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Raising Multiples to be Independent, Confident and Competent

Raising Multiples to be Independent and Confident

Author: Hannah Trenowden, Grow Shine Succeed

Being a parent to multiples can be so all-consuming that we sometimes end up in survival mode. Just making sure everyone is fed, sleeping and let’s be honest- alive- is enough work in itself. 

Now that my twins are toddlers, I’ve been exploring ways to encourage their independence and confidence as much as I did with my older singleton daughters.

Self Determination Theory tells us that humans flourish when their psychological needs of autonomy, competence and connection are met. Let’s see how this theory underpins my tips for raising multiples to be independent and confident.

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Hydronephrosis and twin pregnancy. Pregnant with twins and kidney problems.

Twins born at 37 weeks kidney problems

Author: Jackie Jones

Today I learnt that it takes 14 mins to fly direct from Port Macquarie to John Hunter Hospital in a care flight emergency, this is my journal entry dated 17/06/2017. 

The day started like any other, at 26+2 weeks pregnant with twins, I had reached a point of pain every day, pain to breathe, to walk, to rest, to sit, stand, or lay so with my 572 cushions and pillows of every shape and size, I was trying to make the most of it with a 6 year old to look after as well. Baths and swims helped, but this day I had significantly increased pain come 4pm. I went for a bath, the perfect place to be weight free with the significantly increased weight on my 53kg frame BPWT (before pregnancy with twins).

I’d put on a lot of weight compared to my singleton pregnancy. The bath didn’t seem to help, and my back was hurting tremendously, so I had a glass of water and thought if I had a shower I would surely feel better, so off to the shower I waddled. (Yep I was absolutely waddling by this point). The shower didn’t seem to relieve any pain and then I began to question the pain I was feeling, like, I did have a child already so surely I would know what labour felt like, right? 

And this was very painful, I thought my back was going to snap and break in pieces and my vagina would fall off if I sneezed, or suddenly moved the wrong way, but I was 26 weeks and 2 days, so way too early to be in labour, surely? 

kidney stent twins
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Teething Twins and Triplets.  Tips, tricks and how to cope!

how to help twins with teething

When your twins or triplets start teething, parents often wonder what to expect. Twinfo is here to help you as you enter this next stage of your parenting journey.

What is teething?

Teething is the process by which an infant’s first teeth (known as baby teeth or primary teeth) erupt through the gums. It generally occurs between six and twelve months of age, but it can vary from child to child. While there is no one “right” order for teething to occur, most babies will start with their bottom front teeth, followed by their top front teeth. The rest of the baby teeth will usually erupt over the next few months. Although teething can be uncomfortable for babies, it is a normal and necessary part of their development.

teething triplets
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Guess with finesse: my favourite gender reveal ideas for twins and triplets

suprise twin gender reveals

Author: Amy Lucas, Tylumo Creative

Ooh, boy or girl? If you’re answering this question more than once, then go big with your gender reveal! I’ve rounded up the ultimate collection of gender reveal ideas to announce more than one baby.

Up, up and away on your multiple birth gender reveal

This one is a classic, but when you’re doing it twice (or three times!), the effect is magical. Balloon reveals can take a number of different forms – from single balloons filled with coloured confetti, to boxes filled with helium balloons that burst to life, to the family dog streaming across the backyard with a coloured balloon tied to their collar.

You can have plenty of fun with these reveals and they don’t require a huge amount of time or money. Another great twist on the balloon reveal is a themed photograph of you and your partner holding one balloon of each colour – this is the perfect opportunity to tie in a pregnancy photoshoot with the big announcement. You can check out our photography service providers here for some inspiration.

triplet gender reveal ideas

Layer it up – the ultimate cake reveal ideas

I love a good cake reveal. Cut into the cake as everyone cranes their neck to see the pink or blue filing. But with twins or triplets, you can have a double or triple layer filling that takes this to another level. If you’re expecting a combination of genders, this one works especially well as you’ll be adding layers of different colours.

