Soon after we found out we were expecting twins I immediately reached out to one of my friends and co-workers, Ellen, who has 18 month old twin boys, as well as a 4 year old sibling. I figured she would know better than anyone exactly what I was about to experience and what I could expect!
The first thing Ellen recommended was that I read the book, When You’re Expecting Twins, Triplets, or Quads by Dr. Barbara Luke & Tamara Eberlein. I immediately dove in and have learned A TON already. This book focuses on a nutritionally based prenatal program for women pregnant with multiples. It even includes diet and exercise recommendations for the postpartum mother as well as recipes and step by step guidance for each trimester of your multiple pregnancy. I recently went and visited a nutritionist as well and even though she rolled her eyes at the mention of this book both the nutritionist and the book gave the same advice as to how to successfully nourish your body and your babies to a full term pregnancy.
If you are expecting twins, triplets or quads I HIGHLY recommend this book. But to get you started here is a list of some of my top learnings:
General Facts about Twin Pregnancy:
- Women age 30 or older are significantly more likely to carry their twins for at least 35 weeks compared to younger women.
- Adequate maternal weight gain is associated with significantly better fetal growth, longer length of gestation, and higher birth weights, as well as better childhood growths.
- One third of all twin pairs are identical (that’s our girls!). Identical twins share 100 percent of their genes and always are the same sex and have same basic physical features.
Nutrition Goals for Twin Pregnancy:
- Weight gain goal (if normal weight pre-pregnancy): 40-45 lb
- 24 of those pounds by 24 weeks
- 7-9 lb per week
- If you lose weight during first trimester due to morning sickness then those pounds you lost and re-gained don’t count. It’s a total of 40-45 lb from your original starting weight
- Goal is to consume 3,500 calories per day for twin pregnancy
- Eat often! Daily Meal Pattern should include 7 “meals” per day!
- Breakfast | Snack | Lunch | Snack | Snack | Dinner | Snack
- Focus on small, frequent meals as opposed to fewer large meals
- Always eat protein first, then veggies and fruits and then starches
- Always eat protein and carbohydrates together in every snack and every meal
- Goal: 100 grams of protein/day
- I accomplish that with the help of UNJURY – a medical grade protein powder mixed with milk – 30 grams of protein in one 8 oz glass!
- Each meal or snack should contain protein
- Eat a bedtime snack that includes dairy
- As with any pregnancy avoid: alcohol, deli meats, sushi, more than 6 oz of tuna per week, and unpasteurized cheeses
We have some exciting news in the Harvey Home! We are adding not one, but two more Harveys to our family! That’s right- we are expecting TWINS and we couldn’t be more excited! I am officially 10 weeks now and the morning (aka all day) sickness has been pretty intense so its been pretty tough to for me to make it through the day by day, let alone cook or post on the blog lately- so forgive me for my tardiness these last few weeks. While I can’t promise any new recipes in the very new future (I’m living on cereal these days) I will be posting more about pregnancy with multiples and preparing to go from a family of 3 to a family of 5.
Here are the answers to the common questions I’ve gotten so far..
- I’m 10 weeks and due October 26. Praying we make it close to our due date but we will be prepared early and definitely expect to meet our babies by mid October. (Average delivery for twins is at 35 weeks but we are praying to beat those odds!)
- No, we don’t know if they are identical or fraternal yet… and while my doctor did confirm that they are in two different sacs that doesn’t necessarily mean they are fraternal. They could still be identical.
- Yes, twins are common on my side of the family. And yes, I was surprised to find this out once we told my parents the news and my mom told me about our long family history of twins. I had NO clue.
- Yes, we will find out the genders! We are planners and I’ve got lots of planning to do! Not to mention we need to figure out their names.. goodness.. we were still talking about baby names in the delivery room with our little man! It’s so hard to name a human!
- No, I don’t feel great (i.e. the all day sickness mentioned above) and yes I’m exhausted but hey- I’ve got a 10 month old, an injured pup at home (more on that later), a husband who has been going above and beyond these last few weeks, a home and full time job to take care of- not to mention friends and family to keep in touch with and share these joy-filled moments with. So I don’t feel great but I’m hanging in there!
- Yes, we are OVERJOYED at the idea of adding two more to our home in just 7 short months. It’s going to be a wild ride but we are excited and blessed and can’t wait to take on this next adventure. I hope you’ll join us 🙂
So more to come on pregnancy, babies, and now… multiples!
Before you bring home your baby for the first time there are a couple things to remember that are best to get done ahead of time.. and not once you have a newborn at home.
- Prep the Nursery
- You don’t have to have everything in your nursery done but you should aim for it to be as complete as possible. You really won’t have much time to finish it once your little one arrives so do yourself a favor and create an awesome oasis for you and your baby to come home to.
