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Helper and newborns

  1. #1
    Trying is offline Registered User
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    Helper and newborns

    Our helper has been with us for a few months now, and we've all settled into a routine....which will be turned upside down when I give birth to twins in a couple of weeks. Does anyone have any advice on how to manage the transition? Ideally i'd like a schedule in place but I really have no idea how it would work...these are our first children.

  2. #2
    lesliefu is offline Registered User
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    My only advise would not be too adamant about having AND following a strict routine, cause with babies once you think you know their routine, it will change for sure and you will have to rethink the routine. The key is flexibility with kids...I think after their 3rd mth then you can start about thinking of having a routine for them cause they will be drinking more at each meal and you will have longer stretches of time to play around with. I am sure things will eventually into a certain pattern as you take care of them so no need to over think too much. Good luck with everything!

  3. #3
    Gracey is offline Registered User
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    I agree with Leslie. Before our baby was born, my husband highlighted the Gina Ford book of baby schedules, hoping that we'd have the little one whipped into shape right away! As soon as we got her home, we knew it was useless. All babies are different. Ours was small, early and jaundiced -- and had to be fed on demand on doctors orders. If we followed the set schedule -- which has 2-week-old breastfed babies waiting up to 4 hours between feeds! -- our kid would have starved. Now, at 2 months, have Mom and Baby settled into a schedule of our own making -- and she's beginning to sleep through the night! I don't think that would have happened if we had stubbornly stuck to some pre-set plan.

    As for the helper -- there are many things you can do before the babies arrive. If I could do it all over again, I'd have done more prep work. I also got a new helper a few months before the baby arrived, and I also thought things were just fine. I underestimated how exhausted and overwhelmed I'd be those first 6 weeks. I also underestimated how much more important it was that she follow instructions on babycare. I don't care if she buys the wrong toothpaste, but I do care alot if she mishandles my child.

    Here are things you can do:
    * Write up a list of emergency phone numbers, etc., and make sure she understand what to do and who to call in case of fire, illness, etc. Make her repeat it back to you. Does she know how to call for a taxi? Does she have the set numbers programmed into her phone?
    * Consider sending her on a baby first aid or CPR course. After the baby is born, you will want her around alot more, and she might not have time. (Consider taking a course like this yourself, too)
    * Make sure she knows where you buy baby stuff. I remember -- exhausted, 2 weeks post-partum -- trying to draw a handmade map to show the amah where Bumps to Babes was in Central!
    * Have the helper set up the nursery, etc., in advance. Have her pre-wash baby clothes, swaddle cloths, etc.
    * If you're using a bottle sterilizer or any other equipment, make sure she knows how to use it first.

    Good luck!

  4. #4
    Gracey is offline Registered User
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    Oh -- before the babies arrive, it's a good time to make sure she's up on good hygiene practices.
    It was only after I got the newborn home that I had to start remindering her to wash her hands after going to the bathroom, handling kitty litter, etc.

  5. #5
    thanka2 is offline Registered User
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    I think all of what Gracey has said is very important.

    I would add that food is important when you're recovering from childbirth. Meaning, you need nutritious, frequent meals and snacks--and definitely if you're going to breastfeed. So, you need to work out the food situation. If she's going to be cooking for you, you should have the menu planned out and the basic staple ingredients bought. I would stock up on things that you will need such as diapers and baby wipes--get at least 2 weeks worth of each so you don't have to send the helper out on unnecessary runs--you want her around to pretty much do whatever you need whenever you need it (i.e. "Can you reach over there and grab this for me?") because you'll soon find you don't have enough hands to do what you need to do.

    I would look into shopping online with Park n' Shop (buy $500 HKD and you get free delivery) if you don't already so you can send her on fewer food runs and make it your husband's responsibility to order the food online to take pressure off yourself.

    Also, make your priorities clear to your helper. If what she has been doing up until this point is basically cleaning house then she needs to understand that having a spotless house after the babies are born is going to drop down the priority list. So the priorities will be 1. Babies 2. Mother 3. Meals/Food 4. Clean House (of course the father is still a priority--probably fitting right after meals/food).

    Even though our helper is awesome sometimes we'll have to remind her about priorities. Sometimes we'll have to tell her, "Stop folding laundry and tend to the 4-year-old." Not that it's an emergency but sometimes she just wants to finish the task she's doing and is really focused on that.

    Also, make sure your helper knows about your boundaries. If you are going to be the one who primarily looks after the babies and you prefer that she not be so hands-on with them (meaning, her primary function is to assist you) then you need to make that clear. Several of my friends have had problems with boundaries with their helpers as the helper is eager to jump in and do everything (especially if they have a lot of experience with babies) but the mother would rather the helper just tend to practical things (change diapers, cook food, do laundry, buy baby supplies). One of our friends actually told her helper, "These are my children. I am their mother. Just do the practical things and leave all the parenting duties to me." So, you might not know how you feel about this but it's something to think about--how do you see your role as a parent and how does your helper fit into things?

