Events, features and things to do for families in New Hampshire
Real stories from New Hampshire Moms
Diaper duty, feeding times, spit up, sleep anyone? These are a few things that are on the brain during your baby’s first year. Sleep is at a premium and figuring out you’re a little one’s needs can be a bit of a guessing game. So it is no wonder when it comes to having multiples the situation tends to get stickier, not to mention a bit overwhelming.
Anticipating one’s own health during pregnancy, along with some planning, could be just what the parents-to-be of multiples need to get by in their babies’ first year. So if you are one of the lucky women having (gulp) more than one baby, read on for some must-have tips from real moms who have already walked in your shoes.
The primary focus during pregnancy will undoubtedly be your health along with that of your growing baby. It’s important to understand the dietary basics.
According to Traci Komorek, a nutritionist with the Center for Health Promotion at Concord Hospital, an additional 300 calories needs to be consumed for each baby, so around 600 additional calories per day for twins, or 2,800 calories total. To digest the extra nutrition, Komorek recommends having three meals daily with two to three significant snacks.
“The additional calories should be coming from good quality foods such as protein, carbohydrates and fats,” said Komorek. Some additional guidelines in addition to your daily prenatal vitamin should include:
Eating for three (or more)
So what do moms who are eating for two or more children eat? Elizabeth Cross, mother of twins, age 6, shared a story about how her husband made sure she was getting the right nutrition.
“My husband was so concerned about my health that I would be sitting on the couch and he would show up with bowls of spinach or peas for me to snack on. He really took to the need to eat healthily to the extreme. But overall, I just ate whatever I wanted without worry,” she said.
Sherry Richardson, mother of twin girls, now 8, remembers having a hard time gaining weight during her pregnancy. She put on just 30 pounds, but ate almonds, nuts, oatmeal, eggs, and even made homemade soups that contained protein.
Jen Grace, mom to 5-year-old twins, also had a hard time with the weight gain. “I was concerned my babies were not getting enough nutrition and calories so I used to eat fast food, milkshakes and tons of carbohydrate-loaded foods such as pizza and pasta. With my girls I gained 35 pounds, and with my son Owen who is now 6, I gained 28 pounds.”
Allison Casassa, mom to two sets of twins said, “My first pregnancy was text book. I craved grapefruit and consumed up to two per day. I also loved carrots and blue cheese. Ironically my kids now love blue cheese.”
During her second pregnancy she again craved sour food but switched to candy, gummy bears and licorice.
Finding the right balance when it comes to nutrition can be tricky while pregnant with multiples. Some moms manage to be active while carrying multiples, but in many cases bed rest will be prescribed.
Sherry went on modified bed rest at just 22 weeks, and eventually total rest. Marie Duncan, who delivered triplets at 36 weeks, went on bed rest at 26 weeks and had to face the challenge of preparing her then 7-year old for school while her husband was at work. Juggling daily life can be a challenge, not to mention the boredom of not being able to move around too much. In addition to prescribed rest, some women may find the weight of many babies hard on their joints. Elizabeth said she went to the chiropractor to manage pain, and Jen recommends a support belt to ease back discomfort.
Marie suffered more serious postpartum complications. She delivered her two girls and one boy at 36 weeks, and her girls were home within a week. Soon after though, she just wasn’t feeling right.
“I started to see stars and colors, and had difficulty breathing,” she said. She ended up suffering a heart condition called peripartum myopathy and was in the hospital for seven days. While her condition isn’t common, she recommends always listening to your body. “If it doesn’t feel right, then get help immediately,” she said.
Marni Thibault, president of the Seacoast Moms of Multiples Club and mother of a 4-year old boy and 3-year-old twins said, “I was lucky to not encounter any health problems while pregnant and the challenges only came at the end.”
In her case, the pregnancy was a surprise and she was nervous about having three children younger than 16 months. In addition, “The heartburn got pretty hard at the end as well. Eating and drinking anything at all became uncomfortable,” she said. But Marni was never placed on bed rest and actually took her toddler sledding a few hours before going into labor at 39 weeks and four days.
And then there is Allison who was on bed rest at 28 weeks with both her pregnancies and relied on many pillows for support. “Towards the end I actually slept in a Barcalounger chair as it would recline but then could sit back up straight, which helped me to get out of it,” she said.
While pregnancy can be challenging and worrisome, the first official outing with your new babies can also bring some hardship or laughter depending on how you look at it.
Sherry laughed as she explained her first solo grocery trip. “I dragged two carts through the store, using one as a carriage for the two carry seats. Yet, when I finished shopping and went to the car, I couldn’t get one of the carriers out of the cart because it was fastened so well into the seat. There I was a tad bit hormonal and crying with a group of strangers trying to get the baby out of the cart.”
Amy Woodard, mother of four with 2-year-old twins, said it never fails every time they go out they are always the center of attention. “Practically everyone has something to say and a story to go with it. “’Bless your heart,’” and the infamous, ‘My cousins sister’s brother-in law has twins story’ always comes out,” she said, laughing. “People just come out of their shells and are very chit-chatty. It’s just the nature of being out with the kids.”
Sleep while pregnant and following multiple births can be hard to come by. So how will you conquer aches and pains in the third trimester, never mind grabbing some quality shut-eye when the babies arrive?
Elizabeth slept sitting up for seven weeks straight after the arrival of her babies. “They were horrible sleepers so we carefully positioned them in the bed with us. I think I had 23 pillows on the bed at one time and my husband ended up sleeping on an air mattress at the end of the bed. A favorite recommended read that helped her get her babies to sleep was, “Healthy Sleep Habits Calm a Happy Child, by Marc Weissebluth.
Sherry was so uncomfortable sleeping she used a full-length body pillow to get through the night.
These moms offer proof that there are plenty of local women who are ready to offer advice insight, and help when it is needed most. For more information on the Seacoast Moms of Multiples club, look for its Facebook page.
Bridgette Springer is a freelance writer juggling motherhood in Stratham. She is a contributor to regional newspapers, magazines, and marketing projects. Bridgette can be reached at email@example.com.
Tried and true tips from the moms:
Last updated by Morgen Thiboult Jun 27, 2011.