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Taking care of twin babies is in a league of its own. You’ll need tips that work for parenting multiple births and not that generic baby stuff. This article is a compilation of just that – invaluable tips and information that parents of twins swear by – so you won’t have to look for them anywhere else. This is your newborn twins parenting survival guide.
You might have heard a lot of talk about how great it is to breastfeed and how awesome breastmilk is. Well, you heard right. After all, human milk is made for humans, right?
Not only that. Did you know that breastmilk adjusts its nutritional content based on your babies’ current needs? Your milk changes as your babies grow and it contains more antibodies when your babies are sick compared to when they are not. How cool is that?
You might also have heard about how tough breastfeeding a baby can be that makes you wonder, “How in the world can I breastfeed twin babies?” Yes, it can be intimidating. But with proper education and lots of support, you’ll be breastfeeding like a pro in no time. Many mothers have done it. And you can do it too!
Here are some breastfeeding essentials that will help start off your journey.
Breastfeed as soon as possible after giving birth. During this time, babies have the natural instinct to look for their mother’s breast to feed. Not only will your baby get colostrum which acts as their first immunization, it will also help establish your milk supply early on.
Moms breastfeeding twins are often advised to express their milk to establish their milk supply. Invest (or rent out) in a good breast pump, preferably a double hospital-grade one. However, you should beware of the risks of mechanical sucking like having plugged milk ducts and sore nipples.
Breastmilk can be store in the refrigerator up to 48 hours. In the freezer, it can last for about 6 months. Make sure to label your milk bags or storage bottles properly with the date and time when the milk was expressed so you’ll know if the milk is still good.
If for some reason your babies are unable to directly latch, try methods that don’t involve bottle feeding like cup feeding, finger feeding, or using a medicine dropper, spoon or syringe. Bottle feeding sometimes can cause nipple confusion, making it more difficult for your babies to latch.
In as much as you want to follow a rigid schedule, your babies may have other plans. Each of your babies’ needs are unique. One may always be hungrier than the other. Be a bit more flexible and try to be attuned to your babies’ needs at all time.
For the first few weeks, it might feel like all you do is nurse your babies and change their diapers. And when you have complications like sore nipples or engorged breasts, it can get more draining that you may consider giving up.
This is where your support team comes in. Ask your husband or other family members to help out with house chores so you won’t have to do them yourself. Sleep when your babies are asleep. You can also let your family take care of the twin babies for a while so you can get much needed snooze.
Are you worried that you might not be able to produce enough milk for two babies? Here is a great tip for you. You need to learn that breastfeeding follows the law of supply and demand – the more milk is consumed, the more your body will produce.
This is why it is important to breastfeed on demand – feeding your babies as soon as they exhibit signs of hunger for as long as they want. Some mothers try to boost their supply even more by pumping milk in between feedings.
Taking galactagogues and supplements that aims to boost your milk supply like fenugreek and lactation cookies are good but they are not effective for everyone. As long as you eat healthily, stay hydrated, and that your twins latch properly and nurse effectively, your milk supply will eventually increase.
The first few weeks of breastfeeding can hurt, especially when your babies do not latch properly. Remember that breastfeeding is a learning process for both you and your babies. Let a lactation consultant guide you on how to properly latch your babies and it will get more comfortable later on.
Breastfeeding shouldn’t hurt. If you’re having nipple pain, it’s probable that your babies don’t latch properly or have lip/tongue tie. When you feel pain in your breast, it is best to consult your doctor right away to check if you’re suffering from conditions like plugged milk ducts or mastitis.
Sleep is crucial for your newborn twins’ brain development. During sleep, your twins’ brains are busy enhancing their learning abilities. No wonder they spend more than half of the day slumbering.
Your babies’ sleep schedule does not always sync with yours. Anticipate that there will be times when you want to get some rest but your babies are still wide awake.
Here are some ways you can help your babies sleep better so you can also get your much deserved rest:
Babies crying could mean a lot of things. It’s either they need to be fed, need a diaper change, need to burp, or they want to be cuddled. They could also be tired or sleepy. Be aware of their cues and observe closely what they are trying to communicate so you’ll know when you need to put them to sleep.
Signs of sleepiness include:
But just because one is showing signs of sleepiness doesn’t mean the other twin is ready to take a nap. Pay attention to cues that each baby exhibits individually as they may have different needs at a given time.
Holding your baby to your chest and rocking him softly is one of the simplest ways to get him to sleep. Babies however have their own preferred method or objects that they associate with sleep such as nursing, their binkies, the smell of mommy, among others. It takes time to decipher what specific tactic gets your babies to sleep so be patient.
Help your babies associate daytime with being awake by being active with them when there is daylight. Play with them, expose them to household noise, and let light enter the room by opening windows. Teach them that nighttime is the time to sleep by keeping their room dim using a pluggable night light and keeping noise to a minimum.
Babies tend to wake up in the middle of the night from time to time. When they do, remember to keep the lights low and avoid playing with them even if they ask for it.
