If you’ve just found out you are having twins. Sit down. Relax. It WILL be ok.
I promise! Pinky Promise.
Its a massive (but lovely) shock to the system when you find out you are actually having a baby. An even bigger one when you find out theres 20 toes in there and not 10.
Now this started as a couple of quick pointers. I now feel like it will take 3 days to read through, but… all important information if you are about to have multiples. Here are my top tips for surviving your first year with twins:
I know. I know. Getting one baby on schedule is a right pain in the jacksy. But two? You gotta be kidding right? Nope.
Get. Those. Babies. Synced.
Now, there are tips within this tip. Don’t get them on the exact same schedule. Have them around 10-15 minutes apart. The last thing you need when you are left alone with them for the first time is 2 babies who need fed at the exact same time and you haven’t mastered tandem feeding. If one baby wakes and needs feeding and the other is sleeping, well like a baby, wake and feed that one too. Even just a top up, so they both get in the same rhythm with life. Then you get some sort of break in between feeding. I found Podee Bottles a godsend, they meant I could feed one and the other could feed without support if I had no help around. If you are breast feeding and you have tandem feeding down… high five mama! Keep up the good work and carry on with your day. I had a toddler at the same time as the twins, so they automatically had to fit into our routine with nursery runs and appointments, the sooner you can get a routine going, the better. It doesn’t have to be iron clad, loose does the trick at the start.
You can see what our ‘routine’ looked like here: ROUTINE
2. ACCEPT ALLLLL THE HELP.
All of it. If someone offers to snuggle those sweet bundles so you can shower… Mama, you stand in that shower and you enjoy it. Have friends make YOU tea when they come around.
If you are visiting someone who has just had twins (even a singleton) take some sort of food. People who brought round cooked meals were my favourite. Still are. There was nothing more delightful than a home cooked meal after a sleepless night and a tough day with the little ones. There are SO many useful organisations too if you don’t have any family around you for that little bit of support. TAMBA have a helpline that you can call for support, and a card which entitles you to some twin discounts around the country. We were lucky enough to have a helper from Home Start just 2 hours a week, but what a mama can done in 2 hours? Priceless. I’m sure you can be referred by your health visitor for this too, so make sure to ask at your next visit.
3. DON’T PANIC!
This one sounds easier said than one, but babies sense the fear. They do, like dogs… they can smell it on you.
4. WHATS GONNA WORK? Teeeeeeam work! my husband didn’t get any time off work until the twins were a few months old, but when he wasn’t working, we worked as a team. We shared the night feeds, I did the baths while he did the cooking…. and we did our best not to resent the other for getting it ‘easier’. We were pretty much single parents to a baby each when he was at home. We chose a twin and that was yours until the next shift. No matter which twin he chose, they always slept.
5. IF YOU DON’T NEED TOO. DON’T
If you don’t need to go out, don’t. If you don’t want to dress them and you want to keep them in adorable onesies. Do it. Chances are they are clean and can be worn for a few more hours.
If the dishes can wait. Leave them. If they nap and you are exhausted. Nap.
This tip should actually be number 1, I feel like it’s almost the most important one. No one ever tells you it when you have a baby. You get the Mama guilt and clean. YOU cannot do it all. You can try. You can exhaust yourself, but you can’t. The sooner you admit this point the better, so with this I refer back to point number 2 and accept the help!
6. BE ORGANISED.
This can be started BEFORE they arrive. Have a nappy bag ready to go at all times. You never know when you might need to pop out in a hurry and the last thing you need is to forget something or two. I always made sure I checked this the night before
Next, We had mini change stations all over the house. Little baskets of essentials, nappies, wipes, cream, muslins, an extra vest and most importantly, a biscuit for when you got ‘stuck’ feeding and couldn’t get a snack. I had them next to the sofa I sat on, in the bathroom, in the twins room, by my bed anywhere I could think of for easy reaching. Everything I could possibly need for poonamis of most sizes. I. Was. Ready. I had a travel cot in the sitting room for naps during the day. We had a little crib that attached to our bed during the night, so they were close for night feeds.
Have a shopping list pinned on the wall, so that everyone knows what you need or what you are running out of. We stocked up early on ALL the essentials, loo roll, tea bags… nappies so no one was running out. Theres so many useful apps for keeping tabs on the feeds so that you know who had what when.
7. ENJOY AS MUCH AS YOU CAN.
No one is denying twins are hard work. Its double the work but double the rewards too. Its so so worth it. The first time their podgy little face smiles at you is heart wrenching. Just wait until they make each other laugh! There will be times when they keep each other entertained and you get to sit back and watch them bond over a soggy piece of pasta.
8. TAKE ALL THE PHOTOS.
Even if you feel a mess. If you haven’t showered. If they have a vomit stain on their outfit, or you do. If you haven’t slept and neither have they?
Take. All. The. Photos.
AND videos. I hardly remember the first few weeks of twin life. I can’t remember their tiny faces or how sweet they were lying next to each other, those snuffly little noises as they snuggled into each other for naps or how exhausted we were until I look back at the photos. Even then, I barely remember.
9. BE READY FOR THE QUESTIONS.
They get super invasive but you can have basic answered ready… Here are the top 3 you’ll be asked. And they won’t take a breath in-between:
Oh, are they twins? Are they boys/girls? Are they identical?
Others might be brave enough to ask some more like, were they natural? Did you push them out? My goodness, did you get stitches? Oh, buy one get one free? Now, it will feel tough and you will most likely get fed up of them, but… its the first time these passersby are seeing your gorgeous babies. Humans are intrigued by twins and just want to know everything. They forget you are sleep deprived and have heard it a million times. Smile & nod. The questions stop around age 3, promise.
10. They WILL tag team you.
There will be days when you will be running in circles. One will wake as you put the other for a nap. They will both scream bloody murder at the same time for NO reason and only when you feel like you have caught your breath one of them will poop and need a bath. So you might as well bathe them both, right? They will forever tag team you. They will keep you on your toes and I swear they know the sound of your bum touching the sofa with a hot drink.
11. SELF CARE
Remember to take time for you. We aren’t talking a weekend spa break, but if you can get one of those, go for it! It can just a quiet 10 minutes with a cuppa. If its reading a book in the bath while you wiggle those tired aching boobies in the water. Self care is tough when you have little ones, invite a friend around for a little glass of wine in the evening. Spacemasks weren’t a thing when I had newborn twins, but my goodness they are some of the best relaxation you can get!
Sometimes a good cry to ‘let go’ of anything is helpful. And completely normal. Baby blues are completely normal too, but if you feel like those aren’t shifting after a week or so, the best thing you can do is talk to your midwife. Anxiety is completely normal once you’ve just had a baby and they are there to help you in every way they can.
12. THERE IS NO RIGHT WAY.
You’ve got this. How ever you are doing it, you’ll be doing just great. This point doesn’t need any more of an explanation other than you are doing perfectly, YOU’VE GOT THIS MAMA.