By Lisa (@rainbow.and.renovation)
So you’re having twins! Congratulations. We bet you’ve heard a lot of advice and a lot of remarks – not all of which are helpful. Twin mum Lisa shares her top tips and things that you should know. Lisa is the mother of two miracle identical twin boys, Joshua and Charlie, who were conceived after five years of baby loss and nine cycles of IVF.
I’ll start by saying; the most unhelpful advice on birthing or raising twins is always given by those who don’t actually have twins themselves. People tend to fall in one of two camps regarding twins: “Blimey, you have your hands full!”…“I would have hated twins, thank god it didn’t happen to us!” Or, “I had twins. Well, I had two boys in under 18 months which is almost the same!”
Ignore them all. Life is about to get busy and the only noise you need is “can I get you a cup of tea/pick up a pint of milk/feed a baby?”
Here are 14 Things You Actually Need to Know if You’re Having Twins
- Twins Trust was a great source of support when I was pregnant
We attended their antenatal class during pregnancy. It was great to speak to other twin parents and the trainer gave some brilliant insight into what to expect.
- Seek out your local twin group
Some will have regular meetups which is a brilliant way to connect with other parents of multiples and share tips. If one doesn’t exist locally, there are lots on Facebook and you’re likely to find one in commutable distance if you’re happy to travel. I’m also in a couple of local twin parent WhatsApp groups and it’s great to share info (i.e. which soft play centres don’t charge for the second twin!) and arrange meet ups.
- Being a twin mum can be expensive
Particularly if they are your first babies and you don’t have any hand me down options. There are specific twin selling pages on Facebook and a category on Vinted for twins. I’ve picked up some great outfits for our boys and I resell them once they’ve outgrown them (which seems to happen in the blink of an eye!)
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- Matching clothes is a personal choice
Whilst they’re young enough not to argue, our twins share a wardrobe. I chop and change outfits rather than match but it makes laundry easier if they are wearing similar coloured outfits.
- A twin feeding pillow will be your new best friend
Great for feeding but also for playtime before babies are sitting upright.
- You do *not* need two of everything!
You’ll certainly need more of the basics but when it comes to toys and equipment, you may find you need less than you think. For example, Charlie loves the jumperoo, whereas Joshua is happier on the playmat. We only need one perfect prep machine because I only have one pair of hands to prepare milk anyway! You get the drift….
- Don’t try and keep up with your singleton mum friends
I don’t mean this to sound in any way divisive. Motherhood is all about winging it together and never about “us and them”. But honestly, in the early days, particularly because our journey to parenthood had been so difficult… I tried to do everything I saw other mums with one baby doing.
The truth is, if you’re the primary caregiver during the day getting out with one baby is tough…getting out with two is near to impossible. Do what feels right, take your time and know that there will come a time when leaving the house doesn’t feel like a military exercise. In the meantime, invite people to your home; it’s an extra pair of hands to hold a bottle/change a nappy/make you a cup of tea.
- Routine is KEY!
Pre-babies I assumed I would be the mum whose babies worked around her (ha!!) Every twin mum gave me the same advice whenever I asked: “Get a routine in place as soon as you can”.
This means feeding, naps and bedtime all happen at the same time. It’s hard work, but does mean that you stand a better chance of actually getting little breaks in your day when their naps are synced (WIN!)
Yes, occasionally this does mean the cardinal sin of waking a sleeping baby to ensure their sleep pattern stays on track with their twin sibling! You’ll thank yourself later, I promise.
- You do have double the work and half the amount of time
It does get easier, or maybe you just get used to the madness, I’m not sure?! Accept all the help, outsource what you can and know that as magical as being a twin mum is, it’s also a lot of work. It’s okay to find it hard.
- Twin babies are much more likely to be born prematurely
A scary fact but a real one nonetheless. If you are able to, perhaps consider researching a little into the neonatal ward at your hospital. Our twins were born at 34 weeks and spent 2.5 weeks in NICU. It was a scary time, the team who looked after our boys were wonderful, but I wish I had been better prepared for how overwhelming the experience would be.
- The hardest thing about having twins is? The double crying!
Any parent will know how heart wrenching it is when their baby cries. My husband works long hours away from home which means nearly every day I’m alone with our twins. When they both cry at the same time it can be like a game of tennis (with me as the ball!) bouncing between them both.
The moment I put one down to pick the other up, he will start crying and so on and so on…. Emotionally, as a parent having a baby cry when you can’t tend to them is the hardest thing.
- Twin Escalation Syndrome is a thing: sometimes I put them in separate rooms
It may not be to everyone’s liking but I do find when crying it at its worst, temporarily separating the babies in different rooms can help so that they don’t keep outcrying each other (google twin escalation syndrome!)
It tends to quieten at least one of them instantly.
- If it’s all getting too unbearable, I pop a pair of AirPods in my ears
The babies can still see me and be comforted by my presence, but I can get a bit of respite!
- Look after your own needs too
I try to remind myself that I’m the ship carrying us all. So if I’m sinking, we all sink. I need to look after my well-being so that I can look after my family.
- There is so much joy and wonder in having twins
Someone once told me “twin parents have magic running through their veins!” And I really believe that.
Yes it’s a lot of work, but you do get double the joy too. The moment when your twins notice each other for the first time, or when they both giggle at each other is magic.
Ours still sleep in bedside cribs either side of our bed and they wake up and gabble to each other whilst my husband and I lie in bed quietly listening and laughing, it’s the best way to wake up!
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