If you have twins, things can get pretty crazy if you aren't prepared. I've compiled a list of useful tools that have helped Coley and I survive. So stock up your registry.
A must have, this pillow enables women to breast feed two infants more easily, a person to bottle feed two infants at one time, and a great place for infants to be placed when rest is needed.
This thing is another must have if you have twins and you bottle feed with formula. It allows you to mix 6 bottles at a time.
Coley and I started out warming bottles in coffee cups filled with warm water. Don't make the same mistake. A bottle warmer is a great tool and this particular one has two great features for twin parents: 1) it holds enough water to warm about 10 bottles before a refill and 2) it is smart enough to adjust warming time for a second bottle, accounting for it already being warm from the first.
Solly Wraps are extra awesome from birth to about 8 months. A simple large piece of cloth that you wrap around your body and tuck the infant into. Coley and I used these for walks and just to calm the girls. The girls would always sleep in them - we called them 'baby ambien.'
This thing will make your baby look like the stay puft marshmallow man, but it will help him/her sleep - and most importantly, help you sleep. Once your infant grows out of being swaddled (won't tolerate it anymore) this suit can be generously applied to weight down the infant and keep late night startles from waking the whole house up.
Coley and I have found this stroller to be worth the investment. It enables two little ones to be pushed along side by side on sunny days. Convenient features like easy fold up make this thing a great tool for walks.
Once your baby starts eating solids, breakfast, lunch and dinner can quickly turn into activities that include pressure washing the inside of your home. This bib will help keep it clean.
Coley and I let the girls chill in these things anytime we needed a break from holding them. They worked great for June's reflux. Both thought the auto-rockers were lame. They both also slept in them (wouldn't sleep in anything else) for the first few months. CAUTION: sleeping in Rock N' Plays had a major downside for us, as this resulted in a $2,000 helmet for June that was not covered by insurance to resolve a flat spot on her head.
Ever thought of sucking boogers directly out of your child's nose? Me either, until I was introduced to the nose frida in a moment of desperation, when the girls couldn't sleep due to stuffy noses.
Keekaroo offer a stylish and very practical highchair that grows with kids for a long time. This actually has value for special needs kids too, as the high chair can hold the weight of even an adult!
special needs tools
Children with special needs can introduce a number of additional challenges to parenting. I've compiled a list of useful tools that have helped Coley and I along the way.
This organization provides an excellent one stop shop for parents with kids who have special needs. From databases of medical professionals in your area, to advocacy, healthcare and education resources, this is a great place to start.
Facebook Groups can be your best resource of all. Almost all diagnoses have groups that are created and run by parents. For example, there is an STXBP1 FB group that has over 230 members (it's limited to immediate family only) and there are only around 300 total STXBP1 deletions and mutations documented in the world. You can also use FB groups to connect with local parents by connecting with groups in your community.
This something that you must pursue, to cover medical expenses. If your salary exceeds the requirements for Medicaid, you'll need to apply for a waiver. If you are in Georgia. the Katie Beckett waiver makes all of the difference when you have a child with many medical needs. Once you get medical care and therapies sorted out, this should be the very next thing you apply for.
Focus is a great resource for support groups, camps and activities for communities of families and children with Special Needs.
This short, one-page reflection is a must read for any parent of a child with special needs. It resonated deeply with me and I felt a wonderful connection to the writer. If you want to know how it feels to be a parent of a special needs child, and how to see the beauty in it, take a few moments to read this piece.
Babies Can't Wait (Georgia Only)
If you live in Georgia, where my family and I live, this government funded organization can help provide resources, connections and direction. I have conflicted feelings about BCW. They are hardly timely and efficient (they are very reactive), but they mean well and the program is definitely worth checking out - it's free, so why not. Coley and I have been told that the most value comes during school placement.
Sunshine Physical Therapy (Atlanta Only)
I have mentioned Sunshine Physical Therapy in a post or two. If you live in the Atlanta area, this can be a great resource. We have been very happy with the physical therapy that June has received from this private organization.
It's a good idea to start fundraising for your special needs child. Your child will need the funds to be given everything he/she can possibly receive. Coley and I opened a fund for June within a month of finding out about her genetic makeup and raised over $9K for her medical expenses and therapies. These donations helped Coley and I through rough times, lifted our spirits and gained June access to additional resources.
The 529A allows people with special needs to save money for college and other expenses in a tax-deferred account as a supplement to private insurance and public benefits. Money can be withdrawn tax-free when the funds are used to pay for qualified disability expenses.
If your child has a rare disorder, you should get in line for a rare bear. When delivered to our house, the hand-made, stuffed, Rare Bear really lifted our spirits.
This organization is awesome for any child with special needs. Get on the list for a donation so you can get your child a hand-made cape - a reminder that your child is a superhero.
In additon to therapies, if you have the money, a developmental pediatrician can be a great resource.
Many challenges for infants that relate to delays in physical development can relate to a lack of (primitive) reflex integration. This is a very ignored area in current therapy programs, so as a parent, you’ll need to educate yourself and seek out specialists on your own.