Having a new baby is a big adjustment for every new parent and family. However, having TWO new babies at the same time is a HUGE adjustment.
Twins come with double the work, but they also come with double the joy. After the excitement and shock wear off, you might be wondering how you will tackle life with two newborns.
It might feel like simply surviving is your only option, but with some help, it is possible to do more than just survive.
Here are 10 essential tips for parents of newborn twins to help make the adjustment more manageable and hopefully more joyful:
#1: Ask For and Accept Help
Every new family needs help. Twin families are certainly no exception. Aside from the fact that your body just made two babies, you need time to rest and recovery from childbirth.
Set up a meal train, enlist help for errands and tidying around the home. Your focus should on the babies, not grocery shopping or tidying the home. Now is the time to reach out to any and all family and friends that are available. If it takes a village to raise a child, it definitely takes one to raise two!
You will likely want some time alone as just a family too, so don't be afraid to ask for some undisturbed space if you need it.
#2: Get Help Feeding ASAP
Breastfeeding is a natural process but it does not mean it always comes easily. It takes time to establish a nursing relationship, especially with twins. Getting any concerns addressed in the beginning can help you get to the healthy relationship faster.
In the beginning it might be difficult to tandem feed but as their latch improves you might find tandem feeding essential to getting through the many feeds. Get help practicing tandem feeding as soon as you are comfortable trying. This can maximise the time you are able to rest, eat and do other things in between feeds.
#3: Get Multiple Set of Pump Parts and Bottles
If you are using a breast pump or bottles having extra sets can make the day a little easier. Rather than rushing to wash parts before babies demand your attention you can grab an extra set.
You can place used parts into warm soapy water until you, or hopefully a helper in the early days, can wash them. This will make it a little easier to wash once you have the time.
Some mothers even store pump parts in the refrigerator in between pumping sessions. This is especially helpful for mamas pumping multiple times a day. Here are 5 tips to help you express milk like a pro.
#4: Shop Smartly
Grocery delivery services are becoming available in more and more communities. If it's something in your area now is the time to use it! Curb side pick-up or pick up at customer service desks are also growing in availability.
Online shopping is available for many items, including diapers/nappies!
Meal services, cleaning services and more are all worth the extra fees when you have two little ones in tow.
#5: Try Babywearing
Babywearing is excellent for bonding, milk supply and it provides two free hands. Whether it is just getting around the home or trying to run errands, babywearing can make caring for twins just a little bit easier.
Many twin parents find stretchy wraps easy to use with both newborns. As they get a little bigger some find using two slings, a large woven wrap or soft structured carriers helpful. There are even soft structured carriers designed specifically for twins.
#6: Make Time To Bond One-On-One With Each Baby
It can be easy to get wrapped up in the day to day tasks of caring for two babies. Making time to bond with each baby as an individual can help foster a deeper relationship with each of them. When you are able to get to know their unique personalities, needs and signs caring for them can be a little easier.
Some twin parents take turns holding and caring for each baby. Some will enlist the help of friends to hold one baby while they bond with the other. You do not need to set aside hours to focus on bonding with them one-on-one but however much time you are able to do it, you are likely to create lasting memories.
#7: Consider Hired Help
Friends and family are often able to offer lots of practical help and advice. Even with family help many parents find hiring professionals is invaluable while caring for twins.
A postnatal doula is trained to care for multiples. They are also trained to help equip you to care for your twins confidently while also ensuring you practice self-care. A postnatal doula can help you create a workable routine for your family and help you to catch up on much needed rest.
Using a cleaning service can be very helpful. Not only will you have less to clean, you might feel better knowing there is one less thing on your to-do list.
If you have older children a mother's helper might offer some much needed relief. A mother's helper can keep older children entertained. You get a much needed break while also feeling good about your child having fun. It isn't uncommon to worry about balancing your attention between many children, especially when two of them are newborns.
#8: Encourage Your Babies To Be In Routine Together As Much As Possible
Twins are unique individuals with unique needs but sometimes it is possible to get them into a similar routine.
Many twin parents find it helpful to feed both twins at the same time or immediately following each other. If one twin wakes or fusses to feed they try to encourage the other to eat as well. This can maximize the time between the feeds for parents.
If one twin is showing signs of being tired they might try to settle the other twin to rest.
#9: Practice Self-Care and Be Mindful of Your Relationship
Adding two babies can make self-care and healthy relationship habits seem unimportant. However, both things are extremely important and can make the rest of the challenges easier to handle.
Work as a team to get as much sleep as possible given the reality of life with two newborns. Tag team so both parents can shower and practice self-care.
Take time to check in with each other. With the busyness of life with two, it is easy to talk often but not really check in and connect with each other. Make regular time to really be with each other and to talk and share more of your lives than your precious babies. Create a daily coffee/tea ritual, enjoy a date-night at home while the babies are sleeping or go for a walk together with the babies in the stroller.
Life with two newborns is sure to come with challenges, yet know there’ll also be loads of love, joy and memories that will last a lifetime. Try your best to accept the inevitable occasional meltdown, overwhelm and tears as part of the journey. Don’t forget to laugh when you can, and work as a team. You’ve got this – all of you!