Top Ten Tips for Expectant Twin parents

  As daunting or as joyful as having Twins may appear for the first time mother, there are plenty of benefits ahead that will leave you smitten for the privilege of having twins. For the single birth mother the focus is all about mother/ baby. But for the mother of twins there is the added delight of being a group – mother and babies with baby to baby development which a single birth mother does not get. Here are ten things to consider for twins:
  1. Your babies are people in their own right with their own fledgling personalities. Yes you’re going to look at them as your two fabulous babies, but inside them is a little person yearning to grow. Looking for the little differences between your babies personalities is where to find their little treasures of being the twins, the same but different, is going to delight you again and again.
  2. Twins naturally end up bedding down together. Establishing your daily routines is key to managing your time together where bed time is one time where your twins will tend to reinforce each other. Like a married couple they will become accustomed to each other’s closeness and little noises through the night leaving no reason to wake one another up.
  3. Twins are born with a playmate. This obvious plus is going be a source of extra effort in the early days. However if it’s one thing our parents and grandparents always remind us, is just how quickly time will pass. Before you know it this will turn to your favour as you find your two babies are as interested in their twin as they are in their mother for play and stimulation giving mum those invaluable moments of respite, a moment of payback for all the extra effort earlier on.
  4. Do I buy two packs of X or will one pack be enough ? You'll never have to ask yourself such questions as you'll automatically be buying in bulk. Look for an influx of loyalty points across all your shopping trips. It may just get you that great pair of shoes to wear on a night out. Yes it might seem like that a night out will never happen again, but it will come and a little planning ahead like this might just be a little soothing reminder that life does get better. A little closer assessment of where you best value shopping comes from may bring surprises. If not already got your Coupon and loyalty radar up to speed, now is a good time to fine tune it.
  5. Breast feeding. Yes it is possible to feed both at the same time. It’s team play and everyone on the team needs practice. When one latches on the other may fall off. Be kind and patient with all your players, yourself included. A mix and match approach can help with one baby breast feeding while the other is supported with a pillow and bottle fed. Don't forget Dad as this is usually an important bonding time for him. Mum doesn't have to do it all on her own.
  6. From the get go of the birth your now on your way out of babies. For many couples of twins, two is enough. Sleepless nights and a constant level of exhaustion that comes from looking after babies is on the count down to end – it’s just one day at a time and nothing can speed it up when you so want to, nor can anything slow it down. The main thing is to look for little nibbles of comfort that makes you and your babies days easiest. In contrast for the parents of singleton babies, all this is going to repeat. Just when they've gotten over it all with their first child, they'll invariably begin it all over again for the second child.
  7. Reality check. Rearing a family is unrelenting no matter your mood or your personal life circumstances. Set up support whilst pregnant.  If you find yourself persistently overwhelmed with the demands on you, ask for and seek help. It may be one of your friends, another mother who is further along than yourself, your family or other support groups. You'll probably be surprised to find you’re far from alone for feeling overwhelmed. Many others will have been just where you are, have been and are going. Seek their support. They'd probably be only too glad to help if only you'd ask. The usual support services are a place to start, online forums offer a connection to other parents who may offer advice, or your local church may turn up support groups or perhaps someone who can just help out for a few hours to get your chores done or just give you break. If you don't ask, you don't get.
  8. Getting extra Support. Do you have a spare room that you could offer in exchange for nanny services for a Student ? Relative?...
  9. Get online and search for local twins groups in your area.
  10. Organisation is so often the key to making life easier. Organising the stuff for the mornings the night before may well take some of the pressure off for the morning start. After the babies go down for the night, a nap for yourself may be enough of a recharge to give you the energy to cope with the dishwasher, laundry and getting things ready for the morning. These little power naps can stave off passing out later on and not getting anything done.
Finally- we asked some parents of Twins what they did to help with managing baby twins. Both slightly different in their parenting but very similar regarding how they physically manage life and routine where twins are concerned.  These were their responses:  

Katie Hughes (twins at time of writing are 5 months old)

Mum- Kate Hughes, Dad- Samuel Glover, Ivy is with Daddy and Evie is with Mummy “Things that I’ve found to do to make life easier from day one.... I simply do everything at the same time or after one another. Your day starts really the night before you go to bed. I make as many bottles as possible at night, ready for the start of your day. With twins it's easier if you are more prepared. The first feed keep them in their baby grows because they will sleep straight away after, let them. I’ll then do my chores, and shower. By the time you’re ready it'll be the next feed.   Getting into a routine early in will help. Feeding at the same time will help in the long run, it will allow them to wake around the same time, if one doesn't strip them down to their vest this will gradually wake them. Changing and bathing also I do at the same time, most of the time you will be alone, don't panic it's doable. Sleep is hard to get when first born, but I slept in the day when my twins did 'it helps'. Feeding on the sofa at arm’s length or simply in there bouncer 'chairs'. Mine from birth wake at the same time and feed, try to do this also. Even from birth they will be in a routine naturally themselves. Don't panic if they miss feeds they will wake or moan when it's time. When Changing nappies and into clothing do this one after another. Twins is just simply doing what you've done again, changing feeding and bathing. Being a first time mum with twins I knew no different, so I didn't worry too much. They do actually comfort each other. Being a mum of twins will make you learn things very quickly than maybe having one. Because doing everything twice, you will learn more from them too. I kept mine sharing Moses baskets and a cot until they were 4 months old only because by that time they are big and needed the room. Mine actually now sleep longer apart, only because the other isn't waking the other”.  

Alessandra Del Santo (twins at time of writing are 28 months old)

Mum- Alessandra Del Santo, Dad- Daniel Chapman, Alex- With mum and Mila- With dad “Routine was definitely the key and I need to thank Dan for that as he certainly helped me to enforce it especially when I was tired and mentally weak ...... The kids were held very little when they were babies and we practiced self soothing which quickly paid off as they were sleeping through the night by the time they were 3 months old. The feeding timetable was very strict to start with as I was tandem breastfeeding both every 2 to 3 hours so I could get some rest. If one was sleeping I would wake him/her so they were always in sink . By the time they were 6 months old, although I was still breastfeeding, I starting the Baby Lead Weening (BLW). Mainly fed them on vegatables and fruit but also introducing formula as way to get them slowly detached from the breast and more flexible when out and about. Instead of puree food whole bits of soft fruit / veg/ bread etc to stimulate their gums and encourage the chewing future process. Very messy but again paid off now as they eat everything and are happy with a huge variety of textures and real  flavours! I think if I had one child at the time we would have been more relaxed but I must recognise that the strict routine approach was vital with multiples if you want to keep a little time and sanity.   I stopped breastfeeding completely when they were one with no drama at all. So sleeping and eating well are very important for everyone's sanity (especially parents!) . As they were growing and learning to interact with each other and their little friends the concept of sharing is also a must so we didn't get them 2 of everything but taught them to play together and take turns . Now however, they have developed an attachment to a special toy (Mila is a puppy dog and Alex a car) that the other one has no interest at all in so they don't need to share it!”  
Top Ten Tips for Expectant Twin parents