Crackly static sounds of a radio, white noise, mommy’s singing voice, and sound of a hair dryer among others work magic in getting some babies to sleep. Your babies might have a sound association to sleep that you will discover eventually.
When some sounds act as lullabies, others seem like alarm clocks and wake your babies instantly. Be aware of these sounds (or noises) and try to avoid them completely when your babies are sleeping.
Although sleeping is almost a second nature to babies, it’s still best to know how to help them get the best sleep they can get. Remember that sleeping time for babies mean “me” time for parents so make sure your twins get a lot of it.
Sleepless nights are inevitable for a new parent but following these simple tips will help you get fewer of these and more of the rest you need yourself. Eventually, the twins will learn to sleep through the night and their sleep schedule will more or less sync up with yours.
The moment a baby is born, he leaves the sterile environment of the mother’s womb and enters a world of germs and viruses. Scared already? Don’t be. Turns out, babies are already equipped with antibodies to fight them off.
But since your twins’ immune system is not yet as strong as yours, keeping them protected and strong should be a top priority. Here are some ways you can help your babies stay healthy.
If you get ill during pregnancy, there’s a chance that your babies will be affected. That’s why you should go for your first prenatal check-up as soon as learn you’re pregnant. Visit the doctor at least once every trimester and twice a week when you reach eight months of pregnancy.
Your body experiences a lot of changes when pregnant and the developing baby inside will depend on you for nutrition. Consult your doctor about food that are safe and unsafe to consume during pregnancy.
Colostrum, a mother’s first milk is packed with essential antibodies the newborn twins need to protect them from certain diseases. That is why it is important to breastfeed your baby the soonest possible time after birth to pass on antibodies in the colostrum to your child.
There are some diseases which the immune system cannot handle without a boost. Good thing modern medicine provides our babies with vaccines to prevent otherwise fatal ailments. To save money, you can get them for free in public health centers and they work just the same.
Some of the required vaccines are:
Health issues, especially in infants, can be life-threatening. By doing these preventive measures, you can help your babies grow strong, healthy, and protected against diseases-causing elements. If your twins get sick, always consult your pediatrician or the local health center and never try to give any medication without professional advice.
We tend to be extra careful about our babies’ food intake. The same level of concern and caution should be exercised with what comes out of our babies – their urine (pee) and stool (poop). These excretions are indicators of babies’ state of health and you should be familiar with what they indicate.
Whether your babies are formula-fed or breastfed affects the frequency and color of their pee. Formula-fed babies usually pee more often because formula has more water than breastmilk.
In the first to six weeks of your twins’ life, whether they are breastfed or formula fed, you should expect that they will poop after every feeding. And the poop for breastfed babies are usually yellowish, seedy, and runny, while the poop for formula-fed babies are darker and thicker.
Remember that whatever goes inside your babies’ tummy must also go out. Eating solid food affects the color and consistency of their poop.
The most common and normal baby poop colors are green and yellow. Green baby poop is common if newborn twins are formula-fed. The iron in the baby formula causes the poop to be green (greenish tan to bright green even dark green). While yellow or mustard yellow baby poop is both common to breastfed and formula-fed babies.
If you feel that there’s something unusual with your babies’ peeing and pooping habits, it is always best to seek medical attention.
Bathing fragile newborns can be scary. But bathing, like other good hygiene practices is necessary especially in keeping your babies’ skin clean and healthy. Here are some steps you can follow to make bathing your twin babies a bit easier:
First, what you’ll need:
When your babies are still not able to sit unsupported on their own, it’s best to have your babies take turns with their bath. Once they can sit unsupported, you can explore on different ways of letting your twins get their bath together (like using bath seats or baskets in the tub).
Using cotton balls or a wash cloth, gently rub the face and neck with water. Do not use any soap. If the umbilical cord stump is still attached, cover the rest of the body with a towel while washing the face to keep your baby warm and to avoid the umbilical cord from getting wet.
Remember the shock of showering with icy water on a cold morning? Babies hate that too. Better check the temperature first before giving your little ones a dip. It’s good to heat the water to 36-37 degree Celsius (use a thermometer) to mimic the inside of the womb where your babies have been practically swimming these past nine months.
Babies have a sensitive skin and harsh soaps would only wash away their skin’s natural oils, leaving it dry and prone to infection.
Read the instructions on the soap bottle carefully and put the right proportion into the water then mix it. Never apply soap directly on the infant’s skin. Put your baby’s feet first into the tub and use a washcloth or your hands for cleaning. Pay special attention to the diaper area and in between fingers and toes.
A newborn’s neck is not yet strong enough to support his head’s weight so it’s important to always support the back of the head, the neck, and upper back.
Body heat is lost faster through the head, and water evaporating from the baby’s scalp makes this process even faster. It’s better to keep it dry and clean it last.
Take the baby out of the tub and cover with a fresh towel. Hold baby over the tub and pour water onto the scalp, avoiding the baby’s face and ears. Use a small amount of baby wash or baby shampoo, then rinse carefully.
Gently pat the baby dry and cuddle your newborn for about ten minutes with the towel still on before putting on new diaper and clothes. Repeat the same steps with the other twin.