- Key items include furniture, sheet and mattress cover on the mattress, changing pad and cover, diaper pail or trash can, rocker (if desired). Paint the walls and make it a special place you want to spend time in.
- Take classes at your local hospital
- If your hospital offers baby preparation classes I highly recommend you check them out and take part in at least some of them, even if you have watched young kids your entire life there are LOTS of things you still don’t know and will need to learn.
- Some of my favorites include Infant/Child CPR, Breastfeeding for Couples (its not as awkward as it sounds and helps your hubby feel included and be able to help you) and Baby Essentials (tips on bathing, swaddling, diaper changing and all those general things you might not think to ask about)
- Pack your hospital bag.
- You want to be well prepared and not throwing things in a bag at the last minute. This includes items for yourself, your baby and your husband.
- Hire a Photographer
- Decide now if you want to have professional maternity and/or newborn pictures done and go ahead and schedule those. Most maternity sessions are taken between 30-35 weeks but this number fluctuates a lot based on the sites you read. Basically you want your belly to be large enough to be showing but you still want to have that cute glow and not the swollen uncomfortable feeling as you get closer and closer to 40 weeks.
- Newborn pictures are usually taken within the first 10 days. The sooner the better so your little one will sleep a long time and their limbs will be flexible for posing. The older they get the easier they wake up and harder it is to maneuver them.
- Wash your baby’s clothes
- You don’t need to wash all of them but definitely all the newborn and possibly even your 0-3 month clothes (newborn clothes only fit up to 8 lbs so bigger babies will skip newborn sizes all together).
- Don’t forget to wash your baby’s sheets, blankets, bibs, burp cloths and anything else that may come in contact with his/her skin.
- Buy a Baby Book
- I made the mistake of waiting until my little one was 2 months old before finally purchasing a baby book. Most baby books these days include some pages for your pregnancy and showers and of course labor and delivery. The farther away you get from these events the harder it will be to document and remember.
- Spoil your Pup
- I am a HUGE dog lover. I absolutely love our English Golden Retriever. We even have gotten in the habit of calling him our first born. But as much as I love him having a newborn is exhausting and demands a lot of your time. You will still love your pup and still be able to take him on walks and play with him but your time will be limited (especially with those 2-3 hour feedings). So do yourself and your dog a favor and spoil him in those last few months, buy some extra treats and toys to have on hand to give to him while you are at home and unable to play as much as you’d probably like to.
- Design your Baby Announcements
- Go ahead and check out your favorite websites and get an idea of the type of baby announcements you like, how many pictures you will need for it and what orientation that need to be (landscape or portrait). This will help you get them put together, printed and sent out faster and also tell your photographer exactly what you need when planning out your newborn sessions.
- Print 2 sets of address labels
- I read the recommendation to print your Baby Announcement address labels before your baby arrives and thought it was brilliant. Who has time to sit and write out addresses with a newborn?! But one thing I did learn is I wish I had printed TWO sets. One for the Baby Announcements and then one for thank you notes. Often times the people you are sending announcements to are also the people bring you meals or sending a cute little outfit or another fun gift for you after your baby arrives (even if they already sent you a shower gift). So do yourself a favor and print TWO sets. Oh and while you’re at it get some thank you notes ahead of time as well.
- Read Moms on Call
- A program started by two pediatric nurse-mom’s with over 20 years of pediatric experience and eight children between them this book goes over the same basic principles as Baby Wise but is a lot simpler to understand.
- This book will walk you through how to start a schedule for your baby’s feedings and naps and eventually will help he/she sleep through the night. Our little one started sleeping through the night at 6 weeks! This book and their tips are game changers and are SO helpful!
- Look Ahead
- Check out your calendar for the first 2 months you will be home with your little one and note any special birthdays or holidays you need to pay attention to. Go ahead and buy cards and gifts if possible. It’s amazing how much work it is to get out the door with a newborn for the first time and how quickly time flies when you are nursing every 3 hours. So do what you can and save yourself the stress of trying to figure out gifts ahead of time.
- Join Amazon Prime
- This is for everyone out there! Baby or not Amazon Prime will save you time and money! Free two-day shipping and extra discounts on diapers, wipes, etc when you join Amazon Mom. There is really no reason not to do this. Oh and for all of your non-perishable kitchen and household items check out Amazon Pantry as well. Lifesavers!
- Get the newborn sizes
- The majority of the clothes and diapers we received started at 3 months and size 1. This is great if you have a big baby but if your baby is less than 8 lbs as you are nearing your due date (you’ll find out at your ultrasound) then make sure you have some newborn clothes and diapers on hand. Our little one was born at 6 lb 12 oz and was in newborn clothes and diapers for a little over a month. I definitely wasn’t expecting him to be in the smaller sizes for so long and had to stock up on some extra supplies after he was born.
