how much help did you have the first wks/mos? — The Bump
Multiples

how much help did you have the first wks/mos?

My mother keeps insisting that I don't know what I'm talking about and that I should just let her move herself into our home for weeks on end.

I love my mom, but I think having her in our house nonstop, 24/7, with two new babies and hellified hormones is about the worst idea I've ever had.

We live 3 hours away from the closest family, so once H's paternity leave is over I'll be on my own. I don't expect it to be a cakewalk, but I'm hoping I can manage.

Did you have help when LO's arrived? If so, how much? How did you establish boundaries with others that were helping?

Can you manage with multiples by yourself? 

Re: how much help did you have the first wks/mos?

  • We were almost exactly the same.  3 hours from family, only 2 weeks of parternity leave, and a mother whom I love dearly, but whom I would have ripped to pieces if I had to deal with her for any real amount of time right after giving birth.

    I didn't have help, as in people coming and staying with us, though I had a few good friends who would stop by every now and then for an hour or two, or bring us meals occasionally.  It was rough until we got a routine established, but it was far from unthinkable.  In fact, I liked not having people come stay with us to help.  Yes it was more work for me, but it enabled us to figure out what worked and what didn't in the very early days.  By the time they were a couple months old, DH and I felt like experts and like we could do anything. 

    It did help, that even when DH went back to work, he did his half of the night work still, except for every third night when he was working.  If I had to do all the night stuff every single night, I probably would have wanted some outside help the first few weeks.   

  • I am not speaking from experience because the twins have not been born, but I am welcoming help with open arms this time.  With DD (singleton) I didnt want anyone in my space and messing up my routine, but now that we will have 3 under 2 years old, I will take all the help I can get.  My Mom does live 25 minutes away though, so it will not be a 24/7 thing.  I am not sure how long I would last if it was. 
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  • I didn't have any.

    It sucked. My DH has one week off and then I was on my own.  The boys are very easy going to that helped but I was so exhausted.  I wish I would have had more help- I get along really well with my mom so her moving in for awhile would have been fine with me.

  • Our family members are all at least 10 hrs away. My sister did stay with us over the holidays b/c that's when she could get time off, but as it turned out she had to leave 2 days before my induction. :( Honestly though, it was GREAT having her there right before the babies came b/c she kept me company and did a lot of things for me (I couldn't really walk the last 4 weeks), helped us put things like bouncy seats together and sterilize all the bottles and pacis, and she also made a bunch of freezer meals for us to have on hand in those crazy early weeks. So depending on how you're feeling, you might want to see if your mom would be up for coming for a bit before the babies are born?

    In terms of what help we did receive, people from our church organized meals for us a few times a week for the whole first two months, which was a HUGE help! We also got random meals here and there from friends who stopped by and a mom from my MOTC. 

    Then I also had two friends who each came by about once a week the first three months to help out. They would stay maybe 2-3 hrs at a time and just help out as needed. They might watch the babies while I ran upstairs to take a shower and pump, help me with feedings, sit and chat with me while we each held a baby, help me fold laundry, etc. and once they got a little braver they would sometimes offer to watch the babies for an hour while DH and I went out to lunch. (He worked from home back then, but was gone a lot for meetings so it wasn't as helpful as it sounds. ;)) Oh, also a couple from our church came over and cleaned the house top to bottom when the boys were about a month old. That was such a gift, too!

    If we'd had more help than that, it would've been great (e.g. if my parents were closer it would've been really nice to have my mom there the first week or two) but we survived as it was ;) and the help we did have was WONDERFUL; we were very appreciative. It made a huge difference compared to if we'd had to do it all ourselves. (Especially because I have health issues that are exacerbated by stress, and DH was still relatively new at a demanding job ... and our boys didn't sleep at all well at night for the first 3.5 months. None of that "they just sleep in between feedings" stuff. ;))

    fraternal twin boys born january 2009
  • My doctor strongly suggested (having had other patients who had twins) that I have help scheduled for the first 4 weeks if possible.  I thought she was nuts.

    My mom came to stay with me the first week, DH stayed home the second week, my sister stayed the third week (all overnight stays), and week 4 was a combo of MIL and Sister.

