I like to think of myself as a bit of a twin master. In my mind, twins are tougher than singletons, but WAY easier than having two kids of different ages.
Think about it this way: If you have two kids of different ages, they’re on completely different schedules. They eat at different times, go to bed and nap and different times, play with different toys, wear different size diapers, and throw tantrums for totally different reasons.
Twins, on the other hand, cake walk compared to that! The trick to raising twins, triplets, quads, or beyond? SCHEDULE!
Repeat after me, “I will NOT survive raising twins if I don’t get them on the same schedule”. Repeat this after they’re born and every day until they’re in school, lol.
Now, the natural parent inside me says that babies need what they need when they need it and that parents should respond to their needs accordingly; however, this looks different with singeltons and twins. With a singleton, you can watch for cues and feed only when it’s time. With twins, if you get “feed me” cues from one twin, but not the other…too bad, you’re feeding both. Do NOT feed one and not the other. This will throw your day off, which will throw your night off, and then…life will suck. What have we leared? Feed both.
Now, you can feed the hungry one first and then the other, or you can feed both simultaneously. I prefer to feed both simultaneously either breastfeeding with a My BrestFriend Nursing pillow for twins or bottle feeding with a Table for Two or with the twins in bouncy seats.
Then, choose the least fussy baby first (there will be one, I promise) and burp, swaddle, put down. The reason you choose the least fussy baby is so you can get the chill one settled before the fussy one begins to demand your attention. The fussy one can take longer to burp, harder to swaddle, longer to esttle, etc. If you’re lucky enough not to have a fussy one, no worries, just burp, swaddle, and put down both.
PS: Pay attention to pooping patterns. Are they dirty when you pick them up to feed? If so, change prior to a feed. Do they poop during a feed? If so, change them after a feed AND after a burp, before you swaddle.
Everybody’s favorite topic. We all know how important sleep is!
Smart moms start building healthy sleep habits immediately! This means your baby is in the crib or bassinet that they will spend their nights in right away.Keep baby clean, swaddled, and flat on their back and if you must have a blanket over them, lay it at the nipples and tuck under their sides to keep it secure. No bumpers, stuffed animals, or loose clothing in baby’s bed.
You’ll likely read umpteen-million baby books on sleep…try to avoid any book that recommends “crying it out”. That creates a mad baby, tired parents, and potentially an insecure, maladjusted kid down the road.
Trust yourself to follow their lead. Assume they’re tired and will sleep as long as they need, but also track how long they last before waking up in the middle of the night. If it’s a little more than two hours, then start feeding every two hours BEFORE they cry. They’re much easier to feed and resettle in the middle of the night when they’re not wide awake and overstimulated.
You can slowly taper this to 2.5 hours, then 3 hours, etc. until you have a 5 hour or more stretch between feeds. If your newborn does not settle imediately following a feed, after burping, changing, and swaddling, they’re likely still hungry. They will require more ounces per pound as they grow. Attempt to bulk up the feeds during the day in hopes of longer stretches between feeds in the night.
Feed, burp, change, swaddle, put down on the back. If they fuss a little bit do NOT pick them up. Wait about 5 minutes or so and see if they can settle themselves. If the cry begins to escalate, pick them up, love them until they’re drowsy again, then set back down. Wait another 5-8 minutes to see if they settle. Most babies that are fed and happy will fall back to sleep quickly.
Do NOT hold all night long. 1) It’s a SIDS risk. 2) It creates unhealthy sleep habits. 3) It prevents baby from self-soothing 4) You’ll be a tired-ass mama
The first few months of life will consist of nothing but creating a schedule, feeding, burping, changing, swaddling, sleeping; however, there are a few other tips to remember when raising twins:
- Make several copies of house keys, mail keys, and car keys. Leave spares with a neighbor, close friends, spouse, babysitter, and at work, in your purse, and in the diaper bag. You’re raising two humans…keys tend to get lost.
- Channel your inner pre-K teacher and color code the shit out of everything! If they’re fraternal, this is less of a problem, but with identical twins, you’ll want identifiers on all bottles, onesies, prescriptions, etc.
- Create a framed, hangable chalkboard/bulletin board titled “What I Need” and keep it updated so that when friends drop by randomly or call and say, “If you need anything let me know…” you’ll actually be able to point them towards what you need. Don’t be scared to take people up on their offers.
- Remember babies are resilient. There may be times one is crying while you’re tending to another or both are crying while you’re pouring yourself a dry martini…but, remember, self-care is important. If they cry a few minutes while you pull yourself together, they will not conciously think, “My mom must not love me”.
- Cloth diaper! You will spend anywhere from $6000-9,000 in diapers and wipes with twins before they’re potty trained, but you could spend $1000 and get 18-24 diapers a piece that are one size (OS) and will stick with them from birth until age 4! Save that money for nannies and sleep trainers.
- Set up “changing stations” EVERYwhere
- Nurse! Nurse often. Nurse on demand.
- Get your placenta encapsulated. Twins can be delivered naturally and vaginally, but let’s be honest, many are delivered via c-section. C-section mamas have a higher chance for post-partum depression, slower recovery and decreased milk supply. Encapsulating your placenta will set you back about $200 initially, but the benefits are outrageous!
Note: bottle warmers suck, wipe warmers are not portable, and pacifiers expel germs after a few seconds on the floor (don’t they?)
If you have specific concerns or questions that weren’t addressed in this post OR you’d like additional support, shoot me an email. My consultation fees via email are minimal and I love to help. Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org Good luck, mom!