What kind of help did you need post-birth?? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 11 Old 06-08-2009, 12:31 PM - Thread Starter
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I realized that a lot of my anxiety has to do with the unknown and the fear of being left alone to manage everything post birth with two babies and a toddler.

So I figured I would ask you all what kind of help did you have/ wish you had after birth? What kinds of things did the "help" do? Is there anything you wish you would have set up but didn't? What and who was most helpful to you during this time?

What I have so far:
-DH is staying home for 2 weeks post birth.
-My mom will hopefully help for another 2 weeks after that.
-I may hire a postpartum doula a couple days a week after my mom.
-We are talking about a cleaning service coming in twice a month for the first few months.

What kinds of things should I have them do? I'm worried that the help will consist of "I'll hold the babies, while you clean, vacuum, make dinner, etc." How can I prevent this?

Three boys.  jumpers.gif
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#2 of 11 Old 06-08-2009, 01:32 PM
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I had a cleaning service once every other week (which was all we could afford). I also had a stepmom and grandma who lived nearby who would come over a few mornings a week to watch babies for me to get a shower and try to be a human.

Things I wish I had had:

MEALS. A deep freezer full of them.

The cleaning service biweekly.

I would be clear with people that recovery from twin birth is different than recovery from singleton birth (even if you're exaggerating a bit to make them pay attention). YOU need to rest as much as the babies do in the beginning, so emphasize that you need help SO THAT you can be with your babies and mother them the way they deserve. For me, after my twin birth, I bled for almost 12 weeks, and I'm almost sure it's because I did too much.

Wife of one and mom of five, including my HBAC twins!
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#3 of 11 Old 06-08-2009, 04:34 PM
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My dh took 2 weeks... followed by a friend for 3-4 days... followed by my mother for 2 weeks... followed a few wks later by another friend. I could have used more help b/c all of the helpers came in from other states. I didn't know many people where I live. So when people were here it was all fine and dandy. When they weren't it was just me and then dh when he got home from work.

Cleaning is an issue. A housecleaner would have been wonderful! Luckily my dh cooks dinner every night anyways so there was no shortage of healthful meals at night- but lunches were. I would just grab whatever to eat.

Looking back I don't know how I made it! But I have always been the kind of person who loves a challenge . I got one!

Try to line people up to do cooking, cleaning and laundry. Grocery shopping with a list you write. Make it clear that you will be with the babies. My MIL got so offended by this, but everyone else got it.

Mama to lovely twin girls 1/08
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#4 of 11 Old 06-08-2009, 04:38 PM
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Hi Mandie - I had help for the first several months after our girls were born. I think the first month was M-F, 7 hours/day from my mother. We gradually 'weaned' from her over the next few months, and now she just comes over a couple afternoons a week and holds babies or folds laundry - it's not much but it helps immensely! My dad was also king of the vacuum...my floors were never cleaner than during that first month! To be honest, I also just needed the company. Having twins in January when it is freezing cold outside (I live in Canada) was extremely isolating - I loved having company, even during the first few weeks. I've also had a cleaning person since we both started working full time 10+ years ago...she comes every 2 weeks and it's worth every penny we have to sacrifice elsewhere in the budget.

This is long, but it's a note I posted to my family web page right after the babies were born:

We know that many of our friends and family have offered to help us as we welcome these beautiful new additions to our family. We do love visitors, and wanted to let you know about what you can do to help us when you come…we hope you aren’t offended by our list, and please know that we are truly grateful for the wonderful help of our family and friends during this very challenging time in our lives. Learning to say “yes, we need help” is one of the hardest parts of being parents of multiples, so we are hoping this will help
  • Wash your hands before you touch/hold the babies, and please don’t visit if you are not well…the last thing we need is sick kids!
  • Bring food!! – whether it be an entire meal or a plate of cut up fruit/snacks picked up at the grocery store…nutritious food is more than welcome…breastfeeding uses up a TON of calories and with two babies there will be a lot of eating going on.
  • Come and spend some time playing with our older children, or take them to the park/walk/your house
  • Do a load (or two!) of laundry
  • Run the vacuum through the main level of the house
  • Do the dishes (yes, we do not have dishwasher!)
  • Take care of the babies while Mom has a shower, or a quick nap
  • Call/email and see if we need anything picked up at the grocery store before you come visit
  • Water the poor houseplants
  • Feed the cat
  • Take pictures of our family and send them to us via email

Email is the best way to reach us if you can…that way we don’t end up disturbed from a much needed nap.

Congratulations, you have lots to look forward to

Tammy, Canadian Mama to 4 girls May-02...March-05 and...identical twin girls Jan-09
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#5 of 11 Old 06-08-2009, 09:34 PM
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SuzyQ- great list!

Mama to lovely twin girls 1/08
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#6 of 11 Old 06-08-2009, 09:39 PM
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I had DH for a couple weeks, BF every evening (even now - she gets her baby fix), my mom for a couple weeks. Then I went back to work.

I'll be honest, after a couple days I wanted someone to hold the babies so I could get off the couch and move, play with DD, go to the grocery store alone...

