Whisbear Review: My Newborn Sleep Saviour

Thursday, 7 December 2017

My last couple of posts have been about the girls sleeping patterns and now we’re out of the dreaded four-month sleep regression… I thought it was a good time to write about their newborn sleep.

We’ve received quite a few nice things to try out for the twins since they were born but by far Whisbear has to be one of my favourites.

I was admittedly a little hesitant at first… I was a little worried that Edie and Mabel would become reliant on white noise to be able to fall asleep. White noise is something, which Jay needs to fall asleep to and I personally can’t stand.

Whisbear arrived the day before I went into hospital. I put him with a pile of the girls things in their room and headed for my routine appointment. Little did I know, the next time I’d walk in that room, I’d have my twins in my arms!

We left hospital in a pretty good routine and on our first night at home, it all went out the window. Rather than trusting our instincts, we followed ‘the guidelines’ and I’ve sharp learnt that guidelines are just that – not hard and fast rules.

Now I wasn’t so naïve to think I’d have newborns who would sleep through the night but I had planned on keeping them on the same schedule. Not to mention I never realised how noisy babies were when they slept. Of course like most new parents I was very alert to their noises but I actually recorded them one night and played it to family members (who’d already had several children) and even they were shocked. It suddenly felt like we were all over the place and after a couple of days of barely any sleep, I was wondering what to do.

I decided to make a plan to get us back on routine… so I dug out Whisbear and sent Jay to the shops for emergency batteries!

Whisbear, is by far no ordinary bear. He’s cute in a completely unconventional way and plays a continual shhhhhhhh noise for up to 40 minutes. The bit I love most about him though, is his cry sensor. So sensitive that even the smallest of trumps from a babies bum will set him off.

He was my wildcard and he worked.

I had my alarms set for every three hours but I planned on making use of those precious minutes between for some much-needed rest. I decided to move the girls into their own room on a night and made a bed for myself so Jay could have our room as running a family business meant he was soon back at work.

On a night Edie and Mabel shared a cot back then sleeping next to each other on cosy dream supporters whilst during the day they slept in moses baskets in the livingroom. On the first night of our new routine I placed Whisbear between them, set him off and the silence was golden. It was almost like they were asleep but in tune listening to him. The slightest noise from one of them caused him to set off again, resettling them so I didn’t even have to move. I finally managed to get some decent sleep and woke up for the next feed feeling of course, like any new mum tired but not exhausted. 

Whisbear worked like a dream. He became part of our routine and the girls seemed to realise he was a signal for sleep. They cut down feeds dropping them one by one over the nights and began sleeping through…

Then the four-month sleep regression hit us (see my last post for details). Admittedly our little bear couldn’t help change science and the girls went through a rough patch. I honestly believe that our solid routine and Whisbear helped get us through it.  They’re thankfully now out of it and sleeping through again – I’m already drafting part two of my post about how we survived this horrible month with virtually no sleep.

I kept Whisbear as part of our routine throughout the regression and he’s back working his magic. They now have separate cots but the slightest whimper from one of them and he begins to shush.

We did on occasions try other white noise products but had no such luck with these. In my eyes no one compares to Whisbear.

Obviously we were sent Whisbear to review and received the product free of charge but as with all my posts, these are 100% my honest opinions and I would recommend anyone expecting to give him a try. He is by far the best white noise product I've come across and I'm so thankful to have him. His batteries ran out a few weeks back and I now have an emergency battery drawer dedicated purely for him – as you can tell, he holds a special place in my heart.

If you're interested in finding out more about how Whisbear can help your new baby sleep then take a look at their website. They also have a fantastic competition running at the moment to win the ultimate sleep bundle - check out their facebook page for details. 

