Twins man… it is intense, but twice the fun. My husband and I were talking about a friend of ours the other night that just found out his wife was pregnant with twins. As we reminisced about our own experience, we starting talking about what it is like to be a twin dad and what tips we would give to new twin dads. Here is our best advice:
Drink as much as you can before the babies come- just kidding!
- Do whatever your wife tells you the last month of pregnancy! Guys your wife is carrying two babies, which means twice the hormones. Those last weeks are brutal and having extra patience during this time goes a long way. If she wants you to rub her aching feet… do it! If she wants ice cream from the store at 11pm… suck it up and go get it. If she needs you to sleep on the couch so she can some how use the entire bed and all the pillows to get comfortable… do it! None of this sounds fun but your wife will appreciate it more than you know and “sharing the load” during the home stretch will make life so much better.
2. Prepare yourself for the unexpected at the hospital. Twin pregnancies include twice the doctors visits, twice the ultrasounds and twice the risk. Come delivery time things can change quickly and C-sections are much more common in twin pregnancies. Preparing yourself for all options and doing your research will help prepare you for all the unexpected things that can happen.
3. The lawn will grow back… Things that were important before may not be now. It is amazing how quickly time passes during those first few months that your babies are home from the hospital. If you find your self in a place where things like lawn care have slipped away, don’t worry the lawn will grow back and once you get into a good routine you will find time to do all those things again that were once important to you.
4. Jump in! Diaper duty, midnight feedings, whatever it is, your wife needs help. Two babies literally means everything is doubled. Being as hands on a possible (especially in those early months) will not only solidify your bond with your baby but it will show you what true partnership looks like. My bond with Jonathan grew so deep during those early months because I truly felt like we were in the trenches together. He was up during every night feeding with me, changed just as many diapers and worked hard to keep our house in order. Jumping in together also meant our babies got the individualized love an attention they both deserved.
5. Never listen to a man with only one child—ok ok kidding again! Parenting is hard no matter how you slice it. Everyone has a different set of challenges and parenting is the hardest job any of us will ever have. Don’t one up your friends with only one kid because they complain about things that seem so minor compared to your doubled workload. Finding other twin dads to connect with and relate to is a great way to blow off some steam. We also continually remind ourselves that people with triplets think we have it easy and that helps put things back in perspective!
6. Teach those babies how to sleep. Sleep has been the key to our survival. Since our babies were born early they were on a strict eating schedule from day one. This led to us developing a good routine with them, which then led to healthy sleep habits. Our twins started sleeping through the night at 10 weeks. This makes the long double duty days manageable and keeps us sane.
7. Master the art of something helpful. Whether it is laundry, bath time or long walks, mastering a new skill to take one task off Mommy’s list will help immensely. Jonathan took over laundry duty which was life changing. Between breastfeeding and recovering from a C-section I had little energy left to keep up with the laundry.
8. Take tons of pictures. Don’t rely on your wife to take all of the pictures. The moments are fleeting and selfies are allowed. The beauty of cameras these days is that you can take as many pictures as you want for no cost. We also setup professional pictures every few months for that first year to make sure we captured some great family moments. Otherwise pictures of the 4 of us would have been very very rare. Even if you are exhausted you will never get those precious moments back so document as much as you can.
9. Force yourself to get out of the house with the kids. Getting out and about with two babies is a learning curve. Two car seats, a double stroller, the biggest diaper bag ever… yep you will need all that to do even the simplest task, but it is worth it. For your sanity try to get out a few times a week. If the weather is nice go for a walk. If it is cold out take them to the mall and walk around. Anything simple that gets you out of the house is good for you and good for the babies.
10. Don’t try to act as a one man show. If people offer to help you, let them! If they want to bring you dinner, let them! You will have a lot to juggle and accepting help will be key to keeping all of your balls in the air. Also, be your wife’s teammate. You can’t do it all alone and neither can she so support each other, give each other breaks and keep each other going on the days that are tough.
11. Date your wife. Date night is so important. This goes for any new parents. It is easy to get lost in the chaos. Scheduling time for you and your spouse to connect, get out of the house, go to dinner child free, watch a movie, get a full night sleep will keep your marriage alive. Even if it is only once a month, call on friends, family or neighbors to give you a few hours to get away and take a break together.
12. No matter how bad today might seem tomorrow will always be better. It’s inevitable. All parents have hard days. Caring for two infants can be exhausting and sleep deprivation will take its toll. Tomorrow is always a new day and the joy of watching two babies grow and thrive will get you through. On the hard days have empathy for yourself and never forget how blessed you are to have two babies!