Today, we are officially over halfway through January and so begins the time of the year that I slowly start to lose my mind from being inside all the time. 😉 December is always full of fun with Christmas activities and seasonal temperatures but January, February and most of March (if you are in the Midwest like we are) can be tortuous. This year we have already had a bunch of windchill warnings and have another one issued for tonight, which makes getting out of the house to do anything with young children very difficult! They are too little to understand why they have to keep their hats and mittens on at all times and cannot express to you if they are cold or what body part may be exposed to the temperatures. As they get older, it gets much better but those first few years can be really difficult! Especially when you have twins!
When our twins were born premature in late September, before we were discharged the NICU doctors recommended to me that we keep them away from people and at home as much as possible during the next few months. It was daunting to think about the winter ahead stuck in the house all the time!
Today’s Twin Tuesday is all about how to survive your twin’s first winter. Because that first one is HARD. If you can survive the first one, you can do anything momma. Here are 5 things we did to make it through the winter with our infant twins.
Accept the realities
Our oldest son was born in January, so I didn’t have to go back to work until spring. We snuggled in and barely left the house his first few months of life. Since we didn’t have any other small children at home, we were all able to stay healthy during the traditional cold and virus season. Fast-forward to December right before he turned one and all 3 of us caught every single cold and virus that went through his day care. We were sick all the time his first real winter. I was super concerned and mentioned it to our pediatrician who said “Oh yes. A baby’s first winter, they get sick all the time. Don’t worry. It builds immunity.” And that was that. The same was true with our second baby’s first winter but I knew what to expect and didn’t sweat it.
I was more concerned though when we brought our premie twins home who had a much less mature immune system than our older two did facing their first winter. Our pediatrician warned me that we had to accept the reality that with two other children at home the odds of them not getting sick at all were slim. She told us to expect common colds but to call her if they had a fever or had trouble breathing.
Basically, we did our best. We kept the older boys away from them when they had a cold. We washed our hands like crazy and we limited visitors (and made them wash their hands too!). I was breastfeeding on demand and I felt comforted that would help them fight whatever they were exposed to also. They each got a small cold or two but nothing that concerned us or that I hadn’t expected.
Expect that your twins will probably get sick. Do the best you can to limit their exposure to germs and follow the advice of your pediatrician when they do. Try to appreciate that anything they do get will increase their immunity and hopefully make all future cold and virus seasons easier on all of you!
Find some inside activities outside your house
When the cold winter days seemed endless, I would sometimes pack up the babies and go walking at the mall before it opened to shoppers. It was pretty dead early in the morning so there wasn’t anyone wanting to touch the babies or get close to their faces (as strangers feel they need to do). Josh and I would also on the weekends sometimes take everyone to a local indoor Sports Complex on off hours just to get everyone out of the house. The older boys would watch whatever high school sport was being played while I walked around with the babies in the stroller. Again, no crowds so no people trying to stop me and get a look at the babies.
I loved using these car seat covers instead of having to dress the babies in thick coats inside their car seats. I would dress them normally in long sleeves, pants and a hat with a lightweight blanket and this cover. In the car and at our destination, I would unzip the sides of the cover so they didn’t get too warm. I was amazed at how nice and warm it kept them!
Attempt to get out without the babies
I know it’s hard, but attempting to get out of the house without the babies is extra important during the winter months of being constantly stuck inside. I find that if I’m not conscious of getting out of the house (even now!) it can really get me down. Mental health is so important with brand new babies and it’s difficult to be stuck inside without sunshine or interaction all day. You could plan for your significant other to keep the babies for a bit while you meet a friend, go grocery shopping, grab a book from the library or run some errands! It makes such a huge difference.
Enjoy the drive
When my twins were infants, the car was kind of our happy place. Sometimes they would nap, sometimes they wouldn’t but they were almost always quiet. We would go for drives in the winter for a change of scenery. I would listen to the radio or a podcast and sometimes I would stop for coffee at a drive-through. A drive for 30 minutes of the day did wonders for my outlook on being stuck inside!
Find a routine inside your home
I’ve always been a person who thrives on routine and I found when we were stuck inside that was even more the case. When we couldn’t leave the house, it helped to have a routine of even moving rooms of the house at the same time every day. For example, maybe we would start the day doing tummy time in the family room for awhile, then move upstairs while they played with a few toys in their bouncers and I folded laundry, then read books in the kitchen as I got lunch ready, etc. It seemed like so much work to move them from room to room but it gave us a purpose for our day and something to do. I still do a version of this with our two year old twins during the winter!
Don’t forget. You will make it through this too and it’s okay to count down the days until spring!
You can find more Twin Tuesday posts here!