This is a relatively simple and cost-effective option, but does require a bit of pre-planning. If you want to take it a little further, enlist the help of a local baker to create a generous multi-layered cake or split the cake into two or three coloured sections, so you can cut into it more than once!

Not into big cakes? Try cake pops. Hand these out to your guests and as everyone bites into them at the same time, you’ll have some hilarious reactions as they look around excitedly to see what colours are revealed! Keeping your guests waiting until just the right moment to take a bite will be the hardest part.

cake reveal

The answer is right under their noses. Gender reveal ideas for twins and triplets

Love puzzles or a good game of trivia? If you’re planning to do your gender reveal at a baby shower or other celebration, this is a great chance to work the answers into some fun games. This will no doubt bring out the competitive spirit in your guests, and you’re sure to get some laughs as everyone fights to get the answers first.

You can use crossword puzzles, word searches, trivia games or charades to spell out the answers – the possibilities are endless!

This is a great option for anyone who has a little bit more time to plan their gender reveal and wants to get really creative. You can also keep any game cards and answers, and include them in your babies’ memory books for an extra special touch.

twin gender reveal ideas

Siblings are the sweetest – getting older children involved in your gender reveal

There is something very special about getting your other children involved in your multiple birth gender reveal. They might be too young to understand how their lives will change with more than one little sibling on the way, but they can definitely get involved with the celebration.

Try a coloured T–shirt or singlet, or coloured hair bows. Hand painting is also a great option. You can reveal the newest artwork with two or three very special coloured handprints framed on the wall.

expecting twins with 18 month old

You can stand under my umbrella, baby

Another cute option, and a relatively simple one, is to get creative with umbrellas. You can design these reveals in many different ways. From coloured confetti that flutters out as you open the umbrellas over your head, to standing under a clear umbrella whilst coloured paint is poured over the top (a slightly messier option!). You can also try lining the inside of an umbrella so that the colour pops out from underneath as it’s opened.

This is also another great option if you have siblings or other children you’d like to involve. They will have an absolute blast standing under the umbrellas as they rain down in confetti.

confetti bombs for twins

Double or triple the classics: Gender reveal ideas for twins and triplets

Looking for more gender reveal ideas for twins and triplets? These ones can easily be adapted to a multiple birth:

  • Confetti cannons – pre-order the requisite number of pink or blue cannons. For a twist, try ordering a different colour and loading those ones up first, just to keep your audience waiting a little bit longer! 
  • Matching shirts or onesies –  printed baby shirts or onesies can be revealed at a baby shower or celebration, or in a photo shared with your family and friends. This is also a very sweet opportunity to announce the multiple birth itself, if you haven’t already, or to announce names if you are revealing those.
  • Nursery reveal – if you’ve gone all out on your nursery styling and decor, you can share a special photo or video as you open the door to the room, revealing not only all your hard work, but who’s going to be sleeping in there. This one is a super cute option if you have names on the wall already too.
  • Artwork – looking to add a special piece to your home or nursery? Why not commission a piece from a local artist that incorporates the colours you need? Or have a go at painting your own masterpiece?
  • Pinata – not just for kids parties! Use 2 or 3 pinatas filled with coloured items and let your friends and family go bananas as they try to smash through for the answers.
  • The ultrasound – with approval from your doctor, you can record the ultrasound as you find out the answers. Alternatively, share a photograph of your latest ultrasound picture with a pink or blue heart. Simple, but cute.
  • The sweet little moments – if you want something low-key, then consider recording a video of you and your partner opening the envelope for the first time. This is the perfect way to share the moment together. Plus you will have that memory to show your babies too.
gender reveal ideas for twins

Gender reveal ideas for twins and triplets: The extra special touches

If you want to be surprised too, leave all the planning to a close friend or family member and give them free reign to plan the reveal as they see fit. Your family and friends will get a kick out of seeing your reactions. And no doubt the person you trust to organise it will keep you guessing until the very last minute!

Haven’t told anybody you’re having twins or triplets yet? Why not tell them at the gender reveal? This one is a sure recipe for some stunned reactions. Just make sure you have someone recording for you. You’ll definitely want to capture and replay all of those moments!

