Having twins means twice the work, twice the mess, twice the sweetness, and twice the love. While every baby is different – and every parent is different – I would like to share with you a few things that have made life with my twins easier, more manageable, and more enjoyable.
Join a twin club.
Early on in my pregnancy, my doctor (also a parent of multiples) urged me to join a twin club. Not only does this provide a sense of community and support, but it creates a space for you to connect with other parents of multiples, ask questions to those who have been through it before, collaborate on what works and what doesn’t, and commiserate on the things that only parents of multiples understand. A twin club can provide incredible resources including expectant twin parents classes, social gatherings, play dates, and twin baby clothes and products for swap or reduced cost. My club (WLAPOM) has a “preemie closet” (to lend members clothes for their preemie babies) as well as a bedrest support group and a buddy system for new members. Becoming a new parent of multiples can be an overwhelming and sometimes lonely journey. Join a twin club – even if only for the online presence. These will be your people. [Twiniversity Tip: If you can’t find a twin club in your area, search for a Facebook group for multiples or try our Twiniversity forums for more online support!]
Invest in a good double stroller.
This is one place where I feel that it’s worth it to spend money. Having a stroller that is easy to push with one hand, ample storage underneath for a diaper bag, folds up easy, and is easy to lift in and out of the car can be incredibly valuable. Having a really good stroller can mean independence from relying on others. You can get out of the house by yourself with two babies – which is totally empowering. I ultimately went with the City Select Baby Jogger and couldn’t be happier.
Get your babies on the same feeding & sleeping schedule.
Luckily, the NICU nurses accomplished this task for me, and my girls came home hungry and tired at the same time. If your babies come home on different schedules, slowly adjust their feeding times until they become the same. As for feeding, if you’re by yourself with your babies, an easy way to feed them is to lay two boppy pillows (or any type of pillow) on the floor side by side, and lay the babies inside to feed them. Stop as needed to burp each baby. Although feeding two babies at once can be a challenge, it is absolutely worth it. When you have new babies, it literally feels like all you do is feed them. Feeding them together can alleviate some of this, and will allow you to rest and recoup in between. The same goes for napping. When both babies sleep at the same time, you can (1) get some rest, (2) clean frantically before they wake up, (3) eat/shower/surf the net, or (4) have a much needed break that will leave you refreshed and ready to get through the day. Keeping my twins on the same schedule makes my life easier, and keeps me sane!
Get infant car seat covers.
Twins are special, exciting, and mysterious to other people. This means that EVERYONE will want to come up and see your babies (ugh germs!!) and ask you questions. I used car seat covers and they were amazing. The covers enabled me to get out and run errands without people breathing all over my babies. Also a bonus, the covers keep the sun off of the babies’ faces, and darken things up for naptime on the go.
Use Rock N’ Play Sleepers.
We used Rock N’ Play Sleepers for our twins instead of bassinets. They loved them and slept so well in them! Because they are small we could fit both of them in our bedroom, and could fold them up easily for travel. After three months of great use, we retired our Rock N’ Plays and began sleep training in the cribs.
Know that you will sleep again!
The sleepless nights, exhaustion, and fog of the first few months will gradually diminish. When you’re living it, it’s difficult to imagine a time when you will sleep again. It will happen! The babies will sleep longer and longer stretches, and before you know it, you will be getting a full night’s sleep. Until then, remember that this stage is only temporary. The moment you adjust to your babies’ habits and patterns, they transition into something new. The change is constant, surprising, and extraordinary!
Rachel Brehm, mother to 7-month-old fraternal twin girls, blogs regularly on eating disorder awareness and insurance denials for eating disorder treatment. Brehm writes for an Insurance Law Blog as well as an Eating Disorder Law Blog (rated as one of Top 25 Eating Disorder Blogs of 2012) focusing her writing on insurance advocacy, insurance coverage, body image, eating disorder recovery, and weight stigma. As a new contributor to Twiniversity.com, Brehm plans to shift her writing on body image issues in the insurance world to include body image issues in the mommy world. Brehm’s writing will address navigating pregnancy and postpartum with eating/body image issues as well as her experiences raising twin girls-and all the “twin moments” that go along with it.
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Are you a new twin parent? Check out Natalie Diaz’s new book “What To Do When You’re Having Two: The Twin Survival Guide From Pregnancy Through the First Year”, available in stores now!
The rate of twin births has risen 79 percent over the last three decades, and continues to increase. A mom of fraternal twins and a national guru on having two, Natalie Diaz launched Twiniversity, a supportive website with advice from the twin-trenches.
What to Do When You’re Having Two is the definitive how-to guide to parenting twins, covering how to make a Birth Plan checklist, sticking to one sleep schedule, managing double-duty breastfeeding, stocking up on all the necessary gear, building one-on-one relationships with each child, and more.
Accessible and informative, What to Do When You’re Having Two is the must-have manual for all parents of twins.