Are you raising twins with zero help? Our Twiniversity families have been there, done that, and are sharing their tips to get through it with a smile!
Our Twiniversity community is so vast — so very expansive and unique — that each and every one of you has a different story to tell. Some of you had a lot of help when your twins arrived. Some of you didn't have much help at all. Some of you kindly declined help because you wanted to bond with your babies. And all of that — every single variation of that — is OK. It is all OK!
Please believe that you are not any more or less of a parent for having accepted help or having declined help. Every family is unique and you need to do what you need to do as parents to make your family the happiest it can be.
We are all in this together and that's why we started Twiniversity. So that no one would feel alone — in their struggles AND their joys. Things that other people without multiples (though they may try) just can't fully understand.
Through hearing various stories from our community of parents, it is clear that there are a large number of families who are doing this twin thing day in and day out with absolutely no help. ZERO help. No family, no friends, and no neighbors stopping by. And we bet there's a good chance that you (hi there!) reading this right now are going through the same thing.
So we felt that it was important to share stories from other families who also had zero help to ease your minds, to extend some sage advice, and really — what it all boils down to — is to let you know that you are not alone. In this amazing age of the internet, people who live thousands of miles away are now just a click of the mouse away. And we are here to bring all of you together to share in the ups and downs of this crazy, amazing life of multiples.
We have compiled a series of true stories — anonymously — from parents who had absolutely zero help when coming home with newborn twins and well into early childhood. We hope that these stories bring you comfort, inspiration, and help to give you that boost you need to keep going when you feel like you have nothing left to give.
And, as always, if you feel like you are at the end of your rope, contact us immediately. The Twiniversity network is so incredibly vast and deep — reach out to our founder Natalie Diaz and she will do everything she can to provide you with support. Email Natalie@Twiniversity.com or call (917) 442-2020 for immediate assistance.
Did you know we have a mentor program? Click here to learn how you can be matched with a twin parent mentor!
Here are their stories…
We are a military family (Army), and were stationed away from family. We were also new to that duty station and hadn't met anyone within the local area.
One of the biggest things that I found helpful was to have a schedule. Not just for the twins, but for myself as well. Keeping myself more organized really cut back on unnecessary stress. My boys were on the same feeding, sleeping, and activity schedule almost immediately which really helped keep things running smoothly. And staying active kept my energy level up, so I didn't tire out before the end of the day.
Get organized and in a routine before the arrival of your twins. Take time for yourself to recoup and re-build your energy.
Our twins were born in May 2008. I had a 4-year-old and a 6-year-old. My husband worked full time, mostly 10 hours a day. I worked about 30 hours a week also. My family chose to not be a part of our lives and we never asked anyone for anything from the time our first child was born.
Some tips we would have to make it through the first year are, first and foremost, both spouses need to work together. It makes it so much easier having your hubby to help feed babies in the night or to change a diaper. Secondly, do not sleep with your babies. Start right off using the crib. Thirdly, do what you think is best for your family.
First, let me start off with our lack of preparation. Our girls weren't due until 2 months after we gave birth. Nothing can prepare you for premature babies! My husband worked full time. My parents lived in Washington state. His parents were 5 minutes away but wanted nothing to do with helping me so I soon realized I was on my own.
I alternated babysitters for my eldest daughter so that I could spend some time every day with the two little miracles that were in the hospital NICU. Fortunately, after the first week, I developed a good schedule and was able to work with the nurses so that I could schedule my time during when the doctors do rounds and I could hold my preemies without interfering with shift changes. I also had the NICU on speed dial for those middle of the night worry moments to call and ask how they were doing.
Schedules and organization: Those are the two most important things in our house even now. Fortunately, the NICU staff had the twins on a feeding and changing schedule that I maintained once they were home. Every three hours I changed, fed, and burped them. They'd go back to sleep and repeat again.
Pumping my breast milk saved me!!! The two months they were in the hospital allowed me in my time at home to pump and freeze my milk for when they arrived. This was especially helpful for one of the twins who came home with an NG tube for feeding after receiving surgery to correct a birth defect in her heart. That in itself was an ordeal that I had to be trained for and was given a pump for feedings until she learned how to properly bottle feed.
