I want to say that I am by no means an expert in raising twins. Still, we have been doing this for 9 months now, and we have learned all kinds of tips and tricks for how to survive (and even thrive) in this crazy world of multiples. I bet these tips can even apply for if you have a singleton.
1. Have a sense of humor. You will have dual diaper explosions, spit ups, tantrums, and cries to be held. One night at about 6 weeks along, my husband and I camped out on the nursery floor, hoping to get a little more sleep there than in our room. Both babies were screaming and couldn’t be comforted. In fits of giggles (because, what else could we do?) we started imitating their cries, so all four of us were “crying” within a 6 foot area. What a group we were!
2. Be ready to be a celebrity when you go out and about, whether you want the attention or not. I have never gone out with the twins and not gotten stares, comments, and questions. I always have to mentally prepare for this prior to going out of the house. Even in my small neighborhood, we get stopped all the time (you would think they all know we have twins by this point).
3. Have prepared statements ready to the following questions/comments:
- “Are they twins?”
- “Are they natural?”
- “How do you do it?”
- “Are they identical?”
- “Can I take a picture?”
- “Were they planned/a surprised?”
- “I always wanted twins!”
- “Double trouble.”
- “You have your hands full.”
- “Do twins run in your family?”
3. Get organized. Before the babies were born, I made a master grocery list, chore chart, and household to-do list. I also wrote very detailed directions on how our house runs. This gave us a little more consistency for when we had family staying here or pitching in to help. The worst part of having a newborn (or newborns) is to lose your independence (I want to do it all myself, but I physically can’t right now). By having these lists already written out, I knew that if things were going to be done around the house, they would be done the way we liked them to be done. That helped a lot.
4. Invest in baby wipes. If you belong to a big box store, buy a few giant boxes of these. You will use them all. We use them on everything, from diaper changes to face wipes to spit-ups. We found that if we used them right away on spit-ups, we didn’t have to automatically change clothes (whether the babies’ or ours).
5. Find light-weight alternatives. With twins, you will have to own and carry double the amount of gear. I outlined our favorites in the post Traveling Lighter with Babies. I would also recommend the lightest weight car seat that you can find. We loved our Maxi Cosi Mico AP seats.
6. Buy one item, and then get a second if needed. This rule mainly applies for toys and non-essential gear. We liked to see if a toy was popular enough to warrant a second. So far, we only have doubles of a certain rattle and Sophie the Giraffe. You will need to buy two car seats, high chairs, and cribs (even if they start by sleeping in the same crib like ours did, they will eventually outgrow this).
7. Simplify your life. Cut out whatever you can. You won’t need it or miss it. It is amazing how your life will revolve around your babies, and it is a wonderful thing!
8. Buy used. Babies grow fast. When you have twins, and they are probably preemies, they can grow REALLY fast. We bought used clothes and gear whenever possible to save a lot of money, since you WILL have to buy clothes for each baby. Sometimes we splurged and bought new clothes, but for the first 6 months, they lived almost exclusively in hand-me-downs or used clothes.
9. Reach out to other MOMs (Moms of Multiples). Although I only recently joined my MOMs club, I have been an active member of several MOM Facebook groups. Having that outlet has been a great way to talk about the difficulties and differences that we face in a safe and kind environment.
10. Ask for discounts. This is a big one. Many stores will give discounts on big (or even small) purchases if you just ask (Pottery Barn Kids and Buy Buy Baby are two of our favorites). Many other stores don’t advertise this, but we’ve gotten some great little perks by having two babies at once. It’s not as good as “two for the price of one,” but any little bit helps!
11. Be prepared for a tough first year. I’m not going to lie. The first year is really hard. When you go through growth spurts, developmental leaps, teething, sleep regression, or illness, you will most likely get hit at the same time or one right after the other. Make sure you have some sort of outlet, whether it is an exercise class, good group of friends, or a way to pamper yourself. You and your partner will need time and ways to step away for even an hour. It really helps. For us, the lowest point was at 6-8 weeks. After that, we started to have better luck with sleeping at night and smiles during the day. I still wouldn’t call it easy to have two mobile babies at once, but it is much easier than it was. You can do it!
As a part of my networks, I asked for some advice from other MOMs. Here is what they told me:
- Get pictures of them individually (not just together).
- Put a little sign on their stroller that says “Please do not touch the babies.”
- Try to remember to be calm. The calmer you are the more laid back your babies will be.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help, even if it is to do the dishes or hold the babies so you can shower. You don’t need to be a hero.
- It’s ok if you can’t breastfeed.
- If people ask what you need, the answer should always be “diapers in every size.”
- Enjoy every moment as time goes by way too fast.
- If one wakes up to feed, wake the other up. Otherwise you will be up every hour. Having the babies on the same schedule gives you just a little more sleep.
- Sleepers make great clothes for the day as well as the night for the first few weeks/months.
- Have a changing station for each floor of the house.
- If you are bottle feeding, have a crockpot full of water on low for easy warming of bottles.
- Buy a closed changing table to avoid baby pulling things off.
- Set as many bills to auto-pay as possible.
- Double layer the sheets to save your sanity during night-time bed changes.
- Remember that you and your partner are a team.
- Routines should be started early, even if others think you are crazy. The demands of twins is totally different than that of one baby.
- Nod and smile when someone with only one baby offers you advice.
- Sleepers should have a zipper (not snaps) if possible.
- If you are breastfeeding, get in contact with a lactation specialist. Breastfeeding (and pumping for) twins is totally different than feeding one.
- Don’t take the tags off of small clothes until your babies are born. They may be bigger than you think!
- Test out the carseats in your car before your purchase them. We don’t have the option of putting the seat in the middle if it is too long for your car.
- Buy a camera monitor with two cameras that flip between rooms. Check out The Wise Baby Twin Registry Guide for our recommendations on purchases for twins.
- Consider a backpack-style diaper bag. When you are packing a carseat with each hand or a child in each arm, a diaper bag strap falling off of your shoulder is frustrating. Check out our review on the Ju Ju Be BFF diaper bag that has both a cross-body and a backpack option.
- Make the relationship with your partner very, very, very strong. Huge changes and challenges will come your way, and you need your partner’s support and love. A balanced relationship is the best gift to your kids. Do this before they are born, because then you will be deprived of sleep and logic for months after they get here.