If you’re having a hard time bathing your babies on your own, do not be embarrassed to ask help from someone.
A strong bond between you and your twins will help them to be more well-behaved and smarter as they grow. It is best to invest a lot time in forming this relationship with your twins. Here are some ways you can have fun while bonding with your twins:
Go to a studio that offer baby photo shoots. Get creative by dress your twins up in costumes and using props. A good photographer will be able to capture your moment with your kids and turn it into something you can treasure and pass on to your kids when they get older.
You can start this as early as when they’re still in the womb since babies’ sense of hearing develop at around the second trimester of pregnancy. Books using alliteration or repetitive sounds like those of Dr. Seuss are highly-recommended.
As infants, even if your twins do not understand the words, they would still find storytelling enjoyable especially when they hear mom’s familiar voice. It is fun and educational at the same time.
Breastfeeding is one of the first bonding activities a mother can have with her twins. Aside from keeping your twins nourished, breastfeeding triggers the release of oxytocin or “the love hormone” in you and your babies which solidifies your bond even further.
Baby wearing or baby carrying lets you do other tasks at home while keeping your twin babies close to you. It allows you to take walks with your babies without lugging a bulky stroller around. Having skin-to-skin contact and smelling your familiar scent is comforting and soothing for your babies.
When picking out baby carriers, look for types that allow you to wear your twins at the same time (like a woven wrap). You may also want to get two carriers so you and your spouse can carry one baby each.
Even babies love a nice massage. Touch stimulates their brain’s reward system thus making them associate this good feeling with you. It has health benefits including better blood circulation, stronger muscles and bones, and even improved sleep, among others.
Be careful and make sure you do baby massage the right way. Ask your pediatrician or a physical therapist about the proper techniques you can use and the best types of oil for your infants’ skin.
Bonding time is all about getting to know your twins better and forming a unique relationship them. As they grow, you’ll discover new ways to bond with each of them better as their individuality emerge. So, keep exploring and have fun!
Babies are born with delicate and fragile skin. As parents, you want to keep your babies’ skin healthy and supple. Some parents worry over the littlest changes in their twins’ skin. These parents deem consultations with their pediatrician or dermatologist a must.
These are some things to keep in mind about your babies’ skin:
Here are the different ways you can care for your delicate babies’ skin:
You may get the urge to bathe your babies every day. But you must resist from doing so! Bathing for more than three times a week in their first year of life can remove the natural oils that protect their bodies. This can make the babies’ skin dull, vulnerable and dry. A sponge bath two or thrice a week is enough to keep our babies’ skin clean.
Change your babies’ diapers as soon as they are peed on or soiled. Letting the used diapers stay too long might cause skin infection. When cleaning, dab diaper cream or warm water on your babies’ bottom then gently pat dry. Wait for a few minutes to air-dry so that the moisture won’t cause diaper rash.
Make sure to use products that are made for babies like fragrance-free and tear-free shampoos, lotions, and bath gels. Every time you use a new product on your babies’ skin, watch out for any allergic reaction.
During summer or hot weather, your babies are prone to heat rash since they have underdeveloped sweat glands. Make sure to dress them in loose clothing. And if you’re going out, make sure to apply sunscreen all over their exposed skin and use a hat to shield the sun.
In winter, the dry weather is also harmful for the babies’ skin. Having a cool mist humidifier in your nursery can keep the air moist during this cold, dry season.
Practicing healthy oral care habits early on will prevent cavities and other oral health issues from happening in the future. Remember that how well your twins’ permanent teeth will grow depend on how well their milk teeth are cared for.
Oral care starts as soon as your twin babies are born. Keep in mind that oral care isn’t just caring for the teeth, it’s caring for gums and other parts of the mouth too. Infant oral care is a must if we want to reduce their chances of getting cavities later on.
You need to clean their gums after feeding to remove the bacteria and sugar from the mouth, especially if you feed your babies formula milk. To clean their gums, wrap a clean, damp washcloth around your finger and gently rub the gums with it.
Babies try to get familiar with things by putting them in their mouth. Watch out for unclean objects they put in their mouths that carry bacteria which cause tooth decay and cavities. Never share anything that has been in your own mouth like utensils and toothbrushes. Keep pacifiers and bottle nipples clean all the time.
Babies’ first tooth usually pops out on their 6th month. When this happens, make sure to clean the tooth regularly using a soft-bristled toothbrush and toothpaste with fluoride content appropriate for their age. Make sure that the baby toothbrush is sized to fit comfortably in your babies’ mouth.
Brushing their teeth should be done two to three times a day especially when your babies are already eating solid food. Do it gently so that this experience wouldn’t be a nightmare for you and the babies! Make sure to clean all the sides of the tooth and the gums around it.
Flossing can also be done to remove any debris that got stuck in between their teeth.
It is best to have the first dental visit as soon as their first tooth erupts. This is the perfect opportunity to discuss any concerns you have with your babies’ oral care. If you are unsure if you’re brushing their teeth correctly or if you want to know more about your babies’ teething, use this time to ask.