Try to establish a schedule. The babies will adjust to schedules at a young age. I found pumping my breast milk for bottle feeding and breast feeding recreationally was helpful. It still allowed me to bond with my babies but without the frustration of trying to feed both of them at the same time. My twins were far too impatient for that.
Also, the first few times I left my house, I wrote a checklist of everything I would need. I also kept an extra diaper bag full of clothes, diapers, wipes, and formula powder in my car for emergencies. This left me with the peace of mind that I could leave my house and not worry that I forgot something.
The other advantages to a schedule are that you can get your children to sleep through the night fairly easily. I went from several feedings throughout the night to one, to none. By the time they were 4 months old they were sleeping in their own beds with the monitors and sleeping all night. It was the only thing that saved my sleep-deprived sanity of having not just one new baby but TWO!
Trust your mommy instincts too. There were so many times I had to because I was on my own and didn't have a choice and I actually enjoyed it. Cuz my crazy hair-brained ideas or insane mind somehow manage to pull together some pretty good solutions to everyday twin life. I'm actually grateful for that – doing things on my own taught me how to adapt!
When I found out I was expecting twins, one of my biggest fears was how we were going to handle it. We had a 3 1/2 year old daughter and had been doing that on our own, though, and I thought it couldn't be that different. My family all lives in different states. We live near my husband's father and stepmother, but conflicting work schedules mean we never see them. I teach school and my husband works in the restaurant business, so our schedules meant we didn't need childcare. It also meant we were basically single parents all the time.
My tips for making it through the first year with no help is to take it one day at a time. There are some days when I have to get through an hour at a time. You also have to learn to let things go. For a long time my boys only took one bath a week. I learned to only clean up after all the kids were in bed – a messy house doesn't hurt anyone!
Any words of advice for people who will be in my same situation? My advice is to power through! There will be days that are incredibly frustrating and things feel impossible. But this situation proves that you are so much stronger than you ever knew!
Don't let your multiples keep you from doing things. You can still go out and enjoy yourself. Start when the babies are small and get your routine down. Routines, in general, are SO important with multiples! Get one down and stick to it. It makes things easier.
Get them to bed as close to 7 pm as you can so you have your evenings to recover!! I found Babybjorn bouncer chairs a lifesaver. Once they got active and crawling I had a playpen area so they were contained for parts of the day. Take each day as it comes, the next day is new and always a better day. It’s been 1 year with no help and it’s been amazing – hard and hectic but amazing!
Just remember that it's going to be ok. It's also ok to just sit and cry right along with them.
For us, we just did our best. We said No to a lot of things. We let the chores go, and it was ok.
My husband was deployed a lot so I learned that sticking to a schedule saved me and helped my twins.
If you’re taking care of them with no help, my biggest advice is to find a way to give yourself time off. Having kids and caring for them 24/7 is exhausting mentally and physically. I totally agree with scheduling, teaching them to play independently, but giving yourself self-care time is SO important. I belong to a gym with amazing childcare and that has been just as important to my staying above water as a mom as scheduling and keeping my kids happy!
Order things online! Get diapers and wipes on Amazon. We did Costco orders too. It was great during the newborn stage.
Make sure you get them on the same schedule!!!! It makes all the difference. Don't become a homebody. It is difficult to take them out alone, but you need to just suck it up and go. I was basically in my house for 2 years, on bedrest then with the babies. I'd have people go to the store for me, etc. We left for dr appts. That was about it. They're almost 4 now and it has gotten a lot easier, but I have so much anxiety from the past being inside. Get a double stroller or whatever its gonna take and just go!
Resetting your expectations and letting some things go. As a neat freak and goal-oriented person, I often felt like a failure when I couldn't get to the pile in the sink or the floors. I learned to adjust my thinking so that I stopped measuring how well I was doing by how clean my house was or by what I accomplished that day. Some days you just won't get anything on your list done and that's ok.