Kanika Chadda Gupta

twins

My Hospital Essentials

 

After three kids and two pregnancies, I’ve learned exactly what is needed on d-day (aka your baby’s date of delivery!) During my twin pregnancy, I hurriedly packed a bag at 3 am when my water broke. Talk about hectic! But with baby #3, I was better prepared since I knew what was useful during my stay and what wasn’t. This video is all about my hospital bag essentials.

Here’s a list of products for mom and baby.

Products for Mom:

Products for Baby:

I am a minimalist so didn’t want to overpack with items that weren’t necessary. What items did you pack for your big day that I didn’t mention? Leave them in the comment section below. Thank you Mamas!

5 Parenting Tips When Raising Twins

 

The ultrasound technician rolled the probe over my baby bump and said “I see two heartbeats. You’re expecting twins!”

My husband and I nearly fell out of our seats. We looked at each other in disbelief and then back at the sonogram screen feeling a surge of emotions at once – joy, shock, gratitude. We always wanted a big family so having two babies in one pregnancy certainly put us on the fast track.

My boy-girl twins are a year old now and I’ve learned so much since the day they were born. From double strollers to tandem breastfeeding, tummy time to their first steps, we’ve all grown as a family and I have to say I’ve become well-attuned to their needs and am always thinking two steps ahead!

Here are my top 5 tips on what to do when raising two:

1. Have your babies follow the same schedule.

If you ask any parent of multiples, they’ll tell you this is a cardinal rule to follow from day one. Imagine this: it takes up to an hour for just one feeding, and newborns feed every 2 – 4 hours. Then they burp. Then they need a diaper change and go back sleep. And the cycle continues. If you were to do this back-to-back day and night, you would never get a break!

In the beginning, I breastfed my twins simultaneously (using a Twin Z pillow) and once they outgrew it, I breastfeed one while my husband/nanny/family member gave the other a bottle. That way, their feeding and sleeping routine was in sync. The same went for bath time, play time, etc. As toddlers, they have grown accustomed to doing everything together. They both wake up at 7 am, nap from 12 – 3 pm, and wind down for bedtime around 7 pm, with their breakfast/lunch/dinner, bottle feeds, bath time, and play time allotted for. I put a printout of their schedule on our fridge so that everyone knows what the twins are up to, which has made life so much easier.

2. Assemble your village.

Sure you may want to prove to the world that you can handle child rearing all on your own, but believe me, you’ll be tired, cranky, and won’t be able to give your 100%. The better care you take of yourself, the better caretaker you’ll be for your family.

I have been fortunate to have a husband who enjoys being a hands-on superdad. He does diaper changes better than anyone (no leaks!), orders their baby products on time (thank you Amazon subscribe and save), and reads books to them before bedtime with sound effects and Hindi translations to boot. Ask your partner to partake in all the childcare duties. It’ll help build a stronger relationship between the two of you and the kids will be thankful for that quality time.

If you’re a working mom, hire a nanny or opt for daycare. Our nanny works on weekdays and some weekends and has helped look after our twins since the day they came home from the hospital. That familiarity is key as they are so comfortable with her and adore her. We are eternally grateful to her and trust her with what’s most precious in our life – our kids.

Lastly, have your family members get involved. We live a stroller ride away from my in-laws; Our kids’ faces light up when they go to Dadaji and Dadiji’s place. My sister visits on her free weekends and my parents come stay with us when they can. Any help is a huge load off your shoulders, so don’t hesitate to ask your family and friends to come by for play time so you can take a nap or have them bring over food so you won’t have to cook. And don’t forget to thank them and return the favor in any way you can.

3. You actually don’t need two of everything.

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to go on a crazy shopping spree buying two of everything. There are some essentials that you’ll have to double up on like diapers, clothes, bottles, bouncers (we bottle-fed them at the same time this way when they were infants), and high chairs, but there are other baby items where you can get by with just one. For instance, there are strollers on the market, like this one, that are versatile because they can convert from a single stroller to a double stroller (be it for twins or if you have a newborn and toddler). We have one baby tub, one jumper, one walker, and one of each toy, and guess what, they have to take turns and learn to share.

Don’t get me wrong, our kids have their moments where they fight over the same puzzle or blocks, but we let them resolve their issue on their own rather than mediating every single time. It’s the only way they’ll learn to compromise as adults and meet each other halfway.

4. Allow them to embrace their innate bond.

The bond between twins is so unique. From womb-mates to roommates, they understand each other like no one else and can truly feel what the other feels. My husband and I always thought this was special and try to capture photos of them interacting, whether they’re giggling together or giving each other high-fives.

