0 comments on “5 Secrets of Successful Parenting of Multiples”

5 Secrets of Successful Parenting of Multiples

Children don’t come with instruction manuals and even though there are some wonderful books available providing hints and tips for successful parenting multiples, these hints and tips are missing the emotion that also occurs around a child’s challenging behaviour.  It isn’t unusual to feel discouraged, realize you were not as patient as you might have been, or raised your voice to an “outside voice,” or even to contemplate resignation from the position of parent – some days are just like that!  All parents get discouraged and wonder what the heck is going on with their own behaviour.  Sometimes speaking with parents with children a little older than yours is really helpful and allows you to see a possible light at the end of the tunnel.

Raising multiples has challenges, not the least of which is having two, three or four children of the same age, which does not ensure a one-rule policy will work, or that each multiple will respond the same way to the household rules.  Add to the mix the different sexes within the multiple set and things can be very bumpy indeed.

Here are some ideas and hints to help you with your parenting duties and hopefully make things run a little more smoothly in your household.  Keep in mind that this is not a complete list……

Keep Calm and Carry On – If you think you are really going to lose your cool.  Make sure the children are safe and step out of the room for a short while.  Take a bathroom break or make yourself a cup of coffee.  If the children are old enough to understand, indicate that you cannot talk about what is going on at the moment and you need to take a break and you will talk later.  There is no rule that says you have to have all the answers immediately.  Giving yourself a time out can be wise; get your act together and go back some time later for discussion and feedback.

The Same But Different – Do NOT compare the children to each other.  It can be difficult enough for singletons to be compared to each other, maybe you’ve had that experience yourself as a child.  Just because they have arrived in twos, threes, fours or more, they will not like the same thing at the same time, have the same interests, same abilities, creativities or skills.  Don’t let anyone else compare them to each other either.

Another point here – do NOT constantly dress them alike.  Big mistake, as the boundaries blur and they become a lump rather than distinct individuals.  Ask yourself “Am I dressing them alike because I like the attention it brings to me?”  If the answer is “Yes,” please carefully reconsider and think about the future for your children who will have to go it alone and who will be hindered by their reinforced presentation as a package rather than as their own person.

Mark my Words…. – There are conflicting thoughts on making you, as a parent, carry through and I have often read that once you’ve made a decision, don’t go back on it.  Mostly I agree with following through with discipline, but I found as my children got older and were able to explain why such-and-such happened, I sometimes felt I needed to rethink the punishment.  I had been making a decision from my perspective and with the explanation, it became clearer why the culprit (in my eyes) did what she did.  The argument against reversing your decision is that the children will see you as “weak” and try to take advantage at every turn.   For me each interaction needs to be assessed on its own merits and if there is a very good explanation, I have no problem with doing a flip with the punishment.

Joined at the Hip – Your multiples are NOT required to be together 24/7.  Encourage them to each have their own friends, hobbies, likes and dislikes.  They do not have to go everywhere together. Don’t go calling a parent who invites only one multiple to a party (that parent may not even be aware they are multiples – it is most likely not personal).  Each child is a separate entity and needs to have the time and space to separate from their co-multiple and be free.  In this way each can grow to enjoy their origins and also learn to fly on their own.

0 comments on “Advantages of Having Multiples”

Advantages of Having Multiples

They are finally here!

The many doctor’s appointments, the pregnancy and births went well and now you are enjoying so many of the experiences around raising your multiples.

Following are some advantages of having multiples; thoughts, which parents have shared about what they enjoy about having multiples.

  1. One pregnancy can mean an instant family.
  2. A unique parenting experience at every stage.
  3. The children have each other as playmates and a source of entertainment, and as they grow older may play freely for longer periods.
  4. A wider variety of games can be played because of built-in playmates, e.g. tag, board games, playing school, etc.
  5. Parents have two or more little faces looking up at them at once with love and affection.  Multiply the giggles, kisses and hugs.
  6. Many of life’s lessons are built-in with multiples:  sharing, negotiation, waiting your turn, compromise, learning a task from the other, e.g. getting dressed.
  7. One of life’s challenges is the fear of being alone.  Multiples are never alone unless they choose to be.
  8. The children may take the same programs and activities on certain occasions, which gives them the security of a buddy, makes the family schedule simpler and which may include less driving.
  9. If it works for everyone, only one birthday party a year.
  10. They can potentially be best friends.
  11. There can be a special sense of status with being a multiple.
  12. A special bond and friendship is often experienced between the multiples themselves.
  13. The joy of growing up together.
  14. Interesting for a parent to watch them grow and develop.

