Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Out and about with young infants without help

I follow the discussions on a forum for Parents with Multiples regularly and one of the regular "hot" topic involves going out with young infants without help. Many of the parents who commented on this topic are afraid to leave the security of their homes and are hesitant to venture out with their young infants without another pair of helping hands. I can so relate to this because I used to be just like them when my twins were very young and it takes a lot of courage, encouragement, preparation and practice to venture out on my own with Charlotte and Daniel. 

Especially if your FIRST CHILDREN are multiples and high order multiples AND like me,
you did not have much to do with young children until you had your own babies.

My final 3D scan at 34 weeks.
I gave birth at 37 weeks, 1 day via scheduled c-section.
Being pregnant with multiples and high order multiples require a lot of courage because we are automatically lumped into the "high risk pregnancy category". That means, even more frequent medical appointments, monthly thorough scans that {almost} involves mortgaging the home, the debilitating fatigue, round the clock nauseousness, etc. Every day that the pregnancy is viable is a miracle in itself especially for those of us who have miscarried in the past or have had to endure years of very invasive fertility treatments.

The babies are born. Your body does not feel like it belongs to you and you are severely sleep deprived, the thought of heading out with your babies does not even appear on your list of priorities which includes having a shower, going to the toilet, burping the babies that can take up to 45 minutes at a time, etc. I hear ya. 

Being cooped up at home, 24 hours a day is no joke. I know this because after 2 days of doing that, I  found myself going a little cuckoo so this is what I did.

With help and encouragement from my husband, we ventured out for the first time with 2 day young twin newborns to the esplanade which is a mere 15 minutes drive from home. This drive was as daunting as our first drive home as a family from the hospital to home.

Even putting our newborns in their car seats was scary and we soon learnt that they are very tough. Then came the twin stroller. We choose one that I can handle - easy to assemble and lightweight.

Practice putting your infants in the car seat in the comforts of your home. You may use a cuddly teddy bear first. Familiarise yourself with the straps, buckles and tensions (how to tighten and loosen the straps).

Practice assembling the twin stroller in the comforts of your home. It's handy if you practice next to the boot of your car so that you can work out the best way to store and remove your stroller. Trust me, you want to make your stroller your very best friend and that means, you are the master of the stroller and not the other way around.

10 months
For me, preparation is key to almost everything. Being prepared enables me to relax more when I am out and about with my babies and here's what I do.

Re-stock the nappy bag when I get home from each outing and place it back in the car. That means, I am always ready to leave our home at a moment's notice without much fuss. I always brought along 2 blankets and it is used as a shield over their stroller when they napped.

Have spare sets of everything in the boot of the car for emergencies. That means, 2 spare sets of clothes of the twins and the parents, 12 extra nappies (6 for him and 6 for her) and a full packet of nappy wipes.  

My children were bottle fed so it was very handy for me to pack 4 bottles of formula milk in total and that meant, we could be out for 8 hours at a stretch! I also trained my children to drink cold milk so I didn't have to bring a thermos of hot water or ask for hot water to make formula. I pre-made all their formula in advance and kept it in a cooler bag.

On the Gold Coast for the day
At the public pool
At the Botanic Gardens
The only way you will gain confidence to head out with your multiples is with practice. My first solo outing with my twins was a walk around our estate {there was no need for the car or nappy bag. Just the stroller, the twins and I -  and it was liberating. Infants practically sleep anywhere and it's a good idea to get them used to their car seats and strollers as soon as possible because that enables you mobility and ensures that your children and you will have an enjoyable time exploring together.

Good luck and happy exploring with your children.

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