Tips for New Parents of Twins

As a new parent to twins, myself, I have a lot of ideas about what has worked/didn't work with our twins so far.  So, here are a few of my tips for new parents of twins...

  • Set up a baby changing station in several locations in your house.  We have one in the boys' room and one on the main floor in our family room.  I have also recently set up a station in our bedroom for convenience. 
  • I keep a stash of other necessary baby items in each of these locations as well...In particular, I have a pair of baby nail clippers, diaper rash cream, a bulb syringe, a bottle of saline nose drops, a thermometer, thermometer covers, Vaseline, and rubbing alcohol in each changing area.
  • Our family room changing station is on our pack-and-play.  I hardly ever used the pack-and-play as a regular changing station or bed with Little Miss.  She didn't like sleeping in it, so eventually we just packed it away and brought it with us when we traveled.  However, with twins, the pack-and-play is great to have on the main floor because I can put one or both babies in there if I need to put them down for one reason or another.  It is also helpful if a baby falls asleep in your arms when you are not near their bedroom(s).
  • Make sure you have portable places to put the twins down in for when you are busy around the house or trying to tend to just one of the twins.  We have a travel swing, an infant papasan seat, and a bumbo seat.  I love that they are portable so that if one of the boys falls asleep, I can move them out of the room with the commotion.  I also use these different "seats" to bring them closer to me while I am cooking or cleaning around the house.  Of course, I keep them far enough away from any dangerous areas (ie. the stove).  Below are pictures of the "seats" we have.  Bear in mind that all of these "seats" are from when we first had Little Miss, so they are older and some of them may not be available any longer.  However, the pictures are just to give you an idea of what they look like.

