Daya Vaidya Introduces Twin Sons Jai and Dev
Meet Dev Eshaan and Jai Blue!
Actress Daya Vaidya introduces her identical twin sons in an adorable series of shots exclusive to PEOPLE.
From tackling twins and tandem nursing to telling her boys apart (hint: one’s a little ladies man!) and her natural delivery, Vaidya opens up to PEOPLE about her new life as a mom of three.
Daya, Dev, Leela, Jai and Don – Rivka Singer
PEOPLE: Congratulations on the birth of your sons! Can you tell us a little about each of the boys — their personalities thus far, little physical differences, the ways you’re able to tell them apart?
Daya Vaidya: Thank you! Jai — the older one by four minutes — doesn’t stop eating, so he’s getting nice and plump, with the cutest double chin! Dev is trying to catch up with his brother. He’s almost there. They were tiny five pounders, so it makes me very happy to see them both gaining weight so well.
We call Dev our little charmer because he’s always cooing with big eyes, especially when our female friends pick him up. He seems to already love the ladies!
Jai, on the other hand, has a perpetual impending look of disaster on his face, as though someone may drop him at any moment. We can tell he’s not actually worried, it’s just the way his brow creases and his forehead wrinkles. But it’s pretty funny because he looks like an 80-year-old man on a baby’s body — an 80-year-old man with a receding hair line and double chin!
We can totally tell them apart though, especially because of the size difference, facial expressions and Jai has two birth marks on his knee and neck. They’re both really sweet, good babies that miraculously sleep at night!
PEOPLE: You had mentioned that the boys’ names would have a lot of meaning to you and Don — just as Leela’s does. Can you walk us through the background of each and why you chose it?
DV: I told my husband early on that I would like to find Sanskrit names for our children to honor my father — who passed away in 2000 — and the values he taught us. He knows how close I was to my father and really supported me in honoring him.
Leela means “cosmic or divine play” and my dad used to speak of this concept a lot when I was growing up. I always thought it was pretty. Jai means “victory” or “victorious.” Blue is the film Don wrote, produced, starred in and where we met. Dev means “God or divine.” And Eshaan is one of the many spellings that means “Lord Shiva.” It also stands for “northeast” which symbolizes knowledge, prosperity and peace.
PEOPLE: We saw that you’ve been Tweeting about nursing your sons. Has that been a challenge for you or easier than expected? Do you have any recommendations for readers looking to do the same?
DV: I am exclusively breastfeeding both boys. With my daughter I’d researched breastfeeding and sought help from lactation consultants, so with the twins I felt prepared to really attack this challenge.
I tandem nurse the boys on a breastfeeding pillow for twins when I’m home and take turns when we’re out. We’ve got it down now, but the first couple of weeks were tough!
For me the hardest part are those first 48 hours after delivery. This is the crucial time that can sometimes make or break your milk supply, so I’m extremely anal about nursing around the clock like a madwoman.
I always tell my friends who want to breastfeed, “Just commit hardcore to those first few days in the hospital to get the baby (or babies) suckling constantly … and I mean constantly.”
There was this nurse who came into my room the night I delivered and saw me trying very hard to get one of the boys to latch. She said to me, “Don’t worry about breastfeeding right now — you’ll just frustrate them. Try again after 24 hours.” I was annoyed because this is the kind of bad advice given to mothers that can potentially permanently affect their milk supply.
I had a hard time getting Dev to latch. He just didn’t want to do it. Jai was a little better, but both had problems. I used a pump to stimulate when the boys got too tired and then I would wake them and try again. I eventually got a latch and I kept them suckling no less than every 1.5-2 hours all day and night.
It is EXTREMELY challenging and this is the point when you need people supporting you and telling you you can do it, because it hurts and you’re not seeing the milk yet and you’re hormonal.
I do not believe in telling women, “Oh just stop and give them formula. Give yourself a break.” Women need support and encouragement from everyone around them. You need people saying, “Don’t give up and you can do it!” Not, “Oh it’s okay, you tried, don’t worry, just supplement.”
Of course there are times when a woman has done everything she can and it’s just not happening, or there is a medical condition, etc. Or sometimes someone has thought long and hard about it and she has decided it’s not for her. This is her choice and I am in no way saying we should condemn women who choose to bottle feed. This is ultimately always their choice.
However, I think there are a lot of women out there who really want to do it and quit because of bad information, lack of support and even pressure from pediatricians.
PEOPLE: You planned for a natural, unmedicated delivery, and were able to see it through. Why was this important to you? Anything specific you’d like to get across in regards to the response to your birth announcement? If a reader is looking to experience the same, do you have any book or website recommendations?
DV: I am glad you asked me this and until I had children I had no idea how polarizing women’s birthing and breastfeeding choices can be. I was surprised at some of the reader’s reactions to my birth announcement and how many strong emotions it brings up.
I was never gloating about my delivery, but I was very proud because it was extremely challenging and the odds were against me. My pregnancy was considered high-risk, so most people don’t even attempt a vaginal delivery.
But because of my allergies to pain medication — especially Fentanyl, one of the main ingredients in an epidural — it was very important and safer for me to avoid any medication or surgery.
Also, I didn’t want to numb any of my senses; I wanted to experience every moment — including the pain.
That’s what was right for me. It doesn’t mean it’s right for everyone and I’m certainly not judging anyone for their choices. I think we as women should support and celebrate one another, not feel threatened by another woman’s decision or birth outcome.
PEOPLE: How is Leela adjusting to the boys? Any funny stories or things she’s said?
DV: She loves being a big sister and is crazy about her brothers. She’s very sweet to them — kissing and hugging them constantly.
But her latest thing with the boys is getting us to tell them not to “hit” her or touch her hair. I think she got tired of Mommy and Daddy constantly telling her to be gentle and careful around the twins, so she loves hearing us say, “Now Jai, don’t hit your sister.” Or “Dev, don’t pull Leela’s hair.”
Yes, we know they’re only three months old and just stretching their arms. I’m sure Leela knows it too, but she gets a big smile like, “Ha, it’s even now!”
She also wants our attention more than ever and she’s like a politician when it comes to getting it. She negotiates everything and lets us know what she wants: Five more minutes to watch her show, two more books, her juice filled exactly right and in the specific color cup.
Lately she wants Mommy’s make up so she can look like Katy Perry. She’s 3 and she wants to look like Katy Perry!
– Sarah Michaud