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My son will be three years old in less than a month. Most of his buddies are already in preschool or are starting preschool this fall. Supposedly, going to preschool can help the child’s social development and teach them colors, numbers, letters and some basic reading and writing. Preschool can also help with learning arts and crafts, since there is a lot of coloring and working with play dough going on.

I don’t have anything against preschool, especially if you have an only child, who is beginning to get bored at home. Or, if you want  a little break from your kid to do yoga, hair and nails. Every Mom deserves some free time!

However, I noticed that many of my friends had second babies by the time their first ones turned two or three years old. This way, they can send the oldest to preschool and spend uninterrupted time at home with the youngest, so that the youngest feels as special as the oldest felt, when they were a baby. This sounds logical. Unfortunately, this thinking appears to be against nature.

The second child was not meant to get the same attention and one-on-one time as the first one. This is why they were born second. They were meant to have an older sibling to learn from (something the first one didn’t have.) If you send your older child to preschool and play at home with the little one, you are creating an artificial environment for both. You are robbing the younger one from hours of learning from the older one and you are not letting the older one learn how to lovingly share. Children learn from each other. They also learn to adjust to the new family structure. The older one needs to understand that the younger one is here to stay and the younger one needs to learn that the older one needs his or her time with Mommy, too.

This is where “at home preschool” comes in. I teach my older kid numbers and art and letters, while my 8.5 months old twins try to eat our crayons and I think it’s the best setup, because it minimizes any jealousy or sibling rivalry there may be. My oldest learns about socialization right in our living room and my youngest twins learn how to build castles and read books. A kid who comes home from preschool wants his or her Mommy. The little baby wants his or her mommy all the time, and this is a problem for both. This is where the older one can get aggressive or whiny. If the older one stays home, both him/her and their little sibling learn to lovingly co-exist with the limited amount of  “Mommy-time.”

The problem of socialization with the kids outside of family can be easily solved, as well. You can join  a local mommy group on meetup.com, you can go to playgrounds, you can enroll your child in various classes and activities. You can organize your own playgroup, where you and five other mommies agree to meet at a specific time in a specific place once a week. I know many will disagree with my view, but I believe if a woman is a stay at home mother, she should stay home with ALL of her children, not just some. What do you think?

 

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My babies had their first solid food today, at 7 months old. I made them two broccoli purees: one out of raw broccoli and one with steamed one. They loved the raw one! Starting with green vegetables, such as broccoli, makes babies’ delicate taste buds accustomed to healthier foods. It also gets them used to foods, which are not sweet, so sweet fruits, like bananas, are not a problem later. We are trying cauliflower next, followed by carrots. What did you give your kids for their first food meal?

I love cloth diapers. My first son was cloth-diapered since about six months of age and the twins have only been wearing cloth. Disposable diapers contain traces of Dioxin, an extremely toxic carcinogenic by-product of the paper-bleaching process. They also cause diaper rashes more frequently, are more expensive and not so good for the environment. The number one reason, why most moms are afraid of cloth, is the “poo-poo factor.” I understand, I’ve been there, too. Buy one cloth diaper and try how easy it is to wash it and you will see that in cloth diapering, just like in everything else, our fears are a lot greater than the actual things we are afraid off. Throw the poop in the toilet and machine-wash the diaper. For younger babies, who are not eating solids yet, you don’t even have to do that: just stick the diaper in the machine.

And yes, you can cloth-diaper twins and it really is not difficult. I cloth diapered a singleton and now my twins are in cloth diapers. I honestly don’t see this as too much work. And the twins never got a single bum-rash!

Another surprising benefit of the cloth is that cloth diapers contain big messes a lot better than the disposables. With my first son, I remember stains on clothing and hours of scrubbing those stains off ( especially off the expensive baby clothing items we got as gifts.) This problem never happened with my twins, who have been wearing cloth from the get-go.

For orange stains that breastfed babies produce you can do one of the two things: let the diapers dry in the sun or wash them with some Oxi clean. The sun takes care of the stains, as well as Oxi, believe it or not.

