Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Top 10: Kitchen Accessories Edition

Whether it's preparing bottles, making baby food, or scrubbing the floor after a typical lunch with two toddlers, A LOT of time is spent in the kitchen. We've come up with our top 10 favorite kitchen accessories, which made/make our lives a little easier.  If you haven't noticed, "making your life easier" is our mission at Twin Talk.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

1. Rubbermaid Easy Release Ice Cube Tray. Making baby food for Parker and Jolie consumed my brain from months 4 through 12.   Not "consume" in a bad way, but because I loved doing it.  I made their food in bulk, usually over the course of a weekend, and definitely couldn't have done it without these ice trays (in six months I prepared food in bulk just three times).  I confess to owning eight trays, and probably could have stood to get a few more.  I tried the more expensive specialty baby trays, and while I did love them, they weren't as practical (budget-wise) for how much food I was making at once.  Each cube holds about one ounce of pureed fruit and/or vegetables and once frozen they pop out without a fight.

2. Baby Brezza Food Processor.  While it isn't a complete necessity for a "baby food processor" when making your own pureed foods (Meredith used a blender), I feel like I got my money's worth out of how much I used the Brezza.  Steaming and blending with one push of the button took out the bulk of the work in baby food making.  I also loved the Brezza Storage System when making small amounts of purees I planned to use the same day rather than freeze to store.

3. All-Clad 7-Qt. Deluxe Slow Cooker.  Two words: Life. Saver.  Nothing says "easy" like a one pot wonder.  A literal "set it and forget it" mentality plays out at least once a week in my house, and now even more so since the girls have started eating 3 meals a day.  Rotisserie chicken is always on hand with use of the crock pot (chicken breast, salt, pepper, 1/2 cup chicken stock - LOW for 5-6 hours).  It's versatility goes forever!  My particular slow cooker has a lofty price tag ($250), but the quality of this machine goes without words to describe.  I've owned a couple different brands, and this is by far the best.  My mother in law would agree as well.  After going through three in just one year - each time I encouraged the purchase of the All-Clad, and each time she bought another $50 cooker - finally, finally, she made the splurge and has zero complaints.  If you're on the fence about this one, go ahead and hop on over.

4. Rockin' A B Designs Wipe Off Pocket Bib.  We are messy.  Really messy.  We strip the girls before we even think of sticking them in their high chairs to eat, but even still, they are a mess after meal times.  These bibs off-set the potential disaster that are my children.  The pocket catches nearly all of the food that seems to miss their mouth, and the material is easy to wipe down.  If only this bib protected their sticky mop after the plate ends up on top of their head at some point during a meal.

5. Dr. Brown's "Designed to Nourish" Bowls.  We are still learning how to use plates and utensils.  The understanding is there, but the motor skills still need some work.  The rubber bands around the bottom of these bowl help keep it in place while they attempt to scoop their food.

Honorable Mentions:
Beaba Freezer Tray
Tommee Tippee Spoons

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

1. Oxo Tot Sprout High Chairs.  Before I praise the greatness of this chair, let me state a very important fact:  They are not cheap ($250/each).  Jude & Sloane's high chairs were a very generous gift from Gramsie & Poppy.  Otherwise, there's a good chance I'd still be shoving my kids' poor legs in bumbos and hoping for the best.  Mostly kidding.  If you don't mind a splurge, these chairs will not let you down.  They are so easy to clean, compact, sturdy, and (in my opinion) look great.  They also last until your child is at least four, which is why I believe they are worth the price.  

2.  Boon Grass Drying Rack.  I'm embarrassed to admit I bought this because I thought it was adorable.  I mumbled something to Michael about "great reviews" as I threw it in our cart, but really? I just needed cute fake grass in my kitchen.  Turns out, it really is great.  The grass blades are so close together that you can cram a lot of bottles and bottle parts in such a small space.  It's easy to clean and doesn't take up a ton of space on the counter.  And did I mention it's adorable? :)

3.  Wholesome Baby Food Website.  I realize calling this a "kitchen accessory" is a bit of a stretch, but it was a lifesaver when we made their baby food.  Michael and I didn't know where to begin so I started here and found some great recipes and cooking tips.  And it's all FREE.  I am so grateful for this website and send it to anyone who wants to make their own baby food.

4.  Munchkin Bottle Warmer.  This was given to us at a baby shower and I was mostly annoyed because it wasn't on our registry.  Who needs a bottle warmer?  Ahem.  When the twins were little I pumped quite often so family and friends could help feed the babies.  When it was time for the twins to eat we would spend 17 hours heating up the bottles with warm water in a bowl.  We finally dusted this off and gave it a go and never looked back.  If I'd pumped/bottle-fed more you better believe we would've purchased another one.  

