For Twin Parents, By Twin Parents
I have received quite a few emails recently from readers that are expecting twins asking for any tips to help them once their twins arrive. Firstly, congratulations to you all – this will be a very exciting time but you will also be full of mixed emotions, this is totally normal. How will you cope, how do you get organised, what do you need. Having twins is a blessing, and hold on to that but I won’t lie by saying it’s easy – it’s not but you will have so much fun along the way!
I have previously written articles about the pre-birth – ‘What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag’, ‘The Ultimate Newborn Kit List‘, ‘5 Twin Must Haves’ ‘The Day the Twins Arrived‘, to name a few so do take a look at these too as they will help.
So I asked some friends who also have twins if they could share with you what they wish they had known before they had their twins to help them, and this is what they said…
- Enjoy every moment, even the bad stuff.
- Hold them, and cuddle them whenever you can – this may seem a strange thing to say but you can get so caught up with feeding, changing etc that I know it’s something I wish I did more of. Time goes by so quickly.
- Take any help that is offered, and if you can’t do the day that is suggested, book another date in.
- If you are not offered help, ask for it.
- Be prepared to be more sleep deprived than you ever imagined. Ask friends and family to help you with jobs when they come around, even if it’s just that they make the tea whilst you sit – lots of visitors can be tiring.
- Don’t be afraid to barta twin cuddles for a meal – ‘Yes of course you can come over, but please would you bring a meal for us with you’. Meals cooked by others saved me!
- Don’t be afraid to say no to visitors, you need family time too.
- Routine, routine, routine….. get them both on the same sleeping and eating schedule straight away.
- Allow yourself plenty of time to get organised and out of the house. In the early days it can take ages.
- Prepare yourself for the fact that sometimes you will have to let one baby cry whilst you tend to the other. That is really hard to do and is a complete balancing act even with two people.
- It’s possible with the sleep deprivation and stress, that your marriage will take some hits. During the middle of the night there can be a lot of snapping. Forget it by morning!
- Buy the book Gina Ford book contented twins. We didn’t follow it to the book, but it was helpful to understand routines.
- The absolute best thing my husband did for us both a few times a week, was to send me to bed after they fed around 7pm. He would then bottle feed them at 11 (on expressed milk initially later formula milk, until he came up bed. I’d carry on sleeping until they woke at 3am – getting enough sleep is key.
- We breast fed during the day and formula fed at night – I pumped at night but it meant we knew exactly how much they’d eaten, so they slept very well, and helped us share the load.
- Buy a lifetime supply of coffee.. seriously though, take all the help that is offered and remember it does get better.. the first few weeks are the hardest but don’t last forever.
- Try to enjoy every moment.. it goes so quickly.
- Be prepared to get a lot of attention when out and some negativity from people… ‘double trouble’ ‘you’ve got your hands full’, ‘rather you than me’ – just ignore and keep doing your best.. you’ve got this!
- Dad you will be doing 50 percent.
- Most important thing that helped me was keeping them on same routine, feeding, bathing, sleeping, changing if not you will be exhausted. It does get better when they are little older. Mine are walking now which I don’t have one minute alone but at least I sleep a little more.
- Just because they are twins, does not mean they will be the same, or even remotely alike (in my case!). Be mentally prepared for that. I wish that I had been.
- Remember the following, you get to watch all the wonderful mile stones twice!! Two lots of smiles , two lots of baby giggles , two lots of crawling , and twice the cuddles, you get to watch the magic that is twin sibling love, when they realise they have a built in play mate, honestly it’s the best journey ever.
