Has the shock worn off yet?? Probably not completely, but enough that your googling everything “twin” that comes to mind including something along the lines of “how on earth do I take care of twins?!” (and everything in between).
I too have been there my friend. About 20 minutes after finding out that I was having twins and 10 minutes after my doctor walked in, laughed, and said I look like I was hit by a truck, the googling began.
You are going to come across so much information, so many different opinions, and lots of different advice. Most people are going to tell you EXACTLY what they think you need to do, but everyone is different and not everything works for every person.
What I am going to give you is my own experience of what worked, what didn’t. I’ll throw in some different suggestions on what you might want do differently than me. I’ll share my struggles, and my wins. The good, the bad, and the stinky. No games, no gimmicks, and absolutely no judgment!
Preparation is huge when it comes to Twins. You will never (ever) be FULLY prepared, but you can come pretty close.
What to buy to get through the first month
Newborn and size one diapers/diaper wipes/baby powder/diaper rash cream – Check with your local hospital to see what they are going to provide to you before you leave (most hospitals send you and your little ones on your way with a care package). Just make sure you are well stocked! Most stores will allow you to exchange unopened diapers for another size so don’t worry about having “too many” of a certain size.
Hand Sanitizer – To keep the germs away! I keep a small bottle on the changing table and a big bottle on the coffee table for family members and visitors.
Clothes – I would suggest getting a couple of premie outfits, but keep the tags on them so you can return them if you don’t need them. One of my twins was in premie size and I ended up going to Walmart the day after we got home to pick up a few premie outfits; walking around Walmart less than a week after giving birth to twins is not fun (just take my word for it). Other than that just make sure you have plenty of onesies, comfy pajamas, mittens and socks. You want at least two outfits each per day for 5-7 days; you don’t want to be worrying about doing their laundry every two days.
Infant laundry detergent – Speaking of laundry, although you want to minimize how often your are washing teeny tiny clothes it will have to be done. I use ALL Free and Clear. I suggest something free of scents and dyes because your babies will have sensitive skin in the beginning.
Breast Pump/Breast Pads/Hydrotherapy Pads or Nipple Cream – If you are planning on breast feeding you may want to invest in a breast pump. I love my Medela double breast pump and I was actually able to use my insurance to cover most of the cost. You may not want to pump at all and that is totally fine, but if you do that is fine too! It is nice to have help feeding the little ones when you have two. The first couple days breastfeeding can be rough and it can be painful. Hydrotherapy pads and Nipple Cream were serious lifesavers!
Bottles and a Bottle warmer – I was feeding directly from the breast, pumping, and supplementing with formula. There are a lot of really good bottles out there, but I suggest Breast Flow if you are breast feeding (these make for an easier transition between breast and bottle). You also want to get a bottle warmer if you are storing pumped milk in the fridge. Room temp formula is fine for the little babes, but they will NOT like cold milk from the fridge. It is so easy to use a bottle warmer and the thing I like most is that I can put it in the warmer and walk away to change diapers or whatever else I need to do without fear of overheating. NEVER heat your bottles in the microwave; it doesn’t heat evenly and can burn your baby.
Pacifiers (if you will be using them) – Everyone has their own opinions on pacifiers and I totally get it if you don’t want to use them, but I personally like them. They didn’t interfere at all with breastfeeding and both my girls use them. Most doctors do advise you establish breast feeding before you introduce a pacifier though.
Nose Suckers– You probably want to invest in a good nose sucker (I know that isn’t the technical term, but that’s what I call them). They gave me the ones they used on my girls from the hospital and they work much better than the one I bought so check with your hospital to see what they send you home with.
Thermometers/Medications – I have a rectal thermometer for accurate readings and a forehead thermometer (I don’t feel that ones gives as accurate of readings, but I like to use it when they are asleep so I can get a general idea without having to wake them up). You do want to have basic medicines on hand (infant Tylenol and gas drops) but NEVER give your baby anything without asking her pediatrician first.
A bouncy Chair and A swing – Eventually you might need to have two bouncy chairs and two swings, but I wouldn’t in the beginning because you don’t know what your baby will like! My son didn’t like his swing at all so when I had my girls I knew that there was a chance one might not like the chair or swing. One of my girls only loves both and my other girls prefers the bouncy chair so I ended up getting another chair and just sticking with one swing.
Baby Carrier – There are tons of options our there for baby carriers. I have a wrap carrier and soft carriers. I would recommend baby wearing to a singleton mom because there are a ton of benefits, but as a twin mama baby carriers are a must have! I promise it is going to make your life easier.
Two Boppy Pillows – They do sell double boppy like pillows for twins, but I like having two. I actually don’t use these for nursing (I prefer regular pillows), but they are great to lay baby on! Sometimes I lay them both in front of me when I am feeding with bottles at the same time, I lay them on the boppys when we are just hanging out on the floor or in the bed. Just never leave them unattended on the Boppys.