5.  Oxo Tots Baby Blocks.  I will never forget standing in the aisle looking at the different options for storing/freezing baby food.  In the end, I purchased the cheapest storage containers I could find.  I got home, poured the pureed food into the containers and popped the lids on.  Except none of them popped.  Instead, they either broke or sat daintily on top.  I drove back to the store, bought these, and loved them.  They have a great seal, come in a few different sizes (we purchased both the 2 oz and 4 oz), and are so durable.

Honorable Mentions:
Oxo Tot Divided Plates (can you tell we're big fans of Oxo at our house?)
InchBug Orbit Labels
Mrs. Meyers Clean Day Hand Soap (we buy in bulk--great when washing hands 493+ times a day)

What are some of your favorite kitchen accessories?

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Monday, April 28, 2014

Nap Transitioning

Since we've started Twin Talk, there are a few topic suggestions we hear over and over again. Whether it be sleep scheduling, how to make naps last longer, transitioning from the master bedroom to the nursery, SLEEP is a hot topic for sure! Today we welcome Ashley, a close twin mom friend of ours and one who seamlessly transitioned from three naps to two and two naps to one. She shares how they did it and the specific schedules they followed. You better believe we were all taking notes at our last meet-up!


Hi! I’m Ashley, mom to Harper and Keegan who are currently 18 months! I live in Texas and am fortunate enough to call both Meredith and Amber friends! I was so excited when they asked me to write a post about nap transitions! Figuring out your babies nap schedules can be tricky! 

Dropping the Third Nap 

From what I’ve read, most babies drop the third nap between 6-8 months. Before we dropped the third nap, our schedule looked something like this: 

7:15 AM Wake Up
7:30 AM Eat
9:00 - 11:00 AM Nap
11:15 AM Eat
12:45 - 2:45 PM Nap
3:30 PM Eat
4:30 - 5:30 PM Nap
6:45 PM Eat
7:15 PM Bedtime

Those times varied by +/- 30 minutes but that was pretty much it.  Around seven months this schedule started to change. Some days they would not want to sleep for their third nap. Other days I would have to wake them from their third nap at 5:30 to not impact night sleep. On a different day, they would sleep well past 3 during their second nap and that would throw off the schedule altogether. Once the schedule wasn’t as consistent, we decided it was time to drop the third nap.

At first we began to shorten the 3rd nap to 45 minutes and then to 30 minutes. Some days they didn’t even sleep but we still let them “rest” during this time. We also decided on a cut-off time for their second nap.. If they slept past 3:15 PM, there was no third nap but they went to bed early.

By eight months, they had officially dropped their third nap. 

Dropping the Second Nap 

Over the next few months, Harper and Keegan could stay awake longer after their first nap which meant the second nap got pushed back a little later in the day.

Before we dropped the second nap, this was our schedule: 

7:15 AM Wake Up
7:30 AM Breakfast
9:00 AM Snack
9:30 - 11:00 AM Nap
11:15 AM Lunch
1:45 - 3:45 PM Nap
4:00 PM Snack
5:15 PM Dinner
7:15 PM Bedtime

The age range for dropping the morning nap is pretty large. From what I have read, it seems to be anywhere between 14-22 months, most between 15-18 months.

I’ll be honest, dropping their morning nap seemed scary. They both seemed so tired by 9:30 AM! It didn’t even seem possible for them to stay awake till noon but babies know what they need and they definitely started giving us signs of readiness.

A little before 15 months Harper started only napping for about an hour in the afternoon or less or not at all. It was not fun. This went on for about two weeks. She wasn’t sick, wasn’t teething, didn’t seem to be having a growth spurt, she was full from lunch so we knew she was just getting ready to drop to one nap.

Our first step was to shorten the morning nap. We first shortened it by 15 minutes which for a few days seemed to preserve the afternoon nap but only helped for a few days. Then we shortened the morning nap again by another 15 minutes which again only helped for a few days.

Also during this time we decided to split Harper and Keegan up during naptime. They still sleep in the same room at night but Keegan is in a different room for naptime. Harper likes to wake him as soon as she wakes up which is sweet of her but not so fun. Keegan definitely requires more sleep than Harper does.

Finally a little after 15 months, we decided to power through the morning and make it till noon. It was tough but we kept Harper busy and gave her a snack around 10 just to help occupy the time. It started getting easier each day and her afternoon nap extended. We knew we’d made the right decision.

