Win a Two-Pack of Baby Dipper Bowls!

You know a product is going to be great when it’s designed by a mom. I recently confirmed this when I discovered the Baby Dipper bowl, which is a perfect example of Mom Ingenuity in action. Invented by a mother of two sets of young twins, it was her solution to the problem of trying to feed her big family — while keeping one hand free and her floors clean!

Barbara Schantz, inventor of the Baby Dipper bowl, describes how she came up with her fabulous idea: “I was thinking that to accomplish one-handed feeding, the bowl should not slide around on the table, and it should aid in the collection of the baby food. A non-slip bottom surface would keep it from sliding. A sloped interior surface and a spoon-shaped collection point would help gather the food down to the last bite. Also, adding to those features, vertical sides would help push food onto the spoon and transparent sides would allow the food to be seen easily by both the parent and the child. The bowl I designed has proven to make feeding much easier for parents and even for toddlers trying to spoon-feed themselves. The Baby Dipper bowl is truly unique in the marketplace and hopefully will help parents everywhere.”

Barbara was kind enough to send me one of her bowls, and my boys thought it was so cool! It’s truly space-age looking, with its triangular design, nonstick base, sloping bottom, and curved spoon. I remember how many times our bowls ended up on the floor when my twins were small. This product would have been a real mess-saver for us! If you’re looking for a really unique and useful gift for someone who’s pregnant or has a baby, this fits the bill perfectly!

Conjoined Twins from Madagascar Are Successfully Separated

By Susan M. Heim

Twin boys from Madagascar, who were joined at the thorax and abdomen and shared a liver, were successfully separated at a Parisian hospital. Born on June 16, 2008, Imahagaga and Imahalatsa endured a four-hour operation by a team of 20 people from France and Madagascar. According to an Associated Press article, conjoined male twins occur in 1 in 150,000 births. The boys will stay in Paris with their single mother until the summer of 2009.

The TwinsTalk Parent Blogger Badges Are Here!

Are you a blogger? Do you write about your experiences with raising multiples? Would you like to get more publicity and traffic to your site? Send me 2-3 sentences about your blog, along with the URL, and I will visit your blog. If I agree that it’s a great place for parents of twins and multiples to visit, you will be awarded an official TwinsTalk Parent Blogger badge to place on your site. You’ll also be listed on the Links page of TwinsTalk, and I’ll mention your blog in the next newsletter that goes out after you receive the award. I know that many of you have some terrific blogs about parenting multiples. This is another great way for parents of twins to find each other and connect. Send your URL and description to me through the “Contact” page.

Happy Parenting!

Susan M. Heim

Founder, TwinsTalk

Pregnant? 3 Signs You Might Be Expecting Twins

From Parents.com

Like many women, I first learned I was pregnant when my home pregnancy test was positive. To confirm the results, I went to my doctor for a blood draw. The next day, he called and said something I’ll never forget: “Yes, you’re pregnant. In fact, your hormone levels are so high, we just don’t know how many are in there.”

Those jarring words were my first indication that I might be pregnant with twins — news that was officially confirmed four weeks later at my first ultrasound.

Although women expecting twins and multiples may experience a varied range of symptoms — just like women with singleton pregnancies do — there are some early signs that can indicate you’re carrying more than one baby.

Blood Test Results

As in my case, elevated levels of the hormone hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) in the blood may indicate that you’re pregnant with twins. If these numbers seem to spike in an early test, you could be having more than one baby — but it’s not definitive.

“Twin pregnancies often have increased blood hCG titers, but so do sometimes singleton pregnancies,” says Amos Grunebaum, M.D., director of obstetrics and the chief of labor and delivery at New York-Presbyterian, a professor at Weill Cornell Medical College, and a medical health advisor for Fairhaven Health. “There is a wide range of normal hCG titers both for twins and singletons, and it’s impossible to be sure it’s twins even when the early hCG titers are elevated.”

Exaggerated Pregnancy Symptoms

When you consider that many pregnancy symptoms are related to hormonal changes in the expecting woman’s body, it stands to reason that mamas expecting twins — who have even more substantial hormonal changes — may experience more severe symptoms.

“When a woman is pregnant with twins, she’s at a higher risk for many things happening, over [one who is pregnant with] singletons,” says Christine Greves, M.D., ob-gyn at Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies in Orlando. “For example, due to the elevated pregnancy hormone bhCG, she may have more symptoms of nausea and vomiting than a woman carrying only one baby.”

In fact, women who are carrying twins may be more likely to suffer from the extreme version of morning sickness called hyperemesis gravidarum, which is when nausea and vomiting is so severe that a woman may need intravenous fluids and other assistance, Dr. Greves says.

How an Au Pair Provides Great Child Care Help for Twins

Raising twins can be an exciting adventure, but it can also present many unexpected challenges. To make sure each child receives individual attention, and to help with the increased responsibility, some parents are inviting international au pairs to live in their homes and provide care for their twins.

An au pair is a young adult from another country who lives with your family and provides in-home childcare services. Au pairs work up to 45 hours per week, in exchange for the opportunity to live with an American family. Because au pairs provide live-in childcare, they offer more flexibility and can care for your children at times that accommodate your family’s schedule.

Parents of twins face challenges parents of single children do not, including increased competition for a parent’s time, helping more than one child through key developmental phases at the same time, increased costs associated with food, activities, and child care, and the tendency to think of twins as a group, as opposed to individuals. Au pairs help parents with daily child care related tasks, while providing emotional support and individualized attention for young twins. Au pairs are also affordable — the average cost of an au pair is approximately $8 per hour, regardless of how many children they care for in one family.

How an Au Pair Helps Raise Twins

Au pairs are an affordable child care option that does not cost extra per child. Au pair rates remain the same regardless of how many children a family has.

Au pairs provide an extra set of eyes, ears and hands to help change diapers, push strollers, feed, potty train, fold clothes, wash bottles, travel, and supervise multiples.

Au pairs can offer additional emotional support to both parents and children, allowing each group the opportunity to take a “time out” when needed.

Au pairs can take twins on special outings one at a time, to encourage individuality.

“As a mother of five children, including twins, I can say that having an au pair was invaluable, and at times we couldn’t have done it without her extra set of hands,” said Heidi Woehl, vice president of AuPairCare. “Whether it’s pushing a second grocery cart around the store or traveling with the family to visit grandparents, our au pair was able to step in whenever an extra adult was needed.”

AuPairCare is a leading au pair agency providing affordable live-in childcare services to American families since 1989. Designated by the U.S. Department of State, AuPairCare offers superior childcare to fit families’ unique needs. To find an au pair to fit your family’s needs, call 1(800) 428-7247 or visit www.aupaircare.com.