The First Year – The Basics With My Preemie Babies
Okay, so now what? After bringing the preemie babies home, I quickly realized this wasn’t even a little bit the same as having a full term singleton. One cried, the other cried. One needed to be held, the other needed to be held. Two bouncers; two car seats; two pack and plays; two cribs; but also only two hands. Two babies required four hands. As a very independent person, the first thing I learned was that I needed help. I had to learn how to ask for it, not easy for someone who drove to the hospital on her own after my water breaking because my husband was out of the country.
As a very independent person, the first thing I learned was that I needed help.
Now that these little monkeys were home, they needed to be fed. I tried and tried to get them to nurse but because they were preemies, their sucking reflex was not fully developed. Despite hours with a lactation consultant and an OT, they couldn’t figure it out. So I pumped, with not much luck. My first was exclusively breast-fed and I assumed I would be able to do it with the twins too. Making the decision to formula feed was a huge hurdle for me. I was disappointed with myself as a mother but finally realized that I had to do what was best for the twins. Feeding them formula was obviously better than not feeding them!
Making the decision to formula feed was a huge hurdle for me.
One of the twins was a barfer. Not a spitter-upper, but a full projectile vomit of all 8oz of the bottle type. She didn’t really seem bothered by it and she was growing and she had wet diapers. However, I just couldn’t handle cleaning that up after every feed. So we changed her to one of the super expensive tiny container easy to digest formulas. Wonder of wonders, the barfing stopped.
Two kids, two different formulas, all those diapers, iron supplements, and a type A mama equals BINDERS! One for each kid with a daily chart! We kept track of how many ounces of breast milk each kid got, how many ounces of their specific formula, how many poo diapers, pee diapers, what time they got their iron and if they had a bath. You forget the small things when you have two 9 week olds fresh from the hospital. As well, my daughter’s bottles had purple rings and my son had green. They had their own nipples for a while too. By about 4 months, the binders were out the window and the twins shared their bottle nipples. By about 7 months when my daughter had been moved onto the same formula as my son, they just got whatever bottle was closest to them. It is amazing how much sharing occured between them.
We learned from other MoM’s (moms of multiples) a few tricks for feeding two babies at once.
We learned from other MoM’s (moms of multiples) a few tricks for feeding two babies at once. When you are up in the middle of the night, or your hubby is at work, there are so many times that you have to feed the babes alone. The strategy -take two bouncy chairs, push them against the couch or wall so they are sturdy. Put a cloth under babies chin and sit between the chairs facing the babes, hold bottles to mouth! Keep all your diaper changing paraphernalia nearby (one set of it on each floor of the house) and change on floor near you. Also, invest in multiple diaper genies. One for each floor as well, for obvious reasons.
They started us on a strict routine for the twins. There is no other option when you want to maintain some sanity.
Again, I cannot stress how grateful we are to the NICU staff. They started us on a strict routine for the twins. There is no other option when you want to maintain some sanity. The babies slept in a pack and play in my room for a couple weeks until I got used to feeding two babies in the middle of the night. Once I was comfortable with it, off they went to their own cribs in their own rooms. They napped in their cribs from about this time too. Structure is so important.
Keep following my twin birth story…