Right before they turned 16 months, Keegan started not sleeping as well for his afternoon nap. Just like we had done for Harper, we shortened his morning nap for about a week and then dropped it completely. Having them on different schedules for a few weeks was a bit tricky but it was the right decision. Keegan definitely wasn’t quite ready to drop his morning nap when Harper did. It’s just a reminder to me that even though they are twins, they don’t have to do everything the same. :)

Even though I was super nervous and a bit scared to drop the morning nap, I actually love being on a one nap schedule now. It allows us to have all morning to go run errands, play outside, or whatever we want to do. 

This is our current schedule at 18 months:
7:30 AM Wake Up
8:00 AM Breakfast
11:00 AM Lunch
12:15 -3:15 PM Nap (sometimes they sleep a little longer even!)
3:45/4:00 PM Snack
5:15 PM Dinner
7:15/7:30 PM Bedtime

I am by no means a nap expert, this is just what worked for us! Harper and Keegan have both always been pretty good sleepers. They still have random “bad nap” days but honestly, it doesn’t happen too often. Maybe we are just lucky but I think a lot of it has to do with our consistent schedule and routine.


Thanks so much, Ashley!  If you have additional questions, CLICK HERE to send Ashley an email!

The WINNERS from our giveaway collaboration with Marie-Claire and her super amazing My Wallet Sets {and Booster packs (extra receipts & cards) as a bonus}:

1. Brandy Stoffel {pinned a blog post to Pinterest}
2. Natalie May {followed Twin Talk Blog on Instagram}
Congrats ladies! For the entrants who did not win this time around, Marie-Claire is offering a coupon code (TWINTALK) for free shipping on her online store.  This code is good for one week!

Don't forget that you can find them on Instagram, Facebook, as well as their website
Thank you to everyone who entered!  
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Friday, April 25, 2014

Multiple Birth Awareness Month | Link Up

Multiples of America (Also known as The National Organization of Mothers of Twins Clubs, Inc.) is proud to announce that April 2014 marks the 6th annual National Multiple Birth Awareness month.  

What better time to celebrate your multiples than now!?  We love and adore our sweet babies, and can't help but glow with pride and excitement at the chance to show them off.  

Parker and Jolie
Jude & Sloane


In celebration of Multiple Birth Awareness month, we want to see your multiples!  Share a blog post all about your kiddos (we don't discriminate on the number!) and, of course, we want to see those bellies.  Expecting mamas, please share!

If you happen to be on Instagram, post a picture of your twins and include the essentials: names, date of birth, area (city and/or state) where you live. Use the hashtag #twintalkcelebratesmultiples and get to know twins all over the world!

Rules for the Link Up (there is just one!)
Link back to Twin Talk Blog

Keep up with Twin Talk Blog and other moms of multiples
@twintalkblog / @masseya / @meredith_haynes

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Breastfeeding Preemies

Not everyone gets the "normal birth experience" that often occurs with a singleton pregnancy.  Multiple births and NICU stays go hand in hand more often than not, and the struggle with the desire to breastfeed your twin littles can be overwhelming, especially to a new mom.  It is for this very reason we are so excited to include Christina's experience breastfeeding her boy/girl twins during and after their 25 day NICU stay. 
Before I was pregnant, how a mother fed her child never really crossed my mind. I thought breastfeeding was just a bit odd and somewhat unnatural, even though it is the most natural act possible. It was never a topic I thought too much about until I became pregnant with twins, and it seemed everyone else was curious if I was going to breastfeed them. Everyone assumed I wouldn’t or that I couldn’t. It was always just kind of strange to me that nearly complete strangers would ask me about this topic. But, I get the curiosity, the surprise, of it all. Logistically it is a little interesting.

During my pregnancy
I read a couple different books regarding twin pregnancy and birth, one specifically on breastfeeding ( My husband committed to supporting this decision; he read the books, too! We chose a pediatrician that had a full-time lactation consultant on staff and I also identified a local lactation consultant I could call should I need the assistance. Others questioned, and doubted, my decision to breastfeed the twins, but for every person that doubted me, I took it as a challenge to prove them wrong.
When they arrived
Henry and Caroline arrived on May 11, 2013, at 34 weeks, 4 days, by cesarean section. Due to their breathing complications, I was not able to hold them until 7 hours after birth, so I missed out on the immediate “skin-to-skin” time that helps a mother’s milk come in. I started pumping immediately, every 3 hours. Once we were able to hold them, my husband and I continued skin-to-skin as much as possible during their NICU stay.  This was not only beneficial for my 'new mother' soul, but for my babies as well. Preemies can get over stimulated easily and require quiet, warm touch that doesn’t involve excessive stroking. They can have difficulty keeping up their body temperatures and skin-to-skin also helps with that. When Henry and Caroline arrived they couldn’t suck, swallow and breathe at the same time; this suck-swallow-breathe neurological function doesn’t even kick in until 36 weeks gestation. It was for this reason that they immediately were fed by a tube that went through their nose and into their stomach. 

