How much help do you really need? — The Bump

How much help do you really need?

Im currently 32 wks pregnant with fraternal twins. My husband and i are trying to plan out our fmla leaves and how mich help to ask for from our moms. My husbsnd gets 8 weeks paid (amazing) and i get 16 wks unpaid but protected. Hes going to spread his weeks out over my leave since he just started his job snd doesnt want to be out for 8 straight weeks. So my question to the group is how much help do you really need those first 4 months?

We dont have any family near us so its an all or nothing type thing, where one of the moms is either here staying at our house for a week or longer or not. My mom is helpful and i get along with her fine so i will take all the help i can get. However she still works so she couldnt take more than maybe 4 weeks. My mother in law and i do not get along. Shes really rude and only helps when my husband is around. Hes assured me that she would help this time even when hes not at the house, dishes, laundry, and cleaning . But honestly i am really stressed about her being here and possibly just being another person here to feed/ pay for (and snooping through our stuff - yeah she does that). While i know my situation is very specific, i was just curious how others handled the first few weeks of having twins and how badly you needed help. 

I also want to make sure i get alone time to bond with my babies, not for the moms to bond with them. Did you feel you had enough if you did have full time help during your leave? 

Thanks in advance for any responses! 

Re: How much help do you really need?

  • My babies are only 2.5 weeks old so take my advice with that in mind. In the first week I *needed* all the help I could get. I had some complications from delivery which meant I was bed ridden for a few days and not 100% for a bit after that. This being said, I would still have needed help with getting the hang of two babies. The feeding routine/cycle took 1.5-2hrs initially and they were feeding every 3 hrs max. My mum was at the hospital a lot of the time and has come past to help since I've left the hospital. My husband took 5 weeks off work. So far his help has been invaluable even though I can feed the girls by myself. You will *need* sleep (especially if you're choosing to breastfeed) and having someone to give you the chance to nap/sleep is invaluable. 

    I would also add that if you don't get along with your MIL that you will probably not want her around for long or all the time. Your hormones may make you feel vulnerable, emotional, irrational or sad and having to "keep it in" or risking hurting an already difficult relationship is not going to help. In this, it's best to stand up for yourself now while you're feeling strong rather than trying to do it in your last few weeks or post partem. 

    Twins are awesome. It's tough but you will love your little ones so much. Good luck!
    Expecting Double Trouble, April 2016

  • vibarra27vibarra27
    500 Love Its 500 Comments First Anniversary First Answer
    edited April 2016
    It really depends on you. My boys were in the NICU for 3 weeks & i had my tubal ligation 11 hours after they were born. So even though it sucked for them to be there it helped because i was in pain for almost 2 weeks & i think it would have been super hard if i brought them home right away after surgery.

    I didnt have my mom or husband take time off only because i wanted to get used to doing it on my own. I didnt want to depend on their help so that the moment they left back to work i wouldnt be dependent on them & get stuck not being able to do it on my own.

    BUT my mom would bring me food. My husband would buy take out for dinner. My mom would watch them after work so i could shower. If i had a rough night with my boys(which i did) she would allow my sister to come help me with them so i could sleep. My mom would take DD to school for me. She would sweep & mop for me. Fold my laundry. So i got help with the Small things, but small things that made a huge difference! I was by myself for about 12 hours a day before my mom & husband would come. So i had help after they got home from work.

    But hey! If you want the help need it & have it...take it! I loved the first few months where i didnt have to cook or clean. Its going to take you a while to adjust. It took me about 3 to 4 months to have my sons figured out & now (8 months next week) it feels so easy compared to the first few months.

    Just take it one day @ a time. &if you dont get along with MIL i also say what @SisterMaryNapalm said you're most likely not gonna want her around. I know i didnt like mine around so i all reality you're gonna want all that time spent relaxing & bonding with your babiesm you wont want someone hovering or making stupid comments. 

    Good luck & bless you.! You will enjoy your little blessing so much. REMEMBER when you have a hard day it will pass & things will only get better.
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  • Honestly it's hard to know until they're here. We are completely solo...across the country from all family and when the twins arrived our older two were 3 and 4.

    I had complications (double whammy delivery) so we were in the hospital over a week. My dh stepped up to the plate...Super hands he just took over for the next two weeks while I recovered. Since then its been just us (he's back to working 60-80 hr work weeks and we've been fine.

    I guess what I'm saying is that you'll figure out what works for you and you'll probably be surprised at how you get by!!
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  • *lurking* i hope you dont mind my advice but i just want to second what pp said about your MIL. I myself was very teary and emotional for a while, and it was very hard to try and keep it all under control around my parents. If you arent that fond of MIL i would keep her out of it. My sister has twins, and when they were NB she found the support really helpful. Not so much with the twins themselves, but with housework, cooking etc. hell, im 8 weeks pp with a singleton and i still struggle a bit with housework and cooking! Good luck!
  • Our twins came home after 2 weeks and 2.5 weeks in the nicu, our son was on a monitor. My husband used most of his saved paid vacation days in the hospital with me throughout pregnancy since I had issues and then time visiting the nicu, so he only had a couple of days home with us. 
    My mother is retired and lives about 20 minutes away, but we discussed it prior to everything and she moved in with us Sunday nights through Friday afternoons until the babies slept more and until I got the hang of things. Honestly, we are very close so she probably stayed longer than I really needed, but it was nice to have the extra hands and have an adult to talk to. She ended up staying until they were about a month and a half, so 4 or so weeks. She then went on vacation so I had no backup and was terrified, but it was easier than I thought. 

