10 Tips for New Moms of Twins
When my twins were born, I already had three children under the age of 6. To this day, I’m not quite sure how I survived those earliest months, and I’m grateful to be on the other side of it. If you’re expecting twins, welcome to the club! Here are a few of my twin-baby survival tips. Not every suggestion will work for every mother, baby, or family—just take what works for you and don’t worry about the rest.
One baby is a lot of work. Now double that. You’re not meant to do this alone!
When my twins were born, I tried to be Superwoman and stick it out alone—and I paid the consequences in complete exhaustion and crushing postpartum depression that went unrecognized and untreated for far too long.
If you have helpful family members in town, let them help you. Again—this isn’t a one-person, or even two-person job. If family isn’t an option, considering hiring help. A postpartum doula can make an amazing difference in those first few weeks—or even a neighbor kid who can pick up toys or load the dishwasher. I paid someone to take my older children to preschool, because making it out the door all on my own with three kids and two new babies was pretty much impossible at first. If you can’t afford help, enlist the help of your friends—you’d be surprised at how willing the people around you will be to help if you’ll simply ask.
Bottom line: you can’t do this by yourself, and you’ll lose your sanity trying—especially if you have other children.
Breastfeed as much as you can, exclusively if possible.
This approach doesn’t work for everyone, but it absolutely can work. Too many mothers of multiples go straight to bottle-feeding because they feel it will be simpler, but that doesn’t hold true in my experience. Bottles, formula prep, cleaning, and pumping can be a huge time and money sink, and it’s logistically more complicated than breastfeeding—and when you’re the mother of multiples, logistics start to really matter.
Establishing breastfeeding will have its moments of frustration, but that often holds true, whether you have one baby or six—first child, or tenth. That’s why it’s so important to remember Point #1—get help.
Ideally, you’ll want to start working with a lactation consultant prior to the birth of your twins—but if the babies are already here, and you’re having any problems or milk supply issues, I highly recommend seeing a lactation consultant who is open and willing to helping you maximize your breastfeeding experience. It is absolutely worth the time and expense.
Sleep when your babies sleep.
I know what you’re thinking. Should I also wash dishes when the baby washes dishes, and do laundry when the baby does laundry? It’s a huge temptation to attempt to get things done as soon as the babies fall asleep, but this is the fast road to a breakdown—especially in the first few weeks.
You need sleep to function. Period. So let the laundry go, let the dishes pile up. Let others help and do the things they can do—while you do what only you can do, which is rest and heal your body.
Feed both babies at the same time.
Two babies on separate schedules is a quick way to double the amount of work you’re doing. When my twins were babies, if one woke up, I’d immediately wake up the other baby and do everything I could to keep them on the same schedule.
Keep a record.
Write down special memories as they happen, and take family videos—because you’re not going to remember much. I unfortunately didn’t do this, and I have very little recollection of the few years after my twins’ birth. We do have some video during that time period—it was a very chaotic time, but still, fun to watch.
Get to know your crock pot!
I honestly can’t emphasize this enough. The crock pot is the solution to meal problems for most moms. Few things are as helpful as the ability to put food into a crock pot when it’s convenient for you, and then forget about it until dinner.
Ditch the PJs.
Bathe children at night put them into their clean clothes for the next day. I know it seems silly, but when you have 5 children under the age of 6 this is what saved me. I had my husband’s help to get them bathed after dinner and then into the clothes for the next day they went. Then the next morning everyone was already ready to go. It saved on laundry and having to purchase pajamas.
Wear that baby!
When I had my twins baby wearing was not as big as it is now, so I didn’t do it—but I can definitely see the benefit to the moms I visit. It’s especially helpful with twins. Worn babies are often calmer, and mom can get more done! There are a ton of options on the market at the moment, from slings to wraps to soft structured carriers.
Take some time.
This is another thing I didn’t implement into my life with twins, and I definitely paid the consequence. Figure out a way to get out and have some time for yourself. Go to a La Leche League Breastfeeding support group www.lllusa.org, have lunch with a friend, or go shopping with a sister. Always have something to look forward to that will help you look beyond the immediacy of caring for your babies.
Appreciate your spouse.
Show appreciation to your spouse when they are helpful. It is nearly impossible to do this alone. Take advantage of the helpful dads of this generation and encourage them to help even more by being appreciative and acknowledging when they are helpful. If he is not noticing where he can help, kindly let him know what he can do to help. Most people will respond so much better if we ask kindly for help, and men especially really respond well when we provide specifics in our requests, rather than hoping they’ll see what we need and filling in the gaps.
Hang in there! There is an end to the chaos that twin babies bring. It will all just be a blur someday, so do your best to enjoy what you can now. I hope some of these twin baby survival tips will make your time with babies more bearable and enjoyable. Now that all mine are in school full time I love coming and helping twin mamas. Feel free to contact me if you are in need of support.
Baby Bonds is a Boise-based company that serves mothers with lactation support, postpartum doula care, and teaches infant massage. If you’re interested in learning more, you can find our contact information here.