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  • I also like having the papasan chair because my boys were spitting up a lot in the first three months...especially Miracle Man.  If I put him in the papasan chair for a nap, he spit up a lot less.
  • I have two play mats.  I use one on the main floor of our house, bringing it into whichever room I am in.  The other, I use primarily in the boys' room.  These are great for tummy time, as well as play time when I know they are wide awake and I need to do something quickly.  I put them on the floor on their play mat and shut their bedroom door.  Of course, I never leave them alone for more than a minute or two, and once they can crawl, I will not be doing this.  However, for right now, it is okay as long as it is a very brief time that I am away from them and the door is shut so that our pets cannot get in their room.
  • I have two baby monitors.  One is just to listen for them, the other is a video monitor so that I can see them to make sure they are okay.  Having two is great for when you have them in different locations in the house, but you need to be someplace else.  For example, if I have the boys separated for sleeping in two different rooms upstairs and I am cooking downstairs.  
  • You don't need to give both babies a bath every single day.  In fact, I am probably on a 3 day rotating basis.  On most bath days, I give just one of them a bath and give the other one a bath the next day.  
  •  With twins, expect the unexpected.  Many of my "plans" before they were born have flown out the window as I am getting to know them and their personalities. 
    • For example, I planned on having them share a crib at first.  However, Chub-Chub is a busy boy that doesn't like to fall asleep right away (but once asleep, is out like a light).  Miracle Man, on the other hand, is a very light sleeper and has a hard time falling asleep.
    • My boys are not really taking a pacifier...although I would prefer that they use one of those instead of   a) their fingers  or   b) me.
    • I had planned on tandem feeding them all the time...it is great when it works, but my boys are not always on the same schedule
    • Same schedule...I planned on putting them on the same schedule...umm...it doesn't quite work that way.  LOL...they seem to put themselves on their own schedules and I have very little say in it. 
    • Clothing...I guess I just assumed they would wear the same size, but as they are getting older, and especially because of Miracle Man's heart surgery, they are now in different sizes.
  • Yes, sometimes they do cry at the same time and you can't help them both.  I have had to just accept that sometimes one of them has to learn to wait.
  • Have them wear the sleeper/crawler outfits...especially to the doctor's.  Before they were born, I purchased several "cute" outfits at Baby Gap.  I have barely used any of them.  I typically only put them on the boys for special occasions...not even when some company comes, because I don't always have enough time to dress them up.  When changing diapers all day long, it is just easier to have them in their "pajama" outfits, as I like to call them.  In particular, the ones that zip all the way up are better than the snapping ones as far as ease of use is concerned.  I remember thinking (before they were born) that I wanted my boys to look like little men, like their daddy.  I had purchased jeans and button down shirts for them.  Yeah...they've worn them only a handful of times and now they have outgrown them.  I loved the outfits, but in the end, it was kind of a waste of money to buy so many.  I would recommend maybe one or two cute tops with one pair of jeans.  You don't really go out often with them anyway.
    • Going to the doctor's office is MUCH easier when the boys have easy outfits...especially because I end up going by myself often.  And every time you go, they get weighed with all of their clothing off.  It helps if the outfit is easy!
  • Try to bring somebody along with you to your doctor's visits.  It goes much smoother.  That way, one person can hold and undress one baby, while you hold and undress the other.  It also helps if you are nursing your twins, because inevitably, you will be feeding them at the doctor's office.  Then, while you are nursing one baby, your helper can do everything necessary for the other baby's visit and then switch off so that you can nurse the other baby. 
  • Don't forget that you can ask your significant other, a grandparent, aunt, uncle, friend, cousin...anybody who is willing and able to go to the doctor's office with you.
  • There is a TON of laundry with the addition of two babies.  At first, it wasn't that noticeable, but now...Oh Boy!  Or should I say, Boys?!?!  I could easily do at least one load per day with my family of 5.  At least.
  • You definitely need several outfits per day for each baby.  I didn't need that many when they were newborns, but now, I go through a ton of outfits.  I would recommend probably 10 outfits per child per size.  That should give you about 3 per day each for about 3 to 4 days.  Some days you will use less, some days more.  But this would give you a good base and a few days before you HAVE to do laundry.
  • Speaking of laundry...With Little Miss, I only purchased Dreft laundry detergent.  Now, I just purchase whatever is on sale that is dye and perfume free.  So far, I have not had any issues with those detergents.  I did, however, have an issue with Chub-Chub when I accidentally threw an outfit of his in the washer with regular detergent.  He had a slight reaction to it...not too bad, but enough that I will wait a while before washing the twins' clothes in regular detergent again.
  • Several people have asked me how I keep each of their things separate...for example, their car seats, clothing, toys.  The simple answer is...I don't.  For right now, while they are babies, I am not going to worry myself about that.  Whichever baby I am holding goes in whichever car seat is closest.  And the same goes for any other item we have in the house for the babies.  I know that as they get older, I will need to be more cognizant of them each having/needing their own things, but for right now, when they are oblivious to it, I am not going to stress over keeping everything straight.
  • Some days, you just have to go with the flow...well, actually, most days.  In the beginning, I was lucky on most days to be able to get a shower and eat all in the same day.  Now, there are still days like that (especially when they are sick), but I am typically able to at least do both of those things.  I might not get to do housework as well, or run on my treadmill, but at least I get to grab a bite to eat and shower.
  • You have to take each day one day at a time.  You never know what each day will bring.  I have started (finally) to lower my expectations for each day, as well.  I had been getting all twitterpated because I would wake up each morning with a huge list of household chores I wanted to accomplish before Little Miss and/or Prince Charming would return home.  Of course, I wouldn't get even half of these chores finished...sometimes any at all and I was beside myself with frustration by the time everyone got home.  Now, I try to accomplish just one household chore each day and just accept the fact that my house is not going to be as tidy as I would like it. 
  • Another handy item to have several of (at least in the winter) is a humidifier.  We actually need at least one more right now.  We have one in our bedroom and one that is Little Miss's, but we've been using hers in the boys' room the past two weeks while they've been sick.  We have a wood stove on our main floor, so I also try to keep a pot of water on that at all times.  A couple of times, I have set a pot on our kitchen stove, as well.
  • It's hard to watch the boys develop at different rates.  Having two babies makes it soooo easy to compare them.  You have to remember (and I tell myself this all the time still) that they are two different people.  They will grow and mature differently. 
  • It is, indeed, much much much harder to have two babies than one.  With that being said, I feel like I was a little bit prepared for the crying part of it because Little Miss was colicky for 3 months straight...all day, every day...hardly any break.  The twins, however, for as much as they do cry, between the two of them they do not cry as much as she did. 
  • I think the hardest part of having twin babies (so far) is the amount of work.  It just never seems to stop.  You are always feeding, changing, burping, caring for somebody.  I definitely don't feel like I am as good of a mom to these two as I was to my daughter.  Of course, she was an only at that time, whereas now we have the two of them plus her.  Additionally, we lived in a small apartment, where there was far less housework to do.  With her, though, I felt like I had more time to interact with her and play with her.  I gave her tummy time all the time, sang songs to her, cuddled with her, etc--way more than I can now for each child individually.
  • As far as getting back in shape after the twin pregnancy is concerned, you have to just relax about that and do the best you can.  With Little Miss, I put so much pressure on myself to lose the baby weight right away.  And the thing was that it really took me a long time.  The year after she was born, I ran like I was running from the law.  I did two half marathons and a full marathon that year, not to mention countless smaller races.  I busted my butt trying to lose the weight (no pun intended).  And I was nursing...don't "they" say that nursing helps you lose the weight quicker???  And who are "they" anyway?  Because they clearly didn't know me!  For me, I did lose some of the weight that year, but it wasn't until I stopped nursing when Little Miss was a year old that I actually really started to lose the rest of the weight.  I believe that my body just held on to the fat cells to help produce the milk.  But that's just my non-scientific take on why it took until nursing was over to lose the weight.  In any case, this time I decided not to put so much pressure on myself to lose the weight.  So far, the boys are about 4 and 1/2 months old and I have lost around 35 pounds...but I had gained about 55, so I have at least another 20 that I want to lose.  And I feel so much more relaxed about it.  Of course, I am getting tired of wearing maternity pants, but I am starting to fit in my early maternity pants, so that's fine.  It means there's progress.
  • Nighttime feedings:  In the beginning, when the boys were soooo tiny, I would get up out of bed every two to three hours and sit in my rocking recliner with my nursing pillow on me.  Prince Charming would bring the boys to me and I would sit in the chair and nurse them until they were done.  Prince Charming would take them, change them, and bring them back to me so that I could nurse them back to sleep.  As time went on, it was getting harder and harder for me to stay awake during all of those nighttime feedings.  I found that I was falling asleep in the chair and I was very worried about the boys getting hurt.  So, I started to do all of the same routine, but in our bed instead.  Eventually, I stopped using the pillow when the boys were just slightly off on their schedules. I would lay down on my side and cradle one of the babies in my elbow, latching them on in that position.  This way, if I fell asleep, they were protected from me rolling over on them...you can't roll over your own elbow, after all. 
  • We have two of the Baby Delight Snuggle Nests (as shown below).  They are great for co-sleeping because they keep the babies safe, but right next to you.  In our King bed, two Snuggle Nests fit if you put them right down the middle, one in front of the other (as opposed to side by side).  This helped a lot with nighttime feedings, having them right there with us.  Now that the boys are older and larger, the Snuggle Nests don't really work as well because they move more in their sleep and end up sideways in the Snuggle Nest, which is probably one of the reasons why the company recommends using it only up until 4 months.  We are working on transitioning the boys into their cribs now.
Baby Delight Snuggle Nest - Green Dot Dots - Baby Delight  - Babies"R"Us

