09:45 AM

Parenting Advice When You’re Having Twins (Part 2)

Jane Nordell and her wife Erin Firestone are the proud parents of twins. In the first part of our series, Nordell shared her experience leading up to the birth of her babies including the time Tate and Johanna spent at Lehigh Valley Hospital–Cedar Crest’s level IV neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Read on to learn her tips for managing the emotional, financial and physical challenges of motherhood.

Breastfeeding and baby food

Nordell wanted to breastfeed as long as possible. She pumped breast milk every three hours, then bottle fed Nate and Johanna for eight months. Now on solids, the twins eat organic – an expensive choice. To save money, Nordell makes her own baby food and freezes single servings in ice cube trays. She looks to brand-name varieties for flavor combinations and nutrition, and buys pre-cut frozen veggies from a local grocery store to save time.

“I set aside time every Sunday to prepare meals. Making your own offers nutritional and financial benefits. And one cooking session can produce enough for two weeks.”

Online chores versus brick-and-mortar stores

Simple errands aren’t so simple with one baby in a grocery cart and the other strapped to mom. Instead, Nordell orders non-perishables through online retailers. Setting up a recurring order saves time, and an integrated coupon feature allows her to search for and apply coupons to her monthly order. “I automate everything I can, so I never run out. Plus I can save up to 20 percent on diapers.”

Other cost saving tips

Nordell welcomes hand me downs from family and friends, which makes saving for college or a family outing easier. Car seats can be a big expense. Rather than buying several complete sets, they purchased one for each baby and extra bases for the rest of the family. “We bought the lightest car seat in its class – 5 pounds versus 10 pounds. That makes a big difference when you’re carrying two everywhere. A complete car seat is about $200. Buying extra bases for everyone else (about $80) saves a lot of money.”

Emotional and physical support

Nordell was out of work for four months, Firestone for one month. Once Firestone went back to work, family came every day to help out. “Erin’s mom was a big help when I wasn’t sleeping and my hormones were out of whack. She wasn’t rattled by anything and that reassured me. My dad came on opposite days and was really patient. I was lucky to have two really grounded people when I was adjusting to parenthood and learning our babies’ cues and cries. Being a new mom is exhausting and difficult at times. Having people I could lean on really helped.”

Advice for new parents

Early on, a friend reminded Nordell to relax and enjoy the journey. “A crying baby is just that, a crying baby. It isn’t a reflection on how you are doing as a parent. Babies cry. It’s ok to leave the room for a few minutes if you need to.”

Nordell advises other couples to get their support network lined up and don’t be afraid to ask for help. She also encourages couples to share the load and don’t keep score. “Twins are a ton of work. There’s a lot of sink or swim. It’s also twice the giggles, twice the hugs and twice the happy.”