Multiple Mums - what's the best/most helpful thing anyone ever did for you?(18 Posts)
My bf gave birth to her twin girls (pfb's!) last week. She has no family nearby but will have some help at home with a doula and extra domestic help. She gets out of hospital soon, and I wondered other than the normal (listening to her, offering to take the babies for a walk etc etc) is there anything else particular to looking after two babies at once, that I could do for her?
Hello lovely Turniphead, you're on my (very neglected ) ante/postnatal thread, so I feel morally obliged to try and help . How are you?
No idea what her organisational abilities are but I would have loved to have more lovely meals delivered - our sum total was about 2 over several months, I think that's a poor turnout?! Other than that you definitely have the right idea - offering an ear, taking the babies out for walks. If she has other DCs, be lovely to them, obviously. Could you field some of her visitors/make tea for them/make a note of what they all bring/make them leave after a suitable interval etc? That all sounds a bit lame but the first weeks are so involved for the parents, it's a bit hard to do much, isn't it?
I think the only thing particular to having two babies at once is the amount of time everything takes to do! If her extra domestic help won't include cooking then I'm sure she'd appreciate you organising that - our friends bought us regular batches of one-pot meals such as chilli & lasagne and that was fab as we didn't seem to have any time to cook. Or shop. Or clean the house....!
If she's not breastfeeding then maybe you could pitch in there too and give her and her dh a break.
The most help we had was with our dd who was 2 when the twins came along, friends were really helpful and took her off to play at their houses regularly. It gave her a change of scene and made me feel a little less guilty about being so tied up with the twins at first. As your friends babies are pfbs that's one less worry....!
Congrats to your friend Twins are fab.
Presumably the doula will only be around for a few weeks and dp/dh on paternity leave for a few weeks too? That's when it really gets hard IMO, 6 weeks in and no-one is there.
Just getting out of the house with 2 is pretty hard, I was dying to go out to a cafe for instance but couldn't manage it with 2 on my own in the early weeks. My mum used to come over and help me get going, come out with me. I just felt human again getting out of the house and didn't get so panicky with someone else there.
My pfb twin girls are 7 weeks.
Just be there as an extra pair of hands to hold a baby. I find it traumatic to listen to one cry while I'm with the other, but if someone else is holding them (even if still crying) it's much better because I know that they are not on their own.
Take her food for her freezer - if you can't cook, ready meals are fine. Think nutritious comfort food, lasagne, shepherds pie etc. Also snacks if she's bf - picnic eggs, quiche, pasta salads are all high calorie, easy to eat over the babies' heads favourites of mine.
Make tea when you go round, empty the dishwasher, put a load of baby clothes in the machine, hang the washing out. Help her by suggesting some of these things, I can never think of anything for people to do when they offer.
Tell her what a great job she's doing. Often. Especially if she is breastfeeding. Keep this up for weeks and months.
Bring shopping. Ask her to keep a note of things that she needs that require a girl to buy - e.g. moisturiser she's run out of, maternity pads etc. I really appreciated girl friends running errands I can't trust DH with.
Go out with her - to doctors appointments, to baby toddler groups, to local Baby Cafe (bf support - if relevant) etc. etc. You are presumably working, but perhaps you can sacrifice some half days of holiday or do things early or late in the day as well as weekends? I am terrified of doing things like that on my own, but I really want to get out.
Agree with AQ about being there once the other help has tailed off. I expected everything to get magically better at 6 weeks and it has in some ways, in others, it's got harder because reality has sunk in. If you can be around at that point, you'll be there when really needed.
I'd second what all the other posters have put. My Dts are 6.5 weeks and I also have an almost 3 year old. I have a doula 3 hours a day as DH works away. Having a meal prepared is fab (even soup/sandwich made by someone else is great) and for me entertaining Dd1 have been two of the best things people can do. I'm kind of settled with life at home but still scared about going out with both dts/all Dcs so yes offering an extra pair of hands for drs appt.s etc would be fab.
