7 Essential Tips When You're Blessed With Twins
Yesterday was full of distractions since one of my dear friends, Kristen, was delivering her baby girls. Plural. I had been hassling Kristen's dad all day wanting updates and he finally sent me this.So beautiful. Cue my tears.
However, eight months earlier Kristen was the weepy one. A welcome unexpected pregnancy AND two babies to boot is a big event in anyone's book. She and her husband Matthew were thrilled and terrified at the same time; just like any expectant parent, except doubled.
As though having two babies AT THE SAME TIME was a big deal...
Still, since I've only dealt with "singletons" (a term parents of twins apply to birthing department slackers who take the easy way out and have only one at a time), I had to check in with my "moms with multiples" friends and see if they had any different advice.
They did. My friend Lisa says, you HAVE to get advice because humans aren't supposed to have "litters," so you need special operating instructions. My friends sent fun pictures (which I've included here!)
#1 - "Label" The Babies
The most time sensitive piece of advice was so critical I sent a text right away to the family. The simple, but easily missed nugget, is to label the babies while you're in the hospital! My friend Leigh doesn't have a clue which baby is which from when they were itty bitty. Kristen and Matthew had this covered with a different colored ribbon on each of the girl's heads!
#2 - Get a Night Nurse
Do whatever it takes to get this overnight help. Live in a tent. Sell one of your cars. Return half of the baby gifts. Beg, borrow and steal if need be. The "ideal" is 3 nights a week for 2 months, but take anything you can get. If the crazy uncle wants to help, you might even consider that option. The night nurse will help you with #3...
# 3 - Schedule - Schedule - Schedule
Your first job is to teach these babies when to sleep. This comes when they have predictable bedtimes, feeding times and awake times. This is your only hope for sanity. In the singleton world having a rigid schedule is subject to debate. There is NO debate in multiple worlds. Even the grandparents won't fight you on this point.
While you're at it, do your best to have your kids in the same room (at least at night) because this will be their reality when you travel. Plus, they seem to like being together!
# 4 - Re-frame the "Twins are So Much Work" Comments
People feel it's their duty to remind you that twins are a lot of work. They will talk about the "trouble" of having two babies and the "challenges" of raising multiples as if you don't know. Be patient with them, but re-frame the discussion by reminding the commentator that you have double the love, the hugs, and the fun.
Then ignore the stack of diapers.
#5 - Buy Two of Everything
If you're buying shoes, toys, sippy cups, or ANYTHING, buy two of the same thing. Otherwise you WILL become a referee. I think this rule applies when your kids are 20 months apart as well, but I digress...
# 6 - Build Your Network
Moms with multiples have a secret handshake, and if you know it, they will tell you all of their secrets.
OK - that's not true. All you really have to do is ask. Twin moms love to share their tips and tricks with other twin moms. For instance my cousin Liz says you should skip highchairs and go for bumbos with trays and always rotate the kids between contraptions to keep them happy (one on a swing, one in a bouncy seat). Another friend swears that a "pumping bra" will change your life (I assume for the better, but the name is a tad sketchy!) and swears a great stroller will make you lose the baby weight fast.
Whatever area of parenting, others have traveled this double blessed (!) road before so ask them for help and insight!
# 7 - Be creative
You will face new challenges daily for a world built for single babies. Have fun finding new solutions! Laugh, write stuff down, share.
Now is the time to work out your creativity muscles!
Mostly, all of my "twin mom" friends said to enjoy the time together.
"The days are long, but the years are short." (Thanks Sandra!) This is true for us all.
Congratulations Kristen & Matthew!
Welcome to the world baby girls!