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Monday, September 1, 2014

seeing double - books about twins

I am going to be an auntie to TWINS this winter! I cannot contain my excitement. Along with my excitement, I'm so curious and intrigued by the twin phenomenon. I am full of questions for my SIL... can you feel two at one time? Can you tell them apart yet? Are you hungrier? Are you more tired? It's such a miracle in my mind. Two babies in one belly. Crazy awesome if you ask me!

Last month in August we did a seeing double TWINS series where I featured real moms who are raising twin boys, girls, one of each. I hope you checked those out, as they were really adorable.

Here is a review of some books I picked up at the library.

 photos from a fellow twin momma :) aren't they adorable?!


Twins - the practical and reassuring guide to pregnancy, birth and the first year 
by Dr. Carol Cooper and Katy Hymas
2012

photos from Amazon.com

This was a great resource, full of beautiful photos, up-to-date information, and easy-to-read ideas. It was not overwhelming, and easily could be skimmed in a night. I'd highly recommend this one.

Stats: (page 13)

  • In the U.S. more than 13,000 sets of twins are born every year - that's about 1 in every 57 births.
  • 1/3 of twins are identical 
  • 2/3 of twins are fraternal
  • Average length of pregnancy for twins = 37 weeks
  • Average birth weight of twins = 5 lbs 5 oz. Average for singletons = 7 lbs 7 oz. 
  • Women over 35 are more likely to have twins. 
  • Identical twins = monozygotic. These come from one fertilized egg that splits very early on in pregnancy. 
  • Fraternal twins = dizygotic. They come from two separate eggs that were released at the same ovulation time and then fertilized by two different sperm. Half of all fraternal twins are boy-girl pairs. 
With twin pregnancies it's good to try to gain the weight early on since most twin pregnancies go into labor sooner than 40 weeks. The rule of thumb is 24 lbs by 24 weeks. 

The author encourages moms to try to find time with each twin on their own individually from the start, to try to feel that bonding moment with each child. 

The authors also expressed that it's OK to feel however you feel when expecting twins. In fact, all of the books I reviewed said that it's totally fine however you are feeling. 

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Raising Twins - From pregnancy to preschool. Advice from a pediatrician- mom of twins. 
by Shelly Vaziri Flais, MD, FAAP
2010

This was such a great read, you could tell this author really knew her stuff! 

Most average singleton pregnancies ask moms to eat 300 calories more a day, but twin pregnancies need about 1,000 extra calories a day to ensure the growth of both babies. Also, moms expecting twins need to drink even more water than normal to avoid pre-term labor. 

The author mentioned a twin-feeding pillow (Google it, she said), that is very helpful for feeding twins bottles or nursing. 

She also suggested having two changing tables, one downstairs on the main floor in the living room perhaps, with clothes and everything needed, then one upstairs for nighttime changes. 

If you have older siblings of the twins, give them two babies to practice with ahead of time, not just one baby doll. This way they see what it's like having two little babies around. 

The best tip this author said for getting two babies to sleep at one time is keeping them on a routine schedule and the SAME schedule. If one baby wakes to eat, you wake the other baby to eat. She said it's awful waking sleeping babies, but it's important if you ever want sleep with twins. (page 35)

She said if you are nursing, you'll need some type of system that works for you to remember who ate on which side last so you can alternate them. You want to alternate which baby eats on which side so that each side produces the amount of milk you need, supply and demand. One baby may eat more than the other at each feeding. She suggested using rubber bands on your wrists, or paper clips to your bra straps. She had note cards with the twins names on them and left them on the counter, she'd put their name on the left side if they nursed from the left side, on the right side if they nursed the right side, etc.  (page 43)

She suggested leaving a fully stocked diaper bag in the car at all times. With two babies, there is apt to be a blow out at some point even for a quick trip out of the house. I do this myself since I commute and often am in the car, it's a good thing to do. I can imagine with twins it'd be reallyhelpful.

Twins are matched the same and born the same day, but they are oftentimes very different. One may sleep more, one may eat less, one may have an easygoing temperament and one may be high maintenance. Just don't expect them to be exactly the same. (page 52)

Tip: if your babies are born early, premature, they may need night feedings longer than your singleton baby did. Once they are over 12 lbs, they should be good to sleep through the night. (page 61)

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The Everything Guide to Twins, Triplets and More
by Pamela Fierro
2012

Overall, a great resource, quick to read, easy to understand, and it covers everything, even just basic pregnancy info. 

This was interesting: 
"A family with twins is likely to perform nearly 5,000 diaper changes in the first year alone! Triplet parents should expect to serve close to 7,000 episodes of diaper duty...In the first few months, each baby can go through as many as twelve diapers a day..." (page 117)
YIKES.


The way they label babies as Baby A, Baby B is based on which baby is closest to the cervix being named Baby A. The baby closest to the incision site in the uterus is the first to be born in a Cesarean section.
(page 191)

Postpartum depression is very common among moms of multiples. It's good to seek support and ask for help.

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The Art of Parenting Twins - The unique joys and challenges of raising twins and other multiples
by Patricia Maxwell Malmstrom and Janet Poland 
1999

I loved this quote on page 17,
"I believe the twin relationship is a birthright we all can envy. It is not characterized by a submersion of independence, or by a crippling dependency on another person. Rather, it is a relationship that can provide children with a unique resource." 

A huge message in all of these twin books was to learn as much as you can about twins, the process and challenges, seek support as needed, and most importantly PREPARE ahead of time! Get your home and things ready far in advance, again because it's a big leap going from no babies to two or one to three, etc. as well as twins are likely to arrive prematurely so you don't have as much time as you expect to have.

They suggested at first babies can sleep together in the same crib, but as they get even slightly bigger they will want their own cribs.

If breastfeeding, the author suggests you'll need 2,7000 calories a day to keep up with demands of nursing twins.

While it's great for twins to play together and to see them together, they also need individual time to play on their own and to explore, focus enough on things to figure them out.

Another great resource!

Hope you found these helpful!

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