On our flight home from our vacation, the flight attendant informed us that the televisions were not working. We were already in the air, and it that information was jammed into a bunch of other things she was saying, none of which I was listening to. I was too busy making sure the two toddlers I was traveling alone with were not taking off their seatbelts.
I began to frantically look around at every one else’s TV hoping I mis-heard her. I did not. All the screens were blank. FFFUUUUCCCCKKKKKK!
Plan of Action
I was now on a 6 1/2 hour flight, alone with two toddlers and no television to keep them occupied. I quickly began to plan for my survival and map out how I was going to keep them active for over 6 hours in a tiny space. I had downloaded two of their shows and had a movie so I had about 2 1/2 hours of screen time. I only had to fill 4 more hours.
Thankfully I always pack their backpacks with activities just in case they get bored with watching the TV or I deem they need a break.
Here are some of my favorite non electronic activities for air travel with toddlers.
A New Toy – This is always something small that I keep hidden until I need it mid-flight. I always try to make it a tiny version of toys they love. A new car, truck or Rescue Bot.
A New Book – Gratefully, my guys are avid readers. I always get a couple new books include in their backpacks. Two of my favorite were “The Ultimate Book of Vehicles” and “The Ultimate Book of Construction.” These books, kept them busy for an hour.
Travel Memory – These great travel memory games are small enough to fit in a bag and super fun for everyone.
Magnet Kits– This kept them occupied for a while. My guys love trucks, but I also found superhero, farm and princess kits like this.
Mini Magna Doodle– I started using these around age 2 and they are still great. They take up minimal space in a bag and are great for fine motor skills
Painting Books– Get a small cup of water and pack some brushes and away they will paint.
Play Dough – I get the mini play dough containers and a couple small shape cutters. We started doing this on flights around age 3 and I definitely has to be on watch. Just making sure not too much went on the floor but as they have gotten older this is a great go to for long flights.
A few other great ideas are activity books, coloring (all washable crayons), colorful pipe cleaners, cling on stickers, I Spy, and snacks. On long flights snacking is an activity. Pack a lot of healthy treats to eat.
I have the good fortune of teaching “Expecting Twins” class through Twin Love Concierge. Meeting parents who are expecting twins for the first time allows me the gift of hindsight and to relive those first few months with my newborn twins life. New parents are always worried if they are going to “survive” having newborn twins. My answer is yes! Here are some of my tips for getting through the first few months with your newborn twins.
Coming Home With Your Newborn Twins
Help. After giving birth to twins you may feel exhausted, and overwhelmed. If you are a new parent, you might also feel clueless. There is nothing that will benefit you more than having an extra set of hands. If it’s only a couple of hours a day, or 1 day a week, having help is huge!
If someone is staying with you for a bit after the babies arrive, it should be the person who mom feels most comfortable with. There is a lot going on postpartum. Women need someone who they are comfortable talking with about their body. Then just stagger the other long-term visitors.
“I want to see the babies!” Having too many people coming by to see the babies is exhausting. Inevitably you feel the need to “host” but this isn’t the time. It is perfectly acceptable to set up a visitors schedule.You are allowed to say “not today.” My doula was a great support in letting me know that I was a new mom, in recovery. If I didn’t feel up to people, I allowed myself to say no.
When people so stop by to see the babies, many will ask if you need anything. Always say YES. Whether it is holding the babies so you can shower or eat. Folding a basket of your laundry. Washing some bottles. Taking your dog for a walk. There is always something to be done, so delegate.
You’ve Got To Eat
The first thing to go will be meals. Most days you won’t remember if you ate at all. Yet, maintaining calories, especially for breastfeeding moms is incredibly important. Meal Train is a great solution to those early weeks when you don’t have the time or energy to cook. Friends and family close and far, can sign up to have meals delivered to your doorstep.
The best advice is to get them on a schedule, the same schedule. While this is true, this doesn’t usually happen until after 3 months or so. I remember feeling so overwhelmed that 2 months in, we had no schedule. Don’t panic, this is normal.
Your schedule is created around feedings and you always feed them together. Typically, newborns eat every 2-3 hours. When one baby wakes to eat, you always wake the other baby and feed them together.
Tandem Feeding. This is important in keeping your twins on the same schedule. If you have help then it is a bit easier. But if you are alone, don’t fear. Tandem breast and bottle feeding can be done. There are a lot of great videos of moms showing how they tandem feed.
If you’re breastfeeding make sure you have a good breastfeeding pillow. The top two feeding pillows are My Breast Friend and Twinz. Take a multiples breastfeeding class. If there isn’t one in your area then check on some online ones. And most importantly, use the lactation consultant while you are in the hospital and at home if needed.
If you are bottle feeding, there are a ton of great bottles and products to help make it easier. Just make sure you have separate seats. The Table for Two is a great choice. For formula fed babies, keep your water at room temperature. That will save you that extra step of having to heat up bottles.
Get out of the house. This doesn’t mean going to lunch or store runs. It means sit in your yard, take the babies for a walk. Newborn twins feeding schedule can feel rigorous. That is why a walk is so crucial. Feeling the sun on your face and the fresh air, can truly help. I always found taking my walks in the late afternoon, when the babies were crankiness and I was the most tired, to be incredibly helpful.
Sleep. Start a nighttime routine but keep it simple! By doing the same routine every night the babies will begin to recognize the cues that mean “time for bed!” Babies like routine and predictability and a bed time routine just helps them know what is coming next.
Now that you are past the first few months. Work hard to get those babies on the same schedule. That means they always eat at the same time, play at the same time and ultimately nap at the same time. Allowing you some YOU time.
I had my twins activities on a rotation. We did tummy time, mat time, I read books, played music, looking out windows, taking walks, etc. I also did each activity in a different room. By changing rooms and activities throughout the day, they were stimulated enough to become tired for naps.
You Are Important Too
Do Something For YourSelf. When the babies were about 6 months old I went back to my improv class that was on Saturday afternoons. It felt so good to be amongst adults, talking about things other than the babies. I was exhausted and still had baby brain, so my improv skills suffered. But my overall well-being improved. So make sure you allot some time each week to take care of you. It will only make you a better parent.
Join a class. I joined a mommy and me group when the boys were about 6 months old. It was nice for all of us to get out of the house and interact with other moms and babies. Our class was run by a parent-ed instructor who was also able to answer any questions we had about child development.
Join a twin Group. This is so crucial for twin parents. Being a parent to twins is not at all similar to being a parent to singletons. Including those born a year apart. Having other twin parents as a resource will save you a million times over. Even just reading through different posts and comments and help give you the confidence that everything you are doing is right
Let it Go. This is the most important piece of advice. It is impossible to maintain every aspect of your life the way it was pre-babies. Don’t stress yourself out trying to do it all. Pick what is most important to you, and do that. Whether it be a shower every day, clean house, cooking full meals, going to the gym, doing your make-up. Pick something and let go of the rest. That first year truly does fly. Eventually you will get back to some of your old ways.