I had a natural-ish vaginal birth (ineffective pitocin, no pain meds) and I felt 100% back to normal after 1 week. I got so tired of just sitting around all the time.

Just so you know that it might be different than you imagine.

Joanna - wife to Mike, mamachicken to Cub(8/98), Kitten (4/07), Dew-man, and Woe-boy(twins, 10/08)
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#7 of 11 Old 06-09-2009, 10:58 AM
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I love your message, Tammy! Those are all good suggestions. Mandie, since you have an older child, you might put a note on there about childcare - it might be helpful to either give you time alone with your eldest, or maybe better yet, take them for field trips out of the house.

Do NOT fall into the trap of 1) visitors who overstay their welcome or 2) hold the babies to allow you to vacuum, etc. Your job for the first few weeks PP at least are to recover and park yourself on the couch and nurse if you're breastfeeding and so inclined. My twins and I spent so much time there in our first few weeks I'm surprised I don't still have an EZ2Nurse imprint. I learned to sleep with it and the babes around me.

Food was a big issue for us. One of my mom's friends brought a full dinner once a week for four weeks. It was fantastic! There's never enough help on that score.

On the other hand, my aunt got me a night nurse for a couple nights a week for a couple weeks. She was nice and maybe helped out a little, but it was a waste for us.

It's all going to be OK. If you're lucky, you'll have some good memories of snuggling babies. Before you know it you'll be longing for more (there are moments when I am!)

Mom to : Belle and Izzy
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#8 of 11 Old 06-12-2009, 08:46 AM
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I didn't have to ask for help; I was lucky. My husband just started his job and worked all different hours everyday. My Mom took 2 weeks off from her job to come and stay with me. My one sister, who had older children, came on the weekends. My other sister and my brothers and their wives helped out with the meals. One of my brothers and sister-in-law did come and stay one night with me. I liked and appreciated all of my help. The best thing for me was the meals. It was also nice having someone here so I could shower. My house was also very clean! My family also helped out when our youngest daughter was born. My sister came and spent the weekend with us to help out with our twins and of course to spoil the baby. My house was also clean then and I appreciated all of the food they all brought. My family helped by cleaning both times when I was pregnant and after having our twins and our daughter. I am blessed having a great family!
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#9 of 11 Old 06-24-2009, 12:18 AM
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SuzyQ, I saved your great list!

I'm not sure when help will arrive, but I don't feel like I had the right KIND of help last time. Mom was around for a month, and not only was it too long, but she didn't really do what we needed her to do. She did what she thought she needed to do. I didn't feel comfortable telling her what I needed.

This time around I'm not having family come until September (my due "date" is 8/30). I think we need bonding time initially and help that comes w/o emotional baggage and strings. Hopefully we can afford a PP doula if need be.

It's tricky for me... I'd rather have my ILs here longer and I'd be fine with them being around near/during/shortly after the birth. But that'd hurt my mom too badly, and I love her too much to do that to her.

So, I'm feeling a bit stuck about it all. But we do have good friends that hopefully we can count on for freezer meals, taking DD off our hands some, etc. I think I'll put $$ for cleaning services on my wish list.

Kimberly, mom & wife - blogging.jpg about pregnancy and birth
DD 2004; 3 angel1.gif babies 2007-08; rainbow1284.gif twin DDs 2009; DD 7/12/11 hospital uhoh3.gif VBAC bouncy.gifafter 2 cesareans!

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#10 of 11 Old 06-25-2009, 02:53 PM
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When they were 4 months we found a cleaning lady. Other than that, i had a few 2-3 day stays from my mom or my aunt. Dh went back to work when I was still in the hospital.

Miriam , mom to jumpers.gif
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#11 of 11 Old 06-26-2009, 04:06 AM
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I didn't have a lot of help, sadly I just don't have many friends here, and my family is FAR away.

The biggest thing I needed was FOOD. Any kind of food. With one baby in the hospital for 2 weeks after they were born (the other came home with me), I was always running. My neighbors were kind enough to bring dinners the first 10 days or so, but then we were left alone. Even to have snacks for my ds or for us to eat on the run would have been nice. My MIL used to come over on Saturdays when my dh was at work and bring a take and bake pizza. I was always SOOOOOO happy to see her. At least we were going to have one hot meal that day. She has a hard time getting around sometimes, and babies were small all winter, so mostly she was only able to come on weekends and hold babies for a couple of hours. It was such a huge help.

I do have a nanny, who does laundry and dishes when she gets a chance. She was and is a huge help, she at least helps me stay on top of things during the week when I'm at the office. It was a bit depressing, though, for her to be able to come in, settle everyone in a matter of minutes and then clean my kitchen while they slept and my 4yo was engaged in a cool art project. I felt pretty inadequate for a while.

At any rate, I digress. I would say food is the biggest thing, and then laundry/dishes. It's amazing how fast those things pile up, and how little opportunity you have to deal with them.

Denise, mama to ds1 (03/26/05) and boy/girl twins born 08/12/08
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