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Mom Talk– Annie Johnson

September 18, 2023

Annie Johnson has her hands and heart full as a Mother to two twins and a teenager. Especially given that she works as well. In this edition of Mom Talk, we spoke to her about life, work, motherhood, parenting, and, of course, her twins’ favourite Sprout products. Read on for some practical parenting tips and insights.

Annie, tell us a bit about yourself, your family and your parenting journey.

I became a mother at the young age of 20. Our eldest daughter, Leah (who will be 16 in January) was born at a time when I was still finding myself as a young adult. Being a young mom meant I had to face all the challenges of raising a child whilst still studying and building my career. The sacrifices we made to give her a home and a sense of stability are the same reasons I had decided I was done having babies – until I turned 33 and realised that my window of opportunity was closing.

We made plans, but life is full of challenges. I struggled for a while to fall pregnant. We eventually conceived a baby boy, but his heart unfortunately stopped beating at 20 weeks. After 16 months of working to get physically and emotionally healthy, I finally fell pregnant again. I decided to take this pregnancy day by day and waited to see my gyne until I was 16 weeks pregnant. It was only at this point that we discovered we had been blessed with our twins Judah and Aviyah – a boy and a girl.

I’ve worked in the FMCG industry for over 13 years, first in sales then in Marketing and Brand Management which I continue to do now as a freelance marketing specialist. Luckily, I work from home, which means I can dedicate more time to raising our family.

What are some of the advantages and challenges you’ve faced having twins?

One major advantage of having twins, in my experience, is just witnessing the unique bond they share. From birth, you see their empathy for one another. They even try to comfort each other if they’re crying. They play together and motivate each other to reach their milestones. I get to experience the best of both worlds with two personalities that keep us laughing and full of love.

Sometimes, one baby will wake the other at night when crying, which is a challenge. As is comforting two babies who both want their mom at the same time. This leads to a lot of mom guilt. They love each other, but at this young age, they sometimes become jealous and fight. I feel that, as a twin mom, part of your rearing them is also nurturing a healthy relationship between them, whilst still empowering them to be who they are as individuals.

Do you have any clever hacks to make life easier as a parent of twins?

Have a routine. Be organised. Prepare.

My twins are on formula milk now, which means I have to make sure their bottles are clean and filled with water every morning, then ration their powder into compartments, ready to be added to their bottles at feeding time. I find that the best way to feed twins when you’re by yourself is to place them side by side on a pillow in front of you and have their dummies ready at hand. But there are times when side-by-side won’t work – like when one of them is crying. In such cases, be prepared to use your hands, legs, tummy, and any other part of your body to keep them safe and comfortable while they feed.

I also set up a changing station with everything I could possibly need nearby. They each have a mouth, face, and bum cloth hanging on the wall, and every changing product is within easy reach.

I often use my pram around the house as an extra set of hands as well. I know that I can safely place one or both twins into it whilst I do what I need to do, like hang laundry.

One of the best pieces of advice I read was to not buy two of everything as twins are different and might not necessarily like the same things. If something works for both of them, get another, but if they don’t, don’t. We set up a Montessori-style play area where they play and move from one thing to the next.

There’s a 16-year age gap between your oldest daughter and your twins. How has the world of parenting changed after all this time?

Things have changed a lot. Back in 2008, we raised our kids the way our moms taught us, whereas now it seems that new-school parenting is based on what scientists in America or paediatricians say.

There are so many gadgets and products in the market now too, which wasn’t the case back then. Most are a waste, but there are a few things that have made life so much easier. I especially love the development of natural, healthy products and how quick and easy it is to make my twins’ food nowadays thanks to high-speed blenders. 

Social media has certainly amplified mom-shaming and the judgement of different parenting styles. But at the end of the day, the only thing that matters is that a child grows up happy, healthy, and safe. We all have our methods of making that happen.

We hear you have a clever way of colour-coding your Difrax bottles. Tell us more.

Difrax bottles come in such gorgeous colours. I’ve made sure all of Judah’s bottles and pacifiers are grey or black and all of Aviyah’s are blossom pink. It’s just easier that way. I never have to remember whose bottle is whose. Believe it or not, at this age, they can tell which one is and isn’t theirs.

What are some of your favourite Sprout products for the twins?

Definitely Difrax’s S-Bottle. The built-in anti-colic valve has been very helpful – especially with Judah as he sometimes gets bad reflux. And it’s so easy to hold! I can hold two bottles in one hand or even rest one on my arm during feeding, which is great when I need my other hand free.

I also really love Difrax’s pacifiers. They were easy for the twins to accept easily and they’re shaped in such a way to leave nostrils free. Lastly, the Silicone Fingertip Toothbrush. Nothing works better for massaging the twin’s gums and cleaning their teeth.