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Old 26-09-2010, 11:25   #1
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Expecting Twins

So we're expecting 2 new crew around the beginning of December. A boy and a girl. For the past 4 years we've lived aboard our 31 footer here in Vancouver. If possible we'd like to continue doing so. For the sake of this thread, lets pretend that we're not crazy and this can actually be accomplished

I'm wondering if anybody who's been there can offer some tips on what kind of gear we're going to need? Given our space constraints an SUV sized double stroller isn't going to be an option. With most literature geared towards house dwellers it's difficult to know what is really essential.

We'd really appreciate some advice. I know nothing.


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Old 26-09-2010, 11:51   #2
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We've got a two month old onboard. She's been on the boat since we got back from the hospital. My wife has done quite a few blog entries on life with a baby onboard. Right now she's sleeping up in the v berth before her next feeding!

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Old 26-09-2010, 11:52   #3
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Congratulations! When my son was born (almost thirty years ago) I was a vagabond with no desire to settle down so he lived the first year of his life out of a van. We were in a very moderate climate. One thing I can tell you is you don't really need that much when they are very young. Once they start to crawl it begins to change but babies are remarkably easy to look after. Personally I would want to have a good system for keeping them afloat (face up of course) should disaster befall your tender and can't make any suggestions on that front. You will not believe how many diapers you are going to use so you may find your laundry needs change. The little things are burping, pissing and shitting machines. You will need a place for them to hang out where they can't roll off when you're not looking - even at anchor. If I was going to sail with babies I would build a cradle that is fixed in some way.

You'll likely find a lot of people thinking what you're proposing is crazy. Even as land locked vagabond I found that but remember people managed with their babies long before the this society decided everything has to be sanitized, homogenized and free from all possible dangers.
“We are the universe contemplating itself” - Carl Sagan

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Old 26-09-2010, 12:22   #4
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Originally Posted by hummingway View Post
... remember people managed with their babies long before the this society decided everything has to be sanitized, homogenized and free from all possible dangers.
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Old 26-09-2010, 12:53   #5
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Congratulations! The challenge of twins in general is completely separate from the challenges of living afloat. So don't let people psyche you out of living how you choose. Our son (who is now 6) was brought home from the hospital to our boat and now we are expecintg #2... well... technically tomorrow! (I am HUGE!)

A baby carrier of choice will be your best friend... we love Ergo carriers, infant slings, etc. That was you will have hands free to get you and stuff on and off the boat while baby is snug and happy next to you. We never had a stroller, any kind of crib/ swing/ pack'n'play or baby containing device, etc etc.

What babies do need are two loving attentive parents, two milky boobs there when they need them, and some place to hang out close to mom and dad like a sling or ergo carrier. Our son slept our berth (where he stayed until just about a month ago when my belly got too big). That way the mama comfort and the milk is there on the ready and the whole family is safe, cozy and warm. For naps I'd nurse him down in our berth then stretch a lee cloth of sorts across so he couldn't fall/ crawl out while I kept busy during those precious free hours.

Anyhow, rather than going on and on here, feel free to email us or check out the blog link below with any questions. I REALLY REALLY hope to be going in to labor in the next day or so, but I will get back to you I promise!
all the best
Cindy (schoonerdog's wife)
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Old 27-09-2010, 08:49   #6
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Thanks guys. I've been reading through your blogs - very interesting. Sounds like today might be a big day Cindy! Good luck!

In particular we're wondering about sleeping arrangements. There's plenty of room on the other side of our v-berth for babies to sleep, but do they need some kind of enclosure around them?

And I've heard a rumor that babies need their diapers changed. The chart table looks promising, but do they need to be strapped down or somehow restrained so they don't roll off?

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Old 27-09-2010, 10:31   #7
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Congrats! woohooooooooo

How about hammocks?
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Old 27-09-2010, 11:31   #8
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It was back in the 70's but friends had built an Endurance 35 and were fitting out in Reed Point Marina in Burnaby BC when the wife fell pregnant. Rather than postponing their offshore plans they finished their prep work and left on schedule. Baby was born in Hawaii and spent his first 2 years in a hammock and survived hurricane Paul in Cabo back in the early eighties, the same one that beached Bernard Moitessier's steel ketch. They sailed up to San Francisco were we got re-aquainted. Their young lad was so agile that by the time he was three or 4, he got around below decks by swinging from handholds the length of the boat and took great delight in shinnying up the mast using only his feet and the main halyard! What a wonderful, well adjusted little guy! Congrats and go for it! Capt Phil
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Old 27-09-2010, 12:03   #9
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Conragtulations, we, too, have twins, boy and girl they are now 1 1/2 (as well as their triplet brother who came out two years earlier due to the miracles of freezing embryos) and a joy to us. We however do not have a boat yet, I am currently in a sailing club and am awaiting our time to cruise when I retire in two years, till then I am lurking and trying to learn as much as I can. As far as a handy twin stroller that won't break the bank, will fold away flat so as to not take up much room, we love our bike trailer! It is convertible and the backrest lies flat to enable them to lie flat as well, or sleep, (you could fashion a wedge from foam to allow them to lay at an incline if you were so inclined ) it is way easy to push or pull and or attach to a bike, the tires hold about 75 psi or so and if you pump em up it really cuts down on the rolling resistance. It's called an 'Instep' and can be found at Sport Chalet or online at various places. Hoping your adventure is as rewarding as ours! (the first year is the worst, don't expect much sleep if you get their schdules out of whack.)