 

0 comments on “Bedrest”

Bedrest

Question: I am pregnant with multiples and have been ordered to bedrest by my doctor. How will this help my babies? How will I pass the time? How can I relieve the boredom?

It isn’t unusual for a woman expecting multiples to be placed on bedrest. There are many reasons why this might be necessary. They include: water retention spotting, high blood pressure, signs of premature labour, one or more of the babies not growing at a satisfactory rate (e.g. weight discrepancies between the babies, babies not developing at the same rate or gestational diabetes, a pregnancy-related diabetes). Bedrest produces many benefits for both mother and babies. It relieves the pressure on the cervix and assures that calories and nutrients that would normally go to the mother’s activities are diverted to the babies.

There are several different levels of bedrest:

  • At home in bed or lying down, being allowed up for very short periods of time;
  • Hospitalized and allowed up for bathroom privileges only;
  • Hospitalized and not allowed to leave the bed;
  • Hospitalized and the bed tilted with your feet upwards (tredelenburg position); and
  • Hospitalized weekdays and allowed out on the weekends with specific instructions.

It is not always easy to be hospitalized. You may have other children at home and this can be traumatic and upsetting for everyone. Stress related to additional child care situations can be harmful. Use your support systems: family, friends, neighbours. People love to help but aren’t always aware of what you might need.

If you are permitted to leave the hospital, this can help alleviate some of the pressure of not being available for your child(ren) while maintaining a safe environment for your unborn babies. When explaining to your child(ren) why Mom is not at home, use clear, comforting, age appropriate language. Whenever possible, take the child(ren) to the hospital for a visit, allowing them to see for themselves where Mom is and what her day involves. If your child(ren) doesn’t want to go to the hospital, try to accommodate their wishes. Keep the child(ren)’s routine the same, whenever possible.

There are many things that you can do to help pass the time while on bedrest:

  • Read and learn all about multiples and your unique and special situation;
  • If you have access to a laptop, check out many of the helpful web sites regarding multiple births: Multiple Births Canada;
  • Keep a calendar by your bedside to cross off the days;
  • Pick one night a week to do something special with your partner: order in supper, watch a movie;
  • Knit, crochet, needlepoint, write letters, phone friends;
  • Keep a daily journal. It is very rewarding and fulfilling to look back on this period of time and share it with your children.
  • Ask if there are any other mothers expecting multiples also on bedrest. Sharing with someone in the same situation can provide comfort, companionship and a chance to share experiences.

For mothers expecting higher order multiples (triplets, quadruplets or quintuplets), it is almost inevitable that an extensive period of your pregnancy will be spent on bedrest. Be aware of special exercises which will help decrease joint and muscle stiffness in bed. One mother of twins hired a massage therapist a couple of times during her 9 weeks on bedrest. Ask to speak to a physiotherapist while in the hospital. Doing exercises will assist you after the babies birth and assist your recovery. You may also need ongoing physiotherapy after the babies are born if any of your muscles have atrophied. Walking may be uncomfortable initially because of pelvic bones shifting back into place and sore, achy muscles. As well, softened skin on the balls of the feel may need to harden again.

This time spent on bedrest can make a positive difference in the health of your babies, assisting them in gaining weight and completing their development. Each day your babies remain in utero, is one less day they will need to spend in a Special Care Nursery. There can be no safer environment for your multiples than that which your body can provide.

Most of us are highly motivated, busy, active people accomplishing a great deal. It can be quite difficult for a person who is used to activity to be forced to remain quiet and in bed. Many women still feel healthy but are forced into an “illness” role. It is not uncommon to experience negatives feelings in this situation. It is important that a support network be used to discuss these feelings. You are not alone. Many multiple support groups offer a bedrest support line, staffed by women who have been in your situation. Contact your nearest multiple birth support Chapter for further information.