    I could have done without the MIL stay (she just wanted to cuddle babies, which was not what I needed), but I totally welcomed the help and loved it.

    My helpers made me breakfast, lunch, and heated up dinner (my SIL arranged a Care Calendar for me for 6 weeks and we had dinner dropped off at my house by family/friends Mon-Fri--- awesome!), and helped me burp, change, etc.  They got up with me at night, watched babies so I could nap or go to bed super early, etc. 

    Even with that help I had a really hard time (I was BF and having problems with it, so that's where most of my stress came from).  I was so, so, so happy to have the help.  I cried like a baby when my mom left and she only lives 15 minutes away!  I think it was awesome for my sister and mom to bond with the girls like that.  They have a very special connection now with their Auntie.

    Also, it allowed DH to get at least 6 hours solid sleep at night (he would take a shift so the helper wasn't doing all of them), so he was able to be incredibely supportive, helpful, attentive b/c he wasn't a zombie.

     

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  • Im gong to have my mom for maybe 10 days and then my BFF is coming for a  weekend.  I would love for my mom to move in with me for a little while.  But thats just me.  She really is there to help, not just hold babies or have a vacation.  She came a couple weeks ago and I chose to work 4 hours one morning and when I came home she was doing laundry, had cleaned the coffee maker and was looking for the vacuum.  I am not kidding when I say I would welcome my mom moving in with me.
  • My DH had two weeks paternity leave and I had a c-section. My mom wouldn't have come over to help, but if she had, she would have been worse than no help. A good example: she came over to see the babies when I was 8 days pp and asked for a glass of water. I told her there was a Britta in the fridge and she responded that she doesn't "serve herself in other people's homes."

    So, the answer to your question is that I was fine without help. It was hard but I managed. And trust your gut.

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  • I'm struggling to care for our boys despite DH being off work the last 3 weeks and he is a HUGE help. He's basically shouldering most of the car right now because I'm a walking disaster. Both my ILs and Mom live nearby. My ILs come over for hours daily just so give us both a break, cook a meal, do some housework or let us grab a nap. My Mom is staying with us next week when H returns to work. I'm totally overwhelmed and battling some serious PPD. It's making it hard to cope with basic day to day stuff plus the addition of the twins. I'm starting to feel a bit better but not enough to go it alone right now. I need all the help I can get at the moment and our family and friends are more than willing to help us out with whatever we need. I'm very grateful. My advice would be -- if people offer to help, don't turn it down.
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  • DH took a few weeks off work.  And my mom was a big help while the girls were in the NICU.  She took older DD so DH and I could be at the NICU the whole time...I slept there once discharged.  But once both babies were home we didn't have help.  Didn't need it either!  The twins have been easier than when I first had my 10 year old.  The one thing that really helped was my mom made a TON of dinners for the freezer and baked a bunch of goodies and went food shopping for when we got home.  You can do it without help!  Just try to keep them on the same schedule..it makes things much easier! 
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  • My DH was home the first two weeks. After that I made out a schedule with my friends/family of when I needed them, instead of them just coming. That eliminated alot of guest at one time and I think made it less stressful for me and the babies. I usually had them come for 3-4hrs at a time, one person a day. That is what worked for me. That way it left me some time with my babies alone. I still felt like I needed that bonding time and I need to be able to manage them alone anyway. I was suprised how well everybody understood and it went smoothly. I am so thankful to have the support and they have helped so much, but at the same time I still like my alone time with the babies.

    As i first time mom, I didn't really know any difference between taking care of one baby vs two. You will be suprised how quickly you figure out lil tricks to help you along. It does get difficult at times, but you will suprise yourself and it is the greatest thing in the world!

  • my Dh was home for 4 weeks - and we had DS1 in full time daycare during the week while i was on maternity leave (which was the most helpful thing).... on weekends we'd have my family come visit - to see the babies- not really HELP --- the most help we got was people playing with Griffin - that's what we really needed.... we did fine on our own with the babies.

    oh- and food - that was the best help ever- we had friends and church bringing us food every other day for 3 weeks- LOVED that.

    but we did not need any other help - the two of us managed that first month no problem- and after that I was able to do it on my own during the day - and DH helped when he got home from work.

    i would never want anyone staying over my house after having babies... no way in hell.