Two bassinets – Most bassinets are too small for co-sleeping your twins together so you will need two. My pediatrician actually recommended not co-sleeping them, but if that is what you are planning on you will need to do it in a crib.
Playpen (eventually you will want two) – I think one playpen is fine at first. I know I just said my pedi recommended not co-sleeping them, but she specifically said naps would be ok as long as I am around so I do let them nap together in the playpen which I keep in the living room as long as I am awake and in the room.
Getting in the right mindset is definitely part of the preparation. You need to acknowledge that it is going to be hardwork, but you WILL get through it and it is so incredibly rewarding. Remember that having Twins is something very special that not everyone gets to experience!
You definitely want to cook up some good freezer meals so enlist your mom, sister, or best friend for a day of cooking and preparing! You will want to make about 12 dinners and maybe 7 Breakfasts. You will most likely receive food from people (you will be surprised at who will bring you food and want to help) so that should get you through about three weeks.
You will want to make sure you stock up on things like toilet paper, non perishable foods, quick lunch and snack items, etc. You don’t want to have to make an impromptu store run to grab dish soap while you’re sleep deprived, probably unshowered, and most likely smelling like old milk!
Join a Support Group
This is really important; you are going to come across a lot of struggles, feel discouraged sometimes, and overwhelmed most days. People are going to tell you they understand, but unless they have twins they really don’t (don’t get me wrong it is difficult with multiple children at any age, an infant and a toddler for instance, it’s just hard in a different way) so it is nice to have that commrodary with those who also have twins. If you feel up to it check out your area for twin support groups that meet face to face (this probably won’t be something you do till later on though, I JUST joined the one in my area and my girls are 4 months old now).
Your babies are going to eat every 2-3 hours at first and then after a few weeks will probably move to every 3 hours. With two babies this is rough!
One decision that you will have to make is whether or not you want your babies on the same schedule. Many twin parents swear by getting their twins on the same schedule. I personally liked having it slightly staggered. This is something that you will need to think about and decide what is best for you and your family.
Pro of same schedule – There is more sleep time for you! If they are up to feed at the same time you can get that done and get an hour or two of solid sleep.
Con of same schedule – It is more difficult to feed them at the same time. If you are nursing it is hard at first because all three of you are still learning how to breast feed. If you are bottle feeding you are probably sitting on the floor or bed with them laid in front of you and that is always hard on my back. If you are going to have a helper than it is a little easier.
The first week my husband and I did it like this and at the time I thought it was working well, but after a week we were both completely exhausted from being up every two hours and I knew we had to try and change up our game plan. Staggering ended up working better for my family.
Pro of staggering their schedule – It is easier to feed one baby at a time and I personally enjoy that one on one time with each baby.
Con of staggering their schedule – Less sleep and less time to “get things done” during the day time hours.
What my husband and I decided to do was take shifts. I did night shifts. I would get up feed one then wake the other up and feed her (this would take about an hour and a half total) then I would get about an hour sleep and start over. It was hard, but I knew by about 6 am my hubby would take over and I would sleep a solid 4-5 hours. During the day we would just help each other out.
The important thing to remember here is that there is no right or wrong answer. Have a plan, but don’t beat yourself up if it changes! If it isn’t working after a week try something else.
Their sleeping schedule will strongly coincide with their feeding schedule the first 2-3 weeks; there won’t be much awake time unless it is to eat, however they will start to be awake more and more often.
Just like with feeding there are pros and cons to having them on the same schedule and having them on a staggered schedule. I continued to keep them on a staggered feeding schedule and they each do their own thing as far as nap time. I find it easier to deal with one fussy, hungry, poopy baby at a time. Yes, this leaves less time for things like housework and cooking, but that stuff really can be put on the back burner and you shouldn’t feel bad about it. I enjoyed spending one-on-one time with my girls during this period and eventually my house was clean and we started having home cooked meals again.
Track their activities
This helped me tremendously!
Even if you are just a new mom of a singleton it is very helpful to track their eating and diapering habits, but with twins it is essential!
When you are just getting to know your babies (and you are learning and getting to know TWO babies) it might be difficult to distinguish hunger cues from other things such as an upset tummy or sleepiness so if you have it down that Baby A ate 30 minutes ago then you know you may want to try some other calming techniques.
You might be thinking you will be able to remember that stuff right?? It’s going to be more difficult than you think. Taking care of two infants in the midst of sleep deprivation is no joke! You’ll be lucky to remember your own middle name much less who ate or pooped last.
Why keep track of diapering habits? First of all it can be an indication of something being wrong. If your baby isn’t wetting enough diapers or having enough bowel movements (check with your pediatrician on what to look for) than it is can be an indication that something isn’t right.
