We can only imagine how happy and excited the Jolie-Pitt family must be with their new arrivals, Vivienne Marcheline and Knox Léon. However, we also know they must be feeling a few other things as well… like tired! To help them and their family get a little more peace and rest these first few manic weeks, we consulted some of our favorite baby care experts: Dr. Harvey Karp, author of The Happiest Baby on the Block, Cheryl Lage, author of Twinspiration: Real-Life Advice from Pregnancy through the First Year and Dr. William Sears, author of more than 30 parenting books, including The Baby Book. Here’s what they recommend for Angelina and Brad.
Click through to the next page for six great tips.
- Soothe them to sleep with swaddling and a white noise machine."Swaddle the twins tightly," advices Dr. Karp, whose 5 S’s of babycare– swaddling, side/stomach, sucking, shushing sounds and swinging –have been a lifesaver to many new moms. "And use a white noise machine.The best sound by far is the sound of the womb. Get that sound on a CDand have it repeat all night long." One benefit of this technique isthat it will allow Brad and Angelina to care for one twin while theother is still sleeping. It also will help them when they travel. "Thewhite noise becomes an auditory teddy bear," explains Dr. Karp. "Itwill create a sleeping tool they can use when they travel to calm thebabies to sleep where ever they may be." For Brad and Angelina, whohave other kids to care for as well, being able to soothe the twinswill be crucial.
- Set a schedule that works for you. "Every family needs tofind parenting practices and philosophies that work best for them whenamidst the first days, weeks and months with their twin infants," saysCheryl Lage, whose twins Darren and Sarah are 6-years-old now. Likemany twins, Knox and Vivienne arrived a little earlier than expected,and doctors often put smaller twins on a frequent feeding routine (likeevery 2.5 – 3 hours/24 hours). That’s what happened in Lage’s case."With that as the cornerstone for routine, we got into a predictablegroove that worked well for our babies, and us! For our family, tandemfeeding, followed up by diapering both, awake/play/stimulating timeafter that, and then a pre-next feed nap was the flow that worked wellin our house."
- If possible, feed the twins at the same time. As Lage foundfrom her own experience, "Whether by bottle or breast, feeding themtogether was a great togetherness time for us, and a means by which wecould try to get an extra 20-30 minutes extra rest each three hourrotation. For us, those occasional 10-20 minute cat naps whenever wecould finagle them were a lifesaver."
- Both parents can "nurse" a twin. "Nursing," says Dr. Sears,"doesn’t just mean feeding, but holding them, rocking them, etc." Thedifference between the roles of mom and dad is less obvious with twinsthat a single child. "Fathers get involved earlier, and the mothers letthem," he says. "It brings dads out of their parental shells."
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. All of our experts agree,no parent of newborn twins should feel badly about needing an extrapair of hands (or arms) during these early weeks. Or, as Dr. Karpsuggests, they could try a swing. "It will allow the twins to feel likethey’re being held while Angelina and Brad grab time with the otherkids."
- Think like a baby. "Here’s the best piece of advice," says Dr.Sears. "In any situation that requires action — for instance, one ofthe babies is crying — put yourself behind the eyes of the baby andask, ‘If I were the baby, what would I want the mom/dad to do?’ Andyour answer will always be right."
Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images.
Are there twins or multiples in your family? Leave your own tips and advice for Brad and Angelina!