Friday, January 30, 2015

Twin Birth Story: Naomi Elliott

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Naomi Elliott

Where do you currently live?  Cumming, GA

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Twin Birth Story: Analydia Liquet

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Analydia Liquet

Where do you currently live?  Virginia Beach, Virginia

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Twin Birth Story: Rhea Booth

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Rhea Booth

Where do you currently live?  Pullman, WA

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Twin Birth Story: Misty Martin

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Misty Martin

Where do you currently live?  Richland, PA

Monday, January 26, 2015

Twin Birth Story: Rini Mulia

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

Rini Mulia

Where do you currently live?  Los Angeles, CA

Friday, January 23, 2015

Twin Birth Story: Shayna Sowards

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

Shayna Sowards

Where do you currently live?  Rochester, MI

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Sleep Training Twins: Modified Cry It Out Method

Hi Twin Talk Family!

My name is Nicole Conte!  I work full time as the Territory Manager for the state of Alabama for Weight Watchers and I have been married to my Brazilian firefighter hubby Renan for 6 years.  We conceived our precious baby girls Everly and Saylor through IVF and they were born July 3, 2014.

So like most twin parents, I was appalled at the lack of sleep we got those first few months.  Heck, the first night home I didn't know if I was going to make it!! But somehow, we learn to cope with that lack of sleep and life goes on.

Our Typical night was my husband Renan and I struggling to keep our eyes open until 10:30 or 11pm giving the girls a bottle and putting them to bed.  We would be up and down about 6-7 times putting a paci back in, or adjusting a swaddle.  The babies would wake up around 4am to eat another bottle and after that it was a struggle to get them back to sleep so we would generally drag babies and boppies in our king size bed just to find a little rest.  Then we would be up around 6:30am for the day.  That equated to about 4- 5 solid sleep hours for us and ZERO time together in the evenings to focus on each other.  I was spent, so I knew it was time to start researching sleep training.  Before the girls came, I read the book Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Twins so I had a general idea of what path I wanted to take, but I still took to Google and researched like crazy about what worked, and what didn't.  Generally, most people did some form of the Cry It Out (CIO) method. When we started this, I sat down with my husband and we made out a game plan.  It was imperative that we were both on the same page because this was going to be a team effort and I needed him to be ALL IN. We had a few bumps in the road and it took us MUCH longer to get this done than some people.  We had a lot of trial and error but we remained a united team and committed to it together.  I hope this will help some of you that may also be struggling.  First, we laid out our goals:

1.  Getting girls to sleep through the night
2.  Weaning both night time feedings
3.  Stop bringing them into our bed

Modified CIO was the method we used.  We didn't stick to a very strict time schedule, but we would let them cry for a period that we felt comfortable with and then go in and SOOTHE ONLY.  Rubbing the face, patting the back, speaking softly, and giving the paci worked for us.  Those first weeks took a lot of trips up and down and at times I felt I couldn't keep going.....but we did.  It's very tough on a Mama and Daddy to hear screaming when we know that just bringing them in our bed would stop it all.  That was not a healthy thing for us as a couple or for our girls to be able to get the best sleep possible.  Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Twins, will help you understand the importance of sleep and sleeping WELL for babies. Good sleep habits make life run smoother over all and with multiples....we will take all the smoothness we can get.  Can i get an AMEN??

*Side Note:  Speaking of AMEN, I truly had to give this training to the Lord and let Him guide us.  There were times that I would feel that it just wasn't working and I must be a failure.  Those were the times that I was trying to control it myself.  Letting go and turning it over to the Lord helped to give me peace and strength to keep my eye on the prize, knowing that He had my back.

Most people agree that a bedtime routine is key to getting them to recognize it is sleepy time.  Well, I am anti night baths because my husband is a firefighter so every third night, i'm alone.  Bathing 2 squirmy babies, by myself.  No thank you!!  So we tried doing what we normally did as the "routine."  Big Bottle at 10:30 or 11pm and then putting them in bed drowsy but awake.  My thought was, well, if we dont put them to bed until later, they will sleep later!!  Nope.  Not even close.  After talking with another Twin Mama, she suggested earlier bedtime and a very clear routine.  Earlier bedtime was a tough thing for me to swallow because my husband and I are very social.  We are part of a small group during the week and love going out to eat with friends.  If we put the girls down at 7 or 8, that was going to severely hinder that, but we decided it would be worth it and committed to a new routine.  Bath (sometimes its a sponge bath, but a bath nonetheless), Lotion, PJs, big bottle, low key time with us, then we put them in bed drowsy, but awake.  Starting early bedtime and a clear cut routine, was key for us.  Yes, we do have some times that we miss our social outings.  Some single child parents may have felt we were being over the top, but with 2 babies, with 2 different sleep habits, it was crucial that we set up a schedule and routine.  As for missing out on social stuff, when I am curled up watching TV with Renan and the house is quiet with 2 peacefully sleeping babies......It's a good thing my friends!

Bath time.... A team effort!!

Weaning Bottles:
At this point, my girls were no longer nursing and on formula.  Even with going to sleep at 7 or 8, they would still seem to wake up at least 2 times during the night to want to eat so that was our next goal.  Weaning all overnight feeds.  The best advice surrounding this was to try and get the jump on the babies BEFORE they woke up crying.  We didn't want to associate crying with "Mommy is going to give me what I want." That would have defeated our purpose of the sleep training, but I also didn't want my babies to be starving at night and not go to them!!  They typically woke between 11-12am for a bottle so we would try to stay awake until about 10:30 and then go in and do a "dream feed" while they were still sleeping.  We would tip toe in, put the bottle in their mouth and let them drink until they were done.  We started with a full bottle and every night or 2, I would decrease the amount by 1oz.  The first night that we had weaned them down completely, I was scared to death they would wake up demanding that last oz, but they didn't!!!  Now we had to do the same thing with the 4am bottle, and it too worked out great!!  Now there were some nights that they woke up before we had a chance to give them the dream feed, and that was frustrating because I felt like it took us backwards a bit.  My biggest tip here is to just keep on keeping on.  If you feel like you need more than a couple nights between decreasing your feeds, then do whatever makes you comfortable.  Sometimes when giving the girls just an ounce or two, they would get ticked off and start to get upset, but we would just pop in the paci and generally they would drop right back off to sleep.

