First Year Survival Guide :: Twin Edition

2

My darling twins turned one last month. The discovery of these two came as an absolute {delightful} shock to us at our first doctor’s appointment; twins were nowhere on our radar. Their presence turned our family of four into a family of six. For the first 3 ½ months after their birth we had 4 children under the age of 4 . . . and I am here to tell you that we survived! Whether twins are entering your family as your first children or you are already an experienced mother, I hope a piece of our story will bring you a tiny bit of peace in the midst of the coming glorious chaos.

Say YES to ALL the help and NO to anything that overwhelms

This is not the time to people please. You are in survival mode. It will not last forever, but right now it is paramount. At all costs do what you need to sleep, hydrate and stay sane. This likely means saying yes to all the people offering to bring you food, but no to visiting (and don’t you dare feel guilty about it). I highly recommend requesting porch drop-off for meals. This tiny season may feel long and lonely, but your people are still there for you and will be thrilled on the other end when you are ready for play dates and girls’ nights out again, I promise!

Invest in even MORE help

Anticipate needing more help than what is volunteered. Plan and budget ahead of time to see if you can find a way to save a little to put toward hiring extra hands when your twins are tiny and eating around the clock. I personally struggle with pride in this area of not wanting to spend money on help, because I feel like I should be able to do it all myself and selfishly want to do it all my way. But when our twins came, I caved and we did all the things… house cleaning service, grocery delivery, pre-made meals, part-time nanny, and night nurse, not to even mention our brand new minivan. All of these things were an enormous support in maintaining some sense of normalcy in our home and sanity for myself. And this was all on top of both our amazing mothers helping out a ton in many different ways.

Prep your stations

Sometimes double the newborns can escalate to feel like quadruple the newborns. I found it essential to have multiple safe places to set them down or change their diapers scattered throughout the house. We had one couch designated solely for newborn boppy loungers, a swing corner, permanent tummy-time mat and bassinet stroller that shuttled fussy babies up and down the hallway. We set-up two changing stations and used the one in the main living room the most. I also highly recommend investing in a larger high-quality diaper pail or regular metal trash can with a lid so that you aren’t having to empty the diaper pail every few hours (be prepared for SO many diapers!)

Twin Sleep

Once you get past the very short, always sleepy, brand new newborn phase, twin sleep is a whole different ballgame. Our sweet night nurse from Newborn Nightingales tried to encourage me not to “save the other twin,” meaning, don’t run into the nursery to whisk away the crying baby so that the other one can stay asleep. I assure you, that urge is strong and I followed it for a time. For me, it was more peaceful to let them each follow their own wake/eat/sleep cycles while they were tiny than to have them synced on a schedule as quickly as possible. We did get there eventually (around 6 months) and it was wonderful! Today they can either sleep soundly through the other one screaming or they wake up happy to see the other one already awake and will play quietly across the bars of their cribs together for a long time. All that to say, there is no one right way to do sleep with twins. Go with your gut, pick something that works well for your family, seek help if you need it and for goodness sake nap when they are napping!

Introduce bottles early

If you aren’t able to breastfeed, this is a non-issue. But if you are able to breastfeed, it will benefit you to spend a little of your precious time once a day to pump and introduce the bottle early. This will allow other people to help you feed your hungry and needy newborn twins, buying you some extra sleep! While I was able to exclusively breastfeed both of my twins for three months, I was never able to figure out how to comfortably nurse both at the same time, so it felt like I was always feeding one of them. I was so thankful any time someone was able to help out with a bottle in those early days.

breastfeeding and “holding” at the same time

Parting thoughts

Twin mama, this journey is hard and exhausting, but take some moments to stop and enjoy this sweet, beautiful, messy, stressful, exhausting phase. Remember what you are doing is incredible and you are strong! You will not regret every crazy thing you did to console them and make them each feel as secure as if they were the only one. While it felt insane at the time, I now look back fondly and with a chuckle at how I would camp out on the couch with a giant jar of m&m’s from Costco and attempt to tandem breastfeed my twins during the fussy witching hours until we all finally passed out. You too will survive, one day they will have a consistent 7pm bedtime and all of the old people are right… it really does go by so fast!

And the sweetest blessing of twins is that eventually they learn to be much more content than singletons, because they have each other as playmates.

We would love to hear about your twin expectations or experiences in the comments!

(cover photo credit: Sally Owens Photography)

SPONSORED

2 COMMENTS

    • Thank you for sharing, Avery. I wish you could go back and have that extra support ~ but also celebrate with you where you are now! Four years is a HUGE accomplishment and a really fun age 🙂 And I love how you are caring for new twin mamas along the way (I will never forget the amazing chili you brought us twice!)

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here