Infant oral care can be daunting. You may get bitten many times while trying to clean their teeth and gums. But remember that establishing this hygienic practice early on teaches your kids the value of keeping their teeth healthy and the importance of doing it themselves as they grow older.
Critics of building a routine around your babies’ activities would argue that setting limitations and rigid schedule for infants can be putting too much pressure on babies. That babies should be allowed to grow and do things as they please without any barriers.
However, some parents find routines essential to making childcare easier and more efficient. Here are some of their reasons why establishing a routine is beneficial for them and for their newborn twins:
Babies, especially toddlers, thrive on routine. They are more at ease when they know what to expect after a certain event happens (like being placed on the high chair would mean food is coming).
Syncing the activities of your twin babies will allow you to have breaks and time off. Just imagine what if your babies’ schedules are totally different (one baby wakes up right when the other falls asleep). You might spend the entire day just looking after them.
Doing round-the-clock duty for babies not following a routine can become exhausting and may take a toll on the parents’ well-being. Stress can lessen milk supply for breastfeeding moms. Tired parents also find it harder to bond with their kids.
Following a routine will also give you peace of mind regardless of how hectic things may be. Knowing that your babies are up for their nap time in a few minutes tells you that there’s no need to worry because you’ll get some rest soon.
Twin babies following a routine by the minute is a dream come true. As ideal as it may sound, it is just something to shoot for and not a rule you shouldn’t break. Parents should exercise a certain level of flexibility and sound judgment on when and when not to stick to the routine.
Are your twin babies supposed to develop at the same pace? For example, when one baby learns to walk, should you expect the other to start walking moments after?
The fact is, they most probably won’t learn to do things at the same time. Identical twins are more likely to have similar rates of development compared to fraternal twins, but there could still be differences. Fraternal twins are said to be like ordinary siblings who develop at their own time.
Milestone charts are created to serve as a guide whether your babies are falling behind or not. They shouldn’t be regarded as iron-clad rules that your babies need to follow. They shouldn’t be used to brag about your babies if they’re way ahead as well.
If one or both of your twins are behind certain milestones, take note whether they were born pre-term or not. Babies born before their due date tend do have lower birth weights which affect their development schedules. There could be medical reasons behind certain delays.
Track your babies’ progress individually instead of comparing them with each other. Milestones are set within ranges of months so little differences don’t matter much. However, you should know when the delay is significant enough to warrant your pediatrician’s attention.
As a quick guide, here are the timeframes when you can expect the following developments in your babies:
Smiling – around 2 months
Rolling over – as early as 3 months, but usually at 4 to 6 months
Sleeping through the night – generally at 4 months, babies are able to sleep at least 6 to 8 hours straight. At 6 months, they should be able to sleep 8 to 10 hours straight without feeding.
Sitting up – around 50% of babies can sit rather wobbly at 6 months and sit more steadily by 8 months
Clapping of hands – as early as 6 months, but usually start around 8 to 9 months
Reaching and grasping
Waving – 7 to 9 months
Crawling – between 6 and 9 months
Pulling up to standing position – between 9 to 12 months
Walking – as early as 9 months, but expect it by 1 year. Some do it when they are 15 months or later.
Give yourself a pat on the back. You have gained new insights and practical tips on how to care for your newborn twins. Now, it’s time to focus on caring for you and your partner – your twin’s most loving advocates. You need and deserve the same care that you’re giving your double bundle of joy.
A few decades back, it was rare to hear that dads are on a paternity leave. Today, that scenario has changed. In the US, dads have found a creative way of having a paternity leave. They combine vacation leave, holidays and personal time off to spend a week or two at home with the baby. This is fatherhood in its literal and figurative sense.
Parents who are on paternity or maternity leave can give extra time for caring for their newborn twins. They can better monitor their health and respond to their medical needs. Researches done on the impact of maternity leave report that an additional week of maternity leave in industrialized countries reduces infant mortality rates by 0.5 for every 1,000 live births.
Related studies in the United States reveal that children whose mothers returned to work in less than twelve weeks were:
Amidst all the increasing excitement that everybody shares with you on the birth of your twin babies, there are other important things that you need to attend to. For a start, have you discussed with your employer your maternity leave benefits? The same question also goes for your husband. Has your husband talked with his boss about his paternity leave entitlement?
In the United States, mothers and fathers are entitled to avail of a maximum 12 weeks of maternity and paternity leave up to 12 weeks for prenatal and post-pregnancy care. Most likely, your employer also has specific policies on how that leave is allocated.
Here is a to-do list in planning for your maternity or paternity leave:
Mom, you may begin your maternity leave any time from 11 weeks before the beginning of the week your baby is due - or you can work right up to your due date. However, most women should take their leave by about 36 weeks. This is a good time frame to avoid going through labor in your workplace.
However, if you experience lack of sleep, back pain, heartburn or any uncommon health-related condition, you may need to take your maternity leave earlier.
Dad, you want to save those full days off until your twins are back home. That’s when the real work falls to you as a parent of a lovely bunch of twins.
