MIL offered to pay for help with twin babies - what will we need?(21 Posts)
Hi, I'm expecting twins in October and am trying to get my head around what it's going to be like.
I don't have any family in the country, friends are all about an hour away, DH will be back at work pretty quickly and his mother has already said that she WILL NOT (and yes, she did say it like that) be helping out - lovely as she is she's really not the maternal type - however she has offered to pay for a nanny.
It's not something I've ever considered as we couldn't afford it ourselves but I am going to take her up on the offer! I'm just not sure what sort of help would be best - help with the babies, help around the house, help at night?? And would that be a nanny, maternity nurse, post-natal doula, mother's help??? And what it will be like having a stranger in the house?
Sorry about the rambling! Any advice most appreciated!
I'm expecting twins in Sept and have dd1 (3). I am planning (haven't told dh yet) to get a cleaner for a few months (can't afford it to be permenant). I want to spend time with the babies but it's far less stressful living in a clean and tidy-ish house, for me anyway. I don't have family near by but I do have fab friends so I'd rather they watched the babies while I had a shower etc as an when I needed it. But really I think it's whatever you feel will work. Might be best to have a couple of weeks with babies to decide what would help best.
I bf dd1 and want to do the same with dtds so a nanny at night wouldn't help too much - also I'd hear them anyway. When dh got up to dd1 I would lie in bed awake listening in case she needed me (ie. milk).
postnatal doula can be useful I think. they look after you (cleaning, cooking etc) leaving you free to focus on the babies, ours used to hold one baby so I could get some one to one time with the other, or entertain both so I could play with ds1 or get a bath. I think you need someone who can be flexible whether they look after the babies or you or the house. and if you've got a fixed budget, spread it out over the first several months rather than have full time help for the first month only.
I'm going to be slightly controversial and say that I don't think you should have anything other than a cleaner. You need to get used to having two babies - at some point, unless you plan on having a nanny until they start school, you will have to deal with them on your own, and it's not as hard as you think. When my DTDs were born, I was concerned, of course, about how I would manage two of them on my own when DH was at work, but I very soon got used to it. There are definite advantages to having two babies at once - strange as it may seem, I definitely think mine were better sleepers and less demanding babies simply because they never got used to having 100% of my attention all of the time. If you have a nanny or a post-natal doula or a night nurse or whatever, I honestly think you're just delaying the inevitable, and there will never be a point at which it suddenly gets "easier" and you can let the help go. I loved having mine to myself when they were tiny, and you soon get into a routine of getting them out and about on your own, going to baby groups and so on. THe only thing I couldn't manage on my own was taking two of them swimming, but other than that, we did everything that my friends with singleton babies managed.
Twins are wonderful - congratulations! It will not be as difficult as you imagine. If you can find a supportive twins group to get involved with, do. I was in a brilliant one, and socialising with other twin mums was great. My girls are nearly 5 now, and have two sets of ID twin girl friends (they're ID) which is lovely for them.
I second the poster who said that you only get used to handling it yourself by doing it.
If money was no object, I'd get a cleaner. My DH did all (and I mean all) of ours, washing included, for about 2 months. Alongside going to work, commuting, all the shopping, cooking etc. I basically did nothing but babies for two months (though you might be able to do this differently if you aren't breastfeeding). After that, or if your DH is up for the housework like mine, I'd get a post natal doula. You basically need a friend - someone who can hold a baby for you, fetch some food from downstairs for you, remind you what you did five mins ago, hang some washing out, sit with the babies while you shower/sleep, that kind of thing. A friend of mine and my mum arranged to be here for me one day a week between them, and with DH then home at the weekend, I was never alone for more than two or three days. I found it really helpful, I reckon if you can, you'd be grateful of one/two days a week for the first two months.
Personally, I don't like the idea of maternity nurses. I think you need to do those early nights with your baby (I even look back fondly at them now!) and splitting their care between two of you seems artificial to me. I think people use to get into a routine, so perhaps have one if a routine is important to you (I have never really had a routine, though each babies goes through periods of predictable patterns every how and then!).
Congratulations! When I was expecting mine I got a cleaner (well there were two cos they worked as a team together) and kept them on for a couple of years or so afterwards.
If anyone wants to help it's the domestic crap that's really the issue imho. Ironing, cleaning, washing, cooking etc. Any help with that frees you up to enjoy your babies without drudgery piling up and making you miserable. If you have that covered you are more likely to manage the baby side.
That part wasn't too bad for me if I'm honest, although dh and I did share the up at night bit to start with. I honestly don't think, for me anyway, I would have been comfortable at all with a nurse about at night in my home.
I would say though that it is also V important if possible to have a regular break to go out and be you. So try and build that into any help you plan for your sake. It's not being selfish it's v v important<listen to auntie Bendybob who didn't follow her own advice and nearly caved in trying to be superwoman!)
Help in the beginning is great, but really it's when the twins get bigger and more mobile that you really need more hands, so keep any help you get going for as long as possible.
Like BennyBob says I think you'll need more help when they get bigger and are into everything. When they're babies they stay where you last put them! You may also find that your babies are quite easy to look after if they settle and sleep well.
It is also worth remembering that although you're having twins it is only two children you're looking after. Running a house with two kids is quite the norm. I agree with what has been said before that it is important that you know that you can cope alone with your twins without relying on anyone.
Wait and see what is right for you when the babies arrive. Everybody is different. At least you have the comfort of knowing you can get help if you need it.
I had a mother's help for a couple of days a week between I think 3 months and 4.5 months. I also had a cleaner once a week. The grannies also came up to help sometimes.
