Twins!!! Surprised? Afraid? Happy? Whatever you are, you have twins, so you have to think outside of the box. Raising a single infant is already a tough job. And now you have twins, so it is harder than you ever imagined.
Don’t be so afraid. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report, 33 twins are born in every 1000 childbirth. After 1980 the birthrate of twins has increased by 76 percent. So you are not alone. So many parents have to deal with twin babies.
Here are ten essential practical tips for parents to cope with twins.
1 Get as much help as you can
Every new mom needs to accept the help from her friends and family as she adjusts to having a new baby. This is even more true for a new mom of twins. There is double the work and you will have to do a lot of juggling while caring for your new babies.
Feeding your twin babies, bathing your twin babies and changing their nappies is going to be more than a full time job.
Consider asking your mom and siblings to help you out, as well as friends. It may even be a great idea to take on a nanny full time or part time for the first few months so you not only have help with your babies, but you can also take a little bit of time to get some well needed rest.
2 Feed Your Twins on the Same Schedule
Breast milk contains all the essential nutrients that your babies need but breastfeeding is not always easy even when you have one baby. Breastfeeding twins will be even harder, but it is definitely possible to do.
One of the best things you can try and achieve with your twins is a synchronized feeding schedule. If you can feed both your babies together it will make your life a lot easier, plus chances are they will sleep around the same times too.
Try and get tandem breastfeeding right, play around with different feeding positions and find what works for you. It may be a good idea to get a lactation consultant or a La Leche League leader to help you achieve this.
Using nursing pillows and towels for better support can help you to find a comfortable position for you and your babies while feeding.
Getting your partner to support you with breastfeeding your twins will help a lot. You can also express milk and daddy can take a turn feeding the twins when he is home from work which will give you a much needed break.
If you are formula feeding your twins it is still a great idea to try and get your babies on the same feeding schedule.
3 Bathing your Twins
Bathing your twins may seem like a monstrous challenge, but it needn’t be a huge problem.
If your babies’ daddy is home, he can hold one baby while you bath the other one. If you are alone you can put on baby in a baby chair or baby swing while you are bathing the other.
It is not essential for both of your baby to have a bath every single day, so if you are alone and you are struggling to cope with bath times it may be best to only bath one baby a day. You can alternate the days your babies bath.
4 Play Time with Twins
It is going to take some practice to figure out how to juggle the needs of both your babies. At times it will be really hard.
Both of your babies are going to have to learn to spend time playing on their own.
It is a good idea to start with this early on. All babies need tummy time to learn their skills such as turning over. Make sure you have a good quality play mat that one of your babies can lie on while you sit with the other baby.
When the baby on the floor starts to fuss, change your babies around so they each have floor time and mommy cuddle time.
5 Make sure you have a Double Seated Baby Stroller
Now most moms have a stroller for their baby and while it is a much needed and useful piece of equipment for any mom, but for a mom with twins it is an absolute essential.
Your double seated baby stroller will be used like any other moms uses theirs, like going for a walk or when out and about shopping. However for a mom with twins trying to cope on her own a double seated baby stroller can be used like an extra set of arms to keep your babies safe.
A good example is just getting to your car, how do you carry two babies to the car safely and strap them into their car seats on your own? Easy – you put them in the double stroller.
So make sure that you buy yourself the best double stroller and ensure that you are familiar with how to open it and fold it up with ease before heading out with your babies.
6 Babywearing Twins
Babywearing is not just for single babies, you can find baby carriers and baby slings made specially for twins. Once again anything that helps you keep your hands free when you have two babies is going to be very useful.
Babywearing is not just convenient but it also promotes bonding with your baby which will help you on your mothering journey.
7 Twin Baby Swings
If you are trying to put both your babies to sleep it can be incredibly tough and if your babies are crying at the same time it will be hard to soothe them both.
A twin baby swing can be another life saver, leaving your arms free to attend to one child or a way to put both your babies to sleep while giving your arms a much needed rest at the end of a tiring day.
8 Diaper Changes
A newborn baby usually needs a nappy change at least every 2 hours and you have twins. This means you will be changing at least 24 nappies in a day.
It is important to have a safe place to put your baby while you are changing your other baby’s nappy. Remember the double seated baby stroller, the babywearing and the twin baby swing? Any of these can come in handy for keeping your baby safe and secure while you are changing your other baby’s nappy.
9 Caring for Sick Twins
Your twin babies won’t always get sick at the same time, but chances are high that there will be a good few times when they will be sick together. Any mother will tell you that caring for a sick baby is tiring and distressing, so double that up and you are in for a rough few days.
Night time will be especially tough as sick babies generally don’t sleep well at all. While your husband may need to be at work in the morning you will probably be needing to make it through the day alone at home with two sick babies and you being overtired is not going to help.
So make an arrangement with your husband that he is on baby duty for half the night and you are on duty the other half so that both of you have time to care for the babies and you both also have time to sleep.
It is also important to remember that while you have agreed on shifts there are two babies, so if both of them are fussing and cranky you may need to be available anyway even if it is your hubby’s shift.
Make sure that you have put everything you will need to care for your babies out before you go to sleep so that when you do get up in the middle of the night you are not fumbling with medications or trying to find a thermometer.
10 Join a Local Mommy Group
Even with all the tips and advice you get it is still hard to cope with twins. Something that can make it so much easier is the company of other moms, you can share your frustrations and get lots of support and maybe even help from other mothers.
You may even be able to find a twin mommy group where you can talk to moms that know exactly what you are struggling with.