If your twins would be in in the NICU, you can determine how you can spend time in the NICU without burdening your work schedule so you can save up that time off for later. But, of course, you are in the best position to decide when to begin your leave.
More experienced parents of twins have shared that raising twins not always easy. That’s why they recommend that you find and join a support group in your area. Connect with people who have experienced or who face the same difficulties like yours.
Just as there are many concerns that parents like you may have, there are also numerous reasons why joining a support group for parents would be a good move:
Our own private discussion group about twins and multiples – from conception to raising twin babies.
The Multiples of America is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting families of multiple birth children through support, education and research. It partners with local support groups, health care providers, researchers, and educators to aid parents of multiples and to raise public awareness of the unique qualities of multiple birth families.
The Seattle Families of Multiples is a non-profit organization that gives support to parents and expectant parents of multiples. As a volunteer organization run cooperatively by and for its members, it offers programs for new and expectant parents and parenting resources as well. It also sponsors various events.
Organized in 1974, AMBA is a not-for-profit organization comprising of multiple birth families. It provides support, resources and education to multiple birth families.
AMBA clubs offer a supportive ear from “those who know”, however it is more than that: regular social interaction for those who feel isolated through home visits, phone calls, coffee mornings, playgroups, evenings out or weekends away; expectant parent sessions or first-food introduction classes; breastfeeding support, equipment hire and, volunteer coordination and assistance.
“If you think my hands are full, you should see my heart.”
Would you agree that this is very apt quote for single moms with twins?
Here are two selected excerpts to help you understand the plight of single mothers who unselfishly raise their twins with strength and dignity.
“I will be a single mom of two boys in 5 wks. I'm starting to freak out, wondering how hard it will be.”
You may read this post from the Facebook group called Single moms of twins.
This is taken from a story entitled “Doing It Solo”:
“Being a single parent for me was a choice, but it wasn’t a choice I set out to make when I decided to have children. Every day, I feel an overwhelming sense of guilt that my choices, have robbed my children of some important experiences. It’s my burden to carry, and most days it’s heavier than trekking up a snowy hill, carrying three sleds. That burden is never shared and I am conscientiously working on not being so hard on myself. There is no time for a pity party.”
If you were in their place, how would you best deal with the situation?
Parenting twins takes a lot of effort and can change parents’ lives drastically. You may start neglecting your own needs in order to take full charge of attending to your babies’ every need. Sadly, it can also take a toll on a married couple’s relationship.
Here are some of the ways taking care of your twins can affect your marriage:
Bathing, feeding, and changing diapers of two babies can really eat up your time and energy. By the time you finally get some rest, you’re probably too tired to initiate any form of intimacy with your partner.
You may find yourself trying to stretch out your budget as far as you can to make ends meet. Expenses tend to pile up: from diapers, clothes, daycare, to medical bills; and your spending will continue to increase as your babies grow. Having this kind of pressure to provide for your family’s needs will definitely affect the dynamic between you and your spouse.
Your house that was formerly spacious enough for you and your spouse will suddenly become not big enough. You will have storage space constraints and your personal spaces will be invaded. Having sex will get trickier as you prioritize the needs of your kids and let them share your bed once in a while.
Childcare is not an option for everyone. And for couples who decide to share the workload, the issue of “who does more” will most probably arise. Comparison of efforts between the parent who works outside and the one who stays home and takes care of the kids often spark arguments.
Anticipating the time and effort you need to invest and planning around your babies’ needs can help relieve some of the stress and tension of parenting. Incorporate having time for each other and having fun times with your kids in your plans.
Take the time to know what your partner wants, even just the small things, and make sure to do those things regularly. Being open about how you feel (overwhelmed, exhausted) will let your spouse understand your needs better.
The problems you’re currently facing will get better as your babies grow and become more independent. You will get more opportunities to nurture your intimacy with your partner as they grow older.
You can always ask for help from other family members or friends or hire childcare support. But being able to work as a team with your spouse when no one else is helping you can make a lot of difference and can even strengthen your bond as a family.
Having teamwork is not just about delegating tasks. It is also about having each other’s backs when it comes to making decisions for your children. Bear in mind that the way you interact with your spouse has a huge impact on your kids.
Problems will definitely arise. And when they do, you and your partner should be able to discuss and solve them together as a team. Conflicts are perfect instances to teach your kids healthy ways of perceiving and coping with issues.
You need to be in good and healthy condition in order to provide care to your twin babies. At times you might forgo taking care of yourself to prioritize your babies’ needs. As a team, you and your partner need to take care of each other and be sensitive to each other’s needs.
It won’t be teamwork when you and your spouse keep arguing about every little mishap that happens. When you have a healthy relationship with your partner, you work together better and create a nurturing environment for your kids.
There will be times that two pairs of hands won’t be enough. Know your limits and call for help when necessary. Remember that teamwork can also mean being able to work with support systems beyond your marriage.
Postpartum depression (PPD) or “Baby Blues” is the kind of depression mothers experience after giving birth. Mothers of multiples have a higher risk of having PPD (over 85% have it) because of the elevated hormone levels they have during pregnancy that crashes after childbirth.