Sleeping Through the Night:
We started this right at 4 months old with the girls. They just turned 6 months are we are FINALLY sleeping through the night fully. There are still times they may wake up crying a bit, but we try to let them get themselves back to sleep.  They usually do and if not, we may just go in to soothe.  They will go down around 8pm and don't wake up for the day until around 8am.   It is absolutely glorious to have time in the evenings to talk with my husband and cook and eat dinner together, getting more than 5 hours sleep was made me a different human being, and my girls are happier babies.  A nice side effect of this was naptimes.  Being well rested at night makes for better naptimes during the day for us which is fabulous for a Mama that works full time from home!!

Was this tough?  Yes.  Probably one of the toughest things I have done as a mother.  Was it worth it?  100 million times YES.  It's one of the things that I am most proud to have accomplished as a mother thus far.  We didn't do this by the "rules" per say.  My husband and I looked at what we wanted to accomplish and what would work best for us as a family to get us there.  It did take longer than "they" say it would take.   We had some things that set us back and things that we realized in the rear view weren't the best decisions.  But we learned from everything.  If this is something you are thinking of attempting with your babies, i want to encourage you to GO FOR IT!  You may have stumbles, but just keep your eye on the finish line.  You will get matter how long it takes!
Would love to connect with all you mother twin mamas out there on Instagram at @nicoleconte or @twinkiebands. You can also follow my crazy Mis-adventures on my personal blog

If only we could all sleep like this!!

Sleep Training Twins: Ferber Method

Hello my fellow and future twin parents! My name is Jennica and I'm a new stay-at-home mom to my 5-month-old boy/girl twins, Jack and Clare. 

I offered to share my experience with sleep training on Twin Talk since I figured I couldn't be the only mamma of multiples who is interested obsessed with getting more sleep. Because let's be honest, everyone needs sleep. (I'm thinking Everyone Poops needs a sequel written...)

Every new parent will tell you (and non-parents as well) that once your little bundle of joy arrives, you will never sleep.

You will, in reality, get very minimal sleep, but somehow it still feels like you're getting literally ZERO hours at night.
And after 4.5 months of running on fumes, my husband David and I (and our pediatrician, of course) decided it was time for our twins Jack and Clare to learn how to fall asleep on their own. No rocking (which we would do every night), no pacifiers (which they used every night), no back patting, no swings, no falling asleep on mom or dad. Basically no outside help getting to dreamland, because frankly we were just exhausted from being on sleep watch, making sure they got enough sleep and stayed asleep. On top of it, it seemed like no matter how hard we tried, Jack and Clare weren't sleeping long stretches at night. 

So off to Ferber-land we went! I already knew we would try the Ferber method before reading the book (which, if you are going to use the "cry-it-out" method [or the better name, the "progressive waiting" method] READ.THE.BOOK. It repels all and any fears you may have about allowing your baby to fall asleep all on their own. It won't make it easier to hear him/her cry, but nothing will. does. Wine helps a little.)

I knew we would use Ferber because Jack and Clare both have fallen asleep on their own before. Not consistently and not at bedtime, but they have. Which convinced me that they were capable of it, so David and I as parents had to put our big girl panties on (yep, David too) and create the environment for them to sleep on their own. If we kept giving them all of the extras, how could they ever learn to fall asleep without them?

Ferber works off of "progressive waiting| -- basically you put your kid to bed, and go in to check on them at timed intervals. The check-ins I think are mostly for the benefit of the parents so that you can unfurl your body from the tight ball you've curled up into. But you aren't supposed to pick them up--you really just stay 1-2 minutes, tell them you love them, you know they can do it, maybe give a couple pats and then leave again. Even if they don't even slow down crying. Even if their crying got worse. But Ferber also says going in and assuring your little that you're still there reminds them that they aren't abandoned and are still in a safe place (again...whatever you want to tell yourself to run up and try to comfort your babe...) No matter how long it takes for them to go to sleep (our pediatrician said with her son, he cried for up to 3 hours) do not pick them up to rock or bring into your bed. If you resort back to the techniques you are trying to quit them of, all of that crying will have truly been for nothing. It may sound extreme, but babies can learn and they learn fast! 

A few things that I think are necessary when sleep training your babes
1. Your partner, whoever that may be. You both need to be on the same page, so you can both stay strong when one of you inevitably wants to run up and cuddle the cute out of the twins. Make sure you both will be home at bedtime for the week. Doing this alone would be extra tough.
2. A non-video monitor. This is my opinion, but just hearing your two babies cry is hard enough. Seeing them in distress would be torture. If you've got a video monitor, run out and get a cheap radio one at least for the first few days.
3. Activity. A board game, cooking, painting your nails...whatever you want to keep your hands busy so they don't remember that they aren't holding a crying baby.

Here's our journey :)

Day 13 min (1st wait), 5 min, 10 min, 10 min (subsequent waits)
We didn't use Ferber for the naps today, instead used them to enjoy the last (at least for the next week) rocking, holding, and patting to sleep. The book recommends to do your normal bedtime routine, which for us is heading upstairs to change into pjs, nurse, a bedtime book, and some last minute cuddles on mom and dad's bed (no bath, as we found it tends to wake them up more). After the routine, put the baby down at or AFTER the normal time they fall asleep. You basically do not want to put your baby down before they are sleepy, because they'll cry about not being sleepy. 

We put them down in their separate cribs at 7:15pm (I should also note that up until this night, they had been sleeping in our room.) AAAAAAaaand the crying commenced! We went in at 3 mins, patted their backs/belly, said "I love you" and "You can do this" and left. They were DEFINITELY still crying. Our visit didn't seem to calm or help them at all. 
Cue the wine and the board game!!

