Tips for Surviving Your First Year with Twins
The first year of parenting is overwhelming. While every baby is different, twins present a whole other range of challenges. One of the first things new twin parents realize is that most parenting blogs and articles assume you have one infant. The tips and tricks they offer often simply do not apply when you have two newborns. The good news is, there are parents out there who do understand and we’ve compiled the top tips and tricks for surviving your first year as a parent of twins.
- Accept every offer of help
Yes, even the co-worker who you think is probably just offering to be nice. People usually mean it when they say, “Let me know if there is anything I can do to help.” The problem is, they also usually have no idea how what you need. When they offer, if you can’t think of anything you need, ask for food. It’s not that hard to make a little something extra while cooking dinner – provided you don’t have two newborns that need you to hold, feed, burp, change, and snuggle them. Let people help you.
- Find a local twins or multiples group
Unless you have friends who have already had twins, you will quickly realize that it feels like no one quite understands. Twins are more common now than even just ten years ago. Chances are there is a club, group, or organization for parents of twins in your local area. Multiples of America has at least one chapter in every state, most states have more than one. The thing about twin moms is, they get it. They quite literally have been there. There is no need to go it alone.
- Stick to a schedule
Newborns eat 10-12 times per day. That’s roughly every two hours. A single feeding session can take 15-30 minutes. This means that by the time you have fed both twins, you may have barely an hour left to change diapers, feed yourself, go to the bathroom, shower (if you’re feeling ambitious), or nap (if you’re really lucky). If you are pumping, that can take another 30 minutes, leaving you thirty minutes before the next feeding time. Tandem feeding (bottle or breast) can save time. But the truth is if you don’t set a schedule, it’s really easy to do nothing but feed babies all day. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, except for the fact that you still need to eat. Your babies will begin to develop sleeping and eating patterns fairly quickly. As these patterns emerge, slowly codify them into a schedule.
- Do what works
One of the benefits of twins is realizing immediately that different things work for different babies. One child may soothe instantly with a pacifier while the other spits it out immediately. You may have one twin who loves the swing and another who prefers a bouncy chair. The only right way to parent your twins is to do what works for you and your family. This may change on a daily or weekly basis, especially in the beginning. Ignore any advice that doesn’t work. Breast, bottle, or both? Do what works. Co-sleeping, cribs in the same room, cribs in separate rooms? Do what works.
Twins are amazing. Parenting twins is a gift and a challenge. Let go of the kind of parent you imagined you would be and become the kind of parent your twins need.