- Start a routine as soon as possible.. you can start right away or around 3-4 months like we did (bath, lotion, sleepy time music & lights off) ours slept throughout the night 10-12 hours for a month 1 1/2 until they got sick or were teething & now at 6 months they are back to sleeping through the night… also stay as calm & stress free as possible & your children will likely be calm as well… our twins are so sweet & calm 98% of the time & we get complements from stranger/friends & family on how good they are & that is what
- I love having twins. We have identical twin girls. They were awesome babies. Slept through the night at less then 4 weeks olds. We swaddled them and kept them in the same crib next to our bed. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you hold them to much. Babies don’t spoil food does! Same schedule is important. Even if one of ours was sleeping we would wake the other up. My husband would feed one and I would feed one. (I pumped) Take the help when it’s offered. Remember they were in the womb together so let them stay together. It makes for happier babies. When they get older remember they are individuals and do separate things with them. Good luck once you get a routine down it’s a piece of cake. I don’t look back and think “wow that was hard”. Enjoy the innocence. Even the crying. When thy can talk it’s all over!
- The bond they share (especially identical twins) is absolutely amazing. Our twins are best friends and each others biggest fans. It’s incredibly special.
- Just survive! Let your expectations for a clean house slide a little. Hire help if you can afford it. Just remember that if everyone is fed and alive at the end of the day, you did GREAT!
- Try to get a sitter and go out together on dates as often as possible.
- Do what feels right for you both & your style of parenting.
- Talk about how you plan to parent and deal with typical sinarios, find out what’s Important to you both and where you have a difference of opinion, you may find your views change but having a general idea is a good idea. This can keep things consistent and avoid playing mummy and daddy off of each other when they get older!
- I recommend planning ahead for meals, good nutrition especially in early days can help so much.
- If you afford it, get a cleaner, I was far too proud and wanted to be superwoman & now I look back and wish I spent more time doing what’s important, if I could change one thing it would be to spend more time playing with them.
- It’s not essential to have 2 of everything, some toys you may have to later on but getting used to sharing early is good, unless of course it’s a favourite to both, then it matters!
- Find a home for baby clothes downstairs to save time & your legs!
- As tempting as it is… DON’T ROCK THEM TO SLEEP! Lay them down when they are still awake but ready for sleep.
- You can breast feed twins. Also baby wearing one or both saved me. You can also get out of the house. Same as one but logistics a bit more complicated, more kit and definitely more sleep deprived.
- Make sure you take care of yourself. Post partum is a real thing and nothing to be ashamed of, for the mums and dads. If you are feeling overwhelmed talk to a medical professional. It’s amazing how much depression and anxiety can make the awesome experience of twins overwhelming for both parents. Give yourself a break, you won’t be perfect, and that’s ok. Your kids will love you no matter what.
- Also, there is a good chance your twins will spend some time in the NICU. I found that to be an amazing gift of time for me to heal. And the nurses got my babies on a schedule that they keep to this day. But it can be very tough if they have to stay in, and you go home.
- Sleep when they sleep.
- Play classical music to them before they are born. My song was Fur Elise. It stopped crying.
- Have them tested at 6 months and again at a year for allergies.
- If your wife decides to breast feed, but for some reason ends up not — do not let her feel bad or beat herself up or pay attention to anyone else’s opinion on it. Also, the first 6 months (or longer) can be insanely hard, to the point that you’ll wonder what the hell you are doing this for. That feeling will pass. Trust in that knowledge, even on the hardest days. Trust it. One last bit — try to find the joy in the small things. Joy is there.
- Routine is the key and if grandparents babysit make sure they follow it too. Twin life is different to singleton life.
- This is something a friend of mine passed on to me, remember you’re in it together. The early days are hard and there is no point to squabbling with each other about who’s had more sleep or who changed the last nappy etc. Be kind to each other and remember that you’re each other’s best friend and support! Good luck with it all!
- Try to take as many pics as you can manage while they are tiny, showing the scale of them to you. One in each hand … etc I didn’t take enough and now regret it slightly. It is mad once you get home but they grow so quickly.
- Best thing in the world – enjoy every minute – kiss and cuddle them often, you are so
lucky and remember the hard hours are just that – an hour not a whole day.
- When it starts out it it’s challenging- but it gets easier over time.
- Don’t let people scare you, it’ll all be fine!!
Do you have any twin tips you would like to share?
What has or hasn’t worked for you?
If you are a twin parent to be and you have a question, please feel free to ask away!