IDENTICAL TWIN DIARIES: 22/23 Week Update – How we overcame the four-month sleep regression (I think)

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

I felt like my last update post had a really negative feeling to it, most likely because when I wrote it I was desperately missing sleep and struggling to see the light at the end of the tunnel. In just a couple of weeks things have completely changed for the better and I’m no longer sitting in the middle of the night praying for the girls to sleep. I don’t want to jinx anything but they seem to have gone back to good sleeping…

As I explained in my last post, the girls had dropped down to one feed a night and then out of the blue they suddenly started waking lots. Edie got over it a bit quicker than poor Mabel and was only waking up a few times anyway. Then out of the blue, she started sleeping through and when I say sleeping through I mean from 7pm – 7am.  She seemed to deal with things naturally whereas Mabel seemed to be waking from habit EVERY 40 MINUTES!

So as I mentioned in my previous post we began trying lots of different things to try and help both girls but mainly Mabel, stay asleep for longer than 40 minutes at a time. Funnily enough 40 minutes is the length of a baby sleep cycle so all signs did point to the fact it was the four month sleep regression.

I felt it was really important to write this update post sooner rather than later because I want other mum’s who might be reading to know – it is temporary and you will sleep again.

A few people scared me by saying the effects of the four-month sleep regression are permanent. I was horrified thinking for the next few years, I’d never get another solid four hours let alone eight!

However I’d like to make it clear that this isn’t exactly true. After a lot of researching online during those lonely hours, it seems the changes to a babies brain that take place during the four month sleep regression are permanent but the changes to their sleep aren’t.

I should point out that my girls were in a really good routine and had no problems at all going to sleep on a night… our issue was keeping them asleep. I spent hours during the night trying to get one of them back to sleep while Googling in the other hand what on earth I was doing wrong. As soon as one would drop off, the other would wake up. There was a stack of information about what to do if your baby wouldn’t go to sleep but that wasn’t my problem… my issue was I couldn’t keep them asleep or get them back down without a fight.

I’m obviously no expert at all when it comes to babies. I wing it on a daily basis and just do what I think is best for them and I try not to beat myself up about it. I rely on my sisters in law who both have been there done that and mine and Jay’s Mum’s for advice. And I’m not going to lie after a month of trying various things and nothing seeming to work – I was at the end of my tether. I felt like I’d gone from really enjoying being a Mum to desperately wanting to go back to work.

I’m a little bit scared to write this down just in case I jinx things but the good news is both our twins are sleeping through. Mabel sleeps 7pm – 6.30am most days now and Edie 7pm – whenever I wake her up (she clearly takes after her Dad!).

I’ve had quite a few questions about the girls sleep and I’ve seen a few Mum’s on Instagram and other blogs comparing and I think it’s really important to remember that no baby is ever the same. As much as we all want one… there is no magic cure. Some babies wake once, twice, three times and others not at all. Despite being identical, Edie and Mabel are prime examples of this.

So how did we overcome the regression: Quite honestly, I’m not sure which bit that I did was the thing, which stopped Mabel waking up so much. So what I plan to write about is the things, which I did and the routine, which we have and perhaps they might give you some ideas to try what might work for you.

Our Bedtime Routine:
I was always taught consistency is key and from about 3 weeks old, we’ve followed the same routine. Though I have done this on my own a few times, I generally rope in an extra pair of hands.

Around about 5.45pm, I lay the girls on a towel and whip their nappies off so they can have some time to kick and roll about while I go run the bath and pop their vests and pyjamas on the radiator.

A great tip I picked up from a fellow twin mum, Louise was to always use the same bath products, as the smell will give them a sign that it’s bedtime. We use Johnsons Lavender bubble bath, talc and moisturiser. I tried a few at the beginning and this was what worked for the girls and didn’t dry them out.

6.30pm (ish)
Both girls have a little massage with the Johnson’s moisturiser after their bath, new nappies and then their vests and pyjamas put on. Then they have their last bottle of the day. I currently use a slower teat for their last bottle and then they go to bed in their sleeping bags, usually awake but on the odd day they have fallen asleep beforehand. We turn Whisbear on and I don’t know why but I always tell them, even if they’re already asleep, ‘it’s bedtime, sweet dreams.’

They’re normally in bed for just before 6.50pm and asleep by 7pm. I’ve *touch wood* and thankfully never had too much of a problem, putting them down to sleep and I think it’s because both me and Jay have always stuck to our routine. It’s quite funny because on the odd occasion we’ve been late for one reason or another, Edie and Mabel certainly let you know about it.

