Besides having lots help those first few months, my husband and I had a few other things that helped us survive our newborn twins.
Here’s a short list:
Survival Tip #1: Find the humor in any situation. Haven’t showered in half a week? Crack a joke about how the girls’ diapers smell better than you. Covered in puke for the third time today? Just laugh and be glad you didn’t have time to take a shower after the first two times. Girls are taking turns waking up to eat and you haven’t slept in forever? Umm…..well, maybe go to survival tip #2 for the answer to that …
Survival Tip #2: When humor is nowhere to be found, cry. When exhaustion set in, and I can’t tell you how many times I just let myself cry. I used to feel bad, or embarrassed about crying. But after having the twins, I have no problem crying. It’s refreshing and releases all sorts of pent up feelings.
Survival Tip #3: Teamwork. I would not have survived without my husband, of that I am sure. There were so many times when we both had our hands full. Poor man didn’t have a break – he would work all day and then come home to screaming babies and a horrible supper. But he never complained. Just jumped in to help with the diaper changes, the dishes, sweeping the floor, or whatever needed to be done.
Survival Tip #4: Sleep when the babies sleep. And don’t feel guilty about it. I still do this one. When the girls go down for a nap, especially if it was a rough night, I still take naps with the girls. It took me a LONG time to not feel guilty about this. But, it made for easier days when I was rested. Rest helped me feel more patient and a lot more resilient against the blowout diapers, the crying and whatever else happened.
Survival Tip #5: When frustration and irritation set in, just set the baby down in a safe place like the crib, and walk away for a few minutes. This is where I admit something scary.
When my girls were really little (five months or younger), I was lucky to get two hours of sleep at a time. This makes for a rather frustrated and exhausted mother. One night during the week, I had been up most of the night with one girl or the other. My husband couldn’t really help, because he had to work the next day and the babies wouldn’t take bottles. This left it up to me to nurse the girls and put them back down.
Right around four or five o’clock (this was the worst time, because I hadn’t slept all night and was feeling rather horrible by now), one of the girls had been awake for awhile and would not go to sleep. She didn’t want to nurse, and she didn’t want to sleep. She just wanted to cry. I remember holding onto her firmly, looking her in the eye and saying rather loudly, “WHY DON’T YOU JUST GO TO SLEEP.” It was at this moment I realized I needed a break. I realized how easy it would be just to shake this precious little baby, and I knew I never ever wanted to. I scared myself, a LOT. And so, with tears running down my face, I went and woke up my husband and said, “I need a break. I just need a little bit of a break.”
He took over and had her asleep in fifteen minutes. (grrrrr…..)
After this, if I ever felt myself getting really frustrated, I would set the baby in a bouncer or crib and walk away for just a few minutes.
Get out of the house. We went on so many walks! As often as we could, we would get out of the house. It was refreshing for all of us. Out of all our walks, the girls only gave us problems once or twice. They loved it as much as we did. It also gave Eloy and I much needed time to talk.