There are many types of cloth diapers, ranging from the old-fashioned prefolds, to the easy to maneuver all-in-ones. After having tried and used many kinds of cloth diapers, my favorite ones are fitted cloth diapers. They look just like the disposables, only made of cloth. You need to put  a cover on top of these, which is an extra step, but it only takes two seconds. I like Thirsties covers, because they always contain any mess that managed to escape from the diaper. I also like Imse Vimse wool covers: these are more expensive, but “breathe” better.

Here’s what i tried in the diaper world:

Bum Genius All in One 3.0 and 4.0 Diaper Review


Both of these are nice diapers, especially if you are not used to cloth. One-step process makes it look simple and the diaper contains messes well. The minus for me is how bulky this diaper is. This bulkiness presents challenges in the washing and drying process, as you end up drying the diapers a lot longer. I also was not crazy about the fabric of this diaper: I’ve seen softer.

Bumboozle Diaper Review


This diaper is very soft, towel-like and it fits babies form ten to about 35 lbs. It is not bulky, yet very absorbent :I can easily see why this diaper is a number one seller in the UK!

Kissaluvs Cotton Fleece  Diaper review


These soft, cotton fleece diapers are available in two sizes. The small size is supposed to fit 5-15 pounds and the larger size is supposed to fit 12-36 pounds. The diaper is extremely soft and the fit is close to perfect, but the absorbency is nothing to write home about. Due to its softness, I would recommend this diaper for a brand new baby. An older baby will pee right through it and make the cover wet, unless you stick  a prefold in the diaper.

Baby Bee Hinds One Size Diaper Review


I love these diapers! They are not too pretty and they are not too soft, but they contain anything! Inside this fitted diaper are two snap in soakers: a small one and a large one. Since these soakers snap in, they dry very fast, so quite often, instead of washing the diapers, you can just wash the soakers. You can also adjust these soakers, according to your baby’s need. For the night, put in two large ones. For the day, one small one. For a car ride, one small one and one large one,etc. The twins are wearing these diapers at night now and the diapers are holding in beautifully! The plastic snaps make the diaper adjustable, which makes me very happy : I want to keep using this bamboo diaper for a while!

G-Diaper Review


G-diapers is a diapering system, which is part cloth, part paper.  GDiapers,  are the world’s first flushable, compostable diaper, pairing the “green” attributes of cloth diapers with the convenience of disposables. Each gDiaper is composed of three elements: a washable outer cotton layer, a washable waterproof inner layer, and a flushable poop and peep absorbing insert.  G-diaper’s website says that, when you change your baby’s diaper, you remove the flushable insert, toss it in the toilet, and replace it with a new insert. In practice, i noticed that these diapers are usually only liked by first time moms or cloth diaper virgins. The poop rarely stays on the pad. It goes everywhere, soaks through the little G-pant and ends up on the clothing. The diaper is awfully cute, though. So I’d recommend it for an ocassional day out as a clothing accessory: babies look great ina  G-diaper and  a Tshirt.  I wouldn’t use it as a functional, absorbent diaper, though.

Mother-ease One Size Diaper review


I found this diaper to be very interesting. Made of microfiber cloth, it is super thin, yet absorbent. This is a one-size fitted diaper with snaps. It is designed to fold down at the front to fit babies with a smaller rise. I liked the convenience and the absorbency. I did not like the fact that the fabric didn’t seem soft to touch, although this problem can be easily solved by using a prefold inside this diaper, which I’ve done a couple of times for my babies nighttime sleep.

Dream-Eze All in One Diaper Review


These diapers have a great absorbency, but in my opinion, they don’t fit well. They have gaps in the legs (and my babies have chunky legs and the waistline always seems loose.  All of this makes this diaper not the best choices for containing explosive poo. It’s a wonderful diaper for naps, however.

Gro Via All in Ones Diaper Review


GroVia AIO diaper which fits babies 10-35+lbs, keeps getting rave reviews from my cloth-diapering friends. Made with organic cotton inner layer with a soft layer of water resistant TPU outer layer, this diaper is ridiculously absorbent! Very soft organic cotton with stretchy wings and convenient side snaps make it pleasant and easy to use.  Best of all, you don’t have to use a cover with Gro Via, and it dries quickly. Soft, absorbent and one size fits all: what else can you want in a cloth diaper?

