10 Things I Wish I Knew Before Having Twins
1) Routine, routine, routine
If you are going to survive the first year… or even just the first few months, I can’t tell you how essential a routine was for our family. Two babies can feel like madness at times and you will be so exhausted that you will start to feel like a robot. We were able to eliminate the guessing game of what to do next by keeping ourselves on a regular routine. Those first three months are a blur of eat, play, sleep, poop…REPEAT! This led to good sleep habits for our kids and they were both sleeping through the night by 10 weeks. Figure out what kind of schedule works for your family and stick to it! It can be a sacrifice but it is worth it!
2) Have a Diaper shower
You are literally going to blow through (no pun intended) at least 600 diapers in your first month. If you have checked the price of diapers lately you know this is not cheap. I was lucky enough to have a diaper shower where we did a large prize giveaway to one of the people who brought diapers or wipes. The diapers we received at our shower were enough to get us through the first 4 months!! That was such a huge help during unpaid maternity leave. Also, take EVERY free sample you can get at the hospital! Every little bit helps, right?
3) Schedule one on one learning time
This took me awhile to figure out. Twins have a unique and rare bond but they also need individualized attention. I found this particularly true when it comes to learning time with my kids. My daughter will barely sit still long enough to read one book page while my son will snuggle up and focus. This led to great learning time with my son but my daughter was not getting the attention she needed. I learned she needed more play based learning activities. If you don’t have help where you can actually separate the kids to have focused learning time, just try to schedule learning time where you dedicate attention to each child. The days will fly by so building this into our routine helped me make sure we didn’t fall behind.
4) Let them be individuals (but it’s also ok to let them know they are a team)
Born together, friends forever! No matter what your twins will share something that most of us will never experience. Watching my kids bond from day one has been my absolute favorite thing about being a twin mom. I have also studied brain development and I have a deep desire to honor each of my kid’s individual strengths. It would be easier many days to have them do the same thing, dress them the same, etc. but I love giving them the space to create their own individual style and way of doing things. Eventually my kids will be out in the world without their twin next to them, so helping cultivate their individual strengths is important to me.
5) Take one baby out at a time- getting out of the house is important
This is another practice that took us about 9 months to get our minds around. We were in the habit that we would either take both kids out or one of us would stay home with them. This led to a lot of staying home because in those exhausting early days, taking both kids out all the time was a lot of work. It is so important to get out of the house and sometimes you have to force yourself. I will never forget the first time we decided to divide and conquer. My husband called me about half way through my outing with Olivia and was yelling into the phone “ONE BABY IS SO EASY!!” I quickly agreed and couldn’t stop laughing about his excitement. Taking one baby out at a time was not only easier but gave us individual bonding time which I loved.
6) Sleep deprivation is for real
I can’t say I wasn’t warned about this. Everyone jokes that you will never sleep again and how brutal those early days are. I think most people don’t want to scare you by getting to the deep truths about just how hard that phase is. I wish someone had told be how truly brutal it would be. For the first 10 weeks I got 3 hours of sleep a day and it happened one hour at a time. There is a reason that sleep deprivation is one of the methods used to torture people… because it really is torture on your mind. You will do crazy things! I sometimes felt like I forgot how to speak and towards the end of our sleepless nights I was hallucinating. This is where our routine SAVED OUR LIVES because both babies slept through the night at 10 weeks. To all you mamas that have done these sleepless nights for years, I give you mad props because I would not have made it.
7) You do not need to buy two of everything
It will be tempting to buy two of everything but it is not necessary in many instances. The necessities are obvious that you need two, but don’t buy two of every toy or entertainment device. What I have learned is that even if you have two, they will most likely only want what the other baby has anyway. We also bought one jumper and one music play station. This was a better way for us to mix it up vs. having two jumpers. At the beginning of our parenting journey I bought double of most things like a swing and toys. This proved to be unnecessary and quite expensive!
8) You will survive and things will come naturally
Every twin family I have talked to has experienced a point of breakdown. Two babies at once is hard and can feel overwhelming, but it is so rewarding! All I can say is that while you might be twice as exhausted you will survive. Whatever mountain you feel like you are climbing while trying to figure out how to juggle two, the answers will come and you will find your way. Before you know it you will feel like a natural. Be patient with yourself and know that a little self-care and self-empathy will go a long way!
9) If you are struggling to find your groove join a Mothers of Multiples group
Twins may not be easier or harder, it’s just different. Finding a community of others that are in your same boat will give you some peace of mind. When I finally joined the mothers of multiples group in Denver I was surprised how quickly I connected with the other moms. It was so nice to talk with others that understood exactly what I was going through. It was also great to have a community of people to bounce ideas off of and be able to support when they struggled.
10) The tests are not always right
I had a pretty huge scare at the beginning of my pregnancy and we were not sure if one of the babies was going to make it. What I have learned is that hormone testing with twins is much more complicated and there can be a lot of false positives. I share this only to give hope to any other mamas out there that might be facing uncertainty. I know that was one of the hardest times of my life but thankfully the tests were not right and I was blessed with two healthy babies!