  • Another tip for new twin moms actually comes from my mother-in-law.  She says to me repeatedly that you can't take care of other people very well unless you take care of yourself.  I am finally beginning to heed her advice.  It has taken me awhile, but I believe that it's true.  If you don't eat, for example, and end up with a headache (like I do), then what good are you to the twins?  You have to take care of your basic needs.  Period.  Bottom Line.  Twins can be very draining physically and emotionally, and if you don't keep up with your own basic needs, you will have a harder time taking care of theirs.
  • Accept any help that is offered...especially if it is a meal.  It seems nearly impossible some nights to get dinner on the table while the boys are screaming and Little Miss is demanding attention or has homework to do.  Having a pre-cooked meal that just needs to be reheated is AWESOME! 
  • In fact, when you find time to make a meal yourself, try to double your recipe and freeze half of what you have made.  Having dinners you can pull out of the freezer is a MUST.
  • Don't forget about that good ol' standby, the crock pot, either.  There have been many nights where I was so glad that I had put our meal in the crock pot earlier in the day.  If I hadn't, we would've been eating spaghettio's. 
These are the tips I have for right now.  As I think of more, I will add them to this page.  So, bookmark this page so that you can check back for more tips and advice!  And if you have any questions for me about what it is like to have newborn/infant twins, please feel free to leave me a question in the comments section.

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