Parenting During the Economic Collapse

Another follow-up for my visit with my daughter. I’ve realized that I ran pretty fast through the first months of Vlad’s and Anna’s life, focusing more on what was happening with the country. I didn’t write much about our everyday lives, and how it was – raising baby twins amid the economic collapse. 

There were many aspects of parenting, where I would make decisions in the survival mode, not because I liked a certain approach better, but because that was the only option. I do not have a lot of pictures from that time. I didn’t own a camera, and taking pictures was not an everyday activity. Boris would occasionally bring his camera with him, and then we would have a photo session. 

I do not see that much in the US, but when I was a young mother, it was a must to take your baby outside “for fresh air” for a couple of hours a day. A good mother was expected to take a baby “for a stroll” twice a day for two hours. Those were supposedly nap times. I’ve already described our elevators situation in one of the previous posts, so it was not an option for me. My solution was to install a double baby carriage at our balcony. It would not go through the doors anyway, so I could not use it for actual strolls. This way, Vlad and Anna could nap “outside.”

Many people asked me about breastfeeding twins and feeding twins in general. That was time before internet, and the Soviet Union had just collapsed, so there was not much literature on the subject available. I had Dr. Spock “Baby and Child Care” translated into Russian, and this book has a whole chapter of practical advice on the topic of raising twins. The book was written probably 30 years before that, which was great considering the unavailability of consumer goods in Russia back then. 

I do not have any pictures of me breastfeeding, but I did both babies simultaneously, in one of the positions, recommended by Dr. Spock. To the question of choice. I breastfed because there was no baby formula available for the first several months of the twins’ life. Pediatricians recommended starting solid food as early as four months because my breast milk had very little nutrition.

This picture shows how I was feeding Vlad and Anna when they were four or five months old. This arrangement was also from Dr. Spock’s book. I would sit them into small reclining chairs, which were placed on the sofa. I had two plastic cups, and I would put oatmeal into both of them (to take note of how much each of the babies ate). I would hold both cups by their handlers in my left hand, and I had a spoon in my right hand. I would feed both babies with one spoon but from their respective cups. 

That was a great idea, thank you, Dr. Spock, because I do not know how I would be able to manage otherwise! 

Vlad 4 months
Anna 4 months

My historical posts are being published in random order. Please refer to the page Hettie’s timeline to find where exactly each post belongs, and what was before and after.

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