Finding out that you’re pregnant with twins is life changing.
I mean, once you realize that the ultrasound tech isn’t playing a crazy joke on you. I want to say that after the shock wore off, I was all “double the love!” but reality was I panicked. I didn’t think there was any way I could grow, deliver and raise two babies at once. But I did and am! And lots of other parents are out there raising twins (or more!) and they are surviving too.
Here are my tips for surviving your first year with twins:
Schedule, schedule, schedule!
I can’t even begin to tell you the importance of sticking to a schedule. My children were put on a three hour feeding schedule during their two and a half week NICU stay and we committed to staying with it once we got home. If one wants food, feed the other too. If you’re changing one diaper, change the other. And when you’re done, put them to bed at the same time. We kept a log binder on our dinner table where we tracked who ate when, how much, and bowel movement. I know it sounds crazy but when you’re sleep deprived and can’t remember who you just fed or when you last fed them, looking at a binder to remind you is super helpful. Who cares if it looks neurotic, save your sanity and write it down.
Create a sleeping schedule with your partner.
I’m not going to sugar coat it, getting sleep during the first year with twins is exceptionally hard. But both you and your partner need it. For the first three months, my husband and I took sleep shifts. I would sleep from 10pm to midnight, my husband would sleep from midnight until 4am and then I would sleep from 4am until 6:30am when my husband left for work. We adjusted this at 3 months, opting to each be responsible to one twin throughout the night. And lastly, at 7 months was adjusted with each us feeding both babies once throughout the night.
Accept all help.
I mean seriously. I did not turn away help from anyone, especially during the first three months. If a grandparent offers to come over and sit with the babies from 1am-4am in the morning, simply say thank you and run as quickly as you can towards your bed. If someone offers to make you food, graciously accept and make a mental note to make it up to them after the twin’s first birthday.
Preparation is your friend.
I’m sure there are supermoms out there who are going to disagree with me but I found you can’t do anything on a whim with twin babies. Even something as simple as a bath has to be carefully planned if you want to undertake the task by yourself. I would have everything I needed brought into the bathroom and setup before I brought the babies into the room. And then I would bathe one baby at a time while the other was secured in their bouncer chair beside me. Just remember, with preparation there doesn’t have to be chaos. Check out my Twin Pregnancy:Prep List for preparing yourself for twin labour and delivery.
Let go of the mommy guilt.
There will always be a baby who needs your attention and a baby who has your attention. There will be times where both babies are screaming and you will have to choose who to pick up first. It sucks. But you can get rid of some of the guilt by alternating cuddling one baby with floor time for the other and vice versa. This gives both babies independent play time and mommy time, and eases your mommy guilt because all babies need tummy time!
Lastly, focus on the light at the end of the tunnel.
It does get easier. Everything starts to turn around once twins turn one year old. Everyone is getting more sleep, solid foods make feeding easier, and they can start to entertain themselves (and each other!) for a few minutes. Your hair won’t always be gross, your clothes covered in spit-up, snot and who knows what else, and the dark circles under your eyes will fade away. You will make it through each day, the hard ones and the good ones, and one day pass down your twin mom wisdom too.
Postpartum Depression is a real and serious beast and twin moms are even more susceptible than moms of singletons. Check out my post about my experience with postpartum depression and lesser talked about symptoms. Think PPD may be affecting you? Take this quiz and book an appointment with your family healthcare provider.
Do you have or are you expecting multiples? Connect with me in the comments!