Top tips please!(30 Posts)
I am currently 24 weeks with B/G twins and the advice from family/friends is starting to flood in. However, no-one I know has had twins so I was wondering if you could share some pearls of wisdom with me about how to get through the first few months! This is my first pregnancy so it is all new to me anyway. Any helpful advice greatly appreciated!
I think the key may be to have v low standards. I'd read a v negative twin parenting book which implied you would implode without outside help so was quite relieved to find out it was survivable. Ours were in scbu for two weeks (as others said prepare for a possible stay) but the upside of that was it got them on a loose routine and the nurses helped with establishing bf. If you are planning to bf tandem feeding makes it much easier in the early days when they take a long time. Don't expect to get much else done and invest in some good box sets of TV series or love film etc. My husband did all the cooking and we just left most of the housework - if you have family near rope them in to help. I was constantly starving so we had loads of cereal bars and rice pots etc about. The best preparation I had for twin motherhood was doing long distance sailing trips where you are on a four hour watch system, got me used to napping on cue. Make sure to get at least one nap in day - 'sleep when the babies sleep, clean when the babies clean' ;).
Equipment wise our musts were lots of babygrows and vests (that's all they wore for about 6 months), a twin sling (or a wrap for them both), bouncy chairs, twin feeding cushion - i had a harmony duo but ended up using just a soft v as more comfy).
Just another thought, night time feeding lying down was my saviour, which obviously means on day a time. If they both woke I had to get up and use the feeding pillow, much nicer to snuggle up and go back to sleep while they feed then hubby would swap them over when the other one woke. Always fed together in the day though just on a bog standard v shaped cushion £10 from dunelm mill! I do have an enormous armchair though so they were well secure and enough room for DS to perch on the arm with his book
I would disagree with the expressing advice. My twins are 15 months and still breastfeeding. If you express you're doing it twice plus you've all the faff of washing bottles. A pump never gets as much as a baby can and feeding both together, once you've mastered it,enables you to get out and about without a ridiculous array of equipment. If you have another child as I did (DS was 2.8 when they were born) it's easier to read to them etc with free hands albeit being pinned to the chair! Plus you can mumsnet whilst feeding too I also co sleep and cloth bum (saves a fortune and as others have pointed out fortnightly bin collections do not really work with twins in nappies). I didnt have a strict routine at all and just basically muddled through. I now however still have one baby in my bed every night reverse cycling as I'm back at work 4 days a week and he is a boob addict must do something about that .......
Seriously though keep chanting the mumsnet mantra 'this too shall pass' and you will be just fine xxx
My MCDA twin girls are 4 months now, and their older sister just turned 3.
Advice (some has been said above)
1) chest freezer if possible (ours is in the garage) full of home cooked meals before they arrive
2) multiple changing stations with space for a couple of changes of clothes to be kept at each
3) separate area for one of you to escape to for uninterrupted sleep
4) tumble dryer of you can
5) if one needs feeding, feed the other
6) as much help, paid or unpaid, as you can get
7) if you want to BF it can be entirely doable with a little luck - mine are EBF at 4 months and it saves all the faff of bottle washing, sterilising etc. If you want more info on how we managed this, do pm me. However, see point 8!
8) NO GUILT about how you choose to do stuff/shortcuts. So long as things don't amount to actual harmful neglect or abuse, forgive yourself departures from perfection freely and immediately!! That includes choosing not to follow other people's advice, including mine.
9) Lots of cuddles together and separately
10) Go out of the house every day even if it's just a walk round the block
11) Internet shopping for groceries is awesome - book the slots for orders ahead (even 2-3 at a time) with a few essentials in the basket and amend the order the night before with anything else you need
12) Electronic reminders for EVERYTHING - less stressful and more effective than trying to rely on your brain
13) Try to leave the house alone every week or two while someone else sits with them, even if just for half an hour. Feels exciting and naughty to start with! But gives you a break from constantly feeling like you are everyone else's property.
14) be ready to cry about lots of silly and not so silly things (news stories, how beautiful their smiles are etcetera!!)
15) Time is divided into BS and AS (before smiles and after smiles) - BS feels like a huge unrelenting grind, but AS you get regular reward for all your efforts and the sun gradually comes out more and more!!
Overall though I think point 8 is the most important. You will undoubtedly strive to be the best parent you can, and pursuit of perfection is counter productive because it pressurises you further when you are already under pressure. PND is common in multiple mums, so get yourself and your nearest and dearest aware of the symptoms and signs, and if there is any concern, seek help early.
I haven't said anything about SCBU because we were extremely fortunate to avoid that, yet were still in Hosp 6 days - for the babies, not me - so be prepared for that. You may well be hungrier than the meagre food rations there so get visitors to bring healthy snacks and some biscuits. A bottle of concentrated squash helps you drink plenty.
HTH and good luck. It is a gorgeous experience.
Oh completely forgot - accept all offers of help (unless from completely useless relatives). Don't be scared to ask them to do boring chores.
Mine spent four weeks in SCBU, in some ways that was really nice as I was fine and was discharged after 36 hours. So I'd go home and have a lovely proper night's sleep and come back at about 7 in the morning with the night's expressed milk. I do think that kick start of rest helped me to recover physically ready for the months of broken nights to come. On the other hand it did take a little while to bond with them, I ended up spending a week in the mother/baby suite attached to SCBU learning to care for them.
yy whoever said get as much kit as possible secondhand. Because you can't pass stuff on to the next child, when your son and daughter get old enough to care you will be spending a lot on clothes etc.