Additional Resources:

  • Eating Well While on Bedrest, by Julia Watson-Blasioli and Pauline Brazeau-Gravell, Ottawa Hospital, General Campus
  • Twins! Pregnancy, Birth and the First Year of Life, by Connie L. Agnew, Alan H. Klein and Jill Allison Granon
  • Multiple Blessings by Betty Rothbart, Hearst Books
  • The Joy of Twins and Other Multiple Births, by Pamela Patrick Novotny, Crown Paperbacks, Inc.
  • Finding our Way, life with triplets, quadruplets and quintuplets – A collection of experiences
    Triplets, Quads, Quints Association, Web Site: http://www.tqq.com

“Bedrest” written and developed by Lynda P. Haddon and Sandra Tompkins

 

0 comments on “Multiples and Co-bedding”

Multiples and Co-bedding

Co-bedding is the term used to describe putting your babies down to sleep together in the same crib. Most parents co-bed their babies for at least part of the time once the babies arrive home. Our girls slept in the same crib for 4 months until they began to disturb each other. Co-bedding for multiple birth babies just seems to make sense and there are some practical reasons to do so.

Some parents of low birth weight (LBW) or preterm multiples wish to co-bed their babies right after birth in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) but not all hospitals have a co-bedding policy. It’s a tough call and hospitals have some valid reasons for not co-bedding, not the least of which is that the beds may not be big enough to comfortably accommodate two babies. Thankfully though, some Canadian hospitals are rethinking co-bedding issues and as a result, there could soon be some good news for parents of multiples.

Babies co-beddingA quick poll of parents with twins regarding their experiences resulted in the following comments regarding the co-bedding of their babies in NICU:

  • takes less room by your hospital bed, which is important if you are sharing a room;
  • there seems to be less confusion in the nursery as the staff only has to worry about one bassinet;
  • helps the babies conserve body heat, regulate their temperatures;
  • helps the babies settle better as they seem to comfort each other;
  • one mother felt it helped them get over the trauma of their births as they took comfort in being together once again;
  • continuity of their being together from the womb;
  • sometimes babies have been placed in their own bassinet in different nurseries within a hospital setting, making it difficult for the parents to split their time between the two babies and leaving them feeling guilty about whom they were not with. Or the parents would split up to spend time with each baby, thereby not permitting parents to take joy together in their babies;
  • parents generally felt better themselves that their babies continue to be together, as they were in the womb;
  • one family reported that one of their sons was too sick. It just wouldn’t have worked for them; and
  • it is very cute in pictures!

Healthcare professionals have some valid concerns regarding co-bedding

  • if one (or both) babies are sick and are co-bedded, there could be a mix up with their medications. In separate bassinets, the potential for medication error is minimized;
  • if only one baby is ill, there could be cross-contamination to the other baby;
  • if one baby has a birth anomaly, e.g. spina bifida or Downs, it would be better for the babies to be in separate bassinets;
  • there could be unnecessary exposure of a baby to oxygen;
  • there could be sleep disturbances which may impact on a baby’s ability to become healthier;
  • bassinets are not large enough to hold two babies;
  • one baby may interfere with the tubing of the other baby; and
  • there could be temperature instability between the babies.

There may be a specific time when NICU hospital staff would decide, or it might be hospital policy, not co-bed multiple birth infants. Such a decision occurs when one, or both babies, is ill (usually due to their prematurity) and to be in close proximity might have an adverse affect on one or both of their health, e.g. disturb their sleep, thus impeding healing. In such cases, a co-bedding decision is based on the best possible outcome for each baby.

Once the babies are home, most parents of multiples, have co-bedded their twins (and sometimes triplets or quads) for various ranges of time. What usually brings co-bedding to an end is when one baby or toddler continually disturbs the other, as in one likes his sleep and the other likes to play and may be looking for a playmate. At the end of the day in this scenario, there are at least two cranky babies and two cranky parents, which makes for a very cranky household. The solution = separate beds, maybe even separate bedrooms, and pronto!

Co-bedding at home offers some other distinct advantages for both babies and parents

  • the babies usually enjoy being together and will often settle down quicker and more easily. As the babies grow, parents may continue to have their multiples share a room, each in their own beds, because they enjoy being with each other. Don’t be surprised to find them sleeping in one bed together when you go to get them up in the morning;
  • co-bedding cuts down on the amount of laundry with washing only one set of sheets and blankets at a time instead of two or three;
  • you can go to one spot in the room and attend to a baby while the other still has full visual contact with you;
  • initially some parents keep one crib upstairs and one downstairs (for the daytime naps). Not having to go up and down the stairs several times a day helps preserve energy levels; and
  • even parents with triplets have co-bedded their babies, initially lying each baby across the crib. A bonus is easy access to each baby as needed.

