You have twins - surprise!
by Joanne Kemp, mum to twin boys and owner of Seahorse, Inspired By The Sea
It was at the 12 week scan that I learnt that I was having twins; truthfully this news couldn’t have been further from what I expected! My first job when leaving university was as a Health Care Assistant in an Obstetrics and Gynaecology Department. I had been present at enough scans to know that it wasn’t always the good news that prospective parents were hoping for. In my mind I felt I was getting too old (I was only 37 at the time but I know that made me ‘an older mother’), I didn’t feel ill enough to be pregnant (didn’t everyone have morning sickness?!) and I was convinced that there would be something wrong.
I didn’t need to worry! I had two healthy heartbeats and the sickness followed not long after! My pregnancy was now ‘High Risk’ and would be monitored every two weeks. My twins were Monochorionic Diamniotic twins, so they shared a placenta and a chorionic sac (the ‘main’ pregnancy sac) but had their own amniotic sacs. This means that they’re identical twins. So began my job of cooking not one, but two babies! And time to prepare myself mentally and physically for being a first time mum to twins.
I had questions. I had a lot of questions! I wanted to know, “If someone could tell me just one thing to prepare myself for life with twins, what would it be?” Reading all the online blogs, forums and Facebook groups supporting multiple mums, I’m not alone in asking this question. But it’s taken me almost 4 whole years to work out the answer! And the answer is something that will help ANY new mother, not just a new mum to twins.
You can carry your babies, using slings and carriers to keep your hands free. And best of all, you can carry both babies at the same time!
The wonderful world of babywearing
I dabbled with baby slings and baby carriers. I assumed that baby carriers weren’t my thing. I bought a second hand Babasling, but I could never get it comfortable or get it positioned well. My husband and I then spent a very long time going over the shelves at Mothercare. We carefully chose a carrier that might suit us. Truthfully, it suited my husband more than it suited me – I found it uncomfortable. But I loved being able to carry one of my babies.
I realised I needed to be able to carry both babies though. One day I set up the buggy to take my two little people from the car to a baby signing class. Just a short walk from car to building, but I had two babies and I couldn’t leave one of them unattended while I fetched the other. I wondered if I could use my baby carrier on my back, so that I could carry one baby on my back and other in-arms. I asked in the class whether anyone could help me try using the carrier on my back. Then another mum talked about “the sling library”. A sling library?! What was it? How did it work?
Sling library discovery
Tandem baby carrying
I started with two separate carriers and I loved them. I struggled getting the back baby on at first, but practice makes perfect! I then came across the TwinGo Carrier. What an absolute gem of a product! The TwinGo is made with twin parents in mind. It can be used for any age children, up to a combined weight of 70lbs for tandem carrying. I’ve owned various other brands and styles of baby carrier. It’s safe to say that babywearing can be addictive!
Benefits of babywearing
There are so many advantages to carrying babies and children, of all ages. For early babies, skin to skin contact and ‘kangaroo care’ helps babies stabilise their temperatures and can keep them calm and secure. Skin to skin contact, and being close to their parents, is hugely beneficial for all babies.
Baby carriers are a godsend for those newborn weeks, while your baby is in the fourth trimester. During the fourth trimester, it’s very common that babies don’t want to be put down; they need to feel their parent’s warmth and hear their heartbeat. They’re great for keeping babies upright when they’re suffering from reflux, amazing for teething, for poorly little ones, for cuddles and for just being able to get jobs done when your little one wants company or comfort. This is all in addition to the obvious ease of getting out and about – no worries about waiting for lifts or getting an escalator! Toddlers often find carriers soothing and calming, particularly when they’re tired or overstimulated. You are their safe place and being close to you is what they need. There’s also evidence that babywearing can help parents become more confident, more able to respond to their baby’s cues and can reduce the incidence of post-natal depression.
My boys are 3 years old now and I still carry them when they need it. Admittedly not often as they much prefer walking! I don’t tandem carry anymore, as they’re just too heavy together now!So, whenever anyone asks me if I could give them one piece of advice to prepare them for motherhood, it is “go to a sling library”. Get prepared, find something that works for you and enjoy that close time with your little ones. After all, they’re only little once.