And when it's really shitty, you haven't had more than 3 hours continuous sleep for nearly six months, remember that around 18 months you will suddenly find your life is actually easier than that of various friends who've had one baby when yours were born and another a year or two later. You've got lovely babies who will entertain each other while you get on with stuff in the room, while they have a rampaging toddler bouncing on a pregnant bump or attempting to feed breadsticks to a newborn while you're trying to go to the loo. Talking of which, a playpen to stuff them in while you go to the loo is essential, once they get mobile and dangerous.
Be ready for being regarded as public property. You will get people saying things like 'They're not identical' To which the reply ought to be 'Goodness me I hadn't noticed, how thoughtful of you to point it out!', but I was always too polite and just smiled and nodded.
Ooh, what to say? I'll try and think of some of the odder stuff as other people will have covered most stuff.
- get a baby carrier that will take two of them, so that in the early days they can sleep on you. Some people use two slings, I couldn't get that to work, but the Weego twin carrier (I think it's German? We picked one up on ebay and then sold it on again) was brilliant.
- if you have fortnightly bin collections check if your council will give you a bigger bin. Our bin has been piled to the sky with nappies ever since day one. I recently found out we have the single person/flat sized bin and we could have had a bigger one :-(
- get blackout blinds for their bedroom and yours, and get earplugs. That way if someone else is looking after the kids you can actually sleep. And for them, the blackout blinds are useful for naps and also in the summer so they don't wake up at the crack of dawn when the light comes in. (They'll wake at the crack of dawn for a million other reasons but you know, it helps!) easyblackoutblinds.co.uk are what we have and they're relatively cheap and easy to fit.
Good luck! The first few months are a bit of a mare but after that they do get easier and everyone talks to you with twins which is quite nice.
My tip is: think a lot about your house and how it functions, because what seems easy to tidy now
charming and homely, won't be with all the extra clobber that twins bring. So you need loads of extra storage for toys, clothes, more clear worksurfaces, less inessential stuff (I mean things like tablecloths and cushions and boxes of stuff you cannot hoover round easily) Make your house a machine for living!
Try and streamline your house as much as possible, we didn't and massively regretted it. We didn't have any time to tidy after the twins, so it needed to be as easy as abc to clear a room up. So open bookshelves, lots of ornaments, clutter areas make you feel very depressed when you are struggling to get through the day.
What seems easy and creative to cook before children...say some pasta with a quick sauce that takes 10 min to put together, a nice salad...NO you won't have the energy to do that. You need to have something you can literally reheat or put in the oven or you'll end up living on toast in the early weeks (unless of course someone else does the cooking) Both you and your husband will be equally knackered.
Aim on enjoying the babies rather than getting through the early weeks as if it is a military operation. It isn't. They are babies, and adorable. Enjoy feeding them. Enjoy cuddling them. Make everything else work for you. Watch telly go on long walks, don't be a slave to the routine. Occasionally feed them separately, and enjoy having a singleton in your arms. Try and take one to a coffee shop occasionally by yourself, so you get the pleasure of being out and about with a singleton.
Create a separate sleeping room for one adult which means that one person can get a good night's sleep occasionally. Camp bed, comfortable sofa bed. Just somewhere that means you aren't both up all night every night.
Assume your husband will help with night feeds in first six weeks. After that start thinking whether there is a point in the day where he can take them away (or one away) for a short time so you can have an uninterrupted sleep. My break was first thing in the morning - my husband took them down to the kitchen so I could go back to sleep till 8am when he went to work. I did the night shift, and didn't expect him to help then.
Thanks both, great tips, and thanks for the pump recommendation callofthewild
I'm breastfeeding mine still at nearly one year old so don't let people tell you it's not possible, doesn't work out for everyone so don't worry if it doesn't though, main thing is they get fed. They were mix fed at first due to low weight and need to put on weight quickly but I stopped the bottles before 6 weeks as they were gaining weight nicely. I second the feeding cushion, had an EZ2 nurse one I got second hand, which I spent many hours strapped into - they'd fall asleep and I couldn't always move them so would just sit and watch TV, surf Internet etc. I tandem fed and mostly still do but haven't expressed except for in hospital - they wanted to feed so much, I really couldn't face expressing as well!
If you are breastfeeding, don't expect to do much else, I don't think I did any cleaning, cooking etc for a couple of months - if I put some washing out or unloaded the dishwasher it was good going! Also you need to eat loads, at least 1000 extra calories, I was constantly hungry.
I agree with changing stations upstairs and downstairs too, saves some of the bending down which isn't great for your back (plus time going up and downstairs) - we got one changing table second hand, then just used a table downstairs.
Other than that, just do whatever works for the first few months. Once they get the idea of day vs night, it gets easier. Some people find strict schedules helpful, I find routines with more flexibility work best for us and it took quite a while to get any sort of routine going and I wish I'd worried about this less at the time. I did find getting out of the house once a day whenever possible really helpful and also lowering my expectations of what I'd get done in a day - do not compare yourself to anyone else especially people with only one baby.
It's hard at first but it does get so much easier and more enjoyable. At 12 months, mine make each other laugh and will play with toys without me to entertain them for a while, and it's so lovely watching their relationship with each other develop - some positives of twins!
I exclusively breastfed one twin until 6 weeks and the other has been bottle fed since birth as she refused to breast feed. In the early days I was very keen to give the bottlefed baby expressed milk when I could but I really struggled to find the time to sit and express as it would normally take about 45 minutes or if I did have a rare bit of free time I just wanted to sit and stare into space!!! Personally I think it would be really hard work and a lot of pressure on yourself to try and exclusively express and feed but that a mixture of formula and expressed milk bottles would work well.
I had the Medela swing pump