If you want your premature or LBW twins co-bedded while they are in the hospital, check out your hospital’s policy before you deliver. Ask your attending physician to make the corresponding note in your chart indicating that you want the babies co-bedded if at all possisble. The more often we ask for what we want or need, the more often the hospitals will listen and change will be implemented.

P.S. They do, indeed, take great pictures when they are snuggled up together in the same crib.

Got a co-bedding story you would like to share? Send me your story.

0 comments on “Keeping the Couple in A Relationship After Multiples”

Keeping the Couple in A Relationship After Multiples

Your relationship after multiples: A new baby brings emotional and financial challenges, new routines, loss of sleep, and so much more to a relationship.  Even more complex issues are added to to a relationship after multiples. Once a diaper has been changed and a baby fed, burped and soothed, we aren’t finished – it needs to be done again, and possibly again and again.  It is estimated that every time we add a baby to the mix, we are adding a baby and a half’s worth of work.

Parents try hard to meet the needs of the new babies, the house, make meals, do laundry, grab a shower, a quick bathroom visit at an opportune moment and fit in some much-needed sleep.  As parents juggle work outside the home and the physical, mental, emotional and financial demands of 2, 3 or 4 new little ones, their relationship, can be pushed aside and virtually ignored.  Without meaning to, the martial relationship is often one of the last items parents tend to as it falls victim to the “parenting relationship.” Sleep deprivation is HUGE with multiples and escalates the “cranky” factor.  After the kiddies are seen to, it takes effort to remember to look after a spousal relationship too.

Remember to take care of your relationship, even as you are working on your parenting techniques. When parents LOOK AFTER themselves and each other, the children have the benefit of two happier, healthier adults who are important role models.  Always taking a back seat or leaving the spousal relationship to fend for itself negatively affects the whole family.  An important lesson is taught when we show the kids by example how to look after their parents’ relationship.

Things that can help.  Advice from parents of multiples:

  • Before your babies arrive, look around for some multiple-birth-specific classes in your community and sign up for them as soon as you know you are having multiples.  Both parents need to attend.
  • Connect with other parents of multiples.  Learning from those whom have specifically walked the walk is extremely helpful.
  • Line up help before the babies arrive in a form that will work for you.  Some choices are:  a nanny during the day, during the night, live-in or live-out.  One family had each grandmother stay for 3 weeks each after their babies’ arrival.  The 6 weeks of extra hands and experience made it easier to establish routines and get some much-needed sleep.
  • It is important for each parent to be actively involved in the children’s’ care.  Don’t wait to be asked to get involved.
  • Recognize that each of you may have a different way of doing a task. Appreciate the different skills that you each bring to the role of parenting and baby care and allow each other to complete the task in your own style. Many parents have expressed their pleasure at watching their partner redefine him/herself as a parent.
  • If there is an issue between you, communicate.  Don’t assume the other can read your mind about what tasks need completing or anticipate exactly what needs to be done.  Speak clearly to each other, e.g. “Could you please help change babies?”
  • Plan time for each other on a regular basis. Plan a regular Date Night when grandparents or a local teen can come to sit for a couple of hours.  It doesn’t have to be huge, a trip to the coffee shop or walk around the block by yourselves could work, but the important thing is that it is just the two of you. It could be that you stay home to watch a movie, cuddle, talk, share a glass of wine and a pizza or foot/back rubs.
  • Even when out together, expect to talk about the kids.  It’s okay because you are a team, discussing what works, what doesn’t seem to be working, or concerns you might have about eating, sleeping habits and such.  The good news is that the discussion occurs on your own terms and cements your desire to be the best parents you can be.
  • It can be a challenge to communicate about parenting styles with three toddlers running in different directions.  Be prepared to have to deal with the present and talk about parenting styles at another opportunity.
  • If you can afford it, get help to complete some tasks around the home, e.g. cutting the grass, shoveling the snow, cleaning the house, perhaps grocery shopping.  Some of the tasks can be done by older neighbourhood children, or place a notice at your local high school or library to find an available teenager whom would like to make a little extra money. Having someone else, even in the short term, assist with these tasks, allows you to focus on the babies and each other.
  • If it is felt that your relationship is really suffering, consider professional counseling.  It might be covered through one partner’s expended health benefits, and if not, this medical expense can often be deducted at Income Tax time as a health care benefit.  Don’t wait to seek appropriate help until it is too late.
  • It’s amazing how quickly out of control things can get when one parent doesn’t know the ground rules set out by the other parent and the kiddies learn pretty quickly to play one parent against the other creating havoc and perhaps an argument between the parents. If necessary, check with each other and present a unified front to the children.
  • As one couple shared:  Yes multiples can stress a marriage especially if the relationship is not solid in the first place.  A relationship takes a lot of work, commitment, unconditional love and each parent giving 110%.  Teamwork is essential.