We tried dream feeding them but this never seemed to work for us, so we stopped doing it. During the early days and even now still I feed on demand if they wake up and they want milk then I’ll give it to them but what we noticed was that Mabel didn’t want feeding – she just wanted to go back to sleep and didn’t know how.

So we kept doing our routine throughout the regression and we also tried lots of other things, which I plan on covering in a second separate post. But if you’re struggling with sleep with either one baby, two or three… please don’t think it’s forever because it’s really not. Stay strong and remember to talk. If anyone tells you to nap when they do, try your very best not to punch them and instead ask your mum or someone you trust to take them for a couple of hours while you get some much needed rest. You can do this Mama’s!

Identical Twin Diaries: Twenty Weeks Old

Friday, 17 November 2017

I've been trying to write this update post for the past six weeks! That kind of explains how crazy our lives really are at the moment. I feel rather annoyed at myself because I was looking back at my last update post about the girls and they've changed so much and I know I'll have forgotten lots of details that I really wanted to remember between then and now. However it does seem really fitting to be writing this a whole year after I found out I was pregnant. One year ago today, I was panicking about having one baby and now I've got two! 

My days now seem to pass by in a complete blur but during them, the hours pass by so slowly. It's amazing waking up every day and noticing changes in both of the girls. Since I last wrote they've piled on the pounds. Mabel, our tiny twin 2 has over taken Edie by an oz and they've steadied off there. Despite their identical genes, they are far easier to tell apart than ever before. Although if they're wearing a hat or a hood - I have no idea! 

From about 9 weeks old, things got a lot easier and I started to really enjoy been a mum. They began to smile and coo and drop feeds - all making my life a lot more restful. They even slept through 7-7 for a few nights! This honeymoon period didn't last for long and by the start of October when I was planning on heading to go back to work for a few days (to gain a bit of the old me back), it went horribly wrong and I'm not even sure why still.

We ended up having to do quite a bit of work on the house again (as you'll see from the first photo) which meant spending days out and coming in late. I originally put it down to this as we were completely out of routine and the girls who are clearly home birds didn't seem too happy. Once back in the house, things didn't get better and they started waking more at night. I hadn't needed to use pacifiers with them until this point and they never accepted one until this point. A dummy didn't help, we tried swaddling, un-swaddling and no matter what they still kept waking up almost every hour. Someone suggested if it was because they were going through a leap and other people talked to me about the four month sleep regression and I guess it could be that but they still *touch wood* go to bed so easily on a night. It's purely the waking every hour on the hour from midnight which is confusing me. Perhaps it was because I was so smug about them been good sleepers in the early days...

The lack of sleep makes the days really hard now. It's hard to function anyway when you're surviving on a couple of hours anyway but trying to entertain two babies while feeling like the walking dead - it's hard and I'm not going to lie. 

They make up for it in other ways however, they smile a lot now, hold hands together, have little 'chats' with each other and have recently started laughing. These little things get me through the day and I try my best to get out as much as I can with them, even if it's just down to the local shops. 

This waking up thing is just a phase though and although right now it feels like the longest phase ever, I'm sure in a couple of weeks I'll be looking back and thinking where did the time go? 

Things I want to remember:
  • I was never one for believing a baby should be left in front of the tv however when you have two, sometimes your values have to slip a little. Jay had Toy Story on one day and it caught their attention. Edie gets really excited when Buzz comes on the screen and as much as it's nice to believe she knows who he is... it must be something in the colours because she also gets really excited for Sully from Monsters Inc and also if she notices when Jay watches the football.
    Mabel on the other hand is soothed much more by the music and if she's fidgety the Moana soundtrack will buy me some time. 

  • Despite the frequent waking during the night time, we have started working on our naptime routine. People keep telling me if the naps are good then the nights will be too. As mentioned above a fellow twin mum advised me to put them  We've made good progress and I can almost tell my the minute when they need to go down. They don't nap for long but we're getting there. 

