Congratulations and welcome to twin parenting! So, now as you have landed up in the club, you will need a few tips for your survival. My twinkles are 2 years 6 months old and things are bit better now. I would not say there are no challenges, as they will always exist, only the level will vary.
People say it takes a village to raise kids and it gets even tougher when you have multiples and no help. However, there is no foolproof parenting technique but if a few things are taken care of, twin parenting can be a bit comforting. So, here are a few tips from my personal experience that will help you in raising your twinnies all by yourself.
Consistency & Routine:
The most common question I come across from people is “Do they sleep together? Poop together? cry together?” and I reply “YES, because I have set a routine for them”. Setting a routine for yourself, your little ones and for the entire family is the lifesaver while raising twins. Most of the twins have their share of NICU where the nurses are dot in time for every single activity and they put them on a schedule.
Feeding, burping, pooping, diaper change and sleeping everything on time. My girls were in NICU for 12 days and later, a week in the hospital room with me. I continued the same schedule for them when we welcomed them home. This way, they were also programmed to the pattern. Consistency in the routine gave me peace of mind. Follow your routine and stick to it.
The biggest challenge every new parent face is putting their tiny ones to bed. We were no different. First 2.5 months were crazy when I and my husband were badly sleep deprived and looked like walking Zombies. As our daughters were born preterm, we had to feed them every two hours during the night also and then put them back to sleep and by the time, they slept again, it was the time to feed them once more. Sounds like a project, right? Indeed it was!
At 2.5 months, when they started eye contact, I decided to put them on a sleep schedule. I fed them (every 2-3 hours) throughout the day, changed them and put them to sleep both at the same time from morning till 7 pm. After a whole day sleep when they used to wake up fresh and active, I used to play with them, talk to them, sing to them and divert their minds in rattles, musical toys etc. keeping them awake till 12 am. By 12 am, they were tired and sleepy again so we used to tuck them back to bed after feeding, burping and changing.
This method worked well for me to make them sleep throughout the night. Those five hours were the best time for me to bond with them. Gradually, from 3-4 night feedings, we shifted to just 1-2. So, keeping both the kids on the same eating, feeding and sleep schedule is the key to maintain your sanity. Plan your outings/parties according to the kids sleeping schedule to avoid meltdowns.
As you have two babies to handle at a time, its an arduous job when alone. Work as a team with your husband. During night feeds, if you are breastfeeding one, he can bottle feed the other (expressed breast milk or formula is up to you), help in changing the diaper and burping the babies. Sleep rotationally so that both of you get time to bond with the babies and some rest too. Most of the twin dads are hands-on dads as they don’t have a choice but to help equally.
Breastfeeding / Formula feeding:
Most of the preterm kids are underweight and unable to latch on the breasts. Its OK Mommy, don’t feel guilty about it! Even if you express your breastmilk and spoon /tube feed them, it’s absolutely OK. Remember, the more you express, the more you will produce. Eat well, keep yourself hydrated, avoid spicy food, including lots of fruits and greens to your diet and stay happy. Stress and breastfeeding have a direct connection with each other. Stay stress-free and try to be cheerful as much as possible.
Postpartum depression is very common especially in twin moms which hinders our happiness but it is curable by medication and counseling and I am sure you would like to do the best for your babies, so do everything to stay stress-free. Secondly, if for any reason, you are unable to produce enough breast milk, don’t hesitate to opt for formula milk. The most important thing is the kids should be well fed. Breastfeeding surely is the best but the formula also has the required nutrients so go ahead guiltfree.
Have a dedicated play area for your little ones preferably at a place within your sight so that you will always know what they are up to and only one part of the house is ransacked. Place a carpet or soft mattress so that there is no risk of falling down. I have an open kitchen so my living room has turned into a kid play zone. Furniture has been replaced with bean bags. I need not to clean the entire house picking up the toys (exceptions are always there though ;)) unless I give them access to the other rooms.
As you have created two brilliant minds, there is always a double risk of accidents. You have to be very sure about their safety even if you are away for nature’s call. Make sure, all the electric sockets are covered with guards, there are no wires or cords, chargers, adapters accessible to them. Scrutinize all their toys and ensure there is nothing sharp-edged and small enough to be swallowed by them including toy batteries, small parts of the toys, coins etc. Keep all your medicines away from the reach of children.
Kids love exploring and playing with kitchen items so keep the sharp knives, scissors, forks, and even spices out of their reach. Also the floor cleaners, disinfectants, cosmetics to be kept away from their reach. If you have any sharp-edged furniture, cover the corners with 2-3 layers of tape. Don’t place any chair or table near the window because kids may climb up to it and accidents may happen. Keep the doors of your washroom always locked, buckets empty to avoid drowning. Never leave kids unattended in the bathroom. If you have stairs in your flat, put guard doors to prevent falling down.
Ending my post here, stay tuned to read the next part soon 🙂
Love and hugs!