Although raising twins is different than a single, it is such an amazing journey!
Alright ya’ll, lately I’ve been realizing there are some differences I have had to accept since becoming a twin parent, and am here to give you real life twin parent tips.
If these babies are your first, it’s not such a big deal; this is all you know so far. However, if you already have on (or more!) you have got to change your expectations to really enjoy this double blessing!
Your twin pregnancy experience may be slightly more intense… but with double the reward!
HOLY COW the appointments! They are not so bad at first when you’re not giant yet, but come 15-20 weeks (for me, anyways) it was a big deal to walk across the yard. I had to walk across an entire hospital complex now… every week, then twice a week! Since twin pregnancies are much higher risk, the doctors want to see you more, which is great of course. And you also get ultra sounds way more often, which is amazing because it always felt like the most anxiety ridden wait in between them. I am a worrier, but who doesn’t love to get to see their babies more?
Your twin birth story may not be how you planned, but your twin delivery will likely be done with tons of expert help!
Your birth may happen in an Operating Room if you are having a C-Section. It will happen there most often even if the plan is to go vaginally, just to be prepared should things go south. I only got to hold one of my girls, as they had some breathing issues and had to be whisked away (all is good now!)
Be ready to throw your birth plan out the window, as with twins, the most important thing is getting them here safe.
I had a natural birth with my son, however with these girls was advised to get the epidural in case I needed an emergency C-Section.
The reasoning for this being I would not have to be completely knocked out if they did one; I could still see my girls being born. While talking to my doula she said there were some doctors that would agree to deliver without an epidural, but I figured I’d better be safe than sorry.
I don’t regret it at all; my birth experience was painless, joyful, and amazing!
There may not be as many twin carrier options, but you can still baby wear your twins like your single!
My first son, Luke, pretty much never touched the ground in his first three months. I think this is the nature of your first child; you can never get enough of those squishy arms, soft little patches of hair, milk breath… so you carry them. EVERYWHERE. Or at least I did!
I totally believe in the whole “Fourth Trimester” thing which basically is the idea that the first 3 months of a babies life they need to be close to the caregiver as much as possible to establish the bond for the rest of their life. So I did it! I fell asleep with him for naps, we co-slept, grand parents held him tons. Did he roll over super late because of this? Who knows… it could have also been his massive adorable head, which at this point is bigger than his 8 year old cousins.
Since you are now twin parents, there are definitely carrier options. There is the Moby Wrap, Twin Go, etc… and these are great, but good luck getting anything more than walking done in them. Also, until they get older and have good body and head control, it is difficult to load them up in the carrier yourself past the initial double front carriers.
Here are some twin carrier options – find one that works for you!
Bonding with twins may not be as easy as a single, but seeing their own twin bond develop is magical!
I’m not going to lie and tell you I feel like I’m doing this right all the time… as you might know if you’re a parent, sometimes it’s just about survival. The first 6 months are pretty rough in terms of sleep schedules (YOU MUST HAVE A SCHEDULE IF YOU WANT TO SLEEP.. more on this later!) and such, so it’s hard to really get that wonderful cuddle and play time you might have gotten with your first. They get diapered, fed, and then set down so that I can check on my son. Then clean. Then pump. Then make some food for myself. And before I know it, their 1 hour is up and they are tired again.
I realize I have only even interacted with them when they fussed, which at first made me incredibly sad. Is it fair they only get attention when they cry out? Shouldn’t they not have to ask for it?
But then, once they hit 4 or 5 months, they started to notice each other. And it was one of the sweetest things I have ever seen. When one sees the other, their eyes light up and a smile immediately comes to their face. They talk back and forth in their own little language. Sometimes my son even helps when he hears them fuss and makes them laugh.
I then realize I am doing my best; they know they are loved, and I see they are happy. Maybe I am doing something right after all!
If you want more bonding time, I encourage co-sleeping! It really helped strengthen that bond I feel I missed in the NICU, and can be done safely!
Check out my twin co-sleeping guide here if you are curious on how to get even more bonding time with your babies!
Your exclusive breast feeding goals for your twins may not be met, no matter how hard you try.. but they will still flourish as long as they’re fed!
This is possibly the hardest one for me to swallow. I breast fed my son for 18 months, and only weaned as I was advised to by my OB to prevent the possibility of pre term labor from the nipple stimulation. I am a hard headed, determined breast feeder. Before my twins, I figured I was doing something wrong if I could not make enough. It didn’t matter though, as I had plenty and never even though about formula.
My twins, once they got home from the NICU (Neo natal Intensive Care Unit) were eating 4-6 ounces every two hours. That is insane, and they have gained the weight to prove it! They were born at 5 lbs 6 ounces, and are now 20 pounds at 6 months old.
I am very fortunate to have my parents, as well as many other friends and family help me around the house. I decided to pump so as to make it easier to have others feed the babies, and so that I could have more time to spend with my son and with just general recovery.
As everyone knows, the pump will never remove as much milk as the baby does. So, slowly, my supply is dropping. This is despite still nursing at night and eating these AWESOME lactation cookies that do increase my milk by like 2 ounces each session. While power pumping did amazing things for me, it’s incredibly difficult to have time to do it that often. My son hates when I can’t hang out with him and I’m attached to this thing, and I just feel lazy sitting (even though I am pumping and making milk) when I hear my kiddos cry.
If you want to know how I made breastfeeding work for awhile, check out this tandem twin breastfeeding guide! It’s so much easier to feed them both at once, and I included tons of pictures so it’s easier to understand!
So came the day I had to use formula… and guess what… my babies have gained incredible weight, met all their mile stones, and are incredibly happy babies. Not that I thought they wouldn’t be, but “Breast is best” is drilled into every mother’s head. I know plenty of babies who are formula fed for one reason or the other, and they also are doing awesome.
Sometimes the stress of making enough milk is worse than just using formula. I would get tears in my eyes when I looked in the fridge and only saw one more bag of milk… and I had just pumped. No way would it be enough to get through the next 4 hours. I would sometimes even cry at night, mad at myself that they went through so much in the NICU, and I couldn’t provide the thing that should be “natural”.
Now when I look at them, and they are smiling or laughing, I know I made the right choice. I am a less stressed mama for it, and so am able to be a better parent to all my kids because of that.
While your single may not have had a schedule, a schedule for your twin babies is essential for sleep!
I’m NOT talking about sleep training and CIO and such… I mean a schedule in terms of eating and sleeping at the same time! No judgment though for any kind of training… all parents need sleep to be great parents!!
With my single, I kind of let him do his thing. When I dropped him off at day care and she asked me what his schedule was, I kind of shrugged and said “He eats when he’s hungry, sleeps whenever.” Ah, the easy days! =P
One piece of advice I read repeatedly across all Facebook support pages, articles etc was this.. keep them on a schedule if you want to keep your sanity!
When one wakes, wake the other. When one eats, feed the other. If not, you will be in this constant never ending cycle of feeding and putting down. And as soon as you put one down and go to grab your self some coffee and the nearest prepared food item (often cereal for me if we don’t have a meal cooked) the other one is crying and ready to wake up.
While it may seem nice to spend one on one time with them, it’s also nice to be able to get a break so that you can be more patient and ready to go when they are awake. Also, it’s just super cute to see them interact with each other!
I repeat, Keep. Them. On. A. Schedule
Do you have any recommendations to make twin life a little easier? Let me know!
I intend to kind of make a twin tips / what to expect with twins / information series out of this, to include stuff you actually should buy two of if you’re in a small space (hint.. not everything!) and what to expect in the NICU. Shout out to my twin moms and dads out there; nap time is only so far away! =P