After about 30 mins of crying, Jack finally fell asleep. No peep from him! Clare didn't fall asleep for about an hour, but it wasn't an hour of solid crying. She'd stop (assumedly be asleep) but then wake herself up again and cry again (she rolls around a TON so I don't think that helped). At that point, we'd start the 10 min timer but she would stop before the 10 mins were up, so we wouldn't go check on her. 

Not a bad start! Wasn't easy, but I was prepared for the worst. Like drink all the wine move onto tequila worst.
*Note: I will say that Clare was EXTRA hungry during the night. They usually eat 1-2 times in the middle of the night, and it's always Jack who wakes first. But this night Clare woke up STARVING after only 3 hour stretches. She was trying to eat her hands, and crazy-nursed for a full 8 mins. All that crying and rolling around in her crib made her uber hungry.

Day 2 | 5 min (1st wait), 10 min, 12 min, 12 min (subsequent waits)
Today their naps were all in their cribs upstairs. They've consistently been needing naps after 1-1.5 hours of being awake, but have been taking them down in our living room since we'd rock and pat them to sleep. Today, once we started seeing them slow down during playtime or yawning, we scooped them up, brought them upstairs, read them a book, kissed them and said have a good nap! They went down for their naps after about 5-10 mins of some squeaking (not full blown crying, but not falling quietly to sleep either). BUT Jack did not want his evening nap, and so he stayed up for 4 hours before bedtime and Clare took VERY short naps (i.e. 30 mins max). By the time bedtime rolled around, they were very tired. 

We put them in their cribs at 6:45 since they were oh-so-ready for sleep, went downstairs, started the timer for 10 mins and started making dinner. Which was much better than playing a game, since I could chop and cook things and keep my hands busy. 

Jack fell asleep after about 15 mins of hard crying and Clare fell asleep after 45 total mins of crying. Again, she fell asleep around the same time Jack did (or at least calmed down for a bit) but then woke herself up a bit. I blame myself for her having a harder time because for the last couple of weeks she's fallen asleep at night in a swing, which wouldn't always be on, but if she started fussing I'd switch it on. Jack has always fallen asleep in the co-sleeper. When he's really tired, he typically doesn't even liked to be held/rocked by us.

I should also note that after the 2nd wait time (10 mins) we didn't go back up even though Clare was still crying. Clare would cry, then stop for a bit, then get going again. And we knew if we went in, we'd just stimulate her more. 

Day 3 | 10 min (1st wait), 12 min, 15 min, 15 min (subsequent waits)
Today wasn't any different than Day 2, other than their naps. Both of them took EPIC naps all day. I'm talking 1.5-2 hour naps. Clare even fell asleep on our walk, which she never does. It must have caught up with them because they were sleeeeepy babies. Ferber's book says to not let naps make up for any lost night sleep, but they haven't lost any night sleep really...they would still wake up at their normal 7-7:30am time so I figured they just needed it. They went to sleep that night like usual...Jack cried for 10 mins and Clare cried (off and on) for about an hour. 

Day 412 min (1st wait), 15 min, 17 min, 17 min (subsequent waits)
Today was back to not wanting naps, and actually they both missed their afternoon nap all together, except for a little catnap they had in the car around 5pm. So when bedtime rolled around I was preparing myself for another night of having to listen to our babies cry. Let me tell you, it does not get any easier as the days go on. I was definitely doubting myself at this point. The only saving grace (aside from David, who throughout all of it remained steadfast in our decision--yay teamwork!) was that they were sleeping SO MUCH BETTER through the night. The past two days they would only wake up ONCE to eat around 3am or 4am, fall right back asleep once I put them back (I'd usually have to pat/rock them back to sleep after nursing/burping) and wouldn't wake up again until morning. So I knew that at least they were getting great nights of sleep.

Ok, so bedtime rolls around, I give them a massage with coconut oil and eucalyptus (I've done this the past two nights as well...) Already this bedtime I notice Clare is babbling like she does in the morning when she's just waking up (i.e. her happiest) and not rolling around like a maniac. They are both very calm and mellow (Jack is always pretty calm and mellow haha). But I'm thinking that in a minute they're going to unleash their fury on us for not rocking them to sleep. 
We kiss them goodnight, put them down and leave. We go downstairs and I hear some squeaking (not full on crying yet, so I don't start my timer). It's 7:12. At 7:18 I hear Jack stop. At 7:25 I hear Clare stop. I pray and pray that she's asleep and LO AND BEHOLD SHE IS! They both fell asleep in less than TEN MINUTES!! 

I cried tears of joy and wanted to scoop them up right then to kiss and snuggle them because I was just so proud. My sweet littles drifted off to sleep on their own :) 

This was definitely the best night so far, but we'll see how it goes till Day 7 (the "end" of the program)

Day 5 | 15 min (1st wait), 17 min, 20 min, 20 min (subsequent waits)
This was the first day I was without David for support. Their naps were still sporadic, especially in the afternoon...they'd seem tired (rubbing eyes, yawning, not playing as much) but when I'd put them down, they'd just cry and cry until the nap was "over" (Ferber says that if 30 mins have gone by without sleep, end the nap). BUT bedtime was awesome. We went upstairs and I let them play with me on our bed and just wind down. We did bedtime routine and I put them down at 6:50. Clare fell asleep almost instantly...there was 5 mins of intermitted crying but nothing to warrant the start of a timer. AMAZING! Jack took a bit longer, about 20 mins of squeaking...again not full blown crying so not enough to start a timer. I didn't even need the giant glass of wine I poured for myself (although, lets be honest...I drank it anyway) or my parents who I put 'on call' in case I was in for another hour of relentless crying and needed a hug. 

PHEW! In Ferber's book he says that by day 3-4 their sleep should dramatically improve, and although this is only the 2nd day where there was significant improvement, I have a feeling we're absolutely doing the right thing. GO BABIES, YOU ROCK!