My friend turned up with lasagne,a large one. A couple of the others very kindly didn't show up at all until I'd had some sleep. I love these people.
these are really really helpful. Although I have three DCs (and the youngest is only 6 months, so I do remember the early days very welll...) I know its a MUCH bigger challenge with two. Hats off to you all!!
GBB good to hear from you! Glad your lovely DT are doing well. Where has the last 6 months gone?
I think food is the way to go. I know she is super organised and has her freezer stocked, but still. She is b'fing, but I may offer to do a night shift with her when her DH is back at work next week so she can sleep and he can sleep and I can do the settling.
1stMrsF your list made me a bit weepy for some reason (in a good way). I think I will need to "bully" her a bit to let me help.
I am also glad because my youngest is a girl and so I will literally just be passing all my decent clothes etc straight on to her - and all three girls will be the same school year.
Was supposed to see them for first time today, then my friend brought her little boy round and we subsequently discovered he had impetigo. So don't want to risk giving nasties to little teeny tiny ones.
Thanks so much for all the suggestions!
My friend came over and cokked me a lovely wholesome, home-cooked meal. Soooooooooo greatful!!
Yes food and yes household drudgery... but most of all, I think, companionship. Just keep her company. Let her cry, let her talk for hours about nothing. That's what I wanted most of all in the early days.
Ditto take food. On my first night home, my friend brought round a load of shopping including 4 packs of sandwiches. Cute bibs & matching outfits are all well and good but this was the best present we got. I scoffed the lot at 2am.
Also offer to go with her to any check ups and appointments. It is really daunting getting both dressed and out of the house at a certain time.
I got lots of offer to take the babies for walks but declined - I wasn't letting them out of my sight!
totally agree with telling her what a fantastic job shes doing, this should continue right through toddler years too when you are tearing your hair out and wondering if you are a terrible mother! and giving her reality checks all the time, like telling her toignore any criticisms or 'advice' from people who have never done multiples...
defo meals. And ironing/laundry. I had meals delivered for the first week or so by a group of ladies from a local church and it was absolutely fantastic.
I also had a friend who helped otu with the school runs for the first couple of weeks.
Help with the check ups is a fantastic idea. I didn't have that one, but I'd have loved someone to help me take them for their jabs etc. Trying to console two screaming half naked babies after jabs with only one pair of hands is heartbreaking!
OMG, absolutely agree about the jabs! I just took my 8 month old ones today and had my DD1 (4) with me - she was very helpful but what I hadn't factored in was her distress and nearly throwing up when the 6th injection went in . I definitely didn't have enough hands to deal with them all.
When my twins were born I had a mate who used to come over, cook lunch then make me go upstairs for a sleep while she listened out for the babies and did the washing up. This was the nicest gift anyone gave me - 3 years on and it still brings me out in warm fuzzies!
Beats all the coordinated sleep suits and silly expensive presents lots of well meaning friends bought us. Food for the freezer was also seriously appreciated. We lived off ghastly ready meals for months as we had no energy to cook
Best thing: someone to clean my kitchen (I hadn't been in there for months), meals once or twice a week. Wonderful!
Supermarket shopping is hard with 2 babies - some supermarkets don't even have double trollies. Ask for a list and go shopping. Or do it online for her (that takes even longer than going shopping!). My sister got me a big online shop as she was living abroad at the time and couldn't cook for me, full of easy meals and healthy bits and bobs. It was so lovely not to worry about food for a whole week!
Watch babies/ take for a walk while she sleeps is a good one.
Hang washing out and put it away...
A couple friend of ours came over for an evening, brought food, homemade cake and we sat chatting for an evening, felt so very civilised even though babies were only a couple of weeks old - did wonders for my sanity and feeling like a human being.
Most of all, offer to do things! I found people felt uncomfortable to offer, but you really don't want to keep asking or even thinking about what you need. If someone anticipates (as you are doing), it's lovely.
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