot water or the dishwasher.
    If i had something i was using regularly, like the bottles i pumped into I would put it in the fridge rather than sterilize it each time. Then wash once daily.
    We made up bottles for the entire day at one time.

    Baths once a week.. anybody says different you explain, soap is NOT good for baby's skin ;)

    My Moby wrap saved me at this age.. i could hold both at once and maybe even load the dishwasher... well maybe not, but at least i could rest one arm.

    I felt like i was running a marathon and some days it was overwhelming. We made it and you will too, and the reward is awesome. Take one day at a time. concentrate on you and the kids, everything else will wait. AND go to the doctor.. call TODAY, please.
  13. Silly_Putty

    Silly_Putty Well-Known Member

    I have been on my own during the day with mine...well we did about a week and a half in the hospital then my husband was home for only about 2 weeks. Family os hours away. So from about 3-4 weeks old on up. I work part time evenings so when my husband gets home, I leave for work and get home around 9 or 10 pm. I went back to work after 6 weeks.

    It is so hard. I pumped for 3 months then gave up and switched to formula because I wasn't producing much anyway and pumping in the middle of the night during night feeds and all day was just too much. I think the first 3-4 months were just a sleep deprived blur. I wish I could have enjoyed the time more because now I only vaguely remember it. Lots of prioritizing in terms of cooking and cleaning. I also have 2 largish dogs that wan attention so I felt spread thin. I still do. really but it's a lot easier now. I know as soon as they were big enough for the jumparoo and exersaucer I would have them in them and doze off on the couch for a bit.

    People always say "Oh TWINS! I don't know how you do it!" My answer? You just do. You struggle through and eventually things will turn around and there will always be challenges, but they will change and it will get easier and more fun. You don't have to be super mom. It's okay if you aren't constantly reading to them or whatever. The downfall of two babies is that you can't do some of the things people do with one. You can't give all the one on one time and interaction a single baby gets. I hated that for a long time- that I felt like I was depriving my kids, but they're fine. You just do the best you can and know that each stage and challenge isn't forever.
  14. kingeomer

    kingeomer Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    You've gotten some great advice in this thread and I especially agree with every thing Danielle and Rachael have said.
    When my twins were born, my husband was off work for two weeks and then my Mom stayed with us I think for either a week or two weeks. After that I was on my own. My husband worked the midnight shift, so I took care of them overnight and when he slept during the day.
    Routine is the most important thing and it took me 6 months to get them (and me!) on a good day routine with consistent naps. But once we had the routine down, things were so much easier. Like Rachael said, I did not bother to sterilize the bottles (I also bottle fed) and would make them up a day in advance. When the twins were born I was also doing an internship and finishing up grad school at the time, so while I was doing those things, my father graciously watched the kids two days a week and on his days off my husband would take them.
    I remember being very depressed and moody and feeling like I had to be the perfect mother after the kids were born. I was making myself miserable. I agree with seeing your doctor and going over how you are feeling. Tell your husband too. My husband did what he could to help out, for example, when he got home from work in the morning he would do the morning feeding of the kids and get them ready for the day so that I could sleep in a little. I found that if me and my husband talked about things and were a united front, child care was much easier then two people with different philosophies.
    I also want to add what June said about having your thyroid checked. My thyroid always tested normal before having the kids. I did not have it tested until my GYN did a work up on me when the kids were 18 months old and it turned out that my thyroid was seriously underactive and I never realized how much a messed up thyroid plays on your mood, how tired you feel and many other things.
    It does get better. Hang in there!
  15. jennycraig

    jennycraig Active Member

    Congrats on your twins. I also have our almost 12 week twin girls at home all week while my husband is at work. I also have our 2 1/2 year old daughter and our newly turned 5 year old daughter. I then work every weekend 12 hour shifts at the hospital as a nurse. My husband has our daughters then on the weekend. I would also say for you to see a doctor to make sure you are healthy. I struggle many days but it has gotten better. I have learned to let some things go and I think that is very important. We still don't really have a strict routine as the twins have been fussy babies. We kind of go with the flow. I hope things begin to get easier for you!
  16. lcjackman

    lcjackman Well-Known Member

    I second everything that's been said; you're getting some great advice! My twins are 17 weeks and what's really helping me throughout the days is having them on the same schedule. Although there's still no completely predictable routine from day to day, they eat, play and nap at the same times. This allows for me to hang out with our 4 yr old, eat or just chill for a bit! I take it one block of time at a time, if that makes sense...mine are up for about 90 minutes at a time so I get through that and then recharge a little while they nap thus ready for the next round! Hang in there mama, this is a tough gig.
  17. Daddy Daycare

    Daddy Daycare Member

    I take care of my twins alone. My wife works during the day and I get the privilege of raising the twins myself.
    We're lucky since we decided to stick with a routine after they turned 3 months.
    They always wake at the same time, eat at the same time, play at the same time and sleep at the same time.
    They have 2 hour naps which gives me time to clean things up, prepare their next meals, prepare our dinner, or even to shower or relax.
    Since I only have 2 hands I always bring one kid at a time to their crib. Sometimes, the kid I leave behind cries while I'm gone but most of the time she's busy playing with the toy I just left for her.
    And, even if they do cry, as soon as I pick them up, they stop immediately and off to bed they go.
    To be honest, I do find it daunting to handle this myself but I somehow find a way to get through each day.
    I don't really have that motherly instinct :ibiggrin: but the people on this forum has helped guide me through it.

    Not sure if you can but could you not ask your inlaws to take care of them for 2 or 3 hours while you nap or to get out of the house so you can get a breather?

