Did you just find out that you will be raising twins? All of a sudden the doctor looks at you with a big smile, and says “there are 2 heartbeats, you are having twins”. You are shocked, excited and scared all at the same time. There are a million thoughts running through your head. You look over to your partner and they have gone a very pale shade of white. What have we done!
The first year is crazy, hectic, exhausting and completely overwhelming. Being a mum to just one baby is overwhelming let alone 2 babies or more. It is a life altering event but an experience and blessing you wouldn’t change for the world!
Here are our top five tips in how you will survive the first year.
Get them into a Routine
With two or more babies screaming, what do you do? Which one do you attend to first? Getting your babies into a routine early on can help minimise many sleepless nights, although don’t get me wrong, even a baby on their own can keep you up all night! Is there a sleeping one and a crying one. Or are they both crying? This can lead to an ugly cycle when you are constantly attending to the babies at different times. There are so many different suggested routines online which you can follow, but at the end of the day you just have to be flexible. Getting help from the hospital and health services is a great resource for multiple births.
Get help where you can
For those lucky new parents that live near their family then it is time to call all forces! The first year is when you are going to need help the most, from helping with babysitting, doing the groceries, delivering home cooked food, to simply catching up on your sleep. If you don’t have help nearby, just remember you can’t do everything yourself when raising twins! That load of washing or cleaning the kitchen can wait. Rest when you can.
Join a physical and/or online multiple birth support group
The first year is hard, there is no questioning that, and you have to put this into perspective. The world is not going to end if you don’t get something done, or you haven’t brushed your hair in 3 days, you are not alone. Chatting to other parents who have multiples can be a life saver. If you can share those days of changing nappies, feeding and sleeping with other parents then it helps you not feel so alone. Building a network of other parents with multiples is important for your physical, emotional and psychological well-being. You can find your local Australian Multiple Birth Association (AMBA) group HERE.
Join a Facebook group for multiples birth families. Sometimes when you are up late at night with the babies you may need to talk. An online buddy may be just what you need. Our closed Facebook Group Parents of Multiples can be found HERE.
Get a couple of rockers, bouncers or swings.
Let’s face it; if you have multiples, you are outnumbered from the start. So you are going to need an extra “pair of hands” every once in a while. I personally consider rockers, swings or bouncers for twins and more an essential piece of equipment. They are your spare pair of hands.
You can find out more about rockers, bouncers and swings for twins and more HERE.
Do your grocery shopping online
Make life easy and organise your shopping online or get someone to look after your babies while you enjoy getting out. In the early days you will be tired and everything will be a struggle. Having a break, even if it is to do the groceries, is a treasured activity. When they get older however, taking them to the shops is a great activity to get you all out of the house, and the supermarkets usually have plenty of twin trollies to make it as easy as possible.
Read our lighthearted ABC of Grocery Shopping with Multiples HERE.
Learn to be organised
If you are not an organised person then it is time to change your ways. It will make your life a lot easier and less stressful. Bulk up on nappies, freeze meals and prepare for those days where you just can’t get anything done. The twins will make sure you can’t organise them, but you can organise your life around them. This is a fact of being a parent, not just for parents of twins. Life does change, and life does revolve around them.
The first 12 months can seem like a time warp when you are in it, but when you look back, you will desperately try to remember all of the magic they have brought into your family. Stop every now and then and absorb the moment, treasure the milestones and congratulate yourselves on doing the best job when raising twins.