You have just received some exciting news about your pregnancy; you are going to have twins! After the initial jubilation passes, most parents go through a phase of fear and something close to helplessness. How in the world are you ever going to be able to fulfill the needs of two newborns at the same time? How are you going to feed them and bathe them and put them to sleep?
Just the idea of twins sends jitters down most people’s bodies; most of which leave them with negative feelings instead of positive ones. But twin-parents will tell you that they bring happiness like nothing else. All the special moments are doubled because there are two of them to do it.
Yes, it is true that the first few months of twins lives can be very demanding what with literally little to no sleep and odd hours of feeding. This is the reason why from the very start you should be accepting of help from wherever it arrives, be it the grandparents, siblings, friends or neighbors. Allow them to hand you over as much free time as possible. They can do grocery shopping for you, babysit the little ones, feed the twins, change or put them to bed or if nothing else, give you a listening ear. So be welcoming of all the help that comes your way and remain grateful as well as appreciative.
Relax, take a deep breath and let go of the anxieties. Hundreds of other parents before you have done it and if they can, then so can you. Now whether you have just brought them home or just found out the big news, here are some simple ways you can make life easy and enjoyable with your two new bundles of joy!
Constructing Habits from the Very Start
It does not matter that the twins are only a week old; you need to get them into a set of habits that is going to last for a lifetime. From feeding time to bathing routines, sleeping schedules to play times, make sure you make proper constructive habits from the beginning. This will allow you to have more control over all kinds of situations and let you have some rest time too.
Babies are very reluctant to go to bed at certain times of the day and night and prefer sleeping whenever they can and wherever they can. This is why you need to come up with a routine from the very start so that they soon get used to it. Getting one baby to sleep can be difficult and with twins the whole task becomes more challenging. Make sure that the twins get used to the same routine, where they take feed and are put to bed at the same time. This way, they will both understand the basics of habit.
Just the idea of feeding a little one can be daunting. Imagine that with two little ones who both demand to be fed at the same time. Trust us, it is not impossible. It will just take you some time to get into the practice of dealing with two babies at the same time. You must be confused as to how you can breastfeed both the babies at the same time. The easiest way to do this is to pump some breast milk into a bottle and feed one from the breast and the other twin from the bottle.
Did you know you could also feed both the twins at the same time? You will need to find a comfortable position and maybe even a twin feeding pillow, but the option is there. If you feel the whole task is too taxing, you can always use a bottle for one of the twins.
Remember the help of the partner can be vital at this point. If you are breast feeding, you can put one baby to the breast while other takes milk from the bottle. This routine can be alternated between both the twins. You can pump breast milk in order to make sure that both the twins receive the breast milk. One twin can be handled by the mother while the other can be fed by the father. If you plan on giving them formula milk, make sure the bottles are prepared and given to the little ones at the same time.
Playing time is also something that you will need to set from the start. Your primary efforts should be to make sure that the babies are awake for at least 2-3 hours before night bed time. This way, they will be tired enough to sleep through most of the night. This schedule will take time to develop but start from the time you bring the twins home.
Sleeping scheduling is the hardest part that most parents face when it comes to twins. The first and most important thing that you need to do is develop some kind of habit. We suggest that you try out the 4 B’s-Bath, Breast or Bottle, Bedtime Story and Bed. This works wonderfully for most children and give parents ample time to rest themselves.
A bath helps babies to relax and calm them down while making them drowsy too. You can then put their pajamas on, feed them and then read them a bed time story or lullaby. Make sure they are lying in their cots so that you don’t have to change their positions once they are settled down. It is best to avoid any kind of rocking or feeding while putting the twins to bed because if they develop that habit, it would make them dependent on you for sleep. It’s ideal to let them settle on their own from the very start, so that even if they do wake up at night, they don’t need you every time for sleep.
This is something that is recommended for the first few weeks of the twins lives. Since twins are used to being together from the time they were conceived, they find the idea of being with each other when sleeping very comforting. Keep in mind though that you don’t want to rely too much on this bond as it can become disruptive for when the babies grow up, kicking and towering over each other and waking up. Once the babies are over a month old, change their cots so they can both sleep comfortably.
There are quite a few books on twins that you can go through in order to abstract valuable advice. With practice, you will ace the twin game. So don’t worry about the few mistakes you make at the beginning. Talk to your family members, friends, coworkers, neighbors and other acquaintances to find out as much about twins as you can. Have fun and best of luck!
© Teresa Boardman, Nanny Options.
Browse other Parenting Guide articles from Nanny Options
or keep up to date with us on Facebook.