    I would post important numbers several places in the house and make sure she's programmed them into her phone.

    Congrats and here's to a great birth!
    “Many women have described their experiences of childbirth as being associated with a
    spiritual uplifting, the power of which they have never previously been aware …
    To such a woman childbirth is a monument of joy within her memory.
    She turns to it in thought to seek again an ecstasy which passed too soon.”

    ~ Grantly Dick-Read (Childbirth Without Fear)

    Mother of Two
    JMW, boy, born November 29, 2007, 9:43 pm, USA
    MJW, girl, born March 17, 2011, 4:14 pm, HK

  6. #6
    Gracey is offline Registered User
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    Thanka is totally right. Be clear now -- while you still have time, and are not suffering from exhaustion and not thinking straight -- to set boundaries. I waited until a few days after the baby was born to find out that my helper and I had very different views on her role. Her old employer wanted her to do EVERYTHING for the child, but I found that style intrusive.

    She would burst into our room if the baby was crying, and I found that an invastion of privacy. She felt it was her job to make childcare decisions, probably because she had to before. We didn't like that.

    Unfortunately, one week post partum is not a good time to sit down and have lengthy discussions with your helper, even if intentions are good on all sides.

    And, yes. Get her used to your regular foods now. One-week post-partum is also not the time to try to explain to her particular brands or types of Western food.

    We though our helper was "used to us" before -- but that's because life is so much easier before the baby comes. After the baby came, we realized we had not prepared her enough. Though things are better now.

  7. #7
    MommyTo3 is offline Registered User
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    Hi there, congrats on your twins. As a fellow mother of twins I would first like to advise you to join Mothers of Multiples (www.moms-hongkong.com) if you haven't already.

    Many people have given you great advice, however, I know that those last weeks of pregnancy with twins can be very very hard. I made it all the way to 38 weeks and a few days and my babies were extremely large (larger than most of my friends' singletons) so you may not be able to do that much at the end in terms. However, that doesn't mean that you and your helper cannot sort things out as previous people have mentioned. However, no matter how young, try to go out for walk, small errands, with or without babies, even if it's only for 10-20-30 minutes, no matter how long it takes to get out of the house. Practice makes (almost) perfect, plus it gets you and the babies out of the house.

    In terms of a schedule. I am a believer that schedules are very important, especially with twins, even if it's only to stay sane. Flexibility is all nice, but I had 3 under 3 to manage by myself without a helper and without my family (and my husband having a busy job). The sooner you have some kind of routine, the easier life will become as a mother of twins. You won't be able to meet all demands at the same time with 2 babies in the house, so starting early with some kind of schedule will help you and them. Two babies at night is exhausting, the sooner you/they know what to expect the better. That doesn't mean you shouldn't be flexible, that doesn't mean things won't change once you think you have them down, but they will get it, and it will make a big difference for you and your household. So by all means, start with any schedule /routine that you think works and work with it, adapt, etc.

    I can recommend, Happy Sleep Habits, Happy Twins from Marc Weissbluth to get some pointers how to deal with sleep in terms of infant twins. Whether or not you agree with his ideas, it helps you understand how sleep works, gives some ideas and food for thought. Also MoMs will be a great resource in order to share experiences with other moms, so if you haven't joined already, please do. We've all been there! Because as a mom of a singleton and twins, I can tell you it's not the same, it's a whole different ball game ... but lots of fun!
    Last edited by MommyTo3; 10-27-2011 at 10:15 PM.

  8. #8
    rooj is offline Registered User
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    Gracey,

    I just wanted to comment on your Gina Ford comment. I think for general reference it is important that information is correct so other users know exactly what you mean. Yes, a 2 week old baby can go 4 hours between feeds (but Gina reccommends this for only 2 of the daily feeds, not all of them) but she actually advocates that until the baby has regained their birth weight and if they are below 3.2 kilos to feed around the clock every 3 hours. I think misinterpretations like these ones give some parenting gurus a bad name when really there is no need for it. I am a proud Gina Mum. My son was 4.5 kilos when born and he's been on a Gina routine since birth. He has been such an easy baby and I credit it all to the fact he is always well rested and well fed (the basis of the Gina Ford routines). I am now pregnant with our second and will use Gina's routines again as they just make sense to me.

    Everyone's entitled to their opinion but if someone reads what you wrote and takes it as it is, then really they are getting the wrong information.

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