by Cristin Tighe CCE(BWI) (and Sienna Morrow)
Taking care of one baby is a lot of work. New moms often say they were busy all day but don’t exactly remember what they did! Just imagine taking care of newborn twins or triplets! I am a BirthWorks Mentor and one of my students, Sienna Morrow, who is in the BirthWorks Postpartum Doula Program sent a response to the question below that brought me to tears as it made me remember my own experience with my twins.
Question: When is a baby considered to be premature? List five main concerns a new mother with multiples might have in the first few months at home and how you would address them.
- A baby is considered premature if born before 37 weeks.
- A mother with multiples might be concerned with getting adequate sleep, breastfeeding two babies (tandem), creating a routine that works for both babies, bonding with each baby, and having enough support.
- I would encourage the mother to tune into the babies and create a routine that works for all of them together by helping her process how things go throughout the days and areas where she is struggling.
- I would help her connect to groups of moms of multiples in her area and give her time to have conversations with her partner about how they can support one another.
- I would address any breastfeeding concerns that she has and build up her confidence with praise and words of wisdom.
- I would also help her explore her own resources and discover things she can do to build a support network in her current situation.”
I, myself, gave birth to my twin boys at 38 weeks and 6 days so they were not premies. I breastfed my boys 21 of 24 hours the first day, and then it was like 16 hours a day until we all learned to tandem feed. I felt stuck in my primal brain for weeks, almost like having no awareness of being human most of the time. As I reflect back on the experience, I am laughing, remembering some of my chimpanzee robotic-like thoughts that were running through my head during that time:
- Feed next baby, get other one, feed other….fall down and sleep…are they both safe? …zzz…wake up! Baby must eat…
- I starving, ravenous, soooo thirsty, give me water
- Bladder bursting, need to pee
- Need shower, crusty, smelly, sweaty, sticky
- Where is Annalissa? (That’s my daughter who just turned four. This thought would come with adrenaline as I was falling asleep feeding some baby boy – not sure who it was half the time, didn’t care, trusted my husband who rotated them.
These thoughts just repeated over and over, like the film “Groundhog Day”, until around four months. Then, I woke up, like from a dream, checked we were all alive and when we were, I sighed deeply.