**I should also note that the last two days Clare has woken up chatting in her crib, happy as a clam. And this morning Jack woke up super calm and happy too (which he never does, since he doesn't like waking up on his belly, although he prefers to fall asleep on his belly)

Day 6 | 17 min (1st wait), 20 min, 25 min, 25 min (subsequent waits)
Today was another reminder that their naps are tricky, but I think I'm spotting a pattern. Jack takes long morning naps and can stay up much later in the late afternoon. Clare likes shorter naps (45 mins) and needs an evening one. Jack maybe can just do 3? Just another reminder that twins are two different people!! I used to feel really confident with their daytime and dreaded bedtime, and now it's opposite! This night they fell asleep after maybe 2 minutes of crying. I mean, barely anything. It was more like "HEY MOM! You're leaving?! ZZZZZzzzZZZZ" I heard Jack cry after about an hour of nodding off, but I think something just spooked him because he woke up crying but fell back asleep before my first timer went off. Good job, bud!

Also, Clare woke up at 6am (boo for that!) and was crying, but I heard her cries turn into babbling, and then nothing so I left her. She woke up again at 7:30, the normal wake up time and had a crazy diaper blow out. All over her, her jammies, the sheet...meh. She still woke up smiling and happy so I didn't feel toooo bad (read: I felt horrible). But still, they fell asleep so fast, on their own and stayed that way all night. Win! Despite getting spooked and making righteous goo. 

Day 7 | 20 min (1st wait), 25 min, 30 min, 30 min (subsequent waits)
This day, the day that the program "technically" ends (although Ferber writes that even if there is just slight improvement, continue on until Day 10) was miraculous. All FOUR naps happened at the same time, for good amounts of time (i.e. 45-1 hour long) with ZERO crying. There's some babbling, some baby dinosaur sounds (Jack...) and such, but I look at that as totally normal. I don't fall asleep the minute my head hits the pillow. Usually I'm on my phone or reading a book or watching tv, etc. So they can talk and babble all they want, because boy does it sound so much better than an hour of screaming! They sleep so great through the night still, and only wake up around 4am to eat. I do give them a dream feed around 10pm as well. They are still exclusively breastfed (and in the 1st and 4th percentile for their age) so the fact that they eat at night still doesn't bother me at all. 

If you had asked me a week ago if my babies could fall asleep without being rocked, without a pacifier, without waking up in the middle of the night for comfort I would have said no friggin way. This week they have shown me to never underestimate them...they are little powerhouses and if I just have some faith in them, they can exceed my expectations :) 

Final Thoughts

I am just so infinitely proud of Jack and Clare (and let's be honest, David and myself). I have told myself again and again that sleeping is a skill and we as parents need to help our babies figure it out early for the sake and sanity of everyone. Already, I'm not daunted by doing bedtime by myself anymore--in fact I look forward to it! The babes seem happier when they're awake, and can go longer between feedings during the day. And at night, since they only wake up once to eat, I'm finally sleeping longer than 3 hour blocks at a time. 

They don't fall asleep with pacifiers anymore it's true, but we still have them/use them sporadically if they're being cranky when we're out. We definitely try to steer clear of using them to assist in falling asleep (this was thrown out the window yesterday during church when both babes wanted to babble and talk while going to sleep. So in went the pacis!) 
Clare doesn't sleep with any kind of swaddling, which she used to need every time she went down. She used to always wake up from Jack crying (she's so much more of a light sleeper) as well, but now it doesn't seem to bother her. So not only do David and I have our evenings back, our twins are falling asleep easier and staying asleep better. Can I get a hallelujah?!

That being said, we went into this training prepared to be flexible. If after a few nights (3-4) there was no improvement, we would adapt. I think we would have given the pacifiers back first, and then tried again. And we were also prepared to stop all together and try again in a few weeks. As with anything in child-rearing, do what works best for your family. I am absolutely no expert, this is just what my kids happened to respond well to. Thankfully Dr. Ferber is an expert, and is there to guide the way to better sleep!

Jack waking up--this little face just cracks me up!
How she managed to get her arm out of that onesie, I'll never know!
She's such a rough and tumble!
Just look at these happy babes!!
(Clare never smiles on was the best I could get! haha)
Jennica's Blog: We're A Bunch

If you have any questions for Jennica, CLICK HERE to email her!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Sleep Training Twins: The Early Months

Hi! My name is Jo, Mummy to two beautiful baby boys, Max and Leo. They were born at 35 +5 on 26th January 2014, and I haven’t slept since! Just kidding…..well kind of. Meredith was kind enough to ask me to write about my experiences of sleep training Max and Leo, and I was more than happy to oblige.


SLEEP….it is a precious commodity, especially among twin Mums. I am sure we’ve all experienced that moment of joy when you finally get Twin A back to sleep and are crawling back under the covers, only to hear Twin B crying over the monitor. After so many weeks, you could call it close to heartbreaking. Tears were certainly shed in my household. There is a reason why sleep deprivation is a form of torture!

First and foremost, I am no expert, but I read, A LOT. I am the world’s worst "Googler."  Sometimes this is a good thing, but not always. I tried EVERYTHING to get Max and Leo to sleep, and I am a big believer in what works for your child may not necessarily work for mine, so I am going to outline various techniques I tried, and hopefully at least one of them may help whoever reads this.

Max and Leo were 5lb 3oz and 5lb 10oz when they were born, so they were put on a strict three hour feed schedule. When the boys got to 10 weeks old and had gained the appropriate amount of weight, we were ready to start sleep training! Phew….we were ready! This is what we tried:


This is THE most important point I can make. I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but keep both babies on the same schedule, even if it means waking them. I also tried to keep the timings the same, so feeds at 7am, 10am, 1pm etc. They knew what to expect and when.


