Twin Support by sister

Angela - posted on 12/26/2010 ( 4 moms have responded )

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hello

my twin sister is having twins in a few months.
I am to be her support during her labor and birth and after, & I was hoping to gain any advice on support in any subject or anything you think will be helpful/useful. She will be with me for at least 6mos. What worked best for you guys? i know that is a broad subject, but anything that stands out that you could suggest, recoomend, or wish you had support on....

Thanks so much.

angela

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Andrea - posted on 12/31/2010

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I was so sleep deprived I couldn't make any decisions and I developed post partum depression even though I was so happy to have my babies. There was a lot of crying as I could't meet both babies' needs all at once no matter how I tried, they both had reflux and one had colic and it made things very sad in the house. I exclusively nursed both for 7 months (they were 2 months premature) and I never had a break which was another very tough problem. My mom was helping us, we thought she had the experience I was looking for - I am also a twin - but my own parent made things worse because our parenting philosophies didn't match.

A few things would have been priceless:

Someone to feed me as I was feeding my babies. The only time I didn't listen to crying was when they nursed at the same time. However I was stuck to the chair. Finger foods on a tray beside the nursing station should be refilled regularly with fresh food and a bottle of fresh drink should be available at all times.

Another opportunity to help is when the feeding is done and one or both babies still can't settle. You can help with the one that is crying harder. Everyone loves to hold a quiet and calm baby but people mostly leave this baby to be handled by mom. Believe it, mom would also love to hold a quiet and calm baby and you can let her do that by taking the more fussy one.

You can offer to take the babies for a walk in the stroller. They might fall asleep easier when they are moving and mom will not hear the crying which can drain all the remaining energy if there is any left, and she will be so spent she won't be able to function.

After feedings offer to give her a break often so she can take a shower (most of us didn't get a chance to do that more often than once every 5 days) and to take a nap. Once the babies establish their feeding routine, she can have a 1-2 hour nap and babies will be fine with you especially when they get to know you and they get used to you.

Doing housework is basic, that shouldn't even be said the new family needs help with. However offer a clean night gown or pajama to the mom and ask her to use the bathroom for personal care daily. It is so shocking that while we are pregnant we are showered with attention but as soon as the babies arrive, all the attention is directed to the babies and mom is forgotten.

Keep the house quiet, answer the calls and shield her from unwanted visitors. If you have to have those people around, make sure you act as one of the heads of the house and you can make decisions to keep it easy, short, useful, ask them to run to the grocery store and pick up a list of items you need. That way they will feel helpful and you get what you need as well.

I agree with Erin, it will be a special time when you will develop a relationship with the babies that no other person can. Even grandparents can be irritating sometimes as they think they help but make things more difficult. Don't boss a new mom around. These are her babies and she should have the last say how she wants to handle them. It is very hard to leave them in the care of someone else, even if we can see that person doing a good job. I think this is natural, it is the hormones working and mom is very protective while at the same time she realizes she can't manage it all alone.

Sometimes a hair wash at the hair dresser can make her feel like a million bucks. Most moms I know that didn't get help never could leave the house. With you around she might. I know someone who said the best help was by her mother in law. When she arrived my friend asked her what she wanted to drink and she said "it looks like you could take a nap dear, go and sleep a few hours". She then sent the men out to do some errands to keep them busy and out of the way. That made her cry, we all want to have a mother in law like that, not someone who comes to visit and wants to hold babies forever no matter how tired they are when they need quiet and very little stimulation, plus if they are premature they are very sensitive to viruses and infections.

My twin sister always says her kids are mine too as if I am their "other" mom because we have the same philosophies and attitudes.

At the end of the day, it is up to her what she finds helpful so ask but don't be surprised if she says she doesn't know. I didn't, I was too tired to think and I needed someone to speak for me. Good luck, I am sure you will do just fine.

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Erin - posted on 12/31/2010

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My identical twin sister was my support when I gave birth to my fraternal twins. During labor and birth, follow her lead, follow the medical staff's lead.
Once getting home...
First and foremost, remind her that she does not need to do everything herself! I had a huge issue with that...it is hard for me to give up control. If she ends up having a c-section, she needs to remember that it is major surgery. I was climbing stairs repeatedly the day I came home - I was dumb.
If your sister is planning to nurse the twins, she is the only one who can feed the babies. Really, even if she is planning on bottle feeding, mom and dad should try to limit feedings to just themselves - it is so important for bonding. With multiple births, each baby gets less one-on-one time with each parent. Feedings are the most important bonding time there is.
Do plan on helping with laundry, dishes, cooking, cleaning, errands. Things that need to be done, but take a lot of time away from mom and babies. Changing diapers, bathing, charting feedings would be other things you can easily help with.
There is a book I recommend to parents having multiples - "Ready or not, here we come". It is a fantastic book, and you might get a lot out of reading it yourself.
I really depended on my twin...she "got it" and understood the twinship relationship. As your sister's twin, you are in a position even a spouse can't be in. It's been the two of you through everything. You and she will understand those twin babies better than anyone else. And as they get older, and start in on their twin games, you and she will recognize them for what they are. This new experience is going to send you down memory lane in ways you can't even imagine right now! Enjoy this special opportunity! You are about to be so blessed!

Emma - posted on 12/28/2010

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help with night feed if she is bottle feeding as its soo exhausting! my twins were every 2 and half hours in the night and boy was i tired! or she could do the night feeds and you could look after twins while she has a nap in the day! once you get past the first 12 weeks it gets a bit easier!

Heather - posted on 12/26/2010

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I think that each mom is different when it comes to this. Some moms want to get use to doing it themselves, others would rather someone else did it all, and other are somewhere in between.

I think little things like washing the dishes, doing laundry and vacuuming are safe bets. But other than that, I would really recommend checking with your sister to see what she want's you to do.

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