Caring for newborn twins or triplets. How to find extra hours in the day.
In the first part of this article, we looked at how long it takes to look after newborn twins.
If you haven’t read the first part of our article, check it out:
As you’ve probably worked out, when you are caring for newborn twins or triplets, your schedule leaves A LOT of things out of your life. Most days you will be lucky to do anything non-baby related or move beyond a basic animal need just to keep yourself functioning.
Things, like looking after your house, spending quality time with your partner or friends, or doing something just for yourself like reading, watching tv or exercising, will rarely happen in the first few months of your babies lives.
It is reasonable to expect that taking care of twins will take up to 19 hours a day for one carer. But it is possible to improve on this, especially as you get into some sort of rhythm.
To find extra time in your day, check our handy tips below.
Caring for newborn twins or triplets. How to find extra hours in the day.
The purpose of this article is not to terrify you, or leave you rocking in the corner in fear.
Instead, we would love parents of newborn twins and triplets to be realistic with themselves and others about what they can handle at this time. And this might mean making some big decisions about letting things some things go or be willing to get help.
The best way to create more time in your day is multitask. You will get better at this as time goes on, because you will become more skilled and quicker at each task, and your babies will start to get into a routine that you can work around.
Some multitasking tips when caring for newborn twins or triplets:
- If you are totally exhausted and both babies seem settled off for sleep, TRY and get in a nap yourself. Don’t finish any other task if you need sleep; drop everything and just go to bed. Sleep is a basic biological need, not only for your babies but for you. I promise, things will seem a bit easier if you can get some extra sleep during the day. Honestly, the housework can wait. You getting some sleep is more important.
- Put babies into rockers or play centres to watch you while you cook or shower. This counts as playtime.
- Tidy or do loads of washing while babies are getting tummy time. Or take them out to the garden in the pram while you hang up the washing. This can be counted as “play” or “awake” time in their schedule.
- Set the dishwasher and washing machine to wash overnight, at least then the house “looks” like you are on top of things. And if you don’t get to hang the laundry out first thing, you can always wash it again!
- Put the slow coooker on in the morning, and pop double the amount in there so you can have extra meals for the freezer for another night.
- Go for a walk each day with your babies in the pram. This helps you to get some fresh air and sunshine which will help you sleep better. You could also use this time to call your partner or your family to check in and get some adult conversation.
- Look into baby wearing. There are quite a few tandem babywearing products on the market these days.
There is only so much multitasking you can do, and then you need to call in reinforcements. The maths are basic; there is more than one baby, so you need more than one adult to even things up a bit. Caring for newborn twins or triplets is hard work, and there is no shame in asking for some help.
If it is possible, it can help to have your partner home with you for as long as possible. If you can’t do this, make sure that you get your partner to help with all the baby-related jobs whenever they are home.
Call in friends and family to help as well. They can look after the babies while you sleep, tidy up while you feed, help you bathe them, or bring you food already prepared so you don’t need to spend time on this. Leave the non urgent laundry and when someone pops over to see the babies, ask them to put a load on and hang it out before they leave. Or ask them to help you fold the laundry as you sit and have a chat.
If you can afford it, get a cleaner or a meal delivery service for the first 3-6 months to help you. (Affiliate)
If you are struggling with settling your babies, then call in a sleep consultant. Twinfo has a large number of sleep consultants, all of whom have extensive multiple birth experience. And all do online consults.
If you have a spare room, then look into getting an AuPair or someone to assist your family. Check out The Room Xchange and Xchange your spare room for help around the house.
Prioritise (and learn to let things go)
Accept that 24 hours a day will be required when caring for newborn twins or triplets. Anything else that gets done is a bonus.
One of the hardest things you can do is prioritise what needs to be done, and learn to let the rest go. This might include:
- Letting housework tasks go that aren’t relevant to caring for your babies and yourself
- Asking friends to come to you to visit
- If you have any spare time, you should still be putting yourself first. Don’t dust the entrance or vacuum the guest bedroom if you really should go for a walk to clear your head, sit down alone with a magazine or get a massage or haircut.
Write a priority list of bonus tasks
It might help to write down all of the extra tasks that could be done (and be ruthless) in list of priority. If you get a moment, or if blissfully someone else appears and offers to help, then you can do the top thing on the priority list.
Your mental and physical health should take priority over the house and anything other people want or need. If you need a tidy house to stay sane, then housework duties will reasonably be on your priority list, because you need this. But this bonus tasks list should be written from the perspective of what you need, not what you think you should be doing, or what any other person thinks or needs.
Parents of multiples are more likely to suffer from Post Natal Depression, so it is very important to take some time for yourself.
Having the list already written can help you from guilting yourself into folding up clothes or ironing partner’s workshirts when this is lower on your priority list than say your own personal hygiene or exercise. It might be easier to be intimate with your partner in the middle of all the mess if you put that high on your list and mentally accept that it is more important than tidying.
Sample priority list
If we imagine that everything to do with the babies and your own basic needs are covered in the regular schedule, this list is for any bonus tasks you get time for. If you find a spare moment or your babies are oddly in sync, or your partner or someone else is there, then you can tackle something on this list.
Write up your priority list in the order based on what you need to stay happy. It might look something like this:
- Spend time catching up on Facebook and texting friends
- Have a long bath and read
- Vacuum babies’ room and main living areas
- Clean toilet, bath, and shower
- Spend time alone with your partner
- Get some exercise
- Do some extra food prep and freeze
- Wash floors
- Get a haircut or massage
- Sort through babies’ clothes
- Have a coffee out with friends
When you get time, do something on the list, but stick with what is a priority to keep you happy and healthy. The babies are all looked after – now it’s the parents turn!
If you have tips on how to manage your babies’ schedule, or on saving time, we would love to hear it!