Getting through those initial days and weeks can be a challenge, especially as the sleep deprivation builds up and fuses shorten.  Keeping a supportive eye on each other is essential to ensure that the love, trust, respect and companionship that brought you together in the first place is not misplaced.  Things will improve as the kids become more independent and sleep through the night.  Promise!

For even more information, check out the results of Multiple Births Canada’s Survey Multiples and Impact on Couple Relationships on their Web Site at www.multiplebirthscanada.org.

0 comments on “Suggested Reading List for Parents Expecting Twins, Triplets and More!”

Suggested Reading List for Parents Expecting Twins, Triplets and More!

Forever Linked: A Mother’s Journey Through Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome, Erin Bruch, Philatory Ink, 299 pages, $14.95US, ISBN 13: 978-1-936519-02-6

Twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS) is a disease of the placenta and can affect monozygotic (identical) babies, including within triplets or more when there are monozygotics. It has a spectrum from mild to severe and if left untreated, can result in death for one or both babies, or put in jeopardy the complete pregnancy for triplets or more.

Erin Bruch explains what TTTS is, how it can happen, the need to have the diagnosis as early as possible in a multiple-birth pregnancy, about managing it and what it feels like for the parents and families to go through, sometimes with the loss of one or both babies. In addition, 21 mothers’ stories of their twin pregnancies are followed from finding out their babies had TTTS, the worry that knowledge carried, through their births and outcomes. Bruch has included a drawing of what a TTTS placenta might look like. It is a helpful visual in understanding what is happening with the babies and why their struggle with TTTS can be a life and death matter. I also find both the cover pictures to be important visuals of what the babies go through with their unequal sharing within the womb.

If your babies have or had TTTS and if you like first hand accounts, this is definitely a must-read book.

Twice the Love, compiled and edited by Susan H. Heim, in collaboration with TWINS Magazine, 2007, ISBN 1-891846-31-0, 208 pages, $13.95 US

Includes 82 stories from families with twins and more, and in some cases singletons as well. It is well worth the read. Pick it up and open it anywhere to enjoy entertaining stories, tales, joys, challenges, and adventures that belong to families with multiples. Or if you prefer, Heim has chosen to group the stories by subject, e.g. Becoming a Family, Trials and Triumphs, Mischievous Multiples (no kidding!). You are not alone in your journey and the bonding that goes on with other families with multiples in this delightful book proves it!

It’s Twins: Parent-to-Parent Advice from Infancy Through Adolescence, Susan M. Heim, Hampton Road Publishing Co. Inc., 2007, ISBN 13: 978-1-57174-531-6, 306 Pages, $17.95 US

From the first few weeks through to 17 years, Heim covers many of the bases parents could expect to face and she doesn’t shy away from the tough discussion such as when bottle feeding is best for you and your twins. Two of my favorite Chapters addressed the advantages and disadvantages of being twins when the kids have reached adolescence. Even if you haven’t reached that stage yet, here are some thoughts for you to prepare yourselves. Another nice touch is each section has Points to Ponder with writing space for the reader to address those topics which are pertinent to them.

I liked that this book addresses the whole spectrum of raising multiples and did not just focus on the early weeks, months and years. Birthday party planning is important as is encouraging them to play with others, but so is dominancy, disabilities, when they mature at different rates, college – together or separate? and my favorite certainly as expressed to me by other parents with monozygotic (identical) multiples, the Old “Switcheroo.”

I found this book uplifting, informative, thoughtful and I wasn’t beyond laughing out loud at some points from understanding and having “been there, done that.”

Emotionally Healthy Twins: A new philosophy for parenting two unique children, by Joan A. Friedman, Ph.D., 2008, Da Capo Press Books, soft cover, 245 pages.

I am SO excited about this book! There, that’s off my chest. For anyone expecting or raising multiples, this book needs to be on their recommended reading list! There are several very good books which focus on the early (and intense) years of raising multiples. Friedman’s book addresses the early years’ challenges and explores the parenting scenario beyond, into the multiples’ young adult years and does so with insight and personal knowledge.

