Thursday, May 14, 2009

Advice from Nannies and Au Pairs About Caring for Multiples

In each issue of Be the Best Nanny Newsletter we conduct a survey. The link for the current poll about cultural differences be found at the top right corner of this blog. In the February, 2007 poll 259 in-home childcare providers answered our questions about caring for multiple births. Just some of their responses are summarized below. For complete results see the February, 2007 issue of Be the Best Nanny Newsletter.

What are the greatest challenges working with multiples?
Jamie, a nanny from Denver, Colorado answered, "Twice the potty training, twice the whining, twice the tantrums, and twice the mess."

An anonymous nanny and home manager from Madison, Wisconsin responded, "Time management is my greatest challenge working with multiples."

R. Smith, CPN/INS from Dallas, Texas said, "The greatest challenge is finding time for each of them and getting out of the house."

Nicole from Marlboro, New Jersey said, "The greatest challenge has been splitting my time equally between the three children in my care, (the twins and their two-year old sister)."

Do you think it is better to have multiples on the same schedule or do you think it is better to have more one-on-one time with the children?
Kristin from Highland Park, New Jersey responded, "I think it is better to let the children create their own schedule. It is easier for the parents and caregiver to have the children on the same schedule, but that may not be the best for the children."

A nanny, Bethany, from North Andover, Massachusetts siad, "A schedule is much easier, especially when they are infants, otherwise it’s just chaos!"

Becky Kavanagh from Minnesota answered, "I assess what each child needs. Some multiples naturally fall into the same schedule or routine, other’s do not. Reading their cues is important."

Heather from Minneapolis, Minnesota responded, "Definitely try to have twins on the same schedule. You would never have any down time if you did not have them on the same schedule."

Clelie Bourne, a temporary nanny and newborn specialist said, "I don’t believe it has to be an either or choice. I always put multiples on the same schedule and am able to make time for lots of one-on-one time too."

What tips would you suggest when caring for twins or multiples?
Sue, a nanny from New York wrote, "Wash their laundry separately on different days. They hate it when you mix their laundry with their siblings and put it in the wrong drawers."

Lisa Stipe from Arkansas recommended, "Co-bed them when they are newborns. It simplifies soothing them without picking them up (you can pat two tummies at once). The key to a successful tandem feed is having all babies tightly swaddled so that you don’t have arms going everywhere. Playtex Premium bottles with the drop-in liners cuts down on bottle washing. A crock pot for bottle warming is so much better than a bottle warmer because you can warm all the bottles at one time."

Kim from Boston, Massachusetts said, "Get on a schedule. Don’t look at the twins as being the same, they are still individuals and ought to be allowed to grow and explore without being constantly attached to their twin."

Melissa from San Francisco, California answered, "Don’t stress too much. Don’t forget to sit back and rest sometimes."

Andrea, a nanny from Northern New Jersey explained, "I like the double strollers where one child is in the back and sits up a little higher than the child in the front. I’ve used the side-by-side strollers and they are hard to push and maneuver. They are too wide to get through many doors."

Jane from Pleasanton, California said, "Use a four seat double wide stroller for triplets to use the extra seat for a diaper bag. A three wide stroller is too wide to fit into stores."

Another great tip from Densie Blackford was, "Color code the children’s possessions, such as cups. Put colored tape or rubber bands on their bottles. That way everyone, (including siblings and relatives), will know which bottle belongs to whom."

Heather from Minneapolis, Minnesota replied, "Get organized. Use a daily log."
Items listed that are helpful when caring for multiples included: boppy pillows, Miracle and Bug N Belle blankets for swaddling newborns, Graco SnugRide infant car seats, Bumbo Seats, Happiest Baby on the Block book and DVD series, and white noise machines for cribs.
Feel free to share more tips about caring for multiple births.

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