At 36 weeks gestation equivalent, this ability kicked in for Henry, but not Caroline. She took a few more days, and even still it didn’t go well. I utilized the help of the NICU’s lactation consultants every single day for the 25 days my babies spent in the NICU. It took a while for my body to produce the milk, and even though it still wasn't quiet enough, I didn't feel guilty or sorry for having to supplementing with formula.  As a mother I was doing the best I could do for those two.  I continued to try to nurse them every three hours, and pump afterwards with a rented hospital-grade pump that I used for the first 3 months. This helped me build my supply and also helped me feel like I was contributing to their well-being when it felt like nurses were doing everything for them. For the first 10 days of their NICU stay, before I started staying full time at the hospital, I would wake in the middle of the night to pump and give the NICU a call to check in on them. I spent lots of my time in the NICU reading, an excellent breastfeeding resource.
Caroline was the first to be weaned off her feeding tube, but she’d never nurse enough to be satisfied.  She would scream and arche her back every single time I tried to feed her. She and I cried it out together a couple times. A lactation consultant suggested trying a nipple shield, which aids in latching and after a few rough nights of “cluster feeding” (every 45 minutes or so, if needed) she finally improved. 
When we got home

One week after their NICU discharge their pediatrician made note that Caroline wasn’t gaining weight well. For the next month I nursed her, and then gave her a little bit of breast milk in a bottle to “top her off.”  Since she wasn't working hard (and burning calories) while nursing for long periods of time, her weight gain improved. I used the nipple shield for the first three months of her life because she continued to have trouble with finding a great latch. It was cumbersome and difficult, and there were many tears shed, but we figured each other out in time. At three months I weaned her off the nipple shield and we fell into our rhythm.
Preemies tend to sleep even more than the average baby, and can take longer to eat due to lack of nursing stamina. I finally gained enough confidence at two months to tandem feed them with the help of the My Brest Friend twins nursing pillow (it looks and feels like some sort of flotation device). I took Fenugreek supplements, brewer’s yeast, ate lots of oatmeal and drank lots of water to help increase my supply.
They received 2 bottles/ day of formula until they were six months old, and thereafter it has been 1 formula bottle/day. In the early days, it helped give me a break when each nursing session was fraught with anxiety if Caroline would eat. My husband also enjoyed being able to do this for them. I work full time, and supplementing with formula also takes some stress off me about being able to pump enough while I’m at work. I think a lot of women approach nursing with an “all or nothing” mentality and it doesn’t have to be that way.

In return for the support people gave me, I try to be a cheerleader to friends who breastfeed. Not just because of the benefits to the baby, but because my own struggle resulted in a changed relationship with both of my children. I continue to provide feedback on the “Breastfeeding Multiples” site on for other moms. I thank God that He gave me Henry, an easy eater, to power through my struggles with Caroline. Without my bevy of resources, support, and Henry for encouragement, I’m not sure how long we would have lasted. This is something we did together as a team. There is also something intrinsically fulfilling about being about to feed your child anywhere, anytime. No one else can do that. This is the one thing I can do for them that no one else can. As a working mom, I especially appreciate this time with them. We are approaching one year old, and I’m beginning to get questions about weaning. We will continue so long as it works for the three of us (although I am really looking forward to not toting my bag of pump parts to/from work each day). 
Even though this chapter of breastfeeding will eventually be closed, I will continue to be other mom’s cheerleader in this area well beyond that.

Thank you, Christina!  What an awesome resource you are to other moms who might fear this struggle or have experienced this in some shape or form. 

Christina has offered her email address if you have any questions!  CLICK HERE to send her an email!

What tips to you have in addition to what Christina shared?  


April is Multiple Birth Awareness Month!  This Friday (April 25), Twin Talk is hosting a blog and Instagram link-up.  We'd love for you to participate!

If you're a blogger, dedicate this Friday's post to your twins!  Afterward, come to our page and link up so our followers can "meet" your sweet twins! (We'll have "how-to" instructions on Friday!)

