Written by A Guest Blogger
Journalist Jill Foster, 43, lives in West Yorkshire with her husband Robin, 48, and their five-year-old twin daughters Charlotte and Martha. She shares some handy twin-mum hacks for when your children are babies…
1) Being a mum of multiples is all about being organised – and having so little sleep you will struggle to remember your name and regularly walk into walls. Life – and babies – will throw surprises at you but if you’re half-organised at least you’ll be half prepared. Stock up on luminous post-it notes before the babies are born. And marker pens. You won’t talk to your other half for the first six months but you will communicate via post-it notes stuck to various surfaces.
2) Sorting out an outfit in the morning is easier if you store the outfits as ‘clothes rolls’. This works for the babies, not you… although perhaps I wouldn’t have spent nearly as much time in my dressing gown if I’d done it personally. Spend half an hour each week putting together a dozen or more full outfits together – vests, tops, pants, jumpers etc – and then rolling them into individual outfits that store together neatly in a drawer. Then, simply grab a ‘roll’ in the morning and the whole outfit is ready. Also handy for when you’re packing to go away.
3) Obviously, you’re going to need a change of clothes – or several – throughout the day. My two had usually spilt most of the contents of the fridge down their tops before dawn broke. So I’d keep several clear plastic bags labelled up as ‘vests’ or ‘tops’ or ‘leggings’ in various parts of the house. Upstairs, downstairs, in the car etc. If there’s a spillage, you can find the item easily.
4) Wipes, wipes and more wipes. Buy shares in them. Bulk buy them. Store them in your pram, bag every corner of your house, car, relatives’ houses, relatives’ cars. You will always need them. Five years later we’re still finding them in drawers and corners and they STILL come in handy.
5) If your babies are identical (like mine) you might want to have a dress code so you don’t mix them up. During the daylight hours I could easily tell which baby was which but in the 2am gloom, after only an hour’s sleep I’d sometimes forget which baby had been fed/changed/winded etc. It was easier because I always dressed Charlotte in bolder, primary coloured patterns and baby-gros whereas Martha was always dressed in paler colours. Sometimes it would be a case of: ‘Now I’ve definitely changed red baby but not apricot baby’. Trust me on this.
6) On a serious note, if your babies need medication as mine did when they were out of Special Care, ALWAYS keep a notebook about this. Make two columns – one for each child – and make a habit of noting down what medication they’ve taken and at what time. Keep this notebook in the same corner of the house and have a pen pot near it. This will save you from dissolving into tears at 6am when you can’t find a pen or screaming at your husband because he’s moved the notebook a foot away from it’s original position – how dare he.
7) When taking the babies out, add an hour onto your expected time of exit. Or get up an hour earlier. You may think that it’s perfectly possible to leave a house calmly with two babies in the pram, a changing bag full of clothes, wipes, nappies etc but then you’ll realise that – argh – you’ve forgotten to dress yourself.
8) Give your other half a job that is his and his alone. Robin was a very hands-on father and I have no complaints but some men like to have ‘a task’. So Robin’s – and my father’s when we stayed at my parents – was sterilizing. Robin and my dad got so familiar with the sterilising machine that they may as well have taken it down the pub and bought it a pint. But it was wonderful to have clean sterilized bottles to hand all the time.
9) If you have the energy, keep a diary. This is the lovely idea for any mum but with multiple mums it’s even more important because you’ll find yourself asking: ‘Who DID walk first?’ ‘Whose first word was ‘sheep’? I’m so glad I kept mine. I don’t write in it every day, indeed some weeks can go by before I fill it in but it’s fantastic to look back on and remind myself of the milestones.
10) Enjoy your babies but take good care of yourself too. Being a mother of multiples is hard and only those who have been through it truly understand. You’re more likely to suffer from post-natal depression so please talk to people – your family, other mums, health visitors, your GP – if you feel you’re not coping. There’s no shame in it, many of us have been there and you can get help if you ask. Good luck!
Follow Jill on Twitter @JournalistJill and on Instagram @journalist_jill