You will hear a lot about how organised you need to be when you have a baby. I remember feeling quite confident about my organisational skills having completed university and held down a job, but of course you are trying to think clearly in a fog of hormones, physical pain, anxiety, visiting relatives, ringing phones, piles of mail, lack of sleep and many, many arguments with your other half. It’s impossible at these moments to contemplate how you ever followed a conversation, let alone got a promotion. The key to being organised is to stop and have a good think – go into another room, away from the babies, with paper and pen if necessary and just picture the next few hours and what you need to achieve. Then halve it and you might just about get it all done. My random top tips are below:
- Be flexible about how you use your space. If it makes more sense to your new routine to keep your clothes in the bathroom and your toothbrush in the kitchen then do it. I heard of one couple who moved their mattress into their living room and camped out there for a few weeks after the birth of their twins. Do what makes sense at the time. No one is watching.
- Make the nights as easy as possible. For us this meant taking the bottles filled with boiled water and the formula upstairs with us each night so that we didn’t have to leave our room. It sounds simple and obvious now, but at the time we thought of it (after nights of running up and down stairs every few hours) it was quite a revelation!
- If you are bottle feeding have 12 bottles for twins. That gives you enough for 6 feeds a day (although you’ll probably be doing more like 8 each per day) and means you won’t be sterilising every couple of hours. Boil your water and measure it into your bottles to sit on the side ready for use. (See cautionary tale below)
- For the nights you might find it easier to measure out the formula powder into little pots (you can get these from Mothercare) – I regularly flicked powder all over the place and always into my husband’s slippers while measuring formula out at night. It’s also tricky to count the number of scoops when you are half asleep and you have babies screaming, so useful to have the feeds pre-measured.
- Always have some cartons of ready to use formula just in case. It’s an awful feeling to confidently go to get your bottles of cooled, boiled water to make up your feeds only to realise that you haven’t even boiled the kettle yet. You’ve then got to boil it, pour it into the bottles and try to cool it down while your babies scream and you have a meltdown. Cartons are also handy for that overwhelming first night home from the hospital.
- Each time you get home from an outing re-pack the babies’ bag so that it’s ready for next time. Also make sure you reassess the clothes in the bag regularly – shoehorning your baby into a too-small babygro on the floor of a ladies’ toilet without a baby changing table when you are already sweating in your coat because he has pooed all over his beautiful Boden dungarees is just too much.
Cautionary Tale (or how to avoid ending up naked, wee-soaked, feeding a baby in the dark).
I have a lovely friend who took her twins for their 12 week vaccinations. As he got his injection one baby did an enormous wee on her which soaked through her jeans. Brilliant, she thought. Oh well. Off they went home, both babies screaming and due a feed. She dumped her stuff down and went to the kitchen for her bottles... only to find them ALL in the sink awaiting washing up. Great. Quickly she washed the bottles, sterilised them, boiled the kettle, filled them, cooled them and added formula (the term ”quickly” is just for effect. Of course none for these things happened quickly). All this time the weeing twin was asleep and the non-weeing twin was screaming the house down. Mummy stripped off her wet jeans and scooped up the screaming twin only to discover the mother of all poos in the nappy and up the back of the aforementioned twin. Terrific. Off she goes to change him, keeping all the lights off for fear of waking the sleeping twin. In the course of the nappy change the poo gets on Mummy and she loses even more clothes. Finally she ends up back in the kitchen, naked, in the dark, feeding the baby who takes 2 sucks and promptly falls asleep. Awesome.