  • We are living out of the country right now - so I am delighted that my mom is coming to stay for two months. She is likely to be here for my last month of pregnancy and the first four weeks after our babies are here. She really wants to come so she can help with the cooking and cleaning (she wants to give DH a break since he has been so great about taking over everything since I became pregnant)-  I think will be really awesome. I am pretty good at setting limits with people and my mom is really great about respecting my wishes - so I am hoping that we will all really enjoy this time together.
  • My mom stayed with us for a week.  It was really helpful.

    After 2 rounds of IVF & 2 rounds of FET, we were blessed with identical twin girls!
    image

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  • My only word of caution is that if you decide to have people come help, to define HELP. My MIL came down for a week right after the girls got out of the NICU, and proceeded to sit on her butt doing nothing but holding babies the entire time she was there. So I was trying to establish breastfeeding, recover from a c/s, and was forced to play hostess because the woman couldn't even be bothered to make her own breakfast in the morning.

    3 days into it my BFF came over and vaccummed my entire house, with MIL present, while I took a nap in an effort to get MIL to catch a hint. No go. So I cooked, cleaned, nursed, and counted down the hours until MIL went home (4 hours away). It was hell. DH helped when he could, but he couldn't be there all the time.

    3 weeks later, my mom came down, and she was wonderful. She made me a bunch of freezer meals, cleaned my house, helped me finish getting the nursery pulled together, and watched the girls for a few hours while DH and I went on a date. She spent lots of time holding babies too, but she was a huge help.

    TTC#1 since Mar 2008. Serious MFI due to cancer. 3 cancelled IUI's, just about every test in the book. IVF#1 - BFP! Twin girls arrived 2/5/10 at 35w2d. Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
  • My mom spent the night for the first week. She helped me with the night shift, so DH could STTN. My mom would leave around 5am when DH would wake up.

    ETA - I was a mess the first few days home. My hormones went nuts and all I did was cry. It was nice having her there b/c I was ashamed/scared to admit to anyone else how sad I was. She really helped DH and I out so much by being there.

  • My family also lives 3 hours away, and my mom wanted so bad to come help since I was still sick with high blood pressure after the c section. She was supposed to stay 2 weeks (that I was dreading) and I sent her home after 10 days since it was Christmas Eve. It ended up better then I had thought it would. We are the less is more type of mom and daughter! She drives me bonkers!
  • We had no help almost.  IL's will watch DS1 1 or 2 days per week, other than that we're on our own.  At the beginning it's definitely a transitioning period, but at the beginning they sleep CONSTANTLY (mine slept all day for 6w).  In the last few weeks, I must say, our twins have been even easier than DS1 b/c they entertain each other.
  • image Aussie*s_Mom:
    At the beginning it's definitely a transitioning period, but at the beginning they sleep CONSTANTLY (mine slept all day for 6w).  In the last few weeks, I must say, our twins have been even easier than DS1 b/c they entertain each other.

    Ooh, I am jealous! ;) Alex was pretty sleepy the first two weeks, but overall our boys were high-maintenance from the get-go so we had to hit the ground running. They do occasionally entertain each other but overall they're still doing parallel play 95% of the time (which is normal for kids up to age 3) or stealing each other's toys, or I hear Alex screaming and realize Will is trying to sit on his head, etc.

    fraternal twin boys born january 2009
  • We had help; my MIL came and stayed with us for about two weeks after the babies were born and it was WONDERFUL. She came (from out of town) when we went to the hospital (I was induced) and took care of our pets and cleaned. We came home to a clean house and food. She made sure I ate well and rested, was there to help out as I pumped and fed them, cooked for us, cleaned, and was there for whatever we needed. When she left, it was an adjustment, and I'm glad she was there to help ease us into having two babies. She respected the schedule and what we tried to do, and gave us time to be alone for a couple hours some days. If your mom would do that, I say take all the help you can get.
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  • i had to use my mat leave while the babies were in the NICU, so I only had 3 days off (plus the weekend) when they came home.  DH and I were alone for those 5 days.  then i went back to work.  my mom came over for a few hours a day a couple of times a week the first month and his mom came over once a week.  other than that, DH was on his own during the day while i worked.  !!!

    we managed.  you will too - you'll be great!

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