If you're on Instagram, post a picture of your twins on Friday and include the essentials: Names, date of birth, area (city and/or state) where you live, etc.  Use hashtag #twintalkcelebratesmultiples and get to know twins all over the country!  

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Children's Wallet Cards | Giveaway

We are so excited about our next giveaway!  Marie-Claire (a fellow twin mom!) has created Children's Wallet Cards, which are both educational and gorgeous.  When we received our sets we instantly fell in love.  While Jolie & Parker and Jude & Sloane are still a little young to grasp the educational aspect, they adore playing with the cards and wallets.  And with how quickly toddlers change and grow, it won't be long before they're recognizing shapes, colors and letters.  Having these cards will be a huge help along the way!

We asked Marie-Claire to tell us a little about her family and how she came up with the idea for the wallet cards.  Her story is both sweet and inspiring.

Hi, my name is Marie-Claire and I'm a twin momma. My tiny babies have grown into preschoolers and are now four-year-olds. 

Silas and Owen were born at 39 weeks and were amazing. We barely slept and for six months were in survival mode. That season of our lives has passed, thank goodness. Now we're learning to read and write in Montessori preschool, nearly done potty training, and I even have my own business.

New twin moms ask me, "Does it get easier?" And I just close my eyes, breathe a heavy sigh, and say, "It gets… different." Sometimes there's a frown on my face, but most of the time there's a smile.

Before being a momma, I was a pretty serious graphic and interaction designer, working 50 - 60 hours a week at a design consultancy here in Michigan. My husband, Victor, did the same thing at another place across town. We were really kicking butt, flying to conferences, leading presentations, and bringing home the bacon.

Before I burned myself out, I quit my job to start a lofty nonprofit. Then we got pregnant. At nine weeks we found out we were having twins. Everything came to a screeching halt. I was not feeling well. I tried to work freelance, but soon developed pregnancy-induced carpal tunnel syndrome and prenatal depression. I was exhausted by a trip to the grocery store and slept most of my days. 

When the boys came, I was in a completely different role than my former professional self. I was anxious and exhausted. I felt jolted. I loved having the boys in my life: we bonded, we breastfed, co-slept and cuddled constantly. But even with this amazing addition to my like, I didn't entirely feel like me. I missed the feeling of accomplishment and the warmth of making something with my hands. I missed the opportunities in my former life that allowed me to be creative.

I was, however, constantly observing the boys as they grew and changed. At about six months they really started interacting with the objects around them in a completely new way. They were absorbing information, changing, blossoming. It was beautiful. 

Silas became known as the "The Beaver," putting everything in his mouth. Gnawing on everything: shelves, walls, toys. It was heinous.    

Owen loved paper, but he would eat it, tear it, destroy it. He loved books, but the "durable" cardboard pages dissolved in his little mouth. They both really loved pulling out the contents of my husband's and my wallets, looking at the tiny type and pictures, putting them in their mouths, and chewing on the edges. Unfortunately, I discovered that 95% of cards in my wallet were made of toxic PVC plastic. Not safe for babies. Nothing they were interested in was made for them to actually use. 

And after both my husband and my drivers licenses were broken in half, a missing debit card during a Target grocery run, and countless gift cards snapping in half, I needed to do something. They were insatiable.

I found a new self in designing something just for them. Something durable, safe, nontoxic, beautiful, irresistible. After months of researching, testing, designing, and prototyping… I had finally found the perfect materials. 

I decided on an alphabet deck of cards, mimicking the cards found in my wallet but educational. I commissioned amazing Australian artist, March Martin, to create 26 unique pieces for the deck. I launched a Kickstarter with some help from my husband, got my project funded, and then proceeded to produce my first deck. The boys loved them. They adored them. I felt proud of myself and my work.

And when I delivered the decks to all the Kickstarter Backers, the hundreds of receiving babies and kids loved them!  It was awesome! Moms and dads loved them, aunts and uncles, grandmas and grandpas too!

When all those hundreds of decks sold out, I made more! I reprinted the Alphabet deck at a higher quantity to keep up with the demand, and then launched a second Kickstarter to make four additional decks. 

The boys grew and the cards grew with them. And they still LOVE THEM! We now have decks to help our little ones learn colors and shapes, numbers, and Montessori parts of speech. We have new artists for each deck: Nomoco, Eugene & Louise, and Jared Andrew Schorr.

Lisa, my amazing mother, was a Montessori teacher for over 20 years. She helped consult on the design and content of every one of the cards. She's been incredibly supportive and has offered so much insight into the growth and learning processes of children. If she says, "short vowel sounds" or "no soft 'G' sounds," I listen! She helped to make these cards strong and hard-working.