Thirsties Fab Fitted Diaper Review


This diaper is so soft, you’d want to put it on your face! It soaks moisture well, but not as well as some bamboo varieties. Yet, I’ve seen some big explosive poos staying in this diaper: nothing escapes it. Because this diaper soaks in small amounts of moisture, but is so supersoft, i would recommend it for newborns and little babies. After about three months, I’d switch to something else. Having said that, my 6 months oldtwins still wear this diaper for their naps, because I want their little bums to feel soft and cushy.

Do you have any favorite cloth diaper brands I haven’t covered?


IKEA is wonderful for inexpensive and nice wooden toys. Yesterday, we went to there and bought Mula for counting. Mostly, because Mr. Big Baby, whilst able to read syllables in Russian at this stage, counts in a peculiar way: “One, two,  eight, eleven. Seven, thirteen-  I ran away!”  – and off he goes. So, I bought the toy, hoping he’d understand numbers in a more “hands-on” way. I also know some friends, whose kids play with Ikea’s Mula until they are in fourth grade, which makes the $9.99 you spend on the product quite a bargain.

As Mr. Big Baby did his “eight, eleven, I ran away” at the first introduction to this toy ( I hope he didn’t inherit my literary and language talents with a complete inability to count,) babies crawled their way to the new toy. And they absolutely loved it! What can be better than moving colorful wooden rings with your fingers? Oh, I know: improved fine motor skills!

The manufacturer says to use Mula from 3 years old and on, but my babies loved it so much that I saw no wrong with letting them enjoy it under my very close supervision. I am telling you this story, because I think I just found a useful, eco-friendly toy that lasts good 6-7 years! Oh, and it can teach your child math. How’s that? If you don’t want to shell out the ten bucks, perhaps it’s available on ebay for a lot less…

 

 

 

I love the theory of attachment parenting: immediately responding to your baby’s  cry, carrying him/her around in a sling, co-sleeping and breastfeeding. I think all of these practices make healthier babies, both physically and emotionally.

My first child was breastfed until he was 19 months old and I got pregnant again. I felt simply too nauseous and weak to continue nursing him. He loved being carried around in a baby carrier and sleeping in my armpit. He started crawling at four months old, walking at eight months old and talking in two languages (Russian and English) at eight months of age.

When I learned that I was expecting twins the second time around, I got worried:  how would I be able to  give my children the same attachment parenting practices that me and my first child enjoyed so much? As I read up on the subject and spoke to friends with twins, the subject of raising them became even more confusing. It seems that all of the information about parenting twins is divided into two camps : the first one insists on keeping the babies close together from birth on and the second one emphasizes that these babies are two separate children and therefore should be kept separate, otherwise they’d drive you nuts. There also appears to be conflict on the twins’ schedule: some experts insist on keeping the babies on the same eating and sleeping  schedule, while the other camp says the schedule is not important. Both camps say that breastfeeding is great, but not mandatory, since it’s harder to breastfeed two babies.

Reading all of this didn’t make the anticipation of my twins’ arrival less scary. It made it agonizing.

With my first child, I relied mostly on intuition and it worked great. I believe in an almost psychic connection a mother has with her child. some mothers are not aware of it, but it’s still there. I “knew” when my first baby was hungry, upset, tired or bored. I felt when he needed comfort, love, food or all of the above. After having read about parenting twins, it seemed to me that most of carrying for two babies is not intuitive, but highly scientific, with all of these schedules, matching up, and “double of everything.” How was I going to have the same loving and peaceful intuitive connection with two babies?

And then, the babies came. They were delivered safely at home ( no, I am not crazy, I’ve done my research.) My husband and I put them in the little bassinet we had left over from our first child. They fit in it together so harmoniously. And I decided to just watch them and let them “tell” me what they wanted, as attachment parenting is first and foremost child-led parenting.

The babies woke up. At the same time. Then, they pooped. At the same time! Then, they both got hungry. The babies started to function in an incredible, well-balanced union since birth, without any interference from me of their father.  They were functioning like two separate babies with a  very strong connection between them. If one got sad about their nails being cut, the other would wake up and scream, to show support. If one was hungry, the other one would eat, too, albeit lazily, to keep the first one company.

Now they are almost five months old and are growing as happily attached twin babies. They started rolling over at one month old and crawling at 4.5 months.