Do you have a unique multiple birth gender reveal story you’d like to share with Twinfo? Get in touch for the opportunity to be featured on the blog and tell your story!


Twin Mum Copywriter

Amy Lucas

Freelance Writer + Copywriter

Twin Mum

www.tylumocreative.com.au

Constipation when pregnant with twins or triplets

constipation twin pregnancy

Author: Dr Chris Gillespie, QLD Pelvic Floor Centre

Constipation, it’s not nice to talk about but it’s an incredibly common problem during pregnancy and is experienced by approximately half of all expectant mothers. In fact, it is potentially one of the most common symptoms pregnant women encounter.  

In women pregnant with twins, triplets and other multiples, constipation problems are more likely to occur, and often involve more severe symptoms.

bowel cramps triplet pregnancy
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Having twins in your 20s

young mum to twins

Author: Crystal Hunt

Your 20s – a time for discovering who you are, no doubt making some bad decisions, finding your passions and learning new skills. It can be an eye-opening and exciting time in your life, overwhelming on occasion and confusing as well – but I got all that and much more when I spontaneously conceived twins just 3 days after my 20th birthday.

One and done – that was the plan. Have one young, give them the world, and be not even 40 when they’re 18. Seemed simple enough, especially when those two little lines lit up just a month into trying and everything became much more real – it wasn’t just ‘trying’ anymore; we had company, but what’s that old saying – “Two’s company”.

Twin-tuition kicked in

I’d like to say it never crossed my mind – but it did. I was about six weeks along, I had just gotten my positive test about a fortnight ago, and yet I was already feeling the wrath of pregnancy. Am I drama queen or is this how every pregnancy goes? Should I be this tired? Why am I so emotional? Did I weigh that much last week? And why is the left side of my stomach so firm? 

I remember making a joke to my partner; “You know, twins run in my family.” I taunted, as I mentioned how quickly my symptoms had set in. “Ha, right.” It became an inside joke for the next three weeks, but eventually for me it became a bit more – I called it my twin-tuition. 

Pregnant with twins at 20 years of age

Finding out it was twins in your 20s

And fair dinkum, first scan at 9 weeks confirmed exactly what I had been suspecting – twins. The tech said “It looks like two, wow. I’ve never had two before.” Yeah, me neither. She had me go and empty my bladder a tad bit (I took the ultrasound instructions very seriously) and when I returned, she said “Let’s make sure there isn’t a third hiding in there” Excuse me? Save that news for another day.

My partner was waiting in the car – COVID ensures no partners in the room, unfortunately – so I had the job of relaying this information to him. I handed him the scan, with the two babies side by side, labeled Twin A and Twin B. “You have just doubled our costs” was his initial response, followed by saying I had brought a fake scan with me to trick him. 

It didn’t feel very real at the beginning – but soon enough I was going to appointments every week, high risk this and blood test that, talk of c-sections and NICUs, massage your perineum (my what?!), eat dates and sleep on your left side, are they identical? Were they planned? How can I get twins? You’re so lucky – you’re so unlucky. 

having twins at age 20

Being pregnant with twins in your 20s

It was a lot, and I often found myself overwhelmed. Publically I appeared very confident, maternal and ready, happy-go-lucky and take it as it comes, but every so often when alone I would have a tiny little panic. What if I couldn’t do it? What if I didn’t want to do it? And most importantly, what if I couldn’t love them both the same? Am I too young? 

And all the symptoms certainly didn’t help my mood. Constipation, hemorrhoids, lighting crotch and stretch marks, braxton hicks multiple times a day every single day from 15 weeks, leaking through my uniform at work, an overly full bladder and more gas in just 7 months than the past 19 years of my life combined. Dry retching at every smell and texture, dizziness and fatigue, weight gain, itchy ankles, swelling from head to toe, dry skin, a broken tooth and acid reflux so severe I would wake up choking in the night – not how I pictured my 20th year.

