The first question I get from newly expecting twin moms is about what to register for (see this article) and the second is what advice I have for them. Let’s explore some of my tips in this article.
I feel that most expecting twin parents already have their share of nerves and don’t need a long list of do’s and don’ts. Finding out you are expecting two babies can be overwhelming enough. This list, consisting of 9 pieces of advice, is going to primarily focus on supporting and encouraging you. Early twin parenthood is a whirlwind, but some of these tips will help you to pause, breathe, and enjoy the little moments along the way.
These are pretty general, yet important, pieces of advice for new twin moms to be. Digest this article first. If you are craving more details and lists of do’s & don’ts, do not fear. More recommendations and articles on special topics for everything from nursing & sleep training to baby food & potty training will be coming. I also welcome your questions and requests for articles, just shoot me a message HERE. Okay, let’s get started:
#1. Plan for help for at least 2 weeks (longer if it’s a C-section)
My mom (who was a twin mom herself) was my greatest blessing! She stayed with us for most of the first 2 weeks and helped with the around the clock feeding. My girls had some low blood sugar issues in the hospital because my milk hadn’t come in, so the doctors told me I had to feed them every 2 hours. It was really tiring to do the whole pattern of syringe feed, breast feed, bottle feed, burp, then new diaper TWICE, followed by 20 minutes of pumping and dishes. My mom helped me juggle everything and would bottle feed and burp one while I breast fed the other, allowing me to get through the cycle more quickly. She also helped keep up on the laundry, ensured I was fed, cleaned my house so I wasn’t stressed about company, and let me take the time to nap when I could or just sit there and enjoy my baby girls. Just writing this brings me to tears. I am so thankful for everything my mom did for us.
But even if you don’t have someone that can offer this level of help, try to get some level of help. Lean on your significant other if they can be helpful. If someone offers, have them vacuum or do laundry or the dishes, or even ask friends to set up a food train so you only have to heat up food. (I was CONSTANTLY hungry when I was breastfeeding).
#2. Get the Tinybeans app
I had these 2 beautiful babies, and some friends and family members couldn’t get enough photos and kept asking for more. I didn’t want to ‘overshare’ on social media so I ended up having text groups for pictures. That was fun, but was a lot of work and not very practical. Then I found tinybeans. It is a secure way to upload pictures, track milestones, and you can invite only the friends and family you want to see your albums. I love being able to upload pictures and videos and being able to go back in a chronological order to view it all. The app is free (or you can upgrade for more options). I think you can even have it create printable photo albums for you if you want. I love Tinybeans, as does my family. It is the first thing my parents check every morning, since they live about 4 hours away.
#3. Say YES!
This kind of ties in with #1 but I can’t stress it enough. If someone offers help, say YES and take them up on it. Have them mow your lawn, bring in the trash cans or cook you food. Basically, ANYTHING that is helpful. If they didn’t want to help, they shouldn’t have offered! They likely feel special when they get to help, so don’t worry about inconveniencing them.
#4. Take pictures
This kind of relates to #2, but TAKE all the pictures. Take them when you are swollen and about to deliver. Keep the ‘bad’ picture of your puffy face after delivery with your babies in your arms. Take the picture of you with bags under your eyes or without your bellyband on. You may not LOVE how you look in it,but it’s a phase in life and you don’t want to forget those precious memories. I remember being mortified at our first family picture my mom took after we came out of the operating room and I told her she couldn’t post it. She agreed but made me promise not to delete it. Now I love looking back at that picture. Sure, I still see a swollen face that I almost don’t recognize, but I also see my 2 precious babies that I just worked hard to bring into this world and the beaming proud look on my husband’s face. I’m glad she didn’t let me delete it. The days are going to fly by, so snap a picture (or few) every day as a way to pause and think about how fleeting these moments will be.
#5. When all else fails laugh
This may sound silly, but someone told me this and it saved my bacon numerous times. There will be times when things are just utterly ridiculous and you may be about to lose your mind. In that moment, take a step back, take a breath, and look at what is happening as if you were a fly on the wall. Then laugh! One time I was trying to get a baby to nurse but she was screaming at me telling me she was starving (even though my boob was literally in her mouth), the other baby had just spit up all over herself, blew out and was also screaming. I was overwhelmed, didn’t have enough hands, was half-naked. I wanted to cry but when I paused for a moment to imagine I was someone else looking in at my hot mess, I couldn’t help but laugh. That short moment of laughter helped me reset and tackle all the jobs at hand. We all survived!
#6. Take the car seat safety class
There are car accidents every day and about a million ways you can do a car seat wrong. So PLEASE, I urge you to take the car seat class before your kids arrive. It’s free and I think they are offered in most counties.
All too often I see babies with straps that are too loose because well intentioned parents don’t want to get it too tight and worry about it being uncomfortable or hard to breathe. The baby will get used to it and their life depends on it so please make sure it’s tight. Make sure it’s installed correctly, that the chest clip is at the nipple line, etc. Just go to a class so you can be more confident!
Another big one I see is coats in the car seat. Too many layers or puffy layers are really dangerous as they prevent the seat belt from being tight enough. If a collision were to occur, small children can be ejected from their car seat. Please put the child in the seat and then cover them with blankets or a backwards coat once everything is nice and secure.
#7. Scrapbook/Picture organization
Obviously, I think pictures are important; first I said get tinybeans, then I said take pictures, and now I’m coming back to pictures one last time. Your babies will change fast and grow up quickly so have a method for keeping organized so you remember who is who. I guess this isn’t as important for boy/girl twins and some fraternal twins, but it is for identical twins. Sometimes just going back a couple weeks can be difficult to tell them apart. If you wait 6 months or 6 years, you might not know, and trust me your kids will want to know. My mom was pretty good at labeling photos, but every once in a while, my sister and I would tell my mom she labeled a picture wrong because the purple shirt was Courtney’s and mine was pink. Or the real struggle came when we found pictures as babies that were not labeled and nobody can agree on which baby is which.
To keep organized, I do online scrapbooking and put little K’s or C’s over the corners of the pictures. I also force myself to keep up on it every month so I can label them correctly before I forget. I love online scrapbooking and it helps me to de-stress. Some find it stressful. If you find it stressful, find something that works for you! You can use tiny beans to help track who is who, or label them on your computer or dress them differently, but I encourage you to find your method and you will be glad you did.
#8. Buy the book ’12 hours by 12 weeks’ and sleep train
I know there are lots of different schools of thought regarding sleep training, but I believe that it is the way to go. I think it’s easier if you do it while they are younger and I think sleep (and space) for mom is also important. Sure, there are times I missed cuddling them to sleep, but I guarantee I love sleeping soundly without elbows to the face even more. I also really love letting them sleep in their room while I get out of the house and go to the gym a few days a week (don’t worry, my husband is still home). All of this will be possible with sleep training.
#9. Trust yourself
Some days (or lots of days) you may feel like you are failing miserably. But my guess is that if you THINK you ‘aren’t enough’; you are in fact much better than you believe. That thought alone shows that you care. You are your babies’ mother. You are the one that brought them safely into this world. You are the one that is sacrificing your sleep to love on them and dote on their every need. You are the one that loves them the most. Trust your gut momma, because you are better than you think you are!