Your best friend is having twins, yay! Matching outfits, an adorable newborn photo shoot and double the cuteness are coming right up! Right?
Sure, twins come with double the joy, but they also come with double the work!
Want to really be an amazing friend? Here are 10 ways you can support parents of twins.
Supporting Twins Tip #1: Clean
Taking care of two newborns is very taxing. Taking care of two newborns while keeping up with the home is impossible. If the twins arrived prematurely, keeping the home organised might be even more difficult, as parents juggle home life with hospital visits. Make a visit to simply clean, not requiring the family to socialise, or provide a gift certificate for a cleaning service.
Supporting Twins Tip #2: Bring or Send Food
Finding time to eat, while caring for newborns, is a challenge. Finding time to prepare or even pick up food can be overwhelming. Set up a meal train, delivery from their favorite restaurant or set them up with a grocery delivery service. Good nutrition is always important, but when you are running on empty, a hot meal you did not prepare can help keep you going.
Before the babies arrive you can help mama prepare meals for her freezer. Storing meals in oven safe, disposable containers can make meal time easier when no one is scheduled to bring food. Little to no prep work and less dishes to wash can make any parent's day.
Keep mama stocked with nutrient dense, easy to grab foods. Nuts, pre-cut apple slices and carrot sticks, granola bars, and homemade lactation cookies can keep mama eating when the babies are keeping her busy.
Supporting Twins Tip #3: Take Older Siblings Out to Play
Adding a new addition is always a huge adjustment for older siblings. Adding two might feel overwhelming. Parents often feel guilty about splitting their attention and worry their older children will feel left out. Getting older children out of the home not only gives the parents a break, it also gives them peace knowing their children are having fun.
Taking toddlers outdoors or too busy activities can be a double blessing. Not only do the parents get a break while they are away, they might even benefit from a worn out toddler ready to nap upon return.
Supporting Twins Tip #4: Bring or Wash Nappies/Diapers
Everyone enjoys buying the adorable newborn outfits, but let’s be honest, most newborns live in plain onesies which most parents have plenty of. Rather than spending money on outfits, like many of their friends and family have, help them stay stocked with nappies (diapers in the US).
Newborns go through nappies with amazing speed. Showing up with a pack of disposable nappies is a gift you can be sure they will use.
If the family is using cloth nappies, offer to wash a load and assemble any if necessary. Consider buying a cloth nappy (or a set), to stretch the time parents can go between washing loads.
Supporting Twins Tip #5: Hold the Babies So Mama Can Shower
There might not be words for how wonderful a nice hot shower can feel during the postpartum period. Sleep might be the only thing that feels better! Even just a 45 minute visit that allows mama to hop in the shower can help her tackle the rest of the day.
Supporting Twins Tip #6: Care For the Babies So Mama Can Nap
Waking throughout the night with a newborn is hard. Waking throughout the night with two newborns, utterly exhausting. Arrive as mama is beginning or ending a feed and encourage her to head straight to rest when the babies finish. Use white noise to allow mama to rest through any noises the babies might make. A couple hours, or even just 45 minutes, of rest without listening for babies can be rejuvenating and help mama get through another day.
Supporting Twins Tip #7: Encourage Her To Accept Help
It takes a village to raise a child. Encourage mama to accept and even seek out help. Raising children does not need to be a solo experience.
Consider gifting visits from a postnatal doula. A doula can help mama get rest, ensure she eats well and model ways to care for both babies when she is alone. If doula care is not something you can afford alone, consider asking other family members to pitch in. The extra trained hands will make a big difference.
Supporting Twins Tip #8: Help Mama Connect With Other Parents of Multiples
Sometimes knowing you are not alone can be enough encouragement to get through the day. Getting advice from other parents that have been there can be a huge help.
Encourage mama to join in-person and online parents of multiples support groups. Even if you are an experienced mother, she might need support and advice from someone that has tackled the day to day challenges of twins. Considering providing a gift certificate for member dues to a local multiples support group.
If mama is breastfeeding, encourage her to connect with other mothers’ breastfeeding multiples. Support is invaluable when establishing a nursing relationship. When establishing nursing with twins, speaking with an experienced twin mama can be invaluable.
Supporting Twins Tip #9: Send A Date Night In A Box
New babies can cause a strain on a relationship. It might be awhile before the parents are comfortable leaving the babies with a sitter. Sending a date night box can help the parents focus on their relationship before they are ready to use sitters.
When parents are able to take time to work on their relationships they are better able to handle the challenges of parenting together. When the babies are older it is likely the parents will jump at the offer of a night out.
Supporting Twins Tip #10: Just Be There
Be there. Offer an ear. Be a visitor that requires no hosting. Provide some much needed adult interaction without pressuring her to interact. Sometimes just having another adult around is helpful, but having to chat or entertain is exhausting.
Show up with coffee, her favourite chocolate or a bakery cupcake. Send an encouraging text and praise her parenting skills.
Mama will eventually heal from delivery and balance life with twins, but for now just try to be the friend that needs little in return.