As someone working with multiples and their families for over 2 decades, I was pleased to note that Friedman encourages parents to look beyond their multiples’ unique bond and to focus as well on what makes them individuals. Every child, even if they arrive more than one at a time, needs and deserves the chance to discover his or her unique potential, and have ample opportunities to nourish and develop their individualities. Parents set the tone in their multiples’ development and Friedman asks them to honestly evaluate their contribution to encouraging their twins to become self-sufficient. Friedman provides several examples of twins whom have flourished within their “twinship” but floundered or were impeded when they needed to separate from each other. Her messages are some that every parent raising multiples needs to hear.

Friedman is a twin herself and has twin sons and 3 singletons, so she has many support bases covered. This book is an important addition to the reading resources for anyone raising their multiples.

Womb Mates: A Modern Guide to Fertility and Twinning
, by Gary D. Steinman, and Christina Verni, 2007, Baffin Books Publishing, 121 pages, soft cover

Any couple looking into infertility treatments to assist them in getting pregnant would benefit from reading this book before they begin their treatments. It thoroughly sets the stage for such families to understand the chances of them conceiving at least twins, how that might happen and the many possible ramifications. Dr. Steinman describes, in easy to understand language, how twinning occurs (the controllable and uncontrollable factors) and explores such topics as the risks of a multiple-birth pregnancy for the mother and babies and the different types of infertility assistance. Important issues for prospective parents to consider.

Healthcare and related professionals, researchers as well as some parents could get a lot out of this book. In other words, this book is very technical. I don’t think that it would be as valuable to parents who desire to learn how to get their babies on the same schedule or how to deal with sleep deprivation, for example. For most parents looking for ideas and answers in handling their new families, this is not a book I would recommend.

Nevertheless, this book belongs on the shelf of anyone involved with teaching multiple-birth prenatal classes, doulas, midwives, lactation consultants and those wanting to better understand how to better meet the needs of their clientele.

One and the Same: My Life as an Identical Twin and What I’ve Learned About Everyone’s Struggle to Be Singular, by Abigail Pogrebin, Double Day, 2009, hardcover, 275 pages, $26.95 US; $33.00 Cdn.

I’ve read a lot of books about multiples, and this one I could not put down.  It is one thing to raise multiples and address the unique challenges, joys and pleasures of doing same, but quite another to be a multiple.  In her research, Pogrebin has not only drawn on her experiences and journey with her monozygotic sister, but interviewed a plethora of well-known experts in the field of multiples (many of them being multiples themselves) as well as speaking with many sets of multiples across the U.S.  In addition she attended the International Society of Twins Studies Conference in Belgium to gather more data and attended the annual Conference of Twins held in Twinsburg, Ohio.  As most of us in-the-know are aware, this Conference is a melting pot for multiples from all over the world.
What follows is a riveting, entertaining, informative, insightful and educational journey which is MUST read not only for multiples themselves, but also for the parents who love them.  Pogrebin presents the many nuances of being a multiple, some complicated, some simple, how multiples are “entangled” and how both parties will usually attempt to seek individuality within their multipleship and when (e.g. marriage).  And some can’t see themselves apart, even for a moment.  In addition, she explores the unique circumstances around when one dies and what that event can mean for the survivor.

I could not put this book down, really.  For anyone involved with multiples in any form, this book is definitely the crème de la crème!

Blender Baby Food, Nicole Young and Nadine Day, 2005, Robert Rose Inc., 189 Pages, $19.95 Cdn., $18.95 US, softcover

For parents wishing to make their own baby foods or wishing to have some fun choices to offer toddlers, this book is a must have! It is broken down from when babies need to begin solid foods through 12 months and older and includes suggested meal plans for each age. There are 125 delicious recipes included for babies beginning solids, with hints and tips in the margins on how to “upgrade” each recipe for older children.

The authors begin with steps on how to recognize when your babies are ready to begin solids, address food consistency at each age and stage, answer safety with food issues (such as with eggs), choking hazards, storing, freezing and thawing prepared foods and offer a list of the equipment you can expect to use when preparing your own baby food. There is even a section covering salt, sugars and The Picky Eater. It couldn’t be easier.
Another great point – it’s a Canadian book!

The no-cry potty training solution: gentle ways to help your child say good-bye to diapers, Elizabeth Pantley, McGraw Hill, 2007, 174 pages, softcover, $12.95 US, $16.95 Cdn.

