Possible improvements to the design of Baby 1.0

Feeding Reuben while holding Joshua
Me, feeding Reuben on Christmas Day while holding Joshua.

Wow! Can it really be one month since I last posted anything on this blog?! It’s not that there’s been nothing to blog about, it’s just that … <whispers>twins are rather time consuming</whispers>. Woah! There’s an understatement if ever I read one.

If you want more regular updates then check out my Twitter feed; if even has an RSS feed (if that means anything to you — if not, check out the BBC News feeds page for an explanation).

Words of wisdom

Now, before Reuben and Joshua emerged into this world last month I received the following two comments from friends. Sophia, who has twin daughters, wrote

The first few months can be very, very hard with twins and I found that people who had had only one really couldn’t understand that.

Louise, who has younger twin brothers, wrote

I have some experience of twin boys… My word, you are in for a shock! I think ‘relentless’ is the word I would use…

Adventure

Joshua smilingTomorrow it will be six weeks since Reuben and Joshua (pictured right) were born and what an amazing adventure we’ve all been on.

Some days have been great, straight forward and relatively uneventful. The boys have fed well, gone down to sleep quickly and slept for hours, repeat. Other days, however, have very, very difficult. The boys have been unsettled, been out of sync with their feeding and have kept us up for hours at night. Two to three hours sleep just isn’t enough!

Someone at work asked me, “Do they wake at the same time at night?”

I said, “No, but Jane and I do!”

But you know, overall … overall it’s been amazing and continues to be so.

We have two beautiful boys (they’ll not like being called that all their lives!) and two of the most content babies I’ve ever encountered. They really have made life so much easier for these n00b parents.

I’ve had such an amazing day with them today. This morning I sent Jane to bed because she was fighting some sickness bug that I think she must have picked up from my brother on Boxing Day, while Reuben, Joshua and I worked out together how they could be fed by me on my own.

A lot of people have asked “How do you cope with two at once?” The simple answer is that we don’t know any different.

Reuben
Reuben looking serious, lying on his play mat.

Possible improvements

Over the last few weeks, however, I’ve been taking notes. There are one or two things that I’ve noticed could be improved with the basic design of the human baby.

Handle

The most obvious is a handle. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a handle on their back! Obviously, it would have to be recessed so that it didn’t hurt when they lay down, but when required it could be pulled out and the baby could be more easily and securely held.

In the womb a baby has an umbilical cord. This is used for a short season and then is removed. Well, their handle could be the same, and comes away after say 6 months.

Valve

Speaking of the umbilical cord, it would be really useful if a small portion of it could be retained after birth onto which a small valve is fitted. This could be used during feeding, as the current ‘burping’ or ‘winding’ techniques aren’t the most efficient.

What would be easier and quicker, sitting the baby up and rubbing and patting its back for 5-10 minutes or simply releasing a small valve on their umbilical cord stump, a bit like ‘bleeding’ a radiator? (We’d need to find another term as ‘bleeding’ the baby would attract the attention of the social services, methinks!)

Dashboard

But when would you know when to use it, I hear you ask. Well, that brings me to my next design improvement. How about a dashboard on the baby’s chest? I suggest the following dials:

  • Fuel
    Empty on one side, full on the other. Never miss a feed again, or give one too late.
  • Pressure
    Now you can easily determine when the baby needs winded. (See valve above.)
  • Rev counter
    How upset is the baby really? With a rev counter you could quickly tell at a glance
  • Temperature
    A few times we’d have saved ourselves half an hour trying to work out why Joshua was crying when all he needed was to be wrapped in a blanket. A temperature gauge would have been a time-saver.

Further inventions

Another couple of ideas we’ve had … I say ‘we’, I really just mean a couple of ideas that I’ve had and Jane’s humoured me.

Drip feed

Night feeds are tiring on parents. At the moment our mid-night feed can happen anywhere from 01:45 to 03:00. That’s a grim timeslot. You certainly won’t find me at my best should you roll up at our front door at that time.

How much easier if you could double-nappy the babies then fit them up with some kind of intravenous drip of infant formula milk! Or something. (Seriously though, don’t try this at home!)

But wouldn’t that be much easier!

GM cows

Now, I realise that the whole GM topic is still a tad controversial, but has anyone considered developing GM cows to produce infant formula?

Just another wee, free thought from me for some boffin to boot around with his mates.

Published by

Gareth Saunders

I’m Gareth J M Saunders, 47 years old, 6′ 4″, father of 3 boys (including twins). Latterly, web architect and agile project manager at the University of St Andrews and warden at Agnes Blackadder Hall. Currently on sabbatical. I am a priest in the Scottish Episcopal Church, and I sing with the NYCGB alumni choir.

2 thoughts on “Possible improvements to the design of Baby 1.0”

  1. Great to see the progress the boys have made already, and that you have retained your sense of humour through it all. All useful, if a tad impractical, ideas!

    Hope you have a quiet few days and Jane recovers with rest. Do you notice any change in the boys reaction to you when you spend more time with them or feed them?

  2. Thanks Roger, we’ve noticed so many changes in the last six weeks, it’s amazing. Every week we’ve remarked on how they’ve changed.

    The health visitor was in just now and they are now around the 10lbs mark, Joshua just under, Reuben just over.

    I’m not sure about their reactions though. They certainly seem to be settled and comfortable with us, and are now beginning to get smiles from them which aren’t simply an indication of their needing winded, which has been lovely.

    Feeding is great, because they spend much of the time just staring into your eyes. Good bonding times with the boys those.

    You must come over some time and meet them in person. It would be lovely to see you.

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