I desperately tried to breastfeed, desperately. Unfortunately, it didn’t come naturally to me at all.  I tried in the hospital, but my milk didn’t come in until day 5, and because the boys were small, they had to have formula. After my milk came in, I tried with a top up of formula. Afterwards I would express to try and increase my supply. When on my own, feeding both boys with breast and then a top up of formula, changing nappies and then expressing would take me about 2 hours,. I would then start again an hour later. My milk never increased so this routine lasted two months. Once I switched to formula, I found life MUCH easier. I wanted to feed the boys myself so much, but I had to accept that I'd tried my very best and needed to lead a more sensible day.

Formula is heavier so we managed to move the feeds to every 3.5 hours, and then every 4. We eventually decided to buy ‘Hungry Milk’ to give them at the last feed.  This did help and would sometimes buy us an extra hour of sleep a night. We deliberately only gave them the Hungry Milk once a day as we wanted them to notice the difference and not get too used to the heavier milk.


I think keeping a diary was really important. When I bought my breastfeeding pillow, I got sent a Twin Feeding Diary as a free gift - lifesaver! When the doctor would ask me specifics about Max’s milk intake or what his nappies were like, I would be able to give him the correct answer, rather than thinking back over a hazy day and trying to decide which baby did or didn’t poo! I read that babies should have a minimum of 70ml of milk per pound they weigh, and this should be divided throughout the day. With the diary, this was easy to keep track of. As the day progressed, I would total their milk consumption and if they were short I would try to get more down them during the remainder of the day. I once read that if they don’t get enough during the day, the will look for it at night. The days in which they wouldn’t take much milk were the nights that were difficult.


We kept a "feeding station" in our bedroom – kettle, bottles, formula, bibs, etc. This made the process quicker so the twins had less time to stress themselves out and therefore wake themselves up too much.


When my husband went back to work, I tried to do the nights on my own. I lasted four days. Don’t get me wrong, I know my husband had to go to work, but at that early stage I can safely say that a day on my own with the boys, although amazing, was physically and mentally harder than going to work. I needed some sleep too. Doing it on your own means that one baby is waiting, and very often crying, while they wait. This means a stressful night for you and the babies, and no quick and calm routine that will lead to a full night's sleep.


I tried all types of white noise, womb sounds, Ssshing and nothing seemed to work. I then found "Calm Baby" Music on iTunes. Specifically, I found "Relax: Beautiful Music With Ambient and Nature Sounds" (there are other songs available). Max and Leo LOVE this music and we put it on every night. It has become part of their night-time routine, and it plays on repeat, sometimes ALL night. We joke that it will be played at their weddings!

At the hospital, the nurses advised me to "change, feed, burp."  The idea being that the changing of the nappy would wake them up enough so they would take their milk. This made sense as my boys were very sleepy newborns. (Although, I would have to change nappies again afterwards!) When they were a few weeks old and easier to rouse for feeds, I started to feed, burp and change. Once this started, I only changed their nappy at night if they'd had a bowel movement. This meant that the 2am feed would be quick, quiet and calm.


A controversial one with some, but we gave it a shot. The boys would be due to feed about 11pm, so we would "dream feed" them 15 minutes before they woke up. They were so well scheduled (see above), we knew when they would want feeding. We would very carefully lift them out of their Moses baskets, give them their bottles and put them back down. The idea was that they would get into the habit of not waking for feeds that they no longer really needed. We would twist the bottle and put the teet to the roof of their mouth to wake them enough that they would actually drink it.

I didn’t do this for long, I was uncomfortable with the fact that they never really burped after this feed, but I have many friends that swear by this method, and I’m sure it contributed to the overall success to the boys finally sleeping through.


Now, I tried all of the above, and I think they all made a contribution to finally getting Max and Leo to sleep, but I think this was the trick that finally broke the night feed cycle. This tip was given to me by another twin parent, and I was so grateful. When Max and Leo weighed enough that it was OK for them to go one prolonged period of the day without being fed (and have had enough during the day – see "Keep a Diary" above) , I stopped giving them their 2am feed. When they woke up to be fed, I offered them some cooled boiled water (which they never really bothered with) and then I cuddled them back to sleep.

Each time they woke, I would repeat the process. Don’t get me wrong, this was tough for about two weeks. I was up all night on occasion, but it was worth it because, at 12 weeks old, my twins slept from, 10pm to 6am. They didn’t need that 2am feed, as they'd had more than enough during the day.  It was just about breaking the habit.

(See what Leo thinks to my no milk strategy below!)


Once we had mastered 10pm-6am, we gradually moved that last feed forward. So one night it would be 9.45pm and then 9.30pm the following night, etc. At 15 weeks, they would sleep from 7pm until 7am, and I cannot describe that feeling of the first morning we realized they’d slept all the way through. I think we both cheered!

Max and Leo will be ONE on the 26th January! Where did that go?! I’ve loved every second, even the sleepless nights. I mastered the infant sleep training but I am still developing my own toddler sleep training now that they are climbing everywhere! Any advice for older babies will be gratefully received! One thing I have learned is that you can’t expect your routines to stay the same; you have to evolve with them. Our boys are starting to learn that Mummy and Daddy’s bed is better than theirs…..but I’m sure we’ll figure it out eventually.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Over The Rainbow Playsilks | Giveaway


Mandy, an artist from Canada (Winnepeg, Manitoba), is the small business owner of Over The Rainbow.   She contacted me last month and said she'd like to participate in a giveaway with Twin Talk!  Mandy has five kids, including a set of twins, so I'm thrilled to introduce her shop to Twin Talk readers!  We emailed back and forth on what would be the perfect giveaway, and when she told me about her playsilks, I was sold.  

Jude & Sloane's Sunday School class has brightly colored scarves that the kids use while singing praise songs.  They were always some of the first kiddos to grab the scarves (I know this because Michael and I were their Sunday School teachers - ha!) so I knew Mandy's playsilks would be a hit.  And they most assuredly were!  