Here are two goals which can bring joy to a parent’s heart: “sleeping through the night” and “toilet trained.” For the latter, Elizbeth Pantley has scored again with her newest book on potty training. It isn’t unheard of for parents to find themselves in unpleasant, close enocunters of the potty-training kind when trying to train their toddlers. It doesn’t have to be so and Pantley gives us suggestions, not the least of which is to recognize the signs of each child’s readiness to be trained. If they are not physically ready and able, training can quickly move to a battle of wills, with no winners insight.

Right at the beginning, Pantley sets out a Readiness Quizz so that we know what signs of readiness to look for in our children. She addresses topics such as keeping it natural, making it a game, getting to the bathroom quickly (kids tend to leave it to the last second and when they say they “need to go,” time is of the essence), bathroom safety, how to teach your child to wipe properly and wash their hands afterwards.

There is a chapter on bed-wetting which is extremely helpful. Bed-wetting is more common with boys and during the night, the kidneys may not be sending appropriate messages to the brain to signal the need to go and/or the bladder is not fully developed enough to go through the night. Bed-wetting can sporadically last for years, or not. She provides constructive ways to handle bed-wetting and to help keep your child dry, without them losing their self-esteem in the process. Pantley even includes some suggestions for toilet training children with special needs.

While her book focuses on training singleton toddlers, there reference about training twins and more. She gives us notice that our children may not be ready to train at the same time – and haven’t we heard that before in other contexts! – and reminds us not to compare them regarding successes and failures – yet another common theme for parents with multiples. Each child having their own potty ensures that when the time is right, there will be no waiting in line for a turn and perhaps subsequent accidents.

While toilet training is long-past with my own children, I really appreciated Pantley’s easy writing style, identifying the challenges and offering suggestions, and positive approach to a topic which can be a challenge for parents as well as toddlers. She takes the pain out of it all for everyone and if your children are nearly ready to toilet train, this is one book you don’t want to miss reading.

Your Premature Baby: the first five years, by Nikki Bradford, 2003, Firefly Books, 208 pages, $19.95

An excellent Canadian book offering detailed information regarding your premature baby. Why does premature birth happen?; What can you do?; how a premature baby may behave (looking at the body language of a premature baby), how the hospital can help, bringing them home, and feeding a premature baby are some of the topics covered in detail. The photographs of these special babies are simply fabulous. This book would be a great resource for those with a premature baby.

Expecting, twins, triplets, and more: a doctor’s guide to a healthy and happy multiple pregnancy, by Rachel Franklin, M.D., M.O.M.* (*Mother of Multiples), 2005, St. Martin’s Griffin, N.Y., 221 pages, $14.95 U.S.; $21.95 Canadian, ISBN 0-312-32823-0

Read my full review of this book

Dr. Franklin has a light-hearted, easy to understand writing style, generously laced with humour. Her book takes you through each stage of the pregnancy. She includes Chapters on learning the news “…and What To Do About It”, she addresses issues you might expect to face in each trimester of your pregnancy, focusing on nutrition, exercise, and preparing for the babies. .

Mothering Multiples: Breastfeeding Twins, Triplets or More by Karen Kerkhoff Gromada from La Leche League

Covers every possible breastfeeding topic, with good photos and is very encouraging to breastfeeding mothers. Lots of other topics of interest to multiple birth parents.

Raising Multiple Birth Children – A Parent’s Survival Guide, by William and Sheila Laut, 1999

I haven’t yet read this book by parents of triplets but it has come highly recommended to me. Includes practical tips for getting organized, baby gear you will need, coping with sleep deprivation (I like it already!), gift ideas, funny stories (we can always use those) and more!

When You’re Expecting Twins, Triplets or Quads by Dr. Barbara Luke and Tamara Eberlein, 1999, Harper Perennial

Twins From Conception to Five Years by Averil Clegg and Anne Woolett, 1983, First Ballantine Books

Multiple Blessings by Betty Rothbart, 1994, Hearst Books

The Art of Parenting Twins by Patricia Maxwell Malmstrom and Janet Poland, 1999, Ballantine Books

Finding our Way: life with triplets, quadruplets and quintuplets, Web Com Canada 2001

Double Duty, by Christina Baglivi Tinglof, 1998, Contemporary Books

The Joy of Twins and other multiple births by Pamela Patrick Novotny, 1994, Crown Trade Paperbacks

Twins: Pregnancy, Birth and the First Year of Life by Connie L. Agnew, Alan H. Klein and Jill Alison Ganon, 1997, Harper Perennial

Twins, Triplets and More, by Elizabeth M. Bryan, St. Martin’s Press, N.Y.