Symptoms of PPD include:
Find time when you can be alone (like when the rest are still sleeping) and meditate. Appreciate the silence, reflect, and try to reconnect with yourself. You can use a journal to take note of your reflections.
Having so many things to do can overwhelm you. Breaking big chores into bite-sized tasks makes completing them easier. You’ll feel more accomplished as you tick off these small tasks. Learn to prioritize the most important tasks and stick with them rather than trying to manage all things at once.
Learn to accept that there are some things beyond your control. When things go wrong, always bear in mind that tomorrow is a new day where you can start anew. Focus on things that truly matter like making sure your babies are doing fine and disregard things that stress you out.
Yes, you may think that taking care of your babies come first. But do you realize that when you get sick and become incapable of looking after your kids, they will suffer more? Eat healthy, get as much rest as you can get, and treat yourself with some “me” time once in a while.
Talk with people you trust about your feelings and other things you’re going through. Communicating how you feel allows you to acknowledge there’s something wrong and puts you a step close to resolving them.
Pregnancy changes moms’ bodies. More so carrying twins. The temptation to just sit around the house and eat is strong as you say to yourself, “I deserve this. I’m carrying two babies in my belly.” And you see the effects on your body post-partum, you regret not being active enough and lose hope of getting your bikini body back.
There are ways to regain your previously healthier, fitter body. According to other moms, “twin skin” post-pregnancy is not impossible to get rid of.
Here are some tips on getting your started on your fitness journey:
Let’s start with the obvious option. Starting (or getting back to) a fitness program really helps you get back in shape. This time around, you may want to consider picking a gym with childcare facilities in case you need to bring your tots along.
When starting an exercise program, there are a few things you should remember:
Perform low-risk and low-impact activities (like swimming) with your doctor’s permission. The important thing is that you keep moving so don’t go overexerting yourself. Know any red flags to watch out for and listen to your body when it’s telling you to stop.
Fresh air and the company of other people is needed once in a while especially when you’re all cooped up in your room taking care of your newborn twins. Take advantage of walks with your babies to get some exercise and expose them to new environments and experiences.
You may not notice but you are already lifting some considerable amount of weights when picking up your babies. And they get heavier over time. Make this an opportunity to maximize the effect of these “weights” during your daily activities.
Just by running after your babies or going around the house for errands, you may have already walked long distances without you noticing. Having a fitness monitor can count your steps and track the distances you’ve travelled. It can also motivate you to keep active every day.
You can burn some calories by simply dancing and running after your babies during playdates. Teach them action songs so they can do movements and join in the dance.
Most parents of twins would like to avail of child care for their twins, especially when it’s time to get back to work. However, not all of them gets to hire this service because of the cost. Child care for one baby can be pretty expensive, let alone for two babies.
Depending on the type of child care you want to avail, it can cost around $2,000 to $4,000 per month for 2 children. Prices can go down depending on the location (child care in rural areas are usually less expensive) and whether they allow sibling discounts.
Day care centers can either be center-based or home-based. Some are privately-owned while some are run by certain institutions (like churches, schools, or corporations). Center-based ones usually handle large numbers of children of varying ages.
Home-based day cares are usually smaller and less expensive. Their schedule of operation mainly depends on the schedule and availability of the homeowner (day care provider).
These are people you can hire to take care of your babies in your own home. Many parents prefer this option because their babies receive their caregiver’s full attention. Nannies for twins would charge higher than nannies for single babies, but they still cost less than a twin-rate in a center-based day care.
What are the things you need to consider when choosing child care support?
Picking out the perfect child care support for your kids can be as tedious as saving up for it. Take time to get to know your child care providers so that you’ll have the peace of mind you need when you are away from your kids.
Caring for newborn twins, especially when you’re doing it alone, can be really tough. You’ll probably wish you could create a clone of yourself to get those extra set of hands.
However, like everything else, the situation gets better and managing your two babies eventually gets easier over time. Here are some parenting hacks from parents of twins that may help make things easier for you.
Tandem feeding (or feeding your babies at the same time) saves you a lot of time and effort. Learn how to breastfeed/bottle feed your babies at the same time. Investing in a good twin nursing pillow can help you find a more comfortable position.
If bottle feeding, mark your bottles or buy a different color for each baby to make tracking of each baby’s intake more efficient.
Preparing ahead of time always does the trick. Whether preparing the nursing pillow, bottles, or pumped milk for newborns or cooking and storing meals in bulk for those already eating solids, getting things ready in advance makes the task less tedious.
For bathing small babies who cannot sit on their own yet, you can strap one baby in her infant chair while you bathe the other and then switch them up after.
For older babies who can sit on their own, you can try a couple of tricks so you can bathe them at the same time like using a laundry basket in the tub or baby bath seats. Your babies would love playing with the water and interacting with each other during bath time.
Most of the time, you can tell identical twins apart by their belly buttons. They may be identical in all features but their navels would most likely look different.
If the belly button trick doesn’t work, you can always dress the twins up in matching outfits with distinct details (like labels). Other parents put accessories or marks on their babies (like a dot of nail polish on a baby’s toe).
