The ultrasound technician rolled the probe over my baby bump and said “I see two heartbeats. You’re expecting twins!” My husband and I nearly fell out of our seats. My boy-girl twins are a year old now and I’ve learned so much since the day they were born. From double strollers to tandem breastfeeding, tummy time to their first steps, we’ve all grown as a family and I have to say: I’ve become well-attuned to their needs and am always thinking two steps ahead! Here are my top five ways to save your sanity when raising twins:
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1. Have your babies follow the same schedule
If you ask any parent of multiples, they’ll tell you this is a cardinal rule to follow from day one to save your sanity when raising twins. In the beginning, I breastfed my twins simultaneously (using a Twin Z pillow). Once they outgrew it, I breastfeed one while my husband/nanny/family member gave the other a bottle. That way, their feeding and sleeping routines were in sync. The same went for bath time, play time, etc. As toddlers, they have grown accustomed to doing everything together. I put a printout of their schedule on our fridge so that everyone knows what the twins are up to, which has made life so much easier.
2. Assemble your village
Sure, you may want to prove to the world that you can handle child rearing all on your own but believe me, you’ll be tired, cranky, and won’t be able to give your 100 percent. The better care you take of yourself, the better caretaker you’ll be for your family. Ask your partner to partake in all the childcare duties. It’ll help build a stronger relationship between the two of you and the kids will be thankful for that quality time. If you’re a working mom, hire a nanny or opt for daycare. Lastly, have your family members get involved when raising twins. Any help is a huge load off your shoulders, so don’t hesitate to ask your family and friends to come by for playtime so you can take a nap, or have them bring over food so you won’t have to cook. And don’t forget to thank them and return the favor in any way you can!
3. You actually don’t need two of everything
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to go on a crazy shopping spree buying two of everything. There are some essentials that you’ll have to double up on like diapers, clothes, bottles, bouncers (we bottle-fed them at the same time this way when they were infants), and high chairs, but there are other baby items where you can get by with just one. For instance, there are strollers on the market, like this one, that are versatile because they can convert from a single stroller to a double stroller (be it for twins or if you have a newborn and toddler). We have one baby tub, one jumper, one walker, and one of each toy, and guess what, they have to take turns and learn to share.
4. Allow them to embrace their innate bond
The bond between twins is so unique. From womb-mates to roommates, they understand each other like no one else and can truly feel what the other feels. When our kids were newborns, our pediatrician told us they should sleep in separate cribs. Somehow this didn’t sit well with me. They were together in my belly for so long, I couldn’t bear to separate them in the outside world. So I went with my gut and swaddled them and laid them to sleep side by side (this was not a SIDS risk since they were not able to take their arms out of their swaddles or roll over at this time). They looked so peaceful and content sleeping this way. Twins have an innate connection, so allow them to embrace their bond; it’ll last a lifetime.
5. Encourage them to develop a sense of individuality
I feel I may have an easier time with this since I have boy-girl (fraternal) twins. Since they are physically different, it’s natural to accept their different tastes and interests. It’s fascinating to see what they gravitate towards and how they’re happy playing with their chosen toys on their own. Pay heed to the foods and toys they like. Also, accept that they may be different weights and heights and reach milestones at various times. They are still two distinct human beings with different DNA. They shouldn’t be attached at the hip or be forced to do the same things. Instead, allow them to shine as individuals with their unique preferences and opinions.
I hope these tips to save your sanity when raising twins were helpful to you, and remember, go easy on yourself, trust your gut, and enjoy the ride, you supermom of multiples!