With my mother close by and as a former Montessori child myself, I know the importance of allowing my children to have access to similar objects that adults use everyday to learn practical life skills. Our house is especially excited about our new My Wallet set. It's a real wallet with kid-friendly bank and membership cards. It even includes gorgeous play money made from Tyvek (non-toxic, spit-proof). Owen and Silas take their wallets nearly everywhere. They love playing "store" with the play-bills.  They're learning how to count, add and subtract and make change. And they don't destroy MY wallet now!

Victor, our friend Chris Rittersdorf, and I launched a companion iOS app for the My Wallet set too. It has earned a consistent and hefty five stars in the iTunes store.

Having the boys in Montessori school (half days) allows time for me to design, fulfill orders, answer emails, and market the cards. The business helps support our family, it's fun and rewarding, and it scratches my creative itch on a daily basis. 

In the afternoons and weekends I'm with my boys and my amazing/exhausted husband. We watch each other grow and change everyday. It's been a wild ride so far, and we can't wait to see what we do next! 

It's hard, and amazing, and it's more different than even I could imagine. Today there's a smile on my face.


Enter below to win TWO My Wallet Sets as well as TWO Booster packs (extra receipts and cards) as a bonus. Contest ends this Friday, April 25th at midnight.  

You can find them on Instagram, Facebook, as well as their website!  And don't forget to check out their online store!
Winners will be announced on Monday, April 28th!

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Monday, April 21, 2014

Tips To Make Your Life Easier

Some of us (ahem, Amber) create amazing weekly meal plans for the entire family.  Meanwhile, I (Meredith) had the following text exchange with my husband when we were making baby food:


When it comes to the kitchen, Amber and I could not be more different.  However, we both want the best for our families and are constantly looking for ways to save time and money!

We asked you guys for your best tips and absolutely loved your input.  We've divided the tips into a few categories and hope they make your life a little easier!

Pour the creamer first and then add the coffee.  You don't dirty a spoon or overdo it with the creamer!

Use Reynolds Wrap slow cooker liners.  Once the meal is done, remove the liner and throw it away!  Super easy cleanup!

Have assigned spots in the dishwasher for utensils (e.g., knives always go in the far right divider).  When your dishes are clean it takes half the time to put them away.

I use a Command Hook on the back of the babies' highchairs to store their bibs. - Tori

I cook double of every recipe and freeze the other half for later. - Christina

When my twin boys started eating fruit, vegetables, and meats I had to find something that could cut the food up in little bite-sized pieces fast. With two hungry boys wanting watermelon, I couldn't chop it fast enough. I found the Vidalia Chop Wizard at the grocery store and the smallest blade it comes with was an amazing life saver. Its easy to clean, dishwasher safe. It is a must have at that age. - Kimberli

I transfer all the goldfish, Cheerios, and Annie's Bunny Grahams to glass containers (or good plastic storage containers/jars) and leave them on the counter. The girls can clearly see the contents and point (or yell or grunt) for whichever snack they want. - Daria

We love the Baby Brezza.  Now that the twins are eating finger foods it still comes in handy to steam sweet potato chunks or make homemade hummus. - Carolyn

Wash bottles on high temp in the dishwasher, hand washing is for the birds! - Brittany

I made myself a "sterilizing station" in my kitchen. In an ordered line, I would have a box for bits ready to sterilize, then the sterilizer, and then a big tub at the end to put things that had been sterilized.  - Joanna

Keep a crockpot of water on warm in the kitchen and the bedroom. Makes heating up bottles so much easier. - Nicole

If you use formula, get a protein shake shaker bottle to mix formula. Making bottles is so easy.  -@erykaann

Stock your freezer full of muffins! I lived on muffins for the first six months - easy nutrition to grab before a feed or something to eat when consoling babies. - @kbrandes 

When mine were just weeks old, I got a Keurig. I need coffee fast! Ain't nobody got time for French press anymore. - Katie

No Keurig here so I like to prep the coffee pot the night before or I don't get any!  Lately I've been making a batch of cold brew coffee on the weekend (Pioneer Woman and Velvet Bird have good recipes) and then each morning all I have to do is pour it over ice and add some cream and coffee syrup.  Just like Starbucks but cheap and fast! - Leslie

Get a jumper and a saucer! I put them in the kitchen while I cook or clean and it keeps my babies contained and happy. @mckenzeeskeen

Upon the suggestion of another twin mom friend, we also installed an instant hot water dispenser to thaw frozen bags of milk and/or warm up bottles. Way faster than having to use the microwave and more functional than a bottle warmer. As an added bonus, my husband has been able to use it for making coffee, and I think all new parents can appreciate the necessity of readily available hot coffee. - Amanda

