Monday, June 4, 2012

Bringing Siblings into the Family

I remember when Em was born, and we brought her home. I think bringing your first born home (or if you are lucky, birthing them in your home) is so different from your second, or second and third. You know more what you are doing and what to expect. My biggest concern with the twins being born was how it was going to effect Em and how we were going to make it work. So I made a lot of preparations for blending the twins into our family and that's what I really want to talk about. (Em was 27 mos when the boys were born.)

Throughout my pregnancy Em and I talked a lot. We talked about having brothers, and what babies need, and talked about things that would happen when the babies arrived. I read the books  "Beyond Sibling Rivalry" by Peter Goldenthal and "Siblings Without Rivalry" by Adele Fabler and I feel like they helped me to prepare. I also always referred to them as her brothers. Even still she calls them "her babies".

I also bought a gift for the boys to give her when they were born. It was just a little wooden dollhouse that I found on clearance at Walmart but it was a really big deal to her. It also gave her something new and exciting to do since the boys required so much of my time...time that she was used to getting. She still, 14 months later, thanks her brothers for her doll house. It's really sweet.

When the boys came home from the hospital all they did was pretty much eat and new babies do.

Sleep can be tricky when you have three little ones. When you have a new baby you can nap when baby is napping but with three that's not always the case. The most helpful thing for getting everyone sleeping and napping around the same time has been swaddling. The twins napped off and on throughout the day but at night, and when Em napped I would swaddle them. (I love the miracle blanket) That is what got them used to our little schedule. Of course everyone is individuals and everyone gets tired at different times, or sleeps different amounts of times but this at least gets you set up with everyone sleeping CLOSE to the same times.

Another important tip regarding sleep would be to make a big deal out of when your babies are sleeping and your toddler is not. It's hard at first because toddlers don't always quite understand about not waking babies. They may even want to wake the babies to act out because they are having a hard time learning to share you. This was incredibly frustrating at first. But for a long time whenever I would finally get both boys down I would exclaim "It's Mommy & Em time!" and make sure I did something with me and her. Sometimes that meant we read books or played with her toys together and other times that meant that I would snuggle up with her on the couch, turn on PBS, and drift in and out of consciousnesses. I'm certainly not telling you this because I am proud of it! Just being real.  And I always made sure to tell her that we had to be careful not to wake the babies or we would have to stop whatever fun thing we were doing.

Getting everyone and yourself sleeping is tricky but getting everyone fed is a lot of work too.

When we first came home from the hospital after my twins had a few weeks stay in the NICU, F had a lot of issues with nipple confusion. This meant that I was constantly concerned with feeding. I felt like all I did was give F his bottle, then breastfeed D, then pump for F's next bottle, then start all over again. It took up ALL MY TIME until I was finally able to get F off of bottles around 6 weeks.

If you know me, you know I'm not big on filling my house full of toys. But that being said I highly highly recommend making some busy bags or quiet time bins to be pulled out during nursing to entertain your toddler. Switch them out often so there is always something new and exciting to do. You can also keep a small basket of books in each room so that you can always read to your toddler during nursing sessions too. And then there is my secret weapon & last resort (Barnes and Noble's Online Story Time). Thank you Eric Carle for reading to my toddler when I just cant muster it!

And last but not least if you can, prepare yourself  emotionally. For me the first year has been a time of extreme sacrifice. I think that it can be with just one new baby but with two new babies and a toddler it gets pretty crazy.

I know I've had unique circumstances. My husband was working 12 hour night shifts and then coming home and sleeping (I was only seeing him for 2 hours a day for a large portion of the first year...not including weekends thankfully.) And then we live so far away from my family and friends and his family, although close by can not be much help.

Even with a lot of help I know it has to be hard. So prepare yourself for not a lot of sleep, a messy house, not enough time to really cook, not enough me time, and at the same time an amazing- life changing experience. It goes by crazy fast... the days will creep by sometimes but the months will fly. Things change a lot after that first hard year and it does it easier!

I'm linking up with Mother's of Multiples Mondays

1 comment:

  1. I honestly don't know how you did it with a toddler and without hubby around much. Kudos momma!