  • The way their laughs sound. I've recorded it a few times on my phone just so I can listen to it in the future. Mabel used to make the funniest noises when she was been winded when she was tiny and I'm so annoyed I never recorded her. Although I'm sure she'll be glad when she's older.

  • They have a different kind of smile in the middle of the night... it's cheeky and they look at you all beaming. As annoying as this is at 2am, 3am, 4am, it's also the cutest thing and makes your heart melt. 

  • How cute they are when they talk to each other. I'll never forget the day they recognised each other. There's always been a closeness but we had them sat upright and they started smiling and cooing at each other. Mabel looks at Edie adoringly, while Edie is a little bit more reserved.  

Things I've learn these past few weeks:
  • If anyone tells you to sleep when the babies sleep, try your best not to punch them, calmly thank them for their advice, walk away and never listen to them again. 

    Sleep cannot be 'topped up' with a 15 minute cat nap. Instead ask your mum, partner, sister in law or whoever you can that you trust to pop round for an hour to watch them while you catch yourself a decent nap.

  • My two absolutely love watching me dance... I'm not sure why or how I discovered this but I turn the music up, lie them on the floor/sit them in their bouncers and go for it. Usually accompanied by various stuffed toys in my hand. I've found this is a great way to entertain whilst also loosing some of the baby weight. It's usually best done after the aforementioned nap though! 

  • Countless people will find it acceptable to shout "You've got your hands full" as you walk to the shops/down the street - it's basically twin cat calling. I've found the best response is to say "and my heart" and walk off leaving them stood with their mouths open. 

  • I found a lot of people tried to frighten me before the girls arrived. I assumed I'd need a huge change bag, mountains of stuff and that it would take me hours to get ready just to get out the door. This isn't true. I have a Primark backpack that I bought to go to New York a couple years ago that I use as my change bag. I leave a handful of nappies, two vests and two sleepsuits in their with some cream and a pack of wipes. Then I just grab milk and take it with me. It's really not that hard - normally. 
    It is a lot harder when you're sleep deprived and unprepared. The best thing I've found is like in school, to always ensure your bag is packed the night before. 

  • I mentioned on my last update, an endless supply of chocolate, biscuits and sweet stuff helps. This still stands. 

Identical Twin Diaries: The Birth Story of Edie and Mabel

Sunday, 27 August 2017

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you'll know I had quite an easy pregnancy considering I was carrying identical twins. The exhaustion in the first trimester wasn't nice but I didn't suffer with morning sickness, carried very small and still led a very healthy, active lifestyle... until the last three weeks before the girls were born!

Everything had been going so smoothly until just after my baby shower when I started to feel a bit off. I couldn't put my finger on it but I felt unbelievably tired, heavier, swollen and unwell. The first person I told was my physio - she believed the twins were trapping the blood flow to my legs and at my next appointment, I ended up with crutches because I was struggling to walk. I told my community midwife, our sonographer, and the midwives at my hospital appointments but there was always an air of 'this is your first pregnancy and it's twins.'

The first headache I remember, I was in the shower one day and I dropped my shampoo. As I bent down to pick it up, these sparkly glowing orbs appeared in front of my eyes and I felt really dizzy. I had no idea at the time but I was suffering from third stage pre-eclampsia.

We were having a heatwave at the time and everyone kept telling me I was just swollen because I was pregnant and it was hot. I felt so rubbish and napped all the time but I kept trying to stay as positive as I could. I finally cracked the night before I was going into hospital for my first lot of steroids and broke down crying on my bed. I decided when I went in, I wanted fully examining because I knew something wasn't quite right.

And I almost didn't... when we got to our appointment the ward was manic, people seemed to be rushing all over, there were people still waiting for scans which was unusual. I'd sat down waiting while someone had gone to look for the steroids but something told me I must get back up and ask to be checked. So I did and again, they brushed it off as hot weather but said to go do a sample.

Five minutes later we were taken to a private room in the pregnancy assessment unit and they explained how serious pre-eclampsia was and told me I wouldn't be going home again until I had the babies. I got a little upset after they told me this, I didn't want to stay in, I wanted to go home with Jay and I still had so much to do before the girls arrived.

