When I was expecting twins, I had no idea what I was in for. Then they came and it seemed that each day was a new learning experience. As I muddled through those first few crazy months, I made some big discoveries about parenting and about myself.
What I’ve learned about raising twins
- There will be easy days and there will be hard days. How you respond to them makes all the difference.
- People are going to ask you what you want for baby showers and the like. Ask for gifts of meals, help around the house or with holding babies so you can sleep/shower, and diapers. Trust me, you won’t regret it.
- Get ready-early! Pack your hospital bag, purchase and install your carseats, and buy preemie clothes just in case. Chances are that you will bring your babies home from the hospital and they will be swimming in their newborn layette.
- Focus your energy on caring for your newborns and don’t stress the other stuff. Be flexible. Forget the housework!
- You don’t need 2 of everything at first. You can get by with 2 similar things, like a bouncer and a swing. But by the time you have 2 toddlers, yes, you’re going to need 2 of everything. And they need to be exactly the same.
- Find a way to get some time to yourself. Get out of the house if you can get someone to come over and hold babies for a while. Personally, I wake up an hour before the rest of the family. Those quiet moments have been a lifesaver.
- It gets easier. Each stage has its ups and downs. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Meanwhile, in between those difficult times are moments of sweet sibling interaction that will melt your heart. Remember these moments when they are tearing at each other’s hair and you are ready to trade them in for a used PT Cruiser.
- You can breastfeed them both. Get support from the lactation consultant while you are in the hospital, be patient, and check out the YouTube videos and blogs of moms who have done it before you.
- Know that you will feel overwhelmed. It comes with the territory.
- Get them on the same schedule. And by this I don’t mean an hourly feeding and sleeping schedule that your life has to revolve around. Simply feed them at the same time, put them to sleep at the same time, bathe and change them at the same time, and when one wakes up to eat-wake up the other one, too.
- Twins are expensive. Accept hand-me-downs! If someone offers you clothing or used baby gear-take it!
- Relax. Stay calm. It’s ok if they cry. It’s ok to lay them down in their crib for a few minutes while you take some deep breaths and regroup.
- You just won’t sleep for the first few months. But no matter how bad it seems, you will get through it. You will sleep again, and soon those long sleepless nights will be nothing more than a distant memory.
- Your sanity and the health and happiness of your babies/other children/spouse are your biggest concern. Not the toppling-over pile of laundry or the dust on the bookshelf. It’s ok to ask for help-and if it’s offered, you should take it!
- You’re going to be a celebrity around town. Twins get lots of attention in public, especially if they are identical. And everyone has a twin story that they want to share with you.
- Raising children is hard, whether it’s twins or a singleton, three children or eight children. Every baby is different. Parenting is an adventure, and very few parents feel that they are doing everything “right”.
- Get hooked up with other twin parents. Connecting with the National Mothers of Twins Club is a great place to start. I highly recommend joining your local parents of twins club. The support, encouragement, and advice these parents offer is invaluable.
- Spend time with each twin individually. Some of my favorite moments are the snuggles and story time that I get with just one child.