The playsilks are beautifully hand-dyed using low-impact dyes.  They are 100% silk, 35" by 35" and come in tons of different colors (Jude & Sloane are playing with the rainbow silks.)  The playsilks are so great for children's imaginations as they can be anything!  My kiddos loved wearing them as capes and holding two at a time while they blew in the wind. 

Over the Rainbow playsilks are luxuriously soft and beautifully hand-dyed using low-impact dyes and lots of love. They are made of 100% silk with hand rolled hems. - See more at:
35" x 35" hand-dyed
35" x 35" hand-dyed
35" x 35" hand-dyed

Mandy says this about Over the Rainbow...

Over the Rainbow brings me so much joy because it enables me to engage in so many things that are meaningful to me including art, creating, upcycycling, babywearing, photography, networking with other handmakers and creative folks, and supporting small local businesses and handmade artisans.
I am constantly getting new ideas of items to dye, techniques to experiment with, and colour combonations to try as well as where I can go with my business, who I could collaborate with, and products I could offer. It's so exciting!

Every single part of it, I love. I love having a constant creative project on the go, I love dyeing the fabric, and all of the new techniques I am learning and experimenting with, I love the anticipation of waiting to see what the fabric will look like when it comes out of the dye or the elastics come off and all of the excess dye is washed out, and I love creating something unique and beautiful. 

I could not be more happy or more excited by what the future holds for Over the Rainbow!

Ready for the fun part?  We are giving away TWO Rainbow Playsilks!  There are several ways to enter and the giveaway runs through Thursday at midnight CST.  The winner will be announced Friday morning!

Enter below and be sure to check out Over the Rainbow's WEBSITE and ETSY SHOP!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Twin Toddler Boot Camp | Healthy Eating Tips

Hi! Jess and Jen here from Food Fit for Kids, a website filled with healthy recipes and tips that will bring out the little foodies in your kids. We are two good friends who bonded over hot dogs, The Golden Girls, Angela Lansbury, and of course cooking. With a love of real food, children and a passion for collaborating together, Food Fit for Kids organically emerged. In this guest post, Twin Talk has asked us to provide our top suggestions for some of your biggest challenges with toddlers and food, so here goes.

What are easy and healthy meals I can give my toddlers?

Toddlers can eat anything! No really they can. The best thing you can do for your toddlers is to get them used to everyone regularly eating the same healthy meal together. There are plenty of tiny tots that still have yet to develop all their teeth, so in that case watch the nuts and raw veggies, but otherwise toddlers can chow down on most things, including spices. Avoid packaged foods and meals that claim to be designed for toddlers. These foods create picky eaters with undeveloped palates and bad eating habits. Walk down any conventional supermarket and the baby aisle will point you in this weird packaged food path where baby sausages come from cans and raviolis are toddler sized. The frozen and refrigerated sections also have packages that claim to be healthy and complete toddler meals. Buyers beware! Toddlers are real people, with real food needs. By serving them the same food their parents are eating, they will start to get used to there being one meal at dinnertime which will be a good habit to get into early on. Plus, making multiple meals isn't just one more thing on your to-do list, it also causes other picky eater problems down the line (more on that later). When making meals, go ahead and use your favorite spices, herbs, and seasonings. Have your little ones help you cook! Cooking always leads to tasting and familiarity which breeds confidence. Keep in mind, the table should be a relaxing environment, so try easing stress by making meals ahead and simplifying things as much as possible, meal planning and prep ahead recipes can go a long way here.

But what if I just need to give them a quick snack while I tend to nearby tasks; what foods can they safely feed themselves?

Your best bet in these situations are soft finger foods, such as meatballs, dark meat chicken, beans, quinoa pasta, fruits and veggies, soft tofu, grilled, roasted or steamed veggies, or eggs. Plates with compartments are great because they remind us busy parents to give plenty of healthy variety. Seasonal produce is cheapest and often the best tasting, but frozen fruits and veggies are an easy inexpensive alternative.

Why are my toddlers refusing food that s/he used to eat?

Keep track of what your family’s eating habits have been lately, especially considering the recent holidays. Initially were you careful with the food you gave your toddlers but now are they given more/too many choices? Have you suddenly started short order cooking, making meals you know your toddlers will eat instead of risking refusal at the table? Have you been on vacation or had long-term guests stay? After the holidays and all that glorious fare it's hard to go back to eating a healthier whole foods diet. But keep in mind, parents are in charge of what our kids are served and our kids are in charge of how much they eat. Avoid short order cooking or loading up their plates with foods that they are uncomfortable with. Are they coming to dinner hungry or have they had too many snacks or snacks too recently? What are they eating for snacks? Is it processed?

When toddlers stop eating meals you have to become a detective to figure out why. Look at the set up in the home, the food schedule and track what foods are kept in the house and eaten between meals. Is your child offered a snack after the meal even if they didn't eat the food that was offered at dinner? Do they know that they will still get food, something they actually prefer if they refuse food? If this is the case, go back to a more rigid (for lack of a better word) schedule but maintain an upbeat approach. "You don't want the herbs on your chicken? Ohh I see. You know what, that’s where all the amazing flavor comes from. Let's try an herb together and see what it tastes like…" Exploring the meal together can help them focus their attention away from distractions such as their cravings for other foods. If they still ask you for a different item, gently remind them that everyone is eating chicken for dinner. If they still refuse to eat their meal, most likely they are either still full from an earlier snack or they are just not hungry enough to be willing to try something that they don’t crave. Give it a few moments to observe, without talking. They might come around on their own. If they have refused a substantial amount of their meal and you know they'll be hungry again before bed, wrap their plate up and keep it in the fridge. If they get hungry a little while later, you can take it out and serve it to them again. By serving them the same meal again, they will learn that refusing food and holding out does not mean that they can eat whatever they want later.