Nonetheless, I wasn’t ready for my pregnancy to end when it did – I had begun maternity leave just 4 days prior, and was hospitalized one afternoon following a blood pressure reading of 159/97. I was a healthy, 20 year old with no prior concerns, especially pertaining to blood pressure, so all these sudden symptoms were unknown to me. But looking back now, there were many indicators that I was unwell and I wish I had reached out sooner.

about to give birth to twins

Giving birth to twins

Upon admission, half an hour after my first reading, I was up to 180/110. Everything happened so quickly – I’d never had an IV in my life, now I had three cannulas in just an hour. Urine tests, CGTs, a blood pressure band squeezing my swollen arm, steroids and blood pressure medications, an awful migraine, and not a single moment alone. Then 2 days later, 24 hours of mag, suffering eclamptic seizures on my own, blood pressure surpassing 230/130, spinal taps, an emergency c-section, nurses milking me like a farmer’s market cow, and my own strange postpartum craving for milk, just glass after glass after glass.

You know – I thought the first time somebody would help me go to the bathroom would be in my 80s, or optimistically, my 90s. Nope, turns out it happened at 20. But hey, these things happen – as did the catheter that remained in place for 36 hours, the wound covering that ripped out all my pubic hair upon removal, the severe ab-separation and permanent numb spot surrounding my c-section scar, and my boobs that most definitely wobble to and fro; remember when they didn’t reach my bottom rib? I sure do.

twins in the NICU

How I spent my 21st year

The first half of 21 was spent in a 3 hour cycle of burping, pumping, nappy changing, sterilizing and cleaning. Oh, not to mention several bouts of mastitis and hours in the shower massaging out clogs; who knew a vibrator had more than one purpose? The second half saw my return to work thrown into the mix, because I wasn’t already busy enough – put more on my plate, please oh please I’ll eat it all.

But – things fell into place and I made it happen, and while teaching them, they’ve taught me too.

I take my health seriously – I want to be here, and healthy, for my children. I want to be here for as long as I possibly can with them; so whilst I may have previously dismissed my healthy for lack of caring, nowadays I follow up on concerns, I visit my doctor regularly, I get my checkups and I even took the big step of reaching out for help surrounding postpartum depression, and now ensure I take my medication and make time for myself. All of this, to ensure I can provide the best care for my kids; because they can’t be their best, if I can’t be mine.

Raising twins in your 20s

I juggled work and two newborns – Fortunately I live nearby to my workplace and was able to return home every day for my breaks to pump for them. And despite working full-time, my babies were breastfed for 15 months. It was awfully difficult, I won’t lie, but it did teach me some incredible lessons and showed me just how persistent and hard-working I am.

I enjoy cooking so much more now, especially since watching my little ones’ faces light up as they enjoy their home-cooked meal. Cooking is fun, and I love trying new recipes and learning new skills – whereas I didn’t have many hobbies before. 

I keep on top of the cleaning and laundry, something that very much went neglected prior to having kids – they’ve taught me to manage my time better, and to value a tidy home. Now that there are two little ones roaming the house, even on my worst days, they motivate me to make it happen because that’s what they deserve.

twin-young-mum

My body after having twins

I had more problems with my body before having kids than I do now – I was constantly critical of my weight, pedantic if the number jumped just a tad, and I was upset over small stretch marks, acne and body hair. And we all know, our bodies are never the same once we have kids – but thats not a bad thing.

I love my body now; this body created life, two of them.. at once! It was creases and crinkles, acne and scars, weird little bumps and loose skin, and a linea that is still so faint after nearly 2 years – feels like I should name it, but I might get overly attached; and my belly button, it’s not so much a button anymore, but we won’t get into that.

But you see, all these marks, they’re very special to me. If I woke up tomorrow and they were all gone, I would be heartbroken. And there has definitely been a lesson in self-appreciation learnt through these new additions to my body. A lesson I don’t think I would have learnt without them.  I spend more time outside, I feel more alive and energetic – we go to the playground, and on walks through the park – we have picnics, pluck flowers and pick up bugs – we feel the sun on our skin and the rain on our toes.

