“I’m writing a post on tips for surviving with newborn twins” I announced to my husband during dinner in between frantically dicing up food for our 1-year-old twins who inhale food at an impossibly fast speed. “Really. Are you sure we survived??” he asked as he picked up a sippy cup that was tossed gleefully on the floor for the 87th time.
Ha. I admit there were times during our first year as twin parents that I collapsed on the floor in utter defeat because the task given to me seemed impossibly hard. Sometimes I see pictures from the past year and I literally don’t remember the occasion. I’m like “What am I wearing, where are we, and who’s hands are those holding the babies??” Sleep deprivation can do a serious number on you… and the scary thing is that my babies are good sleepers.
I frequently searched Pinterest for tips on life with newborn twins when I was pregnant. Surely, someone who has been there and done that will have some good advice! To my chagrin, most of the articles I read had universal advice such as “be patient with yourself’ and ‘accept help from those that offer.” Now, I’m not saying that advice like that isn’t good advice. It is absolutely true and has it has value. However, if you’ve read much of my blog you know that I need things to be tangible and actionable. So I’ve outlined some tips for you, and I’ve made it as actionable as possible.
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1. Get Your Newborn Twins on a Schedule
GET THE TWINS ON A SCHEDULE. If one baby wakes up, wake up the other one. I wrote an entire post on how I got my twins on a schedule. Go read it for more tips. I shared this post in a few facebook groups for parents of multiples, and the overwhelming majority agreed with me that a schedule and routine is the #1 way to survive twins. There were, of course, a few moms who said that schedules didn’t work for them. If you’re one of those moms, all the power to you!
2. Find Parenting Shortcuts
It feels wrong to look for ‘shortcuts’ in parenting, but you get to break all the parenting rules the second you see two heartbeats on the ultrasound. Here are some shortcuts that I took:
- Rinse (DON’T WASH!!) bottles and pump parts: put them in the refrigerator and reuse them throughout the day. Wash them or throw them in the dishwasher at the end of the day. If my twins were sick, I did wash their bottles after each use, and I did wash and sanitize them often when they were preemies.
- Prop the bottles: We used the Twin Z Pillow, put the babies on their sides and propped their bottles with burp clothes. If you don’t have the twin z pillow, and your babies are bottle fed, you can use two boppies or place the babies in bouncers.
- Hands-free pumping bra: I frequently used a hands-free pumping bra (I love this one because it is adjustable from XS-L) and pumped while the babies were eating, propped on their Twin Z Pillow, of course.
- Prepare for feedings in advance: For us, this included preparing lunch for our two-year-old the night before. I know moms who made pitchers of formula in the morning (apparently a blender eliminates the chunks). Other families premade the actual bottles. Figure out what works best for you.
- Weekly baths: Yes, my children got baths weekly. No judging! Now they get baths twice a week (on a good week).
- Put everything in the same room, or at least the same floor: I’d bring the kids downstairs to the playroom in the morning with changes of clothes, diapers, etc. At night we would bring our bottle warmer and a cooler full of milk up to our bedroom so we didn’t have to go downstairs for the middle of the night feedings.
- If it’s not dirty, keep it on: Sometimes the babies wear the same outfit for a full 48 hours. If it has no visible stains, it stays on day and night. This saves time getting them dressed AND creates less laundry.
3. Join a Parent of Multiples Tribe
Being a parent of multiples is something that you cannot possibly understand unless you are one yourself. I am a member of the Columbus Mother’s of Twins Club, as well as many facebook groups for twin parents. Sometimes you just need to vent about the lady at the bank who told you that she knows what it’s like to have twins because she has two kids 18 months apart (um, what?), or the guy who asked if your 3-year-old singleton and 1-year-old twins are triplets (seriously, this happened to me last week). The fact that you even say the word singleton means that you need to have other twin parents in your life.
Aside from venting and sharing silly stories, having other twin parents to talk to is extremely helpful. Looking for a double stroller recommendation? Post in the twin club facebook group! Want to see if anyone has used one of those crazy twin baby wearers? Ask the twin mommies! Want to know if it’s normal for your twins to ignore each other or steal each other’s toys? Nobody can answer you better than a fellow parent of multiples. Find your tribe.
How do you find your tribe, you ask? Well, try google to see if there is a twin club in your city. If that doesn’t work, search on facebook for groups for parents of multiples. If all else fails, send me an email, and I’ll add you to some groups!
4. Prioritize Household Duties
I hate hearing that I need to just let things go, even though it’s true. How do you decide what to let go? Make a list of everything that you want to get done that isn’t an absolute necessity. Feeding the babes = necessity. Dusting your baseboards = not a necessity. My list came down to keeping my house clean and preparing healthy meals for my family. I hated the thought of letting my house go, BUT I hated the thought even more of feeding my family processed food and take out for a year. Decide what bothers you the least to let go of, and remind yourself that it’s not forever.
You might decide that older children’s after school activities take priority over homecooked meals. That’s fine! Just make your decision, and own it. Once I decided that I was no longer going to dust and vacuum weekly, I felt a lot less stressed.
5. Pay Someone to Help
Now is not the time to put on your superhero cape and try to do it all. I’m sure you CAN do it all, but at what cost? If we had the extra funds, you better believe we would have hired a housekeeper, a chef, and a nanny.
Trouble breastfeeding your newborn twins? Get a lactation consultant out, ASAP. Do your twins only settle in the one swing you have? For crying out loud, buy another one. Do your little angels want you to hold them 24/7? Splurge and buy the TwinGo Baby Carrier so that you can wear them at the same time. Pay to have your groceries delivered, sign up for Amazon prime, hire a house cleaner, and anything else you may think is silly. If you’re currently pregnant with twins, you might want to start tucking away a little bit into your savings account.
Do you have twins? What are some ways that you survived? Pregnant with twins? What are some of your biggest fears? Drop your thoughts and questions in the comments!