Babywearing or using baby carriers made specifically for twins allow parents to do other things while carrying their kids. Other parents invest in two carriers so mom and dad will have one each.
When the tasks get overwhelming, always seek help from family or friends. Delegate tasks to them as needed. You can stay focused on your children (especially when you’re breastfeeding) and leave the other errands or chores to your family or friends.
Always buy in bulk so you won’t have to make so many trips to the store. This also avoids your baby stuff from running out too soon.
Search for stores that automatically ship your purchase or those who have online shops and deliver to your door.
Caring for two babies at the same time can be exhausting. But these tips can help lighten up your load a bit. Over time, as you spend more time with your twins, you’ll be such a pro and discover or make up your own hacks.
Preparing for the birth of your twin babies can be more complicates as it is more expensive compared to preparing for the birth of a single baby. Early preparation and planning is key. How early? Around a few weeks ahead of the schedule of singleton parents.
Here are some of the things you need to do before the birth of your twins:
Parenting twins definitely costs more. Make sure that you have enough money to provide your babies with their needs. Plan out your finances carefully and research for creative means to cut your spending like borrowing items instead of buying new ones.
Do you really need those matching outfits when you can buy simple, interchangeable ones? Buying in bulk will also save you money and lots of shopping time.
Don’t be too caught up preparing your children’s needs that you fail to prepare for your actual labor. Attending a childbirth class will teach you things specific to delivering multiples and can include a tour of hospital facilities so you’ll be more comfortable when it’s time to give birth.
Explaining to an older child that he/she will be having a new sibling is tough. More so explaining that there will be two babies coming. Caring for your newborn twins will take most of your time away from your older children so take time to prepare them for their arrival.
Do you plan to put your twins in separate bedrooms? Having separate rooms mean buying two sets of everything – from cribs, sheets, mobiles, etc. You will also need two separate stashes of diapers and changing supplies.
Whether you choose to breastfeed or bottle feed your twins, you should take note of the necessary supplies you need to get before they arrive like a nursing pillow, breast pump, feeding bottles, and so on.
For your convenience, here is a sample shopping list you can start with.
Generally newborn twins will spend a few days in the hospital because of a number of reasons:
First, most twins are born smaller than their singleton counterparts in general, and this is mainly due to the limitations of the human body.
Second, many twins are born pre-maturely (before 37 weeks) and may spend some time being monitored in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
Third, twin birth carries with it a higher risk of post-partum complications, both for the mother and the babies. However, it is rare for complications to get very serious and most newborn twins and their mothers are able to go home without incident.
Physical recovery from birthing twins can also take longer, as the mother may feel general weakness and residual pregnancy symptoms more pronounced when compared to a mother who birthed a single baby.
The best way to address this is to plan ahead and plan the course of the pregnancy well, and it starts with the very first pre-natal check-up.
Once the expectant mother and her obstetrician finds out that the former is carrying twins, every measure must be taken to ensure a safe and well-supported pregnancy. While no preparation is 100% foolproof and Murphy’s Law can still rear its ugly head, reducing all the risks and making sure that the mother and her babies are well-cared for are important first steps in the journey of raising twins.
Feeding time is one of the most challenging periods for babies and toddlers, and it can be more than double the effort for parents of twin babies.
Breastfeeding twins can be a real challenge, and even bottle-feeding can be taxing – cleaning 10 to 20 bottles, sterilizing them and storing them properly every 3-4 hours is already a chore, and doubling that amount for twins can stretch most parents thin, particularly during the wee hours of the morning.
And once twins start eating solids, emerging food preferences add a whole new level to the conundrum.
Closely related to feeding time for twin babies is sleeping time, and when twins have radically different sleep-wake-eat cycles, the insanity is real.
A recommendation that several mothers of twins and pediatricians make is to try and keep twins within the same cycle – that is, if one twin wakes up in the middle of the night and feeds, the parents should wake the other twin and attempt to feed him/her, too. And if one twin falls asleep but the other insists on playing, put all the toys away and settle for “quiet time”.
As for differing food preferences, it is always a good idea to serve a variety of different foods and let children experience a “mini-buffet” every meal. A good hack is to puree several kinds of fruits and vegetables in bulk, put them in containers good for one meal and freeze them, so that each individually-packed fruit or vegetable puree can be served easily each mealtime.
One of the things parents will almost have no control over is their twins' rear ends. It is a daunting enough task (especially for dads… Ahem! Ahem!) to change the diaper of one child. But to change the soiled diapers of two rowdy, destructive and extremely dangerous critters can be an absolutely impossible mission.
If both parents are up to the task, then the whole ordeal becomes a thousand times easier. If only one parent is available, then seeking help may be the wisest course of action. At certain times, however no help will be available.
During times like these, the parent’s skill with the carrier or wrap maybe indispensable. Placing one baby in a carrier (preferably in a back-carry) while changing the other’s nappy and doing a switcheroo afterwards may afford the parent space and time to deal with the poop monster.