Call me stupid but when the midwife came back in to tell us we were going to be moved round to a nicer suite in the labour ward - it didn't click. Once on the ward we were introduced to a new midwife who was amazing and she explained things were going to get pretty busy as they were going to treat my pre-eclampsia and deliver the babies by emergency section that night! Suddenly Doctors and more midwives started appearing and it's at the this point things start to get fuzzy for me. I remember bits but it's blurry and I know certain things happened because Jay explained them after. He has photos on his phone of us from this time and I cannot piece it together - I just cannot remember certain things.

They treat my pre-eclampsia with magnesium sulphate, something which I'm highly allergic to. This had been explained but they told Jay that they'd rather risk it and treat me than risk it and lose me to eclampsia. I had cannula's placed in both arms and given a catheter before they started adding the magnesium sulphate. I have never felt so poorly ever before than when I had this, I felt so sick, dizzy and like my heart was going to explode out of my chest. Then I lost consciousness... it was such a strange experience and obviously terrifying for Jay.

He said the room filled with people and he could hear doctors saying 'I'm worried about this one.' I meanwhile didn't have a clue, I thought I could hear someone asking me if I was ok and so I kept repeating 'I feel really poorly, please help me.' Apparently though I was just completely out of it and never said a word. My body felt so heavy and everything just seemed black at one point. The next thing I remember was I was desperate for water but I wasn't allowed to drink. Jay had a bottle of water for himself and they allowed him to give me the smallest sip just to stop my mouth from been dry.

Various staff from the hospital came in at this point to introduce themselves and to say they'd be in the operating theatre. The shifts were swapping over at 8pm but lots of the day time staff who'd treated me were staying to watch the operation and wanted to see the girls. I vaguely remember Jay appearing in scrubs before been pushed to the operating theatre.

It was busy in there, I do remember that. There was a line of people all in scrubs ready to watch and the surgeon asked me if I was ok with it. I was given a spinal and I remember one of the male nurses telling me to rest my head on his shoulder and to give him a cuddle while it was put in. I can honestly say the section was nothing compared to the magnesium sulphate. I felt nothing from the shoulders down and before I knew it Jay was back by my side and then there was a cry. Though they normally deliver twin one first and then twin 2, we'd been told this sometimes wasn't the case with sections. So we asked our midwife to make sure we knew which twin was from my left and right side as we already had named who was who. Edie, who was on my left was brought out first at 9.01pm weighing 4.7lbs, shortly followed by Mabel at 9.02pm weighing 4.2lbs.

They were quickly checked over and brought over for Jay to have a cuddle. It was so surreal, they were both so calm and quiet. Our midwife explained the girls would be in transitional care rather than going up to the NICU and it was best for them to feed as soon as possible. Due to the fact I had so many drugs in me, I wasn't able to breastfeed so Jay and her took the girls to a recovery room next door while I was stitched up.

Despite been an emergency section, the many people who were in the theatre and the fact I'd been so poorly, it was one of the loveliest experiences. It's still fuzzy but the parts I do remember is everyone coming to congratulate me and telling me how beautiful they were. It didn't take long till I was in the recovery room with the girls and I got to see them properly. They were so small and quiet. Jay was feeding them with our midwife and we were told we'd stay there for an hour, then be wheeled back to our suite. I remember shivering a lot, although I wasn't cold at all and I was desperate for water again but wasn't allowed any.

When we went back through to our suite, they let me have peppermints which I'd packed in my hospital bag - these were like heaven as they made my mouth water and I was allowed 10ml of water every hour. It was like sipping from a thimble. I wasn't allowed to get up from the bed so the nurses from the NICU came down to help Jay feed and change the girls for the first couple of days. Our private suite was really nice in the labour ward, we had a bathroom, changing unit and even a bed for Jay however after a few days we were sent to the post-natal ward. We were given a private room again directly opposite the nurses station and though it wasn't quite as nice as the one we'd just been in, it was still lovely for us to just be a family of four.