When our kids were newborns, our pediatrician told us they should sleep in separate cribs. Somehow this didn’t sit well with me. They were together in my belly for so long, I couldn’t bear to separate them in the outside world. So I went with my gut and swaddled them and laid them to sleep side by side (this was not a SIDS risk since they were not able to take their arms out of their swaddles or roll over at this time). They looked so peaceful and content sleeping this way. Twins have an innate connection so allow them to embrace their bond; it’ll last a lifetime/.

5. Encourage them to develop a sense of individuality.

I feel I may have an easier time with this since I have boy-girl (fraternal) twins. Since they are physically different, it’s natural to accept their different tastes and interests. My son loves eggs, aloo parathas, and blueberries; my daughter likes to eat daal chawal, string cheese, and apples. My son loves kicking his toy soccer ball and playing with cars and trucks while my daughter prefers musical toys and her mini laptop. It’s fascinating to see what they gravitate towards and how they’re happy playing with their chosen toys on their own.

Lumping your twins together as one unit, especially if they’re identical, may create a complex later on. Pay heed to the foods and toys they like. Also, accept that they may be different weights and heights and reach milestones at various times. They are still two distinct human beings with different DNA. They shouldn’t be attached at the hip or be forced to do the same things. Instead, allow them to shine as individuals with their unique preferences and opinions.

I hope these tips were helpful to you and remember, go easy on yourself, trust your gut, and enjoy the ride, you supermom of multiples!

Soon to Be Party of Five!

It has caught us by surprise that after our twins, I am now expecting baby #3. A lot of friends have warned, advised, and damn-near scared me about what it’s like having three kids under the age of two (the twins and our littlest one will be 18 months apart), but my husband and I are bracing ourselves for the adventure that lies ahead. 

Here are a few checklist items we got started on since we found out the good news:

Organizing our Hand-Me-Downs. Since we have boy-girl twins, we already have every single piece of clothing (blue or pink) along with toys and essentials for each milestone from newborn on up. Whew! I organized the twins’ clothes in separate bins (I love these Container Store Long Underbed boxes), which I labeled (0-3 months, 3-6 months, etc.). Easily being able to find what we need will be super handy when our baby arrives.

Be Prepared for Anything. Since this isn’t my first rodeo, it’ll be interesting to see the nuances of this baby’s needs vs. our twins how our twins were at that age (e.g. will the child take to a pacifier or not? Will he/she sleep through the night? Will he/she take to breastfeeding?) I am prepared for anything. Our twins are already so different, whether they’re gravitating to various toys (Suhana loves books, Krish likes playing with his toy basketball and soccer ball) or soothing mechanisms (Suhana likes to be held with her hair stroked and Krishie prefers his pacifier and falling asleep being rocked in the glider), so we know baby #3 is going to come with his/her own personality and preferences.

Go On a Couple’s Getaway. We aren’t doing a babymoon since we don’t want to the leave the kids for too long, so my husband and I are doing a mini spa retreat over a weekend. I can’t wait to relax, indulge in prenatal massages, and relish our adult conversation which won’t be centered around questions like, “did you remember to order the size 5 overnight diapers for next month?”

Book a Family Vacation. We are booking our very first beach vacation this summer prior to the baby’s arrival. Our twins were only 6-months-old last summer and weren’t quite sitting up so we avoided taking them to the beach. (Can you just picture them doing tummy time in the sand. No thanks!) So this year, I am very excited to be taking them on this trip where they’ll to explore unchartered waters (literally!) and we enjoy quality time as a family. 

If you all have any tips on what else to do prior to baby #3 arriving, please leave them in the comments below. Any advice is welcome! Thank you for you good wishes!

Our Twins 1st Birthday Bash

Ahh…the joys of party planning! In the age of Pinterest, Instagram, and Etsy, it seems parties, whatever the occasion (birthdays, bridal showers, bachelorettes), are on steroids. I knew what I was getting into when I decided to throw our twins a themed 1st birthday, and now that it’s all said and done, I have to admit it was well worth it. We have memories and beautiful photos to last a lifetime and most importantly our friends and family from far and wide got to celebrate the little ones who have made us a family.

Our theme for our boy-girl twins was Ties & Tutus. (So cute, right?) I created a Google doc of all the logistics and am sharing all the vendors we used for their special day.