Twin babies will usually do a lot of things together, including playing together. This means that they will need toys and games to stimulate and develop their different skills. And no matter how fast their skills develop, the skill of “sharing” usually lags behind.
So, in several instances, parents will need to get two sets of… stuff… for two babies. A particularly fragile situation arises when one twin tries to get ALL of the “stuff” at once. If and when this happens, the natural instinct of most parents is to try and get the twins to split the “stuff” equally between both twins.
When one twin flatly refuses, the situation worsens. In this instance, distracting one twin with mom’s fancy comb or hairbrush, or a roll of tissue paper until the other twin gets “bored” of his or her toys (the “hoarding” phase can last for no more than five to ten minutes) can be a good back-up plan.
Even twins have their own individuality. This is especially true for identical twins, who are always compared to each other or whose parents and other close care-givers kind of expect to be very similar, if not exactly alike.
Hence, twins are often dressed identically, given identical “stuff” and even expected to do activities mirroring each other. As twins grow, differences in interests, aptitudes and attitudes will start to emerge.
One of parents’ worst nightmares is their baby getting sick; this nightmare is especially frightening if parents have twin babies. It is almost inevitable that when one of the twins gets sick, the other one will follow soon.
The end effect is that sick twins can end up doubling the time parents take off from work, cause more sleepless nights, as if feeding your twins and changing their diapers at 3 am didn’t do that enough.
And if the illness is severe enough to require hospitalization, costs can really skyrocket.
Some mothers have a rather quaint recommendation: if one of the twins gets sick, infect the other one right away, as well. The argument is that it will happen anyway, so twins getting sick at the same time rather than one-after-the-other can lessen the time spent on leave.
However, having two sick babies is not only very risky, but it also endangers the parents and other close care-givers. Two sets of bugs (bacteria, viruses, etc.) can interact and create a superbug, and when the superbug catches all nearby healthy bodies and bring them down, that’s one step closer to an epidemic.
Instead, once one of the twins gets sick, have him or her checked up by a pediatrician right away and try to protect the healthy twin and isolate the sick one. In a time like this, breastfeeding will be one of the mother’s strongest allies, because breastmilk can adjust its composition to cater to the babies’ needs. And when a sick baby is breastfeeding, breastmilk actually contains antibodies that can help fight the baby’s sickness.
The best way to prepare for a pregnancy, especially a twin pregnancy, is to plan ahead and save ahead. If you and your partner are fortunate enough to not get caught off guard by an unplanned pregnancy, start saving up as early as you can.
Most financial advisors recommend automatically putting away at least 20% of your monthly income as life savings, dividing the remaining 80% for your expenses. If you and your partner are planning to have a baby, it maybe best to add another 10-15% to automatic savings for the eventuality of the pregnancy.
Even six months’ worth of extra money can be a big lifesaver when you need to worry about things beyond baby food, formula and diapers.
Some things that you are sure to use for a long time and will never spoil – like diapers, baby wipes and bottle and baby wash – are best bought in bulk, especially since with twins, you will be going through these essentials twice as fast.
Memberships to wholesale supermarkets are big money savers. Also keep an eye out for big sales on online stores, and hoard those baby wipes that are 70% off. And what is true for baby stuff is also true for mommy’s and daddy’s stuff – shaving cream, shampoo, soap and condoms (yes, condoms!) can be bought in bulk with considerable discounts.
Breastmilk is going to be your number one partner in saving money. Breastmilk is free, it does not need prior preparation (other than a healthy mommy, that is) and can even modify itself to cater to your twins’ needs.
Once your twins start solid foods, the potato masher (or food processor if you have one) will be an indispensable tool. You do not need to be a Master Chef to properly feed your baby. Carrots, potatoes, peas, corn, beets, bananas, apples, papaya, pears and many more food items need only a quick boil and a steady hand to mash and puree.
No salt or sugar is usually recommended and by packing various pureed fruits and vegetables into small, single-meal containers you can create your own baby food that is fresh, nutritious and preservative-free.
Babies don’t particularly need a lot off stuff. Sometimes, it is the parents and other close caregivers who will “create” the need for the babies (newborns don’t really need that pair of Baby Chuck Taylors, you know).
Always keep in mind the true “needs” – like diapers, food, baby wipes, car seats, basic clothes, soap and be wary of “wants” that, well, your twins don’t really want. Usually, anything “hip and trendy” fall into the category of “wants”.
A lot of your friends and relatives, especially those who have toddlers, probably have tons of “old” baby stuff that you can borrow for your twins’ use. Twins don’t always have to have the same set of clothes or the same toys or the same shoes.
If the twins’ grandparents or godparents are feeling very generous, those are the openings that can get your twins some nice, fancy “brand-name” stuff, but for the most part, trying to look for second-hand items that are in good condition means that you can save a few extra credits for use on a rainy day.
This list of topics is not exhaustive. No parenting guide will ever be. Since all babies are unique, you’ll eventually develop your own techniques that are especially effective for you and your twin babies. It’s a journey of discovery and learning that you’ll take one step at a time. So just relax and enjoy the ride. You got this! Do you have any newborn twins tips to share? Leave them below.
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