The girls were on special heat pads still but the only real reason we were been kept in was my blood pressure which just kept going up. Apparently once the babies are delivered pre-eclampsia usually goes away and doesn't develop into eclampsia... I was one of the unlucky ones.

I spent the next few days been monitored, taking lots of drugs and been given various injections. After a couple of days I started to feel really frustrated and I wanted to come home - in hindsight, I wasn't ready and I really wish I'd stayed that bit longer. There were some amazing midwives who looked after me and the girls and I picked up so much from them... who knows what I would have learned and how much better I would have felt if I'd just stayed a few more days.

Coming home with Edie and Mabel felt so good though. Having a shower in my own bathroom was blissful and climbing into bed felt amazing. We weren't exactly left alone though... as I was still very poorly the community midwives came to monitor my blood pressure every day. There was a constant air of 'you might have to go back into hospital' looming and this combined with learning how to look after twins was rather stressful. I'm guessing this is why my blood pressure continued to be high.

Thankfully I never had to go back into hospital. My mum brought me lunch and dinner each day so I ate well, rested when I could and made sure I got a bit of fresh air each day by taking the dogs for a slow walk while Jay minded the girls. The first couple of weeks were a bit tricky as we got used to having two little people who needed us constantly. I was so lucky to have my mum close by and Jay who took an extra week off work to help me. Eventually my tablets were reduced, I was discharged from the midwives to my GP and a new kind of normality settled in.

And we've been living that new normality since. It is the hardest job I have ever done but I wouldn't change it for the world.

Sweet Dreams with the Fisher-Price® Butterfly Dreams™ 2-in-1 Soother*

Friday, 25 August 2017

Identical twin girls napping with Fisher-Price Butterfly Dreams 2-in-1 soother, photo by Belle Art Photography

Edie and Mabel were in a really good 3 hour routine when we were in hospital. Then we came home and it all went a bit muddy. I was still so poorly and we were all so tired. 

One of the things everyone tells you to do, is sleep when the babies sleep and I now personally don't believe that this is good advice. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Our girls are noisy sleepers, especially for the first 45 - 50 minutes after we put them down. If I was to do it all again, I'd go to bed an hour later than them, when they're a little bit more settled and quietened down. It's much easier to pop my head round the door to check on them, or check the video monitor than to leap out of bed at every noise.

I also believe it's never too early to start a routine, not necessarily for the girls but at least for us as parents. Now we're more settled into our ways, I'm a lot less stressed and I have a little bit of time to myself on an evening. Not to mention the girls will sometimes sleep for five to six hours at a time now!

Identical Twin Girls Nursery Shelf Baby Lit

Around 7pm we give them half of their bottle of milk, before a quick bath using the same lavender scented bubble bath and moisturiser. We then move to their room, where I've already closed the blinds and curtains and given the room a quick spritz of lavender pillow spray. We try to include a story here, one of our favourites is Coco Chanel from the Little People, Big Dreams series and then they finish their bottle of milk before going down for the night.

I'm keen to try new things though to try and combat that noisy first hour, so when we were recently sent the Fisher-Price® Butterfly Dreams™ 2-in-1 Soother to review, I was looking forward to seeing how it would work. We've used it the last couple of nights and although I'm not a big fan of plastic baby things, this actually isn't too bad as it's plain white - with the exception of the Fisher-Price red logo tag.

Fisher-Price® Butterfly Dreams™ 2-in-1 Soother*

There's a lovely simple colour-changing nightlight and you can choose between gentle music, nature sounds and white noise. By far my two most favourite features are the beautiful starlight projection (which was so relaxing, I almost drifted off using it) and secondly the option to choose how long the music plays for. We have a couple of other 'white noise' toys and they don't offer this option. There's also a little teddy included which is cute but we've added this to the pile the girls already seem to have curated. 

Edie and Mabel seemed to enjoy it. They both quietened and slept soundly but other than the couple of nights after their first injections, they've been doing this anyway. They're only 9 weeks old (4 corrected) and we've just started to notice them reacting more to the world around them so I do think they still might be a little bit young. I'm fascinated by how much they change on a daily basis so I think it'll be really interesting to see in a few weeks how they react to it. 

