Before I had my twins, I thought I had a pretty good idea of the kind of help I would need. When my son and daughter arrived I quickly realized I had no idea what I was thinking.
While I was pregnant I researched all of the articles I could get my hands on that had anything to do with getting the help you need after the arrival of your baby. Except in my case, there would be two babies, not one. Undeterred, I crafted a calendar for the first six weeks and printed it out. I felt better knowing I had a plan. Then I brought the babies home and started what I lovingly called “baby boot camp”.
After just a few days, I was walking in a sleep-deprived daze around my kitchen when my calendar caught my attention. I suddenly realized that all the things listed on the calendar that I thought I would need help with was not what I needed help with at all. In the beginning, my house was never still or quiet. I had at least two additional adults in my house 24 hours a day, trying their best to hold babies, check off my items on the calendar, and feed me. All of this effort was met with great appreciation but I did not feel like I was getting the help I needed. But what do you do if you know you need help but can’t really put your finger on exactly what that looks like?
After three or four very long weeks, I kept thinking about the same few issues and realized that those stressors were the areas that I needed help. You may know right away how much help you need with your twins. For me, it took me a little longer, but I finally figured out how much help I needed with my twins.
Here are three tips to help you figure out and manage the help you need with newborn twins.
How Much Help Will I Need with Twins?
1. Is anything bothering you that keeps coming to the surface?
Is there a particular issue that you are spending time and energy worrying about or causing you great concern? Once you identify that issue, see if someone can help you with that. Where to place my little ones was causing me great anxiety. We had our twins in a pack ‘n play designed for two infants. They couldn’t feel or smell each other so they cried. I would place one in a swing and place the other one in a rocker. The same situation occurred until we started asking other twin parents for help. I didn’t know I needed help with this, but after several weeks of worrying about this issue, I discovered an area where I needed support.
2. Know that your needs will change.
Having newborn twins is a different boot camp than having twin toddlers and beyond. When my twins were very small infants, I needed help with my babies as I learned how to hold two children simultaneously while they ate, burped, etc. A few months later, when I was able to master the art of feeding my twins together, I no longer needed help in that area. Your request for help will ebb and flow as you and your little ones move from one phase to the next.
3. Find your voice.
I had a difficult time in the early days to accept or decline assistance from people who offered. The first time someone offered to grocery shop for me, I was very uncomfortable. My immediate response was to decline but I finally accepted the offer. For some reason, I kept apologizing and not really sure if I should scare them by giving them the entire list or not. That was a good lesson for me to learn to accept help and say yes to help make our life better. On the flip side of that experience, I had to also learn how to say no and not feel bad about doing so. I had to kindly, yet firmly, say “no thank you” to help that was not truly benefitting me. What some people construe as help may not be your idea of help. I had to learn to say no to some offers of help. Everyone wanted to hold the babies, but that’s not an area that I needed help in. I was learning how to hold, feed, and soothe my children. So I found a way to say “no thank you” to some requests, but add in, “But if you would like to go make some bottles or throw in a load of laundry while we sleep, that would be fantastic!”
Determining the amount of help you will need with twins is as individual as you and your little ones. Try to figure out if there is a particular area that could benefit from help. And realize that as you get your sea legs with this baby boot camp your needs will change accordingly. Lastly, ask for the help you need and let your voice be heard.
Diana Coleman is a native Austinite and works in the wholesale electricity market as a market specialist. She is a married mom to 2.5-year-old boy/girl twins Chloe and Greyson. She enjoys organizing, reading, and watching movies while secretly fears potty training and getting her little ones to sleep in separate rooms.