Wondering how you will get through the first crazy months with newborn twins? This is a time of big adjustment and change for everyone in the family, so here are some of the best tips I got from other twin moms when I was getting ready to welcome home my little bundles of joy.
Put them on the same feeding and sleeping schedule
This was the most important thing we did to save our sanity. Starting with their first feedings in the hospital, we always fed them at the same time. Since all newborns do is sleep and eat, it’s not too hard to get them on the same schedule right away.
We fed them every 3 hours and they would sleep in between. Feedings did take longer than I expected in the beginning (a good hour or more), since I was nursing and then topping up with formula (and then pumping after). After two months we switched to just formula and then it only took about 30 minutes for a feeding. I was very insistent on keeping them awake while eating so that they could get a full feed in that would last them until the next one.
For the night feedings, if one woke up I would wake the other so they could stay on track and also so I wouldn’t have to wake up 20 min later. We did this until they were about 4 months and then if one would sleep through a night feed I would let her since we were weaning them from night feedings by that time.
Have a notebook to keep track of everything
One of the things I was’t prepared for was the need to keep track of every little thing when the girls were newborns. How many wet diapers, how many poopy ones, and how much milk was consumed and when. The health nurse would come over and ask me for all this information!
Twin A was losing weight in the first few weeks so all this was important info for me to know whether or not to add more formula into her life or whether to just eat more and hope I’d have more milk for her.
Having a special notebook or printable chart is invaluable for all this information gathering. When you are tired and still on pain killers from a C-section, things in your mind can get a bit fuzzy..not to mention remembering who pooed when. Also having a little schedule of their feeding and nap times printed out or handwritten on the wall was very helpful for the relatives, friends (and dad) who were helping out.
Line up help in advance
Speaking of help..you will need it. Unless you are super-mom, then my hat goes off to you! Some of us moms are more capable than others, but most of us need a whole lot of support and encouragement, especially when twins is your first time being a parent. Everything is new and scary, doubly so! I thought I was really good with kids from all my babysitting..and I was. But newborn colicky twins is a whole different ball game.
When you babysit you can always leave at some set point. For the first 2 months I was terrified of being alone with my babies. I simply couldn’t handle it. I didn’t know what to do if they both started crying. This did get better after the colicky stage went by and then I felt I could handle them myself finally. But this was something I had to learn how to do. How to pick which baby to deal with first, calm down, and then deal with the other one. Anyway, if you’re like me, having someone there for the first while can be a life-saver. Even if it’s just a few hours or checking in to see how you’re doing.
Don’t feel bad if you need a week or two without visitors
Twins is a novelty. It just is. There were people who knew I was having twins that I didn’t even know (my parents were pretty excited to tell anyone who would listen, that they were going to be first-time-grandparents of twins). Subsequently, when our babies were born we had a lot of people wanting to stop by. As much as we wanted to show off our adorable identical twins, we also wanted to have some quiet time to get used to the fact that WE NOW HAD TWINS.
We kept the first few weeks to ourselves and close family, and then after that only had 1 to 2 visitors a week to spread things out. Whatever your situation may be, do not feel guilty for saying “no” to people, or “you can come in 3 weeks..or 6…or never”.
For me, I wanted the help everyone offered and I wanted the company because I’m an extrovert, but it still tired me out a lot having people over that I wanted to have over! If you struggle with saying “no” to people, have someone else do it for you (your hubby or friend/relative that’s around helping out those first weeks).
Take it easy if you’re recovering from a C-section or difficult delivery
You may think this is a no-brainer, but it’s actually really hard to do when you have two babies that need feeding, changing, rocking and bouncing. I was tandem nursing so I had my mom helping with feeds during the day and my hubby for night feeds. However, it was really hard for me to not carry them around and want to get back to my normal since I had been on bedrest for so long prior to having them. I was eager to actually be able to walk again!
It really is important though, in the long run, to make sure you’re recovered fully. Giving birth to twins is a pretty big deal, however it was that they came into the world. Don’t worry about spring cleaning the house or cooking gourmet meals just yet. Give yourself a few weeks to rest and build your strength slowly.
Sleep as much as you can
Newborns really do sleep a lot when you think about it. Having toddlers now and looking back..yeah, babies sleep most of the time!But then I remember how tiring and time-consuming it was just feeding them and I’m reminded why I slept when they did. Maybe that’s why I don’t remember much of those newborn days..cuz I was sleeping as much as they were.
Why then, did I feel so sleep deprived? Your body is just not used to the small chunks of sleep time instead of the longer stretches it used to have. So forget all the things you think you need to do, and just sleep! This is the advice that’s easiest to ignore, but your body will thank you.
Make use of the twin baby gear you have
Even if you didn’t get two of every swing and bouncer, you probably have enough things to be able to put one baby down in something while you deal with the other baby. This was very helpful once I was on my own with the girls. Having a place to secure one while I changed the other, or to distract one while I comforted the other was great.
As they got older then having a play yard or excersaucer in the main living area was invaluable while I would go put one down for a nap (I staggered naps by 10 min so I could have some snuggle time with each one)or go to the washroom. Also don’t forget about the double stroller when going out and about by yourself..lifesaver!
It gets easier-so don’t freak out!
Best advice ever! I clung to this one (and still do!) and it is true! The first months were a blur of adjusting to our new family dynamic, but then as things settled into a routine it totally got better! Give everyone time to adjust-don’t feel you must rush back to “normal” life, but enjoy the tender newborn moments and remember that it does get easier with time. If you’re a first-time parent, getting used to being responsible for two little ones all at once is overwhelming at times, but it’s awesome once you get in the groove! For me that took a year..but everyone’s different! You can do it mama!