How to survive twins and enjoy their first years too
So the Stork arrived and brought you not one bundle of joy, but two. Double the love, double the trouble, and double the bodily fluids. There’s sometimes a bit of bad press associated with having twins, but, contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t all have to be about endless sleepless nights and wondering how to grow an extra set of arms and legs and eyes on the back of your head.
One tip to help you survive and even enjoy new twins, even if it sounds rather boring, is routine.
Preparation is key
Before the babies even arrive, go shopping for equipment such as a double pram, a giant nappy bag and two bouncers so you can keep an eye on them side-by-side. Prepare the nursery, and baby-proof the house. The more you do now, the better, as you’ll be busy when the bubs arrive.
Getting some sleep, having proper meals and having a shower may seem tricky in those early days. But they can be achievable with some help.
When friends and family ask you how they can help, tell them how, and then take them up on the offer.
Ask them to bring over a casserole or two. Alternatively, you could find a local company which can deliver healthy meals to you. It can be tempting to live on convenience foods, but you’ll do yourself, your little ones, and your partner a favour by eating a healthy balanced diet.
Sleeping is another biggie - work out a roster with your partner for getting up in the middle of the night or ask a visiting friend to give the babies a bottle while you have a quick cat nap at night (if possible).
Hire a cleaning service if you can, or ask your mother-in-law to do a quick vacuum or wash dishes when she visits.
Dinner for two
It may seem like all you’re doing is feeding the babies. You may have heard the old adage “don’t wake a sleeping baby” and usually that is true - unless you have twins. If one baby wants to feed and the other is asleep, wake the sleepy bub so you can feed them simultaneously.
It will take a bit of practice to find the easiest way to do this - try holding each baby’s head in your palms, or have them lying on a pillow with their legs stretched in front of you. There are special twin-feeding pillows which can help too. Alternatively, feed one straight after the other.
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It might be wise for the first few days to leave their wristbands on. It sounds terrible, but you’re only human – and a sleep deprived one at that - and it’s natural to mistake twins, even fraternal ones! After a few days, you’ll notice their differences and other idiosyncrasies, and you’ll soon have no trouble discerning one from your other.
As they grow, make sure you treat your babies like individuals and try not to refer to them as “the twins” too often. They may have a lot of similarities, especially physical ones, but they’re unique human beings and that should be treasured and encouraged.