Caring for Twins: Hacks for Raising Two Babies At Once
Being the parent of a newborn is a thrilling, love-filled adventure that comes with a few challenges. Having a teeny tiny baby in the house affects nearly every aspect of your life in different ways. Some parents, however, have double the adventures, and challenges, if they have twins.
While the chances of having twins are relatively uncommon — only about one in 250 pregnancies result in twins — more women have twins today than ever before because of the increased use of fertility treatments and increased number of pregnant women over the age of 35. So, while you may plan on only having one baby at a time, you just might end up leaving the hospital with two bundles of joy!
You can find out as early as seven weeks into your pregnancy if you’re carrying twins, which means you have plenty of time to plan ahead for having two babies in the house — feeding, bathing, and changing diapers for two newborns sounds a bit overwhelming. But plenty of parents before you have done it successfully and shared their methods.
Knowing Who Is Who
In the first few weeks of your twins’ lives, it wmay be tricky to tell them apart. As they grow, their personalities and other traits will make them more distinguishable, but for a while, you’ll need a few tricks to help tell who is who — and that’s okay!
Color coordination. To make it a bit easier to know which baby is which, dress each one differently. For example, consistently dress one in patterns and the other in solids. Or use warm tones (red, orange, yellow, brown) for one baby and cool tones (blue, green, gray, purple) for the other. This method may take some planning. You’ll want to make sure you have good amounts of each type of clothing. But it’s a simple solution that has worked for many.
Nail polish. Putting a little mark of nail polish on one of your twins’ toes will help you tell your babies apart. A small detail like this will come in handy when you’re sleep-deprived and overwhelmed.
Feeding Your Twins
Most twin parents would agree that one of the most important factors of caring for twin infants is keeping to the same schedule for both babies. This will make your life so much easier. Let them sleep the same amount of time, even if that means having to wake up the other baby once the first has woken up. And this means feeding them at the same time.
Whether you’re breastfeeding, bottle-feeding, or both, feeding two newborns at once doesn’t seem like the easiest task in the world, but it’s completely possible.
Use a nursing pillow. Yes, they even make them for nursing pillows for twins. This will make it much easier to position your babies for breastfeeding. If you don’t want to buy the pillow, you can use rolled-up blankets instead.
Set up. It’s always good to be prepared, even when you’re just feeding your little ones at home. Before settling in to bottle or breastfeed, make sure everything you might need is within your reach — burps cloths, pillows, bottles, formula, breast pump, etc.
For bottle-feeding, if your husband or partner is home, ask him to give you a hand. If you’re feeding the twins by yourself, place them on a pillow or in your lap and hold the bottles for them. Or try a hands-free bottle holder.
Bathing for Two
While synchronicity is key for most twin baby activities, bath time might be a different story. Most twin parents would recommend bathing each baby separately, at least until they’re able to sit up on their own.
As you bathe one newborn, keep the other nearby in an infant chair. Once one baby is clean and wearing fresh clothes, swap them out. When your little ones are finally able to sit up on their own, it will be easier to bathe them together.
Taking Your Twins To-Go
Just because you’re outnumbered doesn’t mean you should be limited. There are plenty of gadgets designed to help twin parents get their little ones on the move, like twin strollers and twin baby carriers. You can also get separate baby carriers so your partner can wear one while you wear the other. Baby carriers can also help you accomplish tasks around the house that would have been otherwise impossible.
Soothing Both Babies
Just one crying newborn is a lot to handle, let alone two at once. Finding what soothes each baby will be tricky. They might not prefer the same methods of soothing — swaddling, swinging, rocking, sucking, etc. It’s a process of trial and error, but once you know how to calm your newborns, you’ll save yourself a lot of trouble.
Asking for Help
Being a new parent is a big job, especially with twins. No matter how badly you wish you could, you can’t be in two places at once, and you only have two hands. It’s okay to ask for help.
If your spouse or partner lives with you, rely on them to take on some of the responsibilities. Have a system in place so that you get a chance to relax or work or exercise when you need to. Delegate duties so that you share equal loads of caregiving. This will help prevent some discontent in your relationship.
If you’re a single parent, ask other loved ones to help out when they can. Grandparents and other family members are usually more than happy to have some baby time, and they should be understanding when a single mother of twins asks for some assistance. It’s two against one!
Connect with other twin parents. Go online and join parent groups on social media to meet other moms and dads who are going through the same thing. You can trade tips and tricks and see that you’re not the only one who struggles sometimes. It can be comforting to talk to someone who is in a similar situation, and you’ll get to share all the things you’ve learned from raising your twins too.