One of my girls was actually constipated at one point and it helped me if I thought to myself “I don’t think she has pooped in a while” then I could just look back and see who went when.
It also helps because the pediatrician is going to ask you all of these questions at the first few checkup appointments. They are going to ask how often they pee, poop, eat etc. and it really helps to be able to reference your activity tracker.
Get this Awesome New Twin Momma Toolkit by clicking HERE!
It is packed with these tools:
-Baby A and Baby B activity trackers to track feeding and diapering habits
-9 awesome virtual twin mom support groups
-9 pro tips from real twin moms
-The essentials checklist
-The diaper bag checklist
-Bonus printable on calming fussy babies (beautifully formatted and written as a poem so you can print, frame, and hang!)
Just click HERE to get it all delivered to your inbox.
By signing up for this toolkit you will also be subscribing to the My Life Refresh Email List and can unsubscribe at any time.
LIFE WITH TWINS
Another personal decision, but I will share what I did.
While in the hospital I asked that only close family visit. Your number one priority is going to be your sweet babies; it will be difficult enough recovering from child birth, aquatinting yourself with TWO newborns, and learning to breastfeed all while nurses and doctors are in and out of the room. Don’t feel bad about not wanting visitors until you are home. Everyone will understand.
Once you are home schedule your visitors! Have MAX two visitors (I am counting one “family” as a visitor for instance my grandparents = one visitor). Honestly I probably should have done just one visitor a day so two will pretty much be all you can handle (unless they are there to cook and clean for you).
You will be surprised who will want to help you when you have twins. People love twins, they are naturally curious, and they KNOW you need the help so don’t be afraid to enlist them!
My one piece of advice on this is don’t ask people to come help with the babies. You will want to be spending time with them, getting to know them, and getting your routine down. What you will need help with is the cooking, cleaning, shopping, and help with your other children so make that clear to your helpers.
Having a plan for your other children is crucial (this will also fall into the enlist help category). I am not going to pretend to know what it is like to have small children while trying to take care of newborn twins; my son was 11 when they were born so he was pretty self sufficient. That being said, he still needed to get up, go to school, have help with his homework, make it to soccer practice, and be reminded to brush his teeth! I made sure we had a solid plan, he knew what was going to be expected of him, and we had lots of help from family.
Stay positive! You will be overwhelmed sometimes, but know that you will eventually sleep again so try to enjoy this stage. If at any time you start to feel depressed, hopeless, or so overwhelmed you can’t complete daily necessary tasks please seek help. There is no shame in this ladies. Your body and mind has been put through the ringer, your hormones are all out of whack, you are probably overwhelmed, and definitely sleep deprived. Talk to your doctor if you need to; they aren’t going to judge you, you won’t be the first, and they are there to help!
ME TIME FOR MOM
It is so important to take care of yourself during this time! Taking time out for yourself will help you to be your best self. You can’t be the wonderful mom I know you will be without your me time. You don’t have to go out for a night out on the town to have the me time you need to refresh your mind. Enlist hubby, mom, sister or a trusted friend to just keep and eye on your babies while you take a long bath, do your nails, read a book, or watch a grown up movie and eat popcorn! If you are strictly nursing just do that first and then sneak away for two hours. They will be ok!
I only ask two things of you during me time.
One: lock the door and have background noise so you don’t hear your babies (if you hear them you will be tempted to go to them).
Two: don’t use this time to sleep. Sleeping is important and you need to do this as well, but your me time is so you can do something you enjoy, refresh your mind, and feel a little like YOU again. You are so gonna thank me for this!
If you need some me time ideas click HERE for my previous post on taking time out for yourself.
DOES IT GET EASIER?
You will hear a lot of people tell you that raising twins does not get easier, it just becomes different… in my personal experience it DOES get easier. First of all in the beginning you will be so incredibly sleep deprived and sleep deprivation will make first grade math seem like rocket science. Once you are able to get more that 2 to 3 hours of sleep in one stretch you will begin to feel better and things will start to feel easier so hang in there!
Another thing to remember is it will be completely new territory to you! You will be getting your bearings straight, but once you get into a good routine and settle into your new role as twin mama it will feel easier!
I have also found that it gets easier when the newborn stage passes. Now that my girls enjoy sitting in their sit me up chairs and looking at each other and their surroundings I am able to get some stuff done around the house which helps me to feel less stressed.
Don’t get me wrong, there will always be difficult times when raising twins just as being a parent in general carries challenges throughout each stage of your child’s life. I do want you to know that the first few months are difficult and it will start to get easier because you will be more confident, knowlegable, and rested! Good luck mamma, you got this!
Is there anything else you would like to know about surviving newborn twins or tips you can share with the new twin mammas out there? Comment below!