    By the way, I'll also say we only sterilize our stuff once and that's it.
  18. waitingfortwins

    waitingfortwins Well-Known Member

    Daddy Daycare- I don't feel comfortable asking Gran and Gramps to watch the kids for hours at a time since during that time would be a feeding and a nap. Gran often things that just b/c they are on the floor kicking and smiling they aren't tired but lo' and behold i go to their room and start the soothing process and they are tired.

    Good to know that many people watch and take care of their twins on their own. So do most of you crib the twins in the same crib for day naps? I'm finding that impossible now as they are more aware of each other and noises (17 weeks). So I end up cribbing one while I plop the other on the swing.

    Although I try to nap them at the same time they don't always sleep the same time either- one might sleep 25 min while the other sleeps 45 min or more. So I end up going on a stroller walk to get them back on the same schedule (they always seem to sleep on the stroller or car).
  19. Danibell

    Danibell Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    I started putting mine in the same crib at around 4 months old, before that they napped on my couch or in their bouncy seats. We had to do a modified cry it out with my daughter, who didn't want to settle down in their, but it only took one time and she learned to sooth herself very fast. We had a fan on for white noise, and lullabies playing, both of which drown out the little noises they each made to fall asleep. We turned them so they weren't facing each other, and let them drift off. It only took a couple of days to get them into a good napping routine. Try to be consistent about it. If one wakes after 25 mins, let them try to sooth themselves to sleep. Or you can go in and don't talk to them, just replace their paci (if they are using it), turn on their lullabies again, check their blankets, then walk back out. Sometimes they will wake too early and just need a few minutes to settle back down again.
  20. rrodman

    rrodman Well-Known Member

    At that age, mine were napping in swings. I always followed the mantra that it's more important THAT they sleep than WHERE they sleep. They napped in swings until 7.5 months and the transition was easy. Whatever works!
  21. Daddy Daycare

    Daddy Daycare Member

    Since we follow a tight schedule we've always told my inlaws this is the time they wake up and this is the time they sleep. Regardless if they're wide eye and playing with toys or sleeping soundly. Once that time hits, they either go down or wake up. Our schedule did adjust as they got older. We found at 3 months they could hardly stay up for an hour but by 7 months they have no problem staying up for 2 hours. And, it didn't matter that they seemed wide awake, as soon as we put them in the crib (and we use white noise as well), they would fall asleep after 5-10 min.

    Try to let your kid fuss for a couple of minutes if they wake up. We found ours will wake up at the end of their sleep cycle (generally 45 min) but will quickly fall back to sleep.

    We have seperate cribs for our kids but they sleep in the same room. Even if one was crying we found it didn't really wake up the other.
  22. AmynTony

    AmynTony Well-Known Member

    sterilization is not needed (and especially NOT twice a day!) unless they have no immune system...we sterilized nipples/binkys before the first use and I don't think I ever sterilized anything after that...also too, your dishwasher is hot enough to sterilize on its own...

    you need to take care of you - I suffered with PPD till the twins were nearly 2 before I got help....

    and trust me you can't bubble them from germs...mine ate cat food, crawled all over the floor and ran around nude in the winter time...
  23. lcjackman

    lcjackman Well-Known Member

    Mine are napping seperately in cribs in their room. White noise, dark curtains and swaddling are what's working for us. They seem to recognize these thinga as cues that it's time to sleep!
  24. mama_dragon

    mama_dragon Well-Known Member

    I would go ahead and leave them long enough for a doctor appointment. If they do not get in a nap or get off schedule it isn't as bad as not taking care of yourself. One late/missed nap isn't going to be horrible well if they are overtired it will be a bit trying for a day but better you get yourself taken care of so they can have a happy healthy mommy. If you have a pretty set schedule you can try to leave after you put them down for a nap.

    Mine never napped in the crib. Bouncy seats and swings. Or on me.

    My boys came home from the NICU on Saturday and my DH went to work like normal on Monday. I had no help since our parents live out of town.
  25. lianyla

    lianyla Well-Known Member

    I have never understood sterilization. I've never tried it. I guess I just never had time ;) If your husband feels it needs to be done, then I'd let him have at it. :)

    I had a really hard time for the ENTIRE first year. I'm pretty sure I bawled like a baby EVERY SINGLE DAY. They had horrendous COLIC and reflux and usually cried for 16 hours a day. And.. I did it by myself. My DH worked two jobs at that time and I have zero family, so it was allllll ME.

    I think it's worth mentioning that some people have a HARDER time when they DO have help. It's almost like it undermines your own confidence that YOU CAN DO IT. I was and still am better off doing it alone. It seems like when I have the help, it makes me less sure tht I can handle it alone. I don't know if this makes sense?? I prefer to just accept the FACT that this is my life and they're my kids and I CAN DO THIS!! You can do it , too!

    And, I couldn't have done ANYTHING without my Zoloft. Make sure you go see the doctor. You will not regret it.

    YOU CAN DO THIS!! :) :)
  26. AKilburn

    AKilburn Well-Known Member

    I have to TOTALLY agree with ^^this post!

    How are you doing????
  27. cheezewhiz24

    cheezewhiz24 Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    I agree that at a certain point I had to accept it and start making my routines and life my own. But- def go see the doc and get checked out. Grandparents can be in charge for that length of time.
  28. Babies4Susan

    Babies4Susan Well-Known Member

    Mine were in the NICU until 5 and 6 weeks, then DH took 2 days off, and then I was on my own. I did the solo thing until I had to go back to work (when they were about 3 months old). But...I work from home so I was here to help the nanny, if needed. She was here during my work hours only.

    Luckily, they were on a good eating schedule from the NICU. And they napped in their swings for the most part. Do what works!

    And my girls were born 9 weeks early and we never sterilized bottles. To me, the dishwasher was good enough. They are 7 and perfectly healthy, so I think it was okay not to sterilize. :)
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