Be sure to rotate recipes so that meals are familiar but not constantly being repeated. It is normal for everyone to not want to eat things that they used to like, and with time then go back to it. Teething in toddlerhood can often contribute to changes in eating, so just keep offering healthy foods and avoid pit falls. Making meals that are loaded with nutrient dense foods your kids like with a side of the refused foods also sets them up for success. Serve smaller portions of the food that they now refuse, sometimes the size of the portion can be off putting or overwhelming. As long as you continue to offer healthy options, that’s all that matters.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Twin Toddler Boot Camp | Discipline

Hey guys!  I'm Sheena, mom to twin girls and their lucky little brother.  I blog over at Bean In Love.  Meredith sweetly invited me over to talk about the very, very fun part of parenting - discipline!

There's nothing worse than someone telling you how to discipline your child, am I right or am I right? 
Well, fear not my fellow disciplinarians, I'm not here to tell you what to do or to tell you what you're doing wrong.  I'm a mom of twin two-and-a-half-year-olds and a one-year-old so my skill level when it comes to discipline is barely grazing the amateur mark.  I'm still learning and I'm sure I'll still be learning when we move our youngest into his/her dorm room.  Let me share with you some tips and tricks I've learned thus far - do's and don'ts.  Remember, every kid is different and so every kid falls into their own little unique category when it comes to discipline.  You might agree with me and you might disagree on some (or maybe even all!) of these tidbits and that's ok!  These are just some ideals I thought I'd pass along that we've found to be effective in our household since our kids are absolute angels and all ( my nose growing?) 

>> Talk in their language <<
We try to keep our reprimands as simple as possible.  If Seraphia hits her sister, we say "No hit!"  Our twins are using full sentences themselves, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they're understanding every full sentence spoken from us to them yet.  They may and they may not pick up what we're laying down if, instead, we say "Don't hit your sister because it hurts her.  Do you understand me?"  We might've lost her on the word 'because' and so therefore, all she may have heard was "Don't lxkcjvlksdjf sister alsdkjfalsdfj me!" from an apparently upset parent.  We keep it simple and use words we know they can understand.
>> Be firm and consistent <<
If we see one of the girls do something wrong, we reprimand and make sure they stop doing it.  Telling them "no" a few times and then giving up and letting the behavior continue is only going to cause confusion in the girl - "Do they not want me to do this or can I do it???" Also, we try to be consistent.  If a certain behavior is wrong, we make sure it's always wrong and not just wrong when it's inconvenient.  If Seraphia hits Cecilia (her twin sister), even if Cecilia is laughing about it, it's still wrong.  She gets a "no no" + a little jog to time-out.  

>> Explain why what they're doing is wrong <<
We try not to reprimand without a giving a reason.  I said above that we try to keep our words simple and that still holds true here, even though it's a little tougher when an explanation is in line.  After Seraphia serves her time-out sentence for hitting her sister, we try to help her understand that "that's owie," or "no hit...Cecilia get owie."  It makes sense, right?  When someone tells us to stop doing something, the next logical thought is "why?"

>> Make sure the toddler responds <<
Going along with the simple explanation, we make sure that after we explain, the girl has heard us.  We make sure they're looking at us face-to-face and we say "Ok?" and wait for an "Ok." from them.  Even if she didn't really get what we were saying (because, like I said, we're still learning), at least she heard us.
>> Focus on teaching them the right thing when they're doing the wrong <<
The perfect time to teach your child how to act is when they're about to do or doing something wrong.  For example, if I see the girls getting a little rough, I immediately try to remind them to "be gentle," "careful," and/or "give kisses and hugs."  Sometimes it'll deter them.  Another example I can think of are taking off shoes.  My girls love to take their shoes off themselves but sometimes they have a hard time getting their winter boots off so automatically, they try, they get frustrated, and they start whining/screaming.  Before it escalates, I sit down next to the boot victim and tell her "Cecilia, say 'Mommy help'" and every time it immediately calms her down and she says "Mommy help" and the crisis is laid to rest.
>> Make sure punishment fits the crime <<
This might be common sense but just in case...  We make the girls sit in a designated time-out corner when they've done something wrong.  The amount of time they have to sit in the corner depends on what they've done wrong.  Hitting a sibling results in more time than throwing a cup off the high chair.

>> Stay calm <<
You've probably heard you should never punish your child out of anger.  True statement.  It only causes more distress in both parties involved and in the end, you might say and do things you'll wish you hadn't.  I know it's so, so, so (sososososoooooo) hard to keep your cool when your kid has just punched out the little window in the little oven you just painstakingly made her for Christmas because she was angry but...
Keep Calm
& Think of How Great Nap Time Will be Today
>> Use distraction <<
Distraction works wonders in this house.  If someone starts tantruming because her BFF Dora ain't on the tube, I try to curb the anger by very, very quickly bringing out the crayons and Hello Kitty coloring books.  This also works in the car while an I-want-the-heck-outta-this-car-seat-prison episode is about to blow.  Pointing out the pretty trees, that cute puppy, and that yellow school bus and oohing-and-ahhing over it all usually can calm the storm.
>> Get physically down to their level <<
I watched an episode of Supernanny once in college and I learned this in that episode and filed it away in my "future-kids" file.  After time-out, we literally get on our haunches so that we're eye-to-eye with our little criminal, and we do all the explaining that way.  Standing up so that they have to look up at you can come off as belitting, cause a shut-down, and a dead end.  It can also instill an unhealthy sense of fear in getting punished.  Think about your seven-foot-tall boss towering over you, scowling and telling you how you dropped the ball in not meeting that very important deadline...yeah, scary.
>> Remember that they're only toddlers <<
This is so hard for us.  Anthony and I are always reminding ourselves and each other that, even though they talk well and have the attitudes of teenagers sometimes, the girls are only two.  (Sebastian is getting left out of all this because one-year-olds are completely oblivious...I think.)  ;)  Chances are that when Seraphia just threw that mega-meltdown, she wasn't doing it to cause us anguish, she did it because she skipped a nap and needs a little extra attention at the moment.  Cecilia didn't just hide the tv remote under her crib mattress because she wanted to see me squirm.  Everything's a game to her.  They're not old enough to be devious or have ulterior motives.  They're just two.  :)