We're going to keep trialling it and see how we get on but for now it seems to be at least adding to that calming night time environment we've been trying to create for them. If you'd like to know more about the Soother, click here to take a look or buy!

Identical Twin Diaries: Things I was unprepared for

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

identical twin girls swaddled mothercare

I've never hidden the fact that despite been in my late twenties when I found out I was pregnant, I was totally unprepared for motherhood. Don't get me wrong I love my girls so much and I wouldn't change a thing but I enjoyed my baby-free lifestyle. Having only got married in the summer, myself and Jay were selfishly enjoying lazy Saturday mornings, eating out whenever we felt like it and planning holidays left, right and centre. I went shopping whenever I felt like it, booked myself random spa days and called in places to get my nails done. Having a family was something we both wanted but didn't expect to happen for at least another year and having two at once was something neither of us could have ever imagined!

I wouldn't say I was naive to the fact things were going to change when we found out we were having twins, I knew things were going to be different but I certainly didn't prepare myself for certain things. So when Mothercare got in touch with me about their online help guides, this got me thinking about what I wish I'd known in advance so I could have prepared myself:

001. Babies make a lot of noise
I never knew this! From gurgling, groaning to full on grunting, our two seem to chatter away even in their sleep. In the first couple of weeks after we came home, I was paranoid that something was wrong with them and it kept me awake constantly but once I learned some babies just don't sleep peacefully - that helped me get a bit of shut eye!

002. Sleep Deprivation
It seems when you're pregnant people take great pleasure in telling you, 'enjoy your sleep while you can!' Well I have some good news for you, sleep is possible... even with twins. I've worked out that I actually only lost about three hours each night - the killer is that it's broken sleep and you really need those extra few hours when you've spent the day running round after two tiny newborns.

003. The Poo
Now I'm not talking about poo explosions, I'd heard about these and I even knew that the first poo our babies did would look a bit odd. What I hadn't prepared myself for was that I'd worry about it! Colour, consistency and constipation are all now regularly discussed at our breakfast table on an almost daily basis! 'Have they gone too much?' 'Are they going enough?' 'Did you hear that noise?'

The good news is that Mothercare have a rather apt 'Good Poo Guide!' We've already trailed through this and been able to find a multitude of answers to our babies rather potent problems.

004. Time
It takes no more than five minutes for the threading ladies in our local shopping mall to whip my eyebrows into shape! Can I find five minutes to get them done? Absolutely not. If you've been watching my Instagram Stories then you'll know it took me nearly six days to complete my Tesco food order - so there's clearly no hope for my brows!

Most importantly though I've found that despite the long nights, the first seven and a bit weeks of our girls lives have gone by in a whirlwind. And though I knew I'd have less time than before, I never expected it to disappear so quickly.

Some people prefer to wing things and to a certain extent, I do too. I try to take each day as it comes which I think is especially important with twins as you really never know what to expect - each day is massively different. However I like to be armed with knowledge and in a world where everyone has their opinions on how you should parent and what you should do, it's really helpful to have some unbiased up to date advice.

The 'good poo guide' and the other resources on the Mothercare site have been such a valuable tool since I found out about them.  They cover everything from bringing your baby home to pelvic floor exercises. If you're pregnant or recently had a baby... or babies, confused by poo or battling with the swaddle or not to swaddle conundrum then I highly recommend you take a look. They'll solve you a multitude of puzzling problems and save you from been put off your cornflakes again!

Identical Twin Diaries: Five Weeks Old

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Five week old identical twin Edie

Time is flying and the girls are getting so big so quickly - at their last weigh in the other day they'd both made 5lbs. They're still so teeny but it's miles away from what they were in hospital. Their legs are no longer skinny and they have little rolls and double chins (sorry girls you got that from me).

I've been snapping and filming away with my new Olympus PEN E-PL8 so I can remember everything. It doesn't matter how hard the nights have been, I've tried my best to soak up all the little things and remember it all while they are still so young and small.

