This week’s posts are going to be soooo good and rich that I’ve decided for them to “count” as double-editions worth two days. (Which also fits nicely with the reality that it’s October 19th and I’m only on days 12-13 of the #write31days challenge.)I have polled a handful of my fellow mamas of twins who graciously have added their favorite advice to various categories. If you’re also a #mama2twins, add your two cents to the comments. (And note that only positive and encouraging/helpful comments will be approved – no adding to the all-too-common online “mom wars.” We are all warriors doing hard things and so let’s support each other in every way we can.)
Without further ado – I give to you the best advice for raising twins, newborn stage.
- Skip reading the delivery books & articles in favor of reading books about how to feed twins & set them up for healthy sleep habits. With twins, you won’t likely have a lot of say in how your delivery occurs since there are greater risks for complications. I decided to reserve my energy for trying to wrap my mind around the logistics of feeding twins and getting them on a schedule (a common theme of twin moms’ advice for newborns, as you’ll see below).
“The best advice I received was to keep babies on the same sleep schedule- always! Line up family help at staggered times so it spreads out over weeks and if breast feeding doesn’t work or is stressing you out then it is ok to bottle feed because a relaxed mom means happier babies. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself; shower everyday; try to get out with other twin moms – I met a friend with twins the same age for lunch every Friday.” – Rebecca B., mom to a 9-year-old son and 4-year-old fraternal twin daughters
- Take the advice of fellow first-time moms (who don’t have more than one child) with a grain of salt. Their advice is well-meaning but often won’t apply to you. You have “two brand-new humans at the same time” (as described by my empathetic friend Susan who had two good friends deliver twins within weeks of each other). What works for one baby probably won’t work for his/her twin and vice versa. It’s an olympic feat of parenting, especially if twins are your first.
- Write everything down. Literally. You’ll be sleep-deprived and feeding/changing two newborns and will certainly forget who fed when and how much. “So how many wet diapers has your baby had regularly?” will be a pediatrician’s question that will send you scrambling for your written, daily log. A.k.a., your brain.
- A close corollary to #5 is to take lots of pictures. Early into my pregnancy, Seth and I ran into another couple who were parents of twins a few years older than ours. I’ll never forget them telling us that the first six months would be a blur; so take pictures so that you don’t forget these moments. I enjoyed creating photo books along the way to document each stage, and I did it from the perspective of the twins. I.e. “A tale of twins: the first two months” and “A tale of twins: our first Christmas.” I am thankful for these books to return to, and truth be told, I have about 2 years to catch up on in terms of recording memories/photos. My friend Bridget told me about “Groovebook” which seems like it might be a cool option: a $2.99 monthly subscription will give you up to 100 of your Instagram photos in a small booklet. You can cancel at any time. [And no, I’m *not* getting paid to promote them. Although I should be. ;)]
- Say “yes” to most of the offers of help that come your way, and direct them into what you most need. I.e. – rocking a baby, feeding twins a bottle, coming over so that you can nap or get out of the house for a few hours alone, bringing the luxury of adult conversation, dropping a meal off on your porch. And if at all possible, have someone else be the point person for all of your care needs. If that’s not do-able, use Care Calendar, Lotsa Helping Hands, and/or TakeThemAMeal.
- BUT say “no” to people who feel draining to you, or when you need some quiet moments or days or weeks to figure things out on your own or take a breather from constant people time. Especially if you’re an introvert. There were times we needed to “circle the wagons” and struggle through things, as long as we didn’t get stuck in “isolation-we-can-handle-this-on-our-own” mode.
“The single best advice for us was to keep them on the same schedule. As they got a bit bigger and I didn’t need to instantly jump up when they awoke, we would let the earlier riser wait a bit and the later sleeper get those last few ZZZs. I think this approach has made my girls more patient and able to entertain themselves for a couple of minutes, at least! I would also tell a new mom of twins not to be scared to go out and experience that grocery-cart moment, as you described it. It felt like an Olympic feat — complete with lots of sweating — when we survived our first Target trip! Just be prepared for lots of twin questions 🙂 ” – Stacy L., mom to 2-year-old identical twin daughters
- Savor the sweet moments as an invitation to take a step back, take a deep breath, and be thankful for the gift of your babies. These moments may be few and far between, but they will be part of what keeps you going through the hard moments. They’re part of the abundant grace available to you with your twins.
I’ll reiterate what I started with: If you’re also a #parent2twins, I invite you to add what you would consider the best advice for newborn twins to the comments. Thanks for joining me on this journey!
If you want to continue to follow along, subscribe to my blog or like my Facebook page “Hidden Glory” to get updates. For the month of October, I’m participating in “Write31Days” and my series is “31 Days of Parenting Twins.”