My normal response to overwhelming news is to take a deep breath, pour a glass of wine and regain perspective… BUT if *said* overwhelming news is that you are carrying more than one human in your uterus and you already have another (or more!) at home, grabbing the vino is not the safest option. SO, read on if you are looking to hear how one little ol’ mom in Baltimore managed the stress, anxiety and excitement of growing from a family of 3 to a family of 5 😉
- ACCEPTANCE. This one might take a little, but the more you (or your significant other) remind yourself that no matter how shocked you feel or how strong the disbelief feels, that you ARE, INDEED, pregnant with more than one child, the better! It feels like a waste of time to allow yourself to be consumed by the “OH MY GOD what are we going to DO?!?!” stage for too long, when you could be jumping into action and moving on to step 2…
- PREPARATION. If you have internalized the reality that you are having twins, CONGRATS!!! You are hopefully in a sweet spot where you are grateful for this blessing and you are ready to hit the ground running to get as many ducks in a row as possible before your new bundles make their way into your (already busy) world. We are equipped with the double-edged sword which is the internet. I am a firm believer that knowledge is power and I truly read anything I can get my hands on about a topic that I am unfamiliar with, HOWEVER it is critical to keep in mind that just like anything in life, you can study/learn/explore but your real experience is always going to be a bit different and everyone handles things in their own way.
Order This Book— I found a book that one of my mom’s best friends (who has teenage twin boys) sent me, When You’re Expecting Twins, Triplets or Multiples, to be a nice, organized, understandable resource! I would read a chapter here and there or reference something specific when needed.
Listen to Your Doctor—Much like my first pregnancy, I listened to my doctor carefully at every appointment and remembered that she was the expert, not the woman in the airport who has a second-cousin who had twins 13 years ago and just KNOWS it can’t be safe for me to be carrying my toddler and wearing flip flops at this stage in the pregnancy. Thank u, next.
Talk to Other Twin Parents— Whether they have another child or not, talking to other parents of multiples about their experiences allows you to create a portal of information in the back of your mind that you can reference as needed. For example, I learned a good amount about the NICU and tricks to making that experience a little less stressful, so while by the grace of god we avoided a NICU stay and I didn’t end up needing that information, I felt more prepared with a general idea of what that might look like for us.
Buy Some Additional Gear— (I AM A STRONG PROPONENT OF AVOIDING PAYING FULL PRICE/BUYING BRAND NEW because if you thought things got ruined easily with one baby, double the odds with two!)
–Table for Two. I have NO idea how moms of twins live without this thing. We are 13 months in, and we still use it every day. I heard and read a lot about it while I was pregnant, but the price point was steep and thought I would keep an eye out for a gently used one or skip it. I so wish I could go back in time and wisen-up to order it because it takes 3-4 weeks to get to you and you know that the first few weeks with infant(s) feel like an eternity (maybe that’s just me?!). We drink the “anything that makes our life significantly easier in the first few months is probably worth it” kool-aid HARD at our house, so if you are with me on that, order it NOW. It is SO nice to have a sturdy, portable way to feed both babies in a propped up position at once. All three of our kids would be much more likely to spit up if they weren’t propped up at that ~45 degree angle for feedings, and strapping them in the Table for Two kept them nice and secure in that ideal position. (***I know a lot of people like the Twin Z Pillow for a similar purpose, but I borrowed one from a best friend and felt like they were not propped up enough and they would sort of slide down into it as the feeding progressed because there wasn’t the structure between their legs to sort of sit on. That might be good for lounging, but two boppy pillows/loungers would do the same trick IMO.)
–Double Stroller. You will not want to carry those bucket seats (as we call them) all around town, so its critical to have a nice, easy to use stroller to pop the babes into when you are on the move! Moms SWEAR by the Twin JoovyRoo, but we already had the UppaBaby Vista for Nolan and I was way too in love with the extra-large storage capacity of the basket and in the habit of putting that feature to use, so not having that on the JoovyRoo deterred me from trying it out. For the first few months we would pop the infant seats into the stroller frame, which is a lifesaver when the babes were snoozing in the car and could stay asleep for the quick and easy transition to clicking into the stroller. We DO have the PiggyBack Ride Along board, but at this point in time, Nolan is not interested in getting on it. I still have hope for the future. Now that Max and Maeve are sitting in the Toddler Seat and Rumble Seat, we usually throw a carrier in the basket under the stroller, and if Nolan gets tired of walking, he takes over the Rumble Seat and once of us wears a baby. (***We originally had the BabyJogger City Select Double Stroller when Nolan was a baby, and I felt like the ease of use was majorly lacking and I constantly struggled to fold/unfold it, so we sold it to another mom who wanted it and bought the UppaBaby Vista. Personal preference though because I know other moms who have it and love it! I also hear great things aboutNuna Demi Grow Double Stroller.)h
–Ikea Highchairs. We had a traditional high chair for Nolan, and it was great and served its purpose for a long time! By the time the twins were ready to start sitting in highchairs for baby food, Nolan was over sitting in his high chair. A lot of my friends have the Ikea Highchair, and after seeing one in the flesh, I was drawn to the size, simplicity and look! We ordered two, put them together in a few minutes, and have not looked back. They are so lightweight and we can easily pick them up to take them outside or into another room. I definitely like them better than the one we had for Nolan. I also used these little inserts to help give M and M a little support when they were smaller and sitting in their chairs!
–Baby Bjorn Bouncers. See this postwhere I profess my love and adoration for this piece of gear.
–BabyBrezza. If you are using any amount of formula, this thing is invaluable. (See more in this post)For a GOOD stretch, you feel like you are a robot on a loop of making bottle, feeding bottle, washing bottle, repeat. The BabyBrezza makes one of those steps much quicker/easier/cleaner. ORDER IT.
Hire A “Night Nurse”—If you are anything like me, relinquishing control and trusting a “stranger” to take over your responsibilities does not come easy. I claimed I would want to do this once the twins arrived because I knew that the nights would be more sleepless with two babies to take care of and the following day would require more from us because we had a toddler, even when Nolan was at daycare. Once we got home and I morphed into a more tired, anxious, controlling version of myself, I felt less comfortable with the idea and just could not imagine myself being able to relax and sleep while the babies were in the house with someone unfamiliar. Thank GOODNESS my mom saw the circles under our eyes change from black-brown to jet black and came to the rescue by gifting us with three nights with a Newborn Care Specialist/Doula. Literally, best decision EVER. Read reviews and talk to references and if you can find someone as amazing as Miss Lisa was for us and our twins, your overall experience will improve exponentially! She came at 9 pm and immediately jumped in doing whatever was needed at the moment. Over the course of the night she handled feedings, baths, massages, manicures, pumping support, laundry, light house work, organizing the nursery all while keeping us in the loop of the babies every move/update through an app on our phone that we could check in on anytime we were curious! It was a game-changer because once we scheduled her for a night or two a week, the tough/sleepless nights were less daunting because we had a night of rest to live for on the calendar! If you are in Baltimore, you can find Miss Lisa and her “swaddlers” at www.laborlullabies.com
Remember, YOU GOT THIS! Ignore anything that anyone says that makes you feel even more stressed out than you already are. Unless they live in your house with you under your exact circumstances, your experience will not be the same as theirs. I like to remind myself that I am not the first person to parent a toddler and twins, and AmazonPrime sure as hell makes my life easier than the moms who came before me pre-Prime (HOW?!?!?!).