MaD CAB (Miho and David, Cody, Addison, Branden)
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Old 27-09-2010, 12:21   #10
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We slept with ours,

in a family bed, though many are against it and it can carry risks like rolling over on them etc, there are also risks of S.I.D. (many cases assumed to be parents suffocating child in sleep, but) 'THEY" also caution against baby sleeping on stomach ('Back To Sleep' being the their catch phrase) , the other assumed cause of S.I.D. but, I have always been a very light sleeper with little ones in the house, and have been known to rouse from completely asleep to instantly catching an infant from rolling off the bed/couch, whereever naptime found us. Our little ones all insisted on sleeping on their stomachs and it was sure handy to sense them rolling over while still asleep and being able to roll them back over without having to get up. Plus Miho (Mama) nursed for the first 6 mos., so it was way easier for her to grab stirring/squalling child and stuff its mouth with food without having to really awaken.

#2 my wife is japanese and does many things (eating, paying bills, etc) as a norm, from a seated position in the floor, like changing diapers, and that makes me feel comfortable as well, as I don't worry about the babies falling off whatever they were placed upon.

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Old 27-09-2010, 12:35   #11
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As to diaper changes, I can almost guarantee you will end up changing them on the settee while you sit or on your berth. Strapping them down while changing gives you a false sense of security. Yes, they will roll but you will be there to stop them from doing any harm. I promise your son will at some point spray down your headliner.

If they are sleeping in the V berth, you only need to enclose the open end. Go to Target and have a look at the portable cribs. They ar emade of nylon and nylon mesh. It would be very simple to make an end lee cloth for the v berth. Just make sure you have the sides attached to the bulkhead so there are no gaps for a baby to slip his/her head through.

For tiny babies, you can always attach an Arms Reach Cocoon via carabiner to the cabin top. Voila- instant gimballed sea cradle. We were going to do this but we aren't moving aboard for quite some time due to unexpected repairs. You will need to make a brace for the top of the cradle- a wooden dowel with 3 holes drilled will work. One carabiner on each side of the bottom to clip the cradle and one carabiner on top to attach to the padeye.

RE: CoSleeping- I think you will find that cosleeping is associated in baby deaths when A: drugs or alcohol are used, B: too much soft bedding is used C: Mom or Dad smokes in bed and D: a caregiver other than mom is sleeping with the baby. If you want to consider cosleeping, here's some information to help you do it safely and to put your mind at ease: SAFE SLEEPING WITH YOUR BABY - THE LATEST RESEARCH
S/V Ceol Mor
42 Nassau Undergoing refit in Kemah, Tx
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Old 29-09-2010, 10:01   #12
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Our two babies arrived a couple years apart, but we were also living aboard before their births. As infants, baskets with high sides were placed within our quarter berth and then they shared the V-berth of our 33' sloop with a barrier as described by Mimsy above. From first crawling to first steps we left them on the floor with a quilt for the day. You can't fall off the floor! When my wife and I first moved to the quarter berth I had plans to remodel the area and enlarge the bed, but by the time my planning was finished, we had adapted to the small space. When our son and daughter were seven and nine years old, we bought a larger boat with an aft cabin that we split port & starboard. This gave them their own small private cabins through their teenage years. We had always planned the freedom and independance that comes with living aboard and cruising. The relationship within our family that evolved with solving problems and communicating within a small living space was a wonderful bonus.
Take care and joy, Aythya crew
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Old 29-09-2010, 10:30   #13
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I'm a dad of boy-girl twins, now 9. My advice, worth what you paid for it: Sleep for you may well be your biggest problem. The tight space of a 31' monohull is great for keeping the kids controlled, but twins had a way of demanding attention in shifts. One always needs something. You can try to get them on the same schedule for feedings, naps, etc, but this is extremely difficult to maintain. Your best option is to work in shifts yourselves. But on such a small boat, the "off" parent will have a hard time being truly isolated from baby issues. I like the idea of netting or other barriers to control movement once the babies are a little older. I can also recommend the Baby Einstein series. There's no real Einstein effect, but the colors, shapes and music will keep baby's attention. That's another challenge--keeping the baby's mind working. You'll need lots of toys and other stimuli because you can't take the baby for a walk and a change of scenery. As the babies get older and more mobile, this will be your greatest challenge. After about two years, twins start getting easier than singletons because they play with each other and they have learned by necessity to do things like eat independently.

Congrats & best of luck!

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Old 30-09-2010, 15:26   #14
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Congrats! Babies are a lot of work, but they are wonderful, kissable little creatures!

Originally Posted by Sonrisa View Post
do they need some kind of enclosure around them?
I'm working on making a custom leecloth/enclosure that will work as a "crib" for our seaberth for our little one. I'll have updates on it on our blog once it's done. Feel free to follow along as I work through it.

Originally Posted by Sonrisa View Post
And I've heard a rumor that babies need their diapers changed. The chart table looks promising, but do they need to be strapped down or somehow restrained so they don't roll off?
I agree with Mimsy. This has been an ongoing source of frustration on our boat. We started by changing her in her seaberth but I quickly realized how frustrating it was for me because a) she's perpendicular to me and I can't quite see everything I need to wipe and b) there's no light in the bunk so at night I have to switch on a main cabin light and then my body blocks the light as I lean into her bunk.

I bought a $6.00 inflatable changing pad from Ikea and now sit it on our settee but it's not optimal. I think eventually we may move to the cabin sole once she can roll, wriggle, sit up and move around.
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Old 30-09-2010, 17:30   #15
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I must have PMS because this post almost had me in tears! How exciting for you and I just told my fiance how wonderful it is to see young families breaking free of life in suburbia! Do go to (she left a comment earlier), she's a great blogger and will most certainly have some answers for you. I love the idea of a hammock, but recently I couldn't find any information on them when a couple asked me to sew a 'boat crib' for them. I got the crib made but it takes up a whole bunk on a larger boat than you have. Best wishes to you!! My middle daughter was born in December (going on 24 years ago) and it was a wonderful time in my life. Keep us posted.

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