- Take Care of Home Projects
- I can’t tell you how many “projects” I had planned for the 3 months I was on maternity leave.. And the first was started and completed 3 weeks AFTER I went back to work..
- You think you may have a lot of time on your hands but taking care of a newborn takes A LOT of time and is amazing and exhausting all at the same time. So give yourself a break and save those house projects for another time.
- Spend time with your husband
- When you don’t have a newborn in the house its hard to appreciate the flexibility in your schedule and your ability to get up and go whenever you want. Make sure to prioritize your husband and your relationship and do some fun things together. Go out to a nice dinner, go to the movies or to the lake. Yeah you can do these things after your little one arrives and grandparents are God’s way of providing awesome babysitters pretty much whenever you need one but take advantage of your freedom and do some fun things together as man and wife.
- Take Care of Yourself
- Don’t forget to take care and prep for yourself – not just everyone else.
- Go ahead and get a couple nursing bras and tanks (wait as long as you can and as close to your due date as you can- your breasts will increase once your milk comes in!)
- Get your nails and hair done
- Get some “in between” clothes or be prepared to wear your early maternity clothes post baby.
- Take naps.. lots and lots of naps.
I hope this helps to prepare you before the big day! Once he arrives your life will change forever- and for the better!
I think it took me a matter of weeks (halfway joking) to pack my hospital bag. I read numerous posts and blogs and tried condensing and creating my own lists. Here is exactly what I used and a listing of everything you need (and don’t need) at the hospital.
Mom Bag (That’s You!)
- The clothes you wear to the hospital
- I had the pleasure of being induced and picking out my outfit and walking right into the hospital. Yoga pants, a tank and hoodie were the perfect combination.
- No matter what you wear they make you get into a hospital gown about 10 minutes after you arrive- so your comfort is short-lived.
- A top for each day you will be in the hospital (notice I only said a top)
- I went with a nursing tank and hoodie each day we were there
- One pair of comfy shorts or yoga pants to leave the hospital.
- You won’t be wearing any pants while you are there.. hospital gowns pre-baby and then after delivery you will have the pleasure of wearing these large mesh underwear with special padded ice packs (oh yes). When guests arrive just pull up that hospital blanket. They will never know you are sitting in your mesh undies.
- Toiletries: shampoo, conditioner, face wash, soap, deodorant, make-up. I also brought a travel hair dryer and straightener (I wanted to look halfway decent for all the pictures!)
- Shower Shoes (seriously)
- Personal items: glasses, wallet, pillow, computer and a movie or two for while you wait, phone charger,
- Camera and battery
- Folder or file to keep all the paperwork in (there is lots of paperwork!)
- 2-3 outfits for during the day
- Shower Shoes
- Personal items
- The REI Comfort Cot (your husband will thank me). My man found this and at first I thought he was kidding when he said he was bringing it with him to the hospital but it was literally a lifesaver. At 6 ft 3 in the “bench bed” in the hospital was way too short for him and VERY uncomfortable. Every guest, nurse, and doctor we had who saw his cot commented on what a genius he was to bring it. He didn’t have any trouble sleeping and was so thankful he brought it. I seriously think we could have rented this thing out and made some big bucks in the process.
Baby Bag (combine in Mom’s Bag)
- 2-3 outfits (if desired)
- For the hospital photographer pictures
- For him to wear while you receive guests (if not he will be in a diaper and a wrap around shirt with the hospital logo on it)
- Knitted cap for boys
- I know the cap had pink and blue stripes and is supposed to be unisex but there is seriously a lot more pink in those hats. Next time we have a boy I’m bringing my little man a more manly hat. (And yes the nurses will insist you keep a hat on him at ALL times.)
- Going home outfit
- If you’re into that its good for pictures.. but do yourself a favor and pick something that is cute and easy to put on.. Apparently I wasn’t thinking and we went for the outfit that had to be pulled over his head, buttoned and then snapped. Way too complicated. That was the first and last time he wore that outfit!
Things the Hospital Provides (And you should get extras of to bring home with you:)
- Diapers – size 1 – Use them up and ask for more! You’ll never get another free diaper again!
- Blankets (lots of blankets)
- Onesie/Wrap around shirt – ours had the hospital logo on it
- Knitted Caps (see above!)
- Baby socks
- Bulb syringe
- Gauze and vaseline if your little man is getting circumcised (Definitely ask for lots of extra to take home. Vaseline is cheap but I learned quickly that gauze is not, especially when you are using 2 pieces at every diaper change.)
- For Mom: mesh underwear, padded ice packs and pain meds.