Finding out that you’re expecting twins comes with a roller coaster ride of emotions. In the span of a nanosecond you feel excited, afraid, worried beyond anything you’ve imagined, and so very-and cautiously-happy. Being pregnant with two babies does come with its share of medical concerns; Multiples are known for their early arrival, and can make pregnancy challenging.
You’re no doubt feeling overwhelmed by the news, but those feelings will subside as the surprise wears off. By controlling those factors that are within your control you should be able to alleviate some of the stress plaguing you right now. Double the babies needn’t mean double the stress.
Preparing Yourself and Your Partner
The wonderful thing about expecting twins today is that you usually find out fairly early in your pregnancy. This buys you time to emotionally prepare for the arrival of your babies. Knowing so far in advance also allows you to be practical in your preparations. Here are some ways you, and your partner, can get ready for your bundles of joy.
Learn All You Can
Give yourself and your partner time to settle in with the news. Begin by learning all you can. Consider joining an online support group formed by parents of twins. These are people who have been where you are and can answer many of the questions you have about parenting your twins and what to expect going forward. Ask your doctor’s office for recommendations for books and publications to help you on your journey.
Now is the time to prepare your other children. For toddlers and preschoolers, begin helping them to be more independent. Encourage their help with tasks such as bringing dishes to the sink, or putting dirty clothes in the hamper. Praise their endeavors and your child will rise to the occasion.
Older kids, preteens, and teens are better able to grasp that having twins is a BIG DEAL. Children this age need to know that you will do your best to keep life as normal as possible, but you will need their help, especially in the beginning. For more on how to prepare siblings, go here.
Get Ready at Your Job
Discuss your exciting news with your boss, and your HR department, as soon as possible. You may have planned to work up to your due date, however that can change when you’re expecting twins. Keep any and all paperwork regarding maternity leave, etc. in both digital and physical form.
Line Up Help Now
You’ve probably already lined up support from your family and friends for those first few weeks after you come home. Consider reaching out within your neighbors, community, any clubs or organizations to which you belong, and even friends from work. Meal trains, scheduling someone to assist with the grocery shopping, shuttling older siblings to their extracurricular activities, or just the offer of an extra set of arms, or two, to hold your babies so you can shower will be welcome and necessary.
Do your friends need gift ideas? Childcare for older siblings, a doula, or a grocery shopping service are all wonderfully practical-and useful-gift ideas.
Preparing Your Home
Bringing your twins home from the hospital can be extra worrisome. When you bring your babies home you’ll want it to be as newborn twin-friendly as possible. Here are some tips to make your homecoming, and the days that follow, as low-anxiety as possible.
Buy in Bulk
Stock up on diapers and wipes. Your newborn twins will use about 30 diapers per day at the beginning. Watch for sales, or put your buying club membership to use.
When planning your nursery, go ahead and look for pieces that will do double duty, combining storage and function, such as a footstool that opens to store linens, or a changing table that doubles as a dresser. A rolling cart to store clean diapers, wipes, onesies, etc, will come in very handy at changing time, however you will need to remove it before your little ones become mobile.
It’s Not Necessary to Double Up
For the immediate use, you will need two cribs, or bassinets, as co-bedding is not recommended for twins. You should also plan on investing in a double stroller, and two high chairs when baby is ready (around 4-6 months). Two swings, or two bouncy seats aren’t necessary. Babies can be fickle little creatures and may or may not like either. Also, don’t purchase two changing tables-you can only change one baby at a time!
Consider How You Plan to Feed Your Babies
You should get comfortable with how you plan to feed your twins. If you’re breastfeeding, twins can tandem feed, which is much more time effective. Twin breastfeeding pillows can be helpful. Of course, in the early days, you may prefer to feed your babies one at a time. Speak with a lactation consultant ahead of giving birth for help with breastfeeding your twins.
Should you prefer to bottle feed your babies, plan ahead and make sure you have plenty of bottles to answer the hungry cries of your babies. Twins go through about 16 bottles a day so having plenty means you can make some up ahead of time.
Make your life much easier and synchronize your twins’ schedules from the beginning. Enlist the help of the nurses while you’re in the hospital, and muster all the patience you can. You will benefit from having your twins in sync. You may even find time to actually catch your breath!
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, and stressed, and those feelings don’t go away, talk to your physician. Your OB-GYN knows all about the journey with twins and will be able to put your fears to rest. Have your partner accompany you and alert the doctor to their fears as well.
Do all that you can to be ready and waiting to meet your beautiful babies by the time you hit 30 weeks gestation. Twins don’t always come early, or cause pregnancy issues that confine you to bedrest, but why chance it? Follow our tips and talk with your doctor, and you’ll go into your last trimester prepared.