>> Love on them after correcting them <<
This is so important.  It's so hard to discipline the people you love the most in this world, right?  It's hard to say no and see their little faces droop and the tears flow.  That's what tough love is all about though.  After we reprimand, we always make sure to smooth things over and start anew by telling the girl we love her and giving her hugs and kisses.  Even if we're still fuming inside, it's good to remind her that even though she did something she shouldn't have, we'll still cross an ocean for her (while we deduct $10 from her savings to buy a pack o' Magic Erasers to get all that marker off). *wink*
>> Be on the same discipline page as your spouse <<
Anthony and I are both okay with sitting our kids in time-out as punishment for bad decisions.  That is the main punishment in this house.  If he agreed with that method and I didn't, we'd have a little chit-chatting to do to come up with a solution so that things were consistent and in harmony around here.  The same goes with right and wrong-doings.  We agree that throwing your sippy cup off of your high chair is not okay as is climbing over the couch by the brick fireplace.  Having differing opinions on rules and punishments only causes confusion and can even lead to parent-favoritism (totally made that word up but you get what I'm saying, right?)
>> Combat tantrums with tickles <<
One of my friends employs this and I love it.  To end particularly bad tantrums (and even little ones!), just start tickling.  Isn't there a saying about laughter being the best medicine anyway?  :)  The hope is that the tickles will bring laughter and the laughter will wipe away the tantrum and the reason for putting up a fight in the first place will be forgotten.

>> Choose your battles <<
Some things, no matter how annoying they might be, aren't worth punishing.  These things differ in every household.  I used to hate, hate, hate it when the girls played with their food and made a huge mess on their high chairs.  I mean, wasn't it enough that I had to clean up what they accidentally spilled on the floor and in their seat along with what they intentionally wiped all over their trays while having their baby brother on my hip while all this nonsense went on (I know, woe is me...)?  And then I grew up into bigger mom shoes and realized that in the end, it's okay.  There are bigger problems than taking five minutes to clean up a mess.  At least they had fun while it lasted and we're stocked up on Clorox wipes.  :)

>> Always give a second chance <<
Toddlers, like their doting parents, are always learning.  If the girls didn't react the way we would have liked them to at first, a second chance will usually help them develop a better association between what they did and what they should've done.  In saying that, I don't mean we don't punish right after they do something wrong.  We do.  But we allow them to make the right decision if they so choose right after.  For example, we usually give a time-out sentence for throwing a toy.  We take the toy away, which usually causes a small tantrum, put the girl in time-out, and after completing her sentence and us explaining and loving on her, we give the toy back as a second chance gesture.  If she throws it again, it's gone for good.  If she doesn't throw it, chances are she learned the lesson and we all go on our merry way...until next time.  It's always good to give a child a chance to redeem him/herself and to learn the right way.

>> Take deep breaths <<
There's nothing like a big, deep breath  .2 seconds after or during a tantrum/fight/slap/destruction that helps me stay calm and focused.  I can think a thousand thoughts and make a simple plan of disciplinary action in those few seconds of a breath that is usually a much better plan than one made in the thick of the fight.

>> Compare to siblings <<
This is true especially with twins.  They might not realize it when they're toddlers, but harping on one girl and showing her how her counterpart is being an angel, as she should be doing, may only cause an unhealthy dislike.  We just try to focus on teaching the right way to the child doing the wrong thing without bringing the other child into the mix.  
>> Yell at them in public <<
Our girls are old enough to get embarrassed.  I know that because they get embarrassed when they wet the bed at night and, if we make it a bigger deal than it is, they cry and the world almost ends.  Yelling at them in public, where other eyes can see and they know those other eyes might be watching, can cause them to get embarrassed, shut down, and tantrum even more.  When we're in public and somebody starts melting, I get down to her level, face-to-face and I try to calm her down by distracting her.  If that doesn't work, I pick her up and give her a little love in case it's attention she's needing.  Usually one of those two things works.  Ignoring the tantrum, in our case, usually makes the situation worse as I get all embarrassed and the kid just gets more and more angry.  Public tantrums are a tough thing for every parent and there's no simple avoidance technique I can give that'll wipe away all those public tears.  Kids get mad.  They have tantrums.  Yes they're inconvenient and yes they're a pain.  They are moments when I have to lay aside my wishful thoughts that I just wanted to have a happy waltz down the pretty aisles of Target and attend to a crying child instead because that's more important.  There are so many times when my desires get in the way of my kids needs and it's hard to parent during those times.  Parents understand and sometimes onlookers don't and we parent's worry about what people are thinking and yada-yada.  Just remember to keep calm in those situations and don't worry about anybody but yourself and your kid and life will go on.  :)

>> Use crib for time-out <<
  This might be a tad controversial.  I know there are a lot of people who do put their toddlers in their cribs for a time-out sesh and I'm not judging you at all.  I totally get why you might use it.  It's easy.  They're stuck there (usually) and they're stuck good until you say so.  Corners and walls have easy escape routes if you don't pay attention (there is always duct tape though...kidding, just kidding.) If it works, it works.  But I can imagine that, in the few minutes that it also serves as their prison, a toddler might begin to associate it with punishment.  Not great for the place we want only peace, calm, and deep sleep to reside.   
.           .           .
So, with all that, what are some tips and tricks you've found to cure toddlerdom woes?  I know there are so many resources out there and us parents are always up for tantrum cures in order to keep life in the fast lane as happy as possible.  Please share what you know!  We're all in this together!  Discipline is tough and the not-fun part of parenting (rivaling diaper changing) but remember that while your finger seems to be constantly wagging, you're forming and fashioning these little people into mature human beings who care about other people and you're doing a great job! 

Like I said above, I'm far from expert and even farther from having it all down pat (I wing it...a lot), but I'm here if anyone has any questions!  You can email me at with questions, comments, or if you just want to vent about how your twins (or singletons) are emptying your jar of sanity marbles one by one by one by one...  ;)