I could have done with a bit more help (my husband was basically away 6 days a week for most of the time from 2 weeks old). But I would totally agree that it's important that you are the boss in your home, and the person who leads things with the babies. So, you want to be able to delegate tasks like washing, changing cots, the odd nappy change, etc. But I don't think it's that helpful to have a maternity nurse or doula where there is a risk that you become disempowered.
You may need help physically for the first six weeks if you have a c-section, so that's something to think about. And it is useful to have someone who is flexible enough to be there for bathtime and part of the evening if colic kicks in and your husband isn't going to be home in time.
I'd say someone to do a bit of cleaning / cooking if anything. We don't have family or close friends locally so sorting the babies was down to dp & I - and I wouldn't have liked it any other way tbh. We've never been overly houseproud here so getting behind on chores isn't a great trauma to us (but having someone do it for me would be nice). In fact we probably do far more cleaning / tidying now than pre-twins. Getting dinner prepared (or even making sure I had a drink handy during the day) was a challenge at times in the early days.
If you're in the UK and have decent Surestart, it might be worth finding out if their maternity support workers will come to you if you decide you need extra help with the babies. The ladies who came to see me to introduce the Surestart facilities were lovely and it sounded like nothing would have been too much trouble for them. Then you could have paid for cleaning and free help with the babies.
I think it depends what exactly your MIL is offering and what sort of family life you want. I would have thought having a full time nanny would largely remove you from much of the day-to-day caring and bonding (something many mothers look froward to, but that just as many dads manage without and still have a brilliant relationship with their kids). If it's a lifestyle that appeals to you and your MIL is offering to pay for this at least until the kids go to school then it might be very nice. But how will you feel if your nanny is taking the kids to the park everyday while you stay home and do the laundry etc.? If the offer isn't until they go to school then I think you're storing up difficulties for yourself which you'll have to tackle when the nanny leaves.
I tend to agree that you need help when they start moving more than you do when they're newborn and that you can do it without help. But if you have no real network you can call on for a bit of relief, you might benefit from something along the lines of an au pair - someone who can provide adult company, be a second pair of hands, help with general household chores and take over for a few hours so you can shower in peace/nip out to the shops/nap/read a book/remember you're human too! I would have really liked this sort of help (still would!).
What we did have was a night nurse for two nights a week for a few months from 6 weeks. To my mind it was one of the best things we spent money on. Sleep deprivation was completely obliterating any joy and making me clumsy picking up my twins. Our night nurse was brilliant and instantly made our lives a lot better. Now my girls are two I have someone looking after them two mornings a week and babysitting one night a fortnight. I really enjoy having that time, but I also enjoy looking after them the rest of the time. Congratulations and best of luck!
I would go for a mother's help maybe two days a week in my ideal world. You do get used to twins pretty quick and get your own routines set up etc but someone to just be there to help out, beit to change a nappy/wind a baby or to make the beds/cups of tea - that would be bliss.
The ability to nip out to a shop to get a pint of milk without it turning into a expidition would have been much welcomed, as would the chance to go and nap whilst they were sleeping rather than having to put the washing on etc.
Defiantely take your mum up on her offer and maybe see how much she is willing to pay for and then try and spread it out over the first 6 months/year as each stage brings its challenges.
I would more than anything go for the cleaner, I've just had my 2nd set of twins and think that I'm going to get one this time as I have a 4 year old, twin girls who are 2.5 and 3 week old twin boys, last time I got a dishwasher as couldn't keep on top of that so this time it's the cleaning lol
Definitely a cleaner! Wish I could afford one!
My priority when expecting Dtrips was someone for the night - I still had to get up to feed and express but I didn't change nappies, stay up with crying baby etc. on top of that. And I think that was a great investment.
Also, a cleaner/cook (someone to prepare healthy meals for you that can then go in the freezer).
Delegate the things that are really important and you hate most (laundry? cooking? shopping?)
And accept all offers of help from anybody without feeling guilty!
I agree with many of the above: priority 1= cleaning cleaning cleaning. For as long as possible. Followed by a postnatal Doula for 3 mornings for 6 weeks. To have up your sleeve later: a casual babysitter who can do some helping when you are there, and allow you some evenings (a neighbours 16 year old daughter who was cheap and great to have around for 2 hours after school for a couple of days a week.
Don't blow it all on the first six weeks. Having a block of help 8 months down the line when you need a break is worth considering
Cleaner! Without a doubt.
An Enid Blyton-style cook would have been nice, too.
Seems like you already have loads of advice, but I'll throw in my twopenny's worth anyway, mainly because, like you, we don't have any family in the country...we live in Austria. My mum and mil have both been to stay and helped loads - do you have any family coming to help? If so, and it is more than one person at a time, politely suggest that they stay in a b&b or something nearby. The help is great but it can just feel like added pressure having someone else living in with you, even if they are family.
Often people will make an offer like 'if you need any help with anything....', or 'if there is anything I can do....'. Your new answer to these people is YES! Even if it is just putting the kettle on and making you a cuppa, or picking up a pint of milk when they go shopping.
And I agree with the cleaner thing!
I was so daunted by the prospect of managing alone, and some days are tough, but actually at the end of each day you get such an amazing sense of achievement and such a buzz from you two gorgeous little people. Twins are the best thing in the world - congrats and enjoy
Most definitely a cleaner, and also someone who will do all the washing including ironing. A babysitter too, so you and DH get the odd night out together. Also, when you have visitors and they ask if they can help, hand them a tea towel, not a baby. You can then get to enjoy cuddling your babies whilst other people wait on you.
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