I recently had the chance to chat with one of my favourite twin moms, in fact, she is an expert when it comes to twins. Shannon O’Reilly-Fearn is a juggling Mom to adorable two-and-a-half-year-old identical twin girls and her ‘triplet’ – Twin Love Concierge. T.L.C . T.L.C. provides support and resources to expecting parents of multiples nationwide from preparing for twins classes, new 2 twins playgroups through to pre and postnatal personal consultations.
During our conversation, I found myself wishing I had known all of this before my twins arrived. Although I was well prepared, this would have brought my twin experience to a whole new level. Here is my interview with Shannon…
What advice can you give expectant parents of twins?
Shannon: Don’t get overwhelmed with everything, focus on key elements that you know you need to be educated on before the babies arrive, for example: baby gear, sleeping options, feeding methods. Just don’t over-research, especially in the medical arena, this only causes more stress than good, let your OBGYN be the expert on that.
Plan to be prepared by 30 weeks, at this stage your OB appointments can increase, bedrest may be required or you may just feel too heavy to be excited for the fun stuff. Plan to have the nursery completed, your baby shower done with, registry finalised, any maternity pictures taken, hospital bag packed and your carseats set-up and ready to go. Also, join your local multiples groups, and start connecting with Moms for support.
Take an expecting twins class and let them take the stress out of preparing for the babies. There you can also meet other parents expecting twins local to you. They will become invaluable to you in the next 12 months, as a walk around the park or a in-home coffee date will be much appreciated, if not to just laugh about how tired you are.
What is your must have item for twins?
Shannon: A good functional stroller that works within your lifestyle, and even better if it fits two carseats. These two items are going to be your most expensive purchases, but it allows you to get out of the house easily with the babies, even if its just for a 15 minute walk for all of you to get some air.
We (at Twin Love Concierge) personally love the UppaBaby Vista 2015, as a tandem stroller, or the Mountain Buggy Duet 2015 side by side. If you aren’t ready to budget for the long-term stroller start with a Joovy roo car seat frame. This option is easy to fold, and is cost effective. Lots of twin parents use them for the first few months until they decide what their next best option is.
Do you have any tips for setting up your home for newborn twins?
Shannon: Keep in mind, when preparing your home, create stations. A feeding station with a comfortable, wide chair that fits your double feeding pillow will make a big difference. Keeping bottles, nipples and pump accessories for a feeding station in one spot (kitchen is best) will help keep you organized. A bath station (in a bathroom), fully stocked with diapers, wipes, wash cloths and anything else you need for bath time and keep you from running around last minute to gather everything. Keep your twin’s nursery simple and uncluttered. This room needs to be functional. You will be on the floor a lot, so make sure you have a cushy rug and open space, as you will be spending a lot of time on the floor changing diapers, clothes and playing. Organization is key when you have multiples, hence the designated stations!
What’s one service you would splurge on?
Shannon: I would pick two services. A night nurse and housekeeper. It really depends on personal preference though.
What should a twin mom pack in a hospital bag that is different than a typical singleton hospital bag?
Shannon: A twin breastfeeding pillow is number one. Get the nurses at the hospital to teach you how breastfeed your twins on that specific pillow. This way you can recreate what you will be doing at home while in the hospital. Pack comfy and warm clothes and socks. Don’t forget about dad, a hoodie for him is essential. Oh, and always remember your chapstick, because hospitals can get very dry!
What is your advice regarding visitors after babies are born?
Shannon: Don’t have all of your visitors come right away. If they visit, they have to help, so assign tasks and preempt them before they arrive. Don’t feel afraid of keep the twins in a bit of a bubble, give a couple weeks for you all to settle in at home. Depending on how early they were born, allow them to gain some weight before being around stranger’s germs.
Do you recommend two of everything?
Shannon: No, you don’t need two of everything, especially activity toys. One movement toy, such as a bouncer, or a rocker and one play mat with an activity are sufficient. Try one, if they like it a lot, you can buy a second one. The only thing we do say you will use two of is the Bjorn bouncers, they are lightweight, long-lasting, transportable and can be used for feeding and play.
Twin Love Concierge is currently the largest provider of twin classes globally and Twin Love Concierge has fast become the go to resource for multiples parents – you can find more details here www.twinloveconcierge.com or follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram #twinloveconcierge.