These are my suggestions to those mamas that would like to combine having twins with attachment parenting rules:

1. Breastfeed. There is no substitute for breast milk when it comes to baby’s health. If you think you don’t have enough milk, call lactation consultant. If you really don’t have enough milk, take fenugrek, shatvari , Mother’s Milk Tea and pump regularly to increase the amount of milk you produce.

Try to feed your babies together. Look up positions for that. If one of the babies is hungry, but the other one is asleep, be sensitive enough not to be the slave of the “schedule. ” Feed the hungry baby : it’s an opportunity for you to bond with him/her.

2. Co-sleep. Arm’s Reach Co-sleeper is a wonderful thing. You can keep both babies in there for quite a few months. Or you can have two of those co-sleepers. Or, you can have one baby in the co-sleeper and one baby in your armpit. Or you can keep the babies in a bassinet or two. Or you can have a baby in each armpit and a husband on the couch. 🙂 I like to have one baby close to me and one in the co-sleeper.

3. Wear your babies. Get a good baby carrier and alternate the babies in it. You can wear a baby while doing housework or while out. I think having a single stroller for twins is not crazy. It’s good for attached babies. Just make sure that both babies get equal time on you.

4. Do not enforce strict schedules on babies younger than a year old. If one baby wants to sleep, and the other one wants to play, don’t take this as interference with your Internet time. Take this as an opportunity to bond with the baby that’s  awake.

5. Let your babies be together: they should sleep together or be very close to each other, bathe together, enjoy life together. They roomed together in a pretty close proximity for nine months and share a special bond. Honor that.

6. Understand that they are not “the twins.” They are individuals with a special connection.

7. Go ahead and allow yourself to abandon everything you read on the subject of raising twins. Most parenting is intuitive. A mother can be as “psychically” connected to multiple babies, as she can be with one: I learned this by having twins. The hard part is tapping into that connection. Then, you can throw away my rules.

Every time someone sees me at a grocery store with my kids, it’s like Moses parting the Red Sea: people clear the way for me and bow down. Mostly, because they presume it is incredibly difficult to manage three kids under three, two of whom are breastfeeding and are in diapers. A lot of times I get asked:  “Do you ever leave the house?,” or even better: “How do you survive?” Any response on my part gets  a “Wow” for an answer.

The thing is, I am not surviving. I am enjoying my life and loving every hectic moment of it. This post is for those with a new baby, or twins, or those of you who are having a hard time doing things with a newborn and a toddler. If you have the desire to leave the house, you already did half of the job! The rest is simple restructuring.

The key to successfully going out with twins (or multiple small-aged kids) is organization and management. You need to think of every possible scenario ahead of time. Take two changes of clothing for each baby. Leave one set in the car and have the second set  in your diaper bag. Pack some snacks and some water for your toddler.  Have the diaper bag fully stocked and keep it somewhere by the door, so that you don’t have to go look for wipes, while one of the babies is screaming from being bored. Always have a baby carrier with you. Ergo is my favorite kind. If you are going for a walk with the babies  in a double stroller, and one of them gets unhappy, you can put this one in the baby carrier. Being close to Mom’s body tends to instantaneously soothe babies. And you can breastfeed discreetly.

If you are going to the store, change and feed the babies in the car before you go in. Put one baby in the baby carrier, put another baby in an infant car seat on top of the shopping cart, so that the car seat is crossing the cart. If, like me, you have a two year old, take him out of the car last, so that he doesn’t run away while you are busy with the twins. Stick him on the seat part of the shopping cart. Voila! Your groceries can go under the baby in a car seat. Shopping this way does not minimize the space in the shopping cart, so you can buy all the groceries you need.

If your babies are older, one should go on the Ergo on your back (many baby carriers do not offer the back carrying option, but Ergo does,) the second baby should sit on the seat of the shopping cart and the toddler should be free to walk next to you. This one requires some training on the toddler’s part, but nevertheless is possible to accomplish. If your toddler would not walk next to you, keep him/her in the cart. Just buy another Ergo or a Moby Wrap and prepare for your workout with a baby on the front and a baby on the back.  Prepare for some fun comments at the store!

And remember, when you are back at the car, put the toddler in first, then the babies, then the groceries. This order is better for safety reasons.

Do you have any tips on how to take your baby twins to the store?

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