New Father Book by Wade F. Horn and Jeffrey Rosenberg, 1998, Better Homes and Gardens Books

Feeding Your Baby the Healthiest Foods by Louise Lambert-Lagace, 2000, Stoddart Publishing

The No-Cry Discipline Solution, Elizabeth Pantley, due for release: June, 2007, McGraw Hill, softcover, 235 pages, Expected price $16.95US

Elizabeth Pantley has, thankfully, added another book to her “No-Cry” series. This latest one offers discipline solutions for toddlers and children, aged 2 to 8 years. All types of potentially difficult situatons are covered such as bedtimes, tantrums, not brushing teeth, hitting, bitting, meal times, inappropriate language use and more. She covers not only what the child might be feeling but also the parent’s feelings. A very helpful section looks at anger, what it means, possible triggers and how our own anger can affect the situation and sometimes make things worse. Pantley offers useful suggestions on keeping one’s own emotions in check, turning the situation around with distracting methods (make a song out of what you want done, use humour) and offers appropriate consequences when or if necessary.

My favorite section has to be Part 4: Specific Solutions for Everyday Problems.

When my girls were small (twins and a singleton 22 months their elder), I just didn’t have time to read psycyologically-based, drawn-out solutions for situations which generally had one child, one adult and the general message “follow this advice and all will be well.” Yeah right! Not in my house where the parents were outnumbered by little ones feeding off of each other’s behaviour. I needed quick, helpful, supportive feedback with several possible suggestions to consider in turning things around. Flying by the seat of your pants and/or “learning as you go” doesn’t always equal good parenting skills.

Pantley clearly and concisely states a situation, for example Sibling Fights. Each begins with a story from a frustrated parent. Pantley asks us to Think About It (in this case Sibling Fights) and addresses what such fights can mean for the child. She then offers step by step ideas on What to Do and, perhaps more importantly,What Not to Do. Pantley cross-references to other areas of the book for additional suggestions. In this case, Biting Other Children; Bossiness, Hitting, Kicking and Hair Pulling; Playtime Behaviour. Most topics are covered in two pages, making it quick and simple to grab the book (topics are alphabetically listed), peruse the appropriate area, absorb some techniques and get back to the home situation, all in a timely fashion. That’s my kinda guide!

If you have kids aged 2-8 years, this book is a must have. I hope that Pantley will soon add a “No-Cry Discipline” focused on preteens and teens.

NOTE: Don’t just limit yourself to books on multiples. There are some wonderful books on babies out there and here are a few examples:

  • What to Expect When you are Expecting
  • Dr. Spock’s Book – describes childhood diseases and incubation periods
  • The Mother of All Pregnancy Books, by Ann Douglas – an all-Canadian guide
  • Secrets of the Baby Whisperer, by Tracy Hogg with Melinda Blau

DVD Reviews

Fascinating DVD regarding conception and gestational journey of Twins, Triplets and Quads. A must view for parents, grandparents, researchers, healthcare professionals and any one else with an interest in multiples.

Check it out at:  http://www.rocketrights.tv/womb/multiples.php?
PHPSESSID=15b23a92713177aa2c4be1065cfc2eb4

Your Babies’ Journey: Twins, Triplets, Quads, approx. 100 minutes

This amazing DVD out of the UK will no doubt be very well received not only by parents (and grandparents) expecting multiples but also by the healthcare professionals who look after them. The photography, graphics and sonagrams lets the viewer into the womb to watch the babies’ growth, development and interactions. It’s breathtaking and I was glued to the screen throughout. I found myself jettisoned back to my own pregnancy and was thrilled to observe what our girls were doing prior to their delivery. This fascintating documentary is an important and enlightened resource for anyone with an interest in multiple-births.

If I were to comment on anything, two little things stood out: l) Society often refers to vaginal birth as “natural birth.” Does that make a necessary c-section an “unnatural birth?” I think not. A “natural birth” is, in truth, any birth that ensures a healthy Mom and baby(ies), and that includes a c-section. Many families whom need to have a c-section feel guilty about having to do so and by changing our vernacular, we could make a positive difference. And 2) I would have liked to have heard more direct references to the fathers and their roles. Two parents are ideal in any parenting situation and this is partiacularly true in the case of multiples. Dad, an important part of the parenting equation, is almost completely absent from this otherwise stunning DVD.