Two IS company, and it’s the best company. No better fun is had than when I am with them. And they make me feel young, like a kid almost, and I love that I can get my hands dirty with them and join in as opposed to watching from the sidelines. I won’t eat a leaf though, that’s just for them.

What having twins in your 20s has taught me

Another lesson that having twins in your 20s has taught me is to care less about what others think. We go out and eat ice-cream in public, they get it everywhere, from chin to toe and all inbetween. They’re loud and proud, they walk up to other parents at the playground and start blabbering, they run around mad and chase the ducks, they jump in water and get oh so messy, and I don’t care. They’re having fun, we’re having fun, and no passerby’s judgment or side glare will stop us from having the time of our lives.

Plus, it’s awfully healing to my inner child to be able to give them the kind of childhood that I wish I had – filled with exploration, and the freedom to make messes, fall over, play and make friends, touch this and chew that. I learnt to not hover over them, but rather watch with a keen eye and allow them to learn through their own experiences.

But most importantly

And most importantly, they proved me wrong. The reason I was settled on one and done was because I was certain I could never love two children the same, that I’d always somehow favourite one; and if you have ever felt the same, just know it’s very valid and normal. Still though, I now know that I am more than capable of equal love. They both mean the entire world to me, not only as individuals but also together. 

I never imagined my early 20s looking like this, but I also don’t know what better way I could be spending these years. Even through doubt and panic, I absolutely wouldn’t change a thing; what a blessing to create a family, and to have the privilege to grow and learn alongside these two little people, and to share my life with them. And nowadays, I couldn’t imagine being nearly as happy and enriched as I am now, if I hadn’t had my twins.

Twin mum aged 20



Twinfo

Twinfo is Australia’s largest, most supportive, online community for parents of twins and triplets. Twinfo offers advice, products and services that make raising your babies easier, freeing you up to enjoy all the precious moments.

You can connect with Twinfo via the Website, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest or Etsy.

“Embracing” a twin pregnancy

Embracing a twin pregnancy may not happen straight away

Author: Anonymous

Pregnancy simply doesn’t suit me. My first, who’s now four, was a rough pregnancy. I was sick for about 7 of my 9 months. It was manageable but unpleasant. The twins were my second pregnancy, and it was horrible.

I was in and out of hospital a couple of times with hyperemesis gravidarum. I had a ‘mild case’ of HG but it was still debilitating. So much so that I could barely get out of bed some days. Throughout my pregnancy I felt like I was being a terrible mother to my then-three year old. He would get home from childcare and the best I could manage was to ask him to climb into my bed and he’d watch episodes of Bluey while I lay next to him, exhausted and nauseous.

I wasn’t doing normal things like eating dinner with my family because I could barely eat and couldn’t tolerate the smells. And countless times my toddler would wander into the bathroom, as toddlers do, only for me to be yelling to my husband to “get him out” because he’d be equal parts terrified and confused if he saw me vomiting so violently.

I did not enjoy being pregnant.

I wasn’t “glowing”. In fact I was barely functioning. 

coming to terms with twin pregnancy
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One identical twin with clubfoot but not the other

identical twins clubfoot in one twin

Author: Elysha Loiterton

It’s impossible to fully describe the existential shock of being told you’re pregnant with twins. This is doubly true (pun intended) when you’ve already spawned one child and you were only planning two.

One minute, I was anticipating a whitebread life with two kids, a dog, a cat and a modest car upgrade to a sedan. The next, I was fretting over three lots of childcare fees and rushing out to buy a second hand minivan.

One identical twin with clubfoot
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Gender disappointment with twins or triplets

Gender disappointment twins

Author: Federica Zamboni, Psychologist

“As long as they are healthy, that’s all that matters”. We’ve all heard this answer from countless parents, when asked what gender they hope the child or children they’re pregnant with will be. And yet, there is often a hope, a wish or maybe a preference for one gender over the other. And in the context of a multiple pregnancy, one could be forgiven for believing that this can increase their chances of having at least one child of the gender they wish for. The other side of that medal is that one can also get doubly or triply disappointed.

Gender disappointment with twins
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