Invitation
If you haven’t heard of Fiverr, your world is about to change. Fiverr is a marketplace of graphic designers, video editors, and other creative professionals you can hire based on their portfolios and reviews. I wanted my twins birthday invite to look like a chalkboard with pops of baby pink and blue and came up with a concept that my designer Sachi executed to a T. She specializes in kids invitations which is big plus.
Graphic Designer: diplomadon

Venue
Since we were expecting 75+ guests, my husband and I decided it would be best to have the kids’ party at a venue which allowed for catering rather than hosting at home. Big win! I just googled “clubhouse New Jersey” and happened upon a place called The Clubhouse in Montclair, NJ. It was perfect. I love the industrial interiors, which appealed to the adults. Someday, we’d like to go there for a get-together with friends and actually make use of the pool table, darts, and the private theatre upstairs. The event manager was extremely helpful throughout the booking process (you have to register for insurance and sign a contract to reserve your date) and the staff member who helped us on-site the day of was excellent.
The Clubhouse, Montclair, NJ

Catering
Our cuisine of choice was Mediterranean – it’s healthy, flavorful, and has plenty of options for non-vegetarians and vegetarians alike. Once we reserved our venue, I was on a hunt to find a restaurant nearby and came across Mediterranea. My family and I reserved a tasting session with the chef a few weeks prior to select our menu. We decided on the following:

  • Greek Salad
  • Falafel with Tatziki Sauce
  • Cheese & Spinach Borak (phyllo rolls)
  • Hummus and Pita Bread
  • Chicken Shawarma
  • Mussakah (sauteed eggplant, zucchini, onions, tomatoes)
  • Rice Pulao

For the kids, we ordered a few large pies of pizza. 
Mediterranea, Villa Victoria Pizzeria

Entertainment
Since we had a winter birthday party, our entertainment was confined to indoors. We wanted to cater to our kids who were 1-year-old up to kids who were 5. I was referred to a company called Parties for Peanuts which has characters (Elsa, Paw Patrol, Elmo, you name it!) who do circle time music, balloon making, the parachute game, and face-painting. We chose Daniel Tiger, my kids’ favorite and ours too since my hubby and I grew up watching Mr. Rogers. He was a hit!
Parties for Peanuts

Cake
We had two separate cakes rather than a 2-tier that way each kid got to cut their own cake and have “Happy Birthday” sung to them. Krish’s cake was a butter cream and fondant chocolate cake with vanilla icing. Suhana’s cake had rosettes made of butter cream; it was a yellow cake with raspberry and white chocolate ganache filling. We ordered custom tutu and bow-tie sugar cookies that were a nice touch on the desserts table. Everything was delicious!
Pink Petals Cakes

Photographer
I can’t say enough about our photographer, Melissa of Little Spoon Events. Not only does she take stunning photos and specializes in kids photo shoots and events, she was my right hand woman throughout the party and helped my vision come true. She had props for our dessert table, crafted poufs for our backdrops, had photo stands, our handmade cake toppers, the works! We’ve done several photo shoots with her including a holiday family shoot, the kids 1st portraits, and of course their big 1st birthday. We couldn’t be happier with the fun moments she’s captured for us.
Little Spoon Events

Decor
Decorating was the lion share of the planning, but it was only possible because of the amazing women who are so talented and crafty to bring my vision life! Here are a few of my favorite pieces.

Misc.
For all the extraneous items, my go-to shopping destinations were Amazon, Walmart and Michaels, Home Goods, and Trader Joe’s.

  • Amazon: Gold-trimmed plastic plates, Gold-trimmed plastic bowls, Gold plastic utensilsGoody Bags, Gold curling ribbon, Apothecary jar set
  • Walmart: Hershey kisses (2 lb. bags in pink, silver, and navy blue), 9 oz. clear Solo cups, 2 oz. clear Solo shot glasses, Sheer white curtain panels, White & black table cloths, Burners for buffet trays, Gold balloons, Pearl balloons
  • Michaels: Cookie packets, Jute twine string, Vase for Photo Booth props
  • Home Goods: White dessert trays, Cake stands, Ice buckets, Water Pitchers, Silver frames for printed signs
  • Trader Joe’s: Sparkling Lemonade & Pink Lemonade

Printed Signs
I designed the printed signs using Canva, an online portal for designing graphics, posters, and signs. We had signs that read Milk Shots, Photo Booth, Lunch is Served, and Sweets & Treats. Download the Photo Booth Printable I made for your upcoming event!

Enjoy birthday planning — these milestones go by in a flash! :)

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