    How much help you need will just depend on your babies and you. DS had the monitor for awhile and also had some stomach issues so I almost constantly needed to hold him and calm him, so there were days I really needed someone to take care of DD.

    With my mother, she had already told us that she'd let us do the parenting and wouldn't try to tell us how to do things. She also stepped back when DH came home from work and let us be a family of 4 as much as she could. I will never be able to repay my mom for her help. She still comes once or twice a week to see them and spend time with them. It's always really nice for me so I can actually get tasks done in a timely manner, ha.

    In regards to your mil, I wouldn't have her help. I get along with mine alright, but we would not have been able to spend that much time together, even though she'd have been very helpful. 
  • Other than my husband staying home for the first two weeks, we didn't have much extra help. Our parents would come by every so often for an hour or two and we used those opportunities to get things done around the house. Dinners were either prepared by our parents (frozen stuff given to us ahead of time), or it was quick soup/sandwich type meals. We thought I would need major help from my mom all day every day but once my husband's two weeks was up, I felt confident enough to handle the days on my own. We did a couple "trial runs" of groceries and errands to make sure I could do it on my own and I definitely could. We didn't worry about the house being messy - because really, who's going to judge when you have two babies. 

    Every situation is different - it's tough to know exactly what you'll need and for how long. Like I said, we overestimated how much help we'd need, but we lucked out with two fairly easy-going babies. 
  • Our family all live on the other side of the country...and my mom had been here for almost 6 months now. She flew out when I went on bed rest and has been here since. I want to wring her neck half the time, but she's been indispensable.

    Our situation is a bit unique since a week before the twins came via emergency c-section, my husband had to have emergency brain surgery. So we HAD to have help while we both recovered from major surgery.

    I guess practically I'd say take the extra help for the first bit at least. At least until you are comfortable picking up/juggling/feeding/putting to sleep both of them by yourself. Let MIL come help, but don't be afraid to put that foot down! There have been a few times I've definitely butted heads with my mom. But they're my children! If MIL oversteps, you tell her. She may get huffy, but those babies will mellow her right out.
  • Our girls are almost 11 months! We also have a 3.5 year old son. Due to unforseen circumstances at our home, we had to stay at my parents house for 2 weeks while our home was fixed. My dh only had those first 2 weeks off, and my parents had to work. At the 2 week mark, we were able to come home. My dh had to go back to work, and I was completely on my own while he was at work. I had to take care of newborn twins and a 3 year old all on my own. It was a learning curve big time, but I was able to do it. 
    The girls would breastfeed for an hour at a time, then eat again within 1-2 hours after finishing. It seemed like that's all I did for the first few months. Now, they eat within 15 minutes and go 3-4 hours between feedings. 
    When my dh would come home from work, he'd help me with the girls and the housework. 
    My parents would stop by to visit, and my mom would send me up for a nap if I was tired every so often. I honestly think having someone around 24/7 would have driven me nuts. That was my time to bond with the babies. I hate feeling like I have to figure out how to learn my new routine, plus feel like I have to constantly make someone else feel at home. 
    However, if you're very close to your mom, it'll probably be great to have her over for a while. She'll have some bonding time with babies, and you'll get help. I'd just have her come after a few weeks, so you can get your bonding time in first. Then you can figure out your routine without someone else in the way. 
    I also hate my mother in law. She is very rude and extremely controlling. If you don't do what she wants you to, she hates you. She's seen our girls a total of 4 times in 11 months. That's too much if you ask me. If I were you, I'd tell my dh I just don't feel comfortable with her around. Mine would also snoop through our personal belongings. She actually stole our house keys, went and made herself copies without our permission, and came into our home one day we were gone and rearranged our whole house. She's no longer allowed in our house, whether we're home or not. If your dh is persistent that she come visit, make sure it's a week he's home. Tell him you won't do it when he's gone. If you choose to breastfeed, stress can really hurt your supply. You don't need all the extra stress. Good luck! 

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  • Thank you so much for all the responses! Very very helpful! Ive talked to my husband and we will have my MIL up for a few days to meet the babies (and not expect any actual help), but thats all we are going to plan for. We'll see how it goes with the twins, and if we really need the help we will ask for it later. I feel a lot better knowing its only a couple of days.

    @DolphinLover2002 ; ugh, our mother in laws sound like twins. glad to hear you've been able to limit her time with your babies though. I am going to do the same. And great reminder about stress and milk supply! Thanks! 
  • Thank you for this thread and thanks to all the ladies who've responded. I live 2000 miles away from my family. My family is extremely supportive and I'm certain that if we lived closer, I'd have all the help I'd need. But with everyone so far, I'm having a bit of anxiety thinking about juggling two new babies and a household. You ladies have made me feel much better. 
  • bnk2012bnk2012
    Fourth Anniversary 100 Love Its 100 Comments Photogenic
    My fraternal twin boys are almost 11months old and I needed A LOT of help, escpecially in the beginning. My hunsband and I unfortunately actually ended up splitting up when the twins were 2 weeks old and I moved in with my parents. I'd say that even though I needed a lot of help, it is not worth having your mil there if you don't get along. It is an emotional, stressful, sleepless time in the beginning and having added stress is NOT worth it. You and your husband will be able to do it and your mom sounds like a great option the weeks your husband has to work. It is always good to have two people around (you and one other) so that you can do what you need to do.

    You will be able to bond with the babies even with help.

    Congratulations and best wishes. This is going to be an amazing time in your life and when it gets crazy, just remember you can do it
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