Life is so different to how it was before but I wouldn't change a thing. I'm so lucky because we have a lot of help and now I'm feeling a bit better, I'm enjoying it more. It's easy to see how if a twin parent didn't have plenty of support, they could fall into postnatal depression.

identical twin, Edie

Edie, our little twin one who was always the more active on our scans lives up to just that. She has a smaller head than Mabel but is chunkier and she feeds amazingly well - the girl loves her milk, clearly she takes after her Dad. She's more curious than Mabel at the moment and has these big beautiful eyes... most of the time. Edie also inherited my frown and glare and she lets us know when she's not happy about something. I shared the funniest video on Instagram Stories when we switched from pre-made milk to powdered during the day and her reaction caused so many laughs.

She hates been swaddled and likes to be free to move when she goes to sleep however we've realised she keeps startling and waking herself up. So this week we purchased what we keep joking is a straight jacket for her, a Woombie.We've only given it a try the once but she seemed to like it and it even seemed to improve her reflux. Edie also has the cutest hungry cry ever which Jay makes back at her.

identical twin Mabel

Mabel, our tiny twin two is so laid back and lovely. She had a hospital appointment this week which took two hours and with a long car journey there and back, I had been expecting her to cry and twist but she sat calm and quiet the whole time. Jay used to play Ed Sheeran all the time in the car when I was pregnant and Mabel loves nothing better than listening to him.

She loves Edie and stares at her intently when we put them next to each other and she's just this week started to react more to us. Unlike Edie, she loves to be swaddled and sleeps really well when she's wrapped up. She also loves the rain and will lie on the changing mat listening to it on the conservatory roof all night if we let her. She makes the most adorable noise when she swallows her food but then sounds like a little old man when she's been winded.

Things I want to remember about both of them:

  • Our walks on the farm. We have bought a Bugaboo Donkey. This lives in the car but we also have a single Silver Cross Pram At the moment, while the girls are still small enough, we put them in together to take for walks in the fields. I'm wanting to get a sling for when they get too big, so I can carry one and push the other, any recommendations?
  • How cute and soft their hair is and especially how long at the back it's getting - it's dark and thick just like mine and Jay's.
  • This week they've both finally been able to sit in their Baby Bjorn Bouncers (they were too small before), which is making life a little bit easier with their reflux as they're more upright.
  • Speaking of reflux both of them pull the funniest faces when faced with Infacol drops
  • They sleep really well and go for 3.5 hours most of the time, however because of this reflux issue, it means we're not getting much rest. 
  • How small they still are in their tiny baby outfits - Jay tried putting Edie in a newborn vest and we joked 'she couldn't go out like that' because she was flashing. Newborn clothes are way too big still. 
Things I've learnt these past couple of weeks: 

  • Accept all the help you can get, my mum, mother in law and sisters in law, even my brother have all been amazing help. From teaching me new tricks to staying over on a night for a couple of hours to cleaning my kitchen - it's made my life so much easier and I've been able to enjoy the girls more. I honestly do not know how some twin mum's manage, you all deserve medals and spa days! 
  • If you don't laugh, you will cry. It's hard work, I'm not going to lie and dress it up but when it's all going tits up, I've found the best thing to do is laugh. Sometimes it even confuses the twins why I'm doing it and they stop twisting! 
  • There is a whole host of tutorials on Youtube... if you need more confidence tandem feeding or new tricks for getting wind up, youtube it! 
  • Learn when to say no. I never wanted to be a 'clingy mum' and I want my girls to be used to being picked up and soothed by different people so they don't rely purely on me and Jay but we've fast learnt that if an influx of visitors turn up and it's bath and bedtime, for now it just needs to be family or they will refuse to settle.
  • An endless supply of chocolate, biscuits, snacks, pop etc to hand is an absolute must. I wish I was as organised as to freeze meals while pregnant to defrost now but I'm not and also who wants to eat frozen lasagna at 3am - pass me the Dairy Milk! 
  • Buy more than 8 bottles - you will feel like you spend your life sterilising and may break down crying into your fairy liquid filled sink with only a bottle brush for company.