I loved having my Ikea Spoling changing table. Mine are 12 months and I still use it daily. It folds up and has made its way to just about every room in the house over the last year. In the beginning I used it in our bedroom for nighttime changes. When they weren't mobile I kept it in the playroom so I didn't have to leave one to go change the other. Now it's just outside the playroom so I can still see the other. I love the mobility of it and being able to fold it up and put it away if we have company. It has been so helpful! - Krista

We have two changing tables - one upstairs in the babies' room and one downstairs in our room so it's convenient no matter where we are in the house to change them. - Tori

I learned to change the babies' diapers as they were drinking their bottle in the middle of the night/early morning feedings so we didn't take any more time than needed. We lay them on a Boppy, they hold their bottles, and we change their diapers. We are done in less than five minutes. - Tori

Two words: Amazon Prime. - Ashley

I used a flashlight at night when one would wake to change a diaper or get a feeding going….it helped shed just enough light to see, but not wake the babies. - CMB

I liked having a pack 'n play by the front door when my twins were young toddlers so I would have a place to corral them as I got them dressed to go out. - Samantha

Rock 'n plays and Boppy loungers for tandem bottle feedings when they are newborns. - Allison

Clean one room each weeknight.  I hate knowing the whole house has to be cleaned come Saturday. - Kaitlin

I have two-year-old twins and a new baby. The Moby wrap is the only way I get things done when I get home from work. Wear the baby and cook dinner, all while entertaining the twins! - @twinbaby0609

If something takes less than a minute, do it right then.  - Summer

Use a phone app to avoid creating a grocery list each time (also helps you to not forget anything)!  Two recommendations: Grocery IQ and Trello.

Ziplock bags in every size. Dirty diapers on the run. Carsickness (the big sister gets very carsick).  Food.  Individual outfit changes. Banana peels and other sticky food while you're out and about.  Wet bathing suit or dirty clothes. Literally anything and everything.  I pack two boxes of gallon sized bags when we travel. - Daria

Now that my babies are eating more solids we bought a Costco membership. - Christina

We moved all errands to weekdays/nights so weekends were family time and we didn't have to run around.  My husband goes grocery shopping on Monday night  and I go to Target during lunch. - Emily

Only wash your hair two-three times a week.  You have to train your hair in order to do this.  When I was pregnant I started washing my hair every other day.  After it was used to that I switched to every third day.  Not having to blow dry it every day has been such a timesaver and my hair is so much healthier!

I like Herbal Essences dry shampoo and it's a great price point! - Leslie

At first I only showered while the twins were sleeping. Big mistake! Get yourself a clear shower curtain and put your pack 'n play in the bathroom. To keep my kids happy I usually put a sippy cup of milk or water and a small snack with them in addition to a few soft toys.  - Carolyn


April is Multiple Birth Awareness Month!  This Friday (April 25), Twin Talk is hosting a blog and Instagram link-up.  We'd love for you to participate!

If you're a blogger, dedicate this Friday's post to your twins!  Afterward, come to our page and link up so our followers can "meet" your sweet twins! (We'll have "how-to" instructions on Friday!)

If you're on Instagram, post a picture of your twins on Friday and include the essentials: Names, date of birth, area (city and/or state) where you live, etc.  Use hashtag #twintalkcelebratesmultiples and get to know twins all over the country!

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Friday, April 18, 2014

Twin Birth Story: Kerry

If you'd like to contribute your own twin birth story, CLICK HERE to fill out our questionnaire!

Name: Kerry

Where do you currently live (city/state)?  San Francisco Bay Area, CA
How far along were you when you found out you were expecting twins? 8 weeks

Thursday, April 17, 2014

How To Survive Hospital Bed Rest

When you first find out you're pregnant with twins, there's a good chance your doctor will share the likelihood of bed rest.  Whether it takes place at the hospital or your home, it's so common with twin pregnancies.  Andrea, who is currently 32 weeks pregnant, is on hospital bed rest taking care of her sweet baby boys.  Today she shares her tips on how to survive bed rest.   We appreciate her honestly, humor, and positive attitude.


My name is Andrea. I'm a stay-at-home mom to my daughter, Madison, and married to my high school sweetheart, Josh. I'm a part-time photographer, a Chai tea latte enthusiast, and about to be a busy mom of three.

At 27 weeks I went in for a routine cervical length check at my doctor's office. After my cervix had measured well over 4 cm my entire pregnancy, we were shocked to see it was now 1.4 cm. My doctor had me out the door & headed for the large hospital in Denver within 20 minutes. By the time I got to the hospital my contractions had picked up and were coming every 2-3 minutes. After about 24 hours of contractions, my cervix was now measuring 6mm. I have now been in the hospital for five weeks, with no changes and with the possibility of going home in 10 days, unless the boys decide to make their debut.

 32 Weeks

How To Survive Hospital Bed Rest

Be Pleasant.
No one wants to be here. None of us planned on being here. We are stuck in lumpy beds with bad hospital food and daytime television. I am bombarded with tubes, straps, pills and swabs every three hours. I am being watched like a hawk. But you know what helps? A good attitude. There is absolutely nothing I can do about being here. I am here for the long haul, as are a lot of these women, so I'm making the most of it.

I have really great nurses who actually enjoy coming to see me because I decided to be pleasant. The boys are the most stressful fetuses to get on the monitors, which means my poor nurses have to sit here for at least 30 minutes before we are all hooked up and being monitored. Many have thanked me for being a trooper because they have lots of patients who are mean and get mad. Get over it! You're stuck here all day and it's your fetus that is already creating problems and is still on the inside.

Laugh it up.
So much of this is disgusting. So disgusting. I have probably apologized to nearly every nurse that has worked with me for the disgusting things they have to do and see. "When was your last bowel movement?" has become my favorite question of the day. One of these days, I will work up the courage to say, "This morning! When was yours?" We talk about body fluids and mucus and blood and leakage. I mean, di-freaking-sgusting. The best way to deal is to just laugh about it. Make light of the gross and just roll with it. Being happy and pleasant and enjoyable to be around makes everyone happier. Be the patient that the nurses enjoy. There will always be the girl who is a crab - don't be her, because the patients talk about you and so do the nurses. Be the one who makes them laugh.

My two best friends at my hospital baby shower shortly after I was admitted

Cry it out.
For the majority of your hospital stay, be fun and enjoyable. However, if you need to have a good, hard sob, do it. Turn on Steel Magnolias and let the river flow. I was teary many nights when my friends and family would leave, but it was short-lived. Ten days into my stay, I hit my wall. Ugly crying into the phone while my Mom tried to calm me down. It's hard to be here. It's hard to watch your family leave. And it's hard to be stuck here with no end in sight. So, it's ok to be hysterical. Just don't be the girl who lives there.

I'm sure some of the nurses think I'm nuts. My room is the most decked out on the floor. My favorite part is the banner of photos of my myself throughout the pregnancy, which I refer to as my "Narcissist Banner" every time a new nurse looks at it. I have balloons, flowers, pictures, and banners hanging on the walls to make it feel more homey. Over the top? Yes. Necessary? No. Cheerful? Yes. Worth it? Yes. You're here for weeks on end - make the best of it.

Narcissist banner.

I am very lucky to be semi-close to home. Many of the women on my floor are from neighboring states and aren't as fortunate as I am to have company. I have had friends and/or family here every single day of my stay. When people ask me what I want or need most, my response is always company. I have people I've never even met before popping in to see me, who just want to help make my day a little more pleasant. Seeing people (for Type A extroverts, like myself) help the days not drag so slowly. Tell people what you need. They want to help. If you just want them to stop by and play Scrabble with you, tell them.

My daughter, Maddie, bringing me balloons the day after I was admitted

Don't be ugly.
My husband was slightly offended that he has seen me with more makeup on since I've been here than I had been wearing pre-bed rest. My argument is that it makes me feel better. Deep.

It's true though. After beached whale society water immersion therapy, I take a shower, dry my hair, style it and put some makeup on. Is it necessary? Of course not. Does it make me feel like I'm doing something with my day? Yes. If you are schlepping around the hospital like the girl from The Ring, your days will be longer and crankier. If you put a little pep in your step on purpose, you will feel better.

Hospital bed rest is so hard. There is no getting around it, but like every situation in life, you have to choose to make the best of it. Make friends with your nurses because they want to like you, but they can't if you're a jerk. Try out the old lady activities that the hospital offers. You might enjoy it and it might make you less of a crab. And if you need a visitor, I'll come sit with you. I can bring you junk food and/or Starbucks, and I will lose terribly to you if we play Scrabble. Win/win for you.

Thanks so much, Andrea!  If you'd like to read more about Andrea and her current pregnancy, visit her blog:  The Life & Times of Andrea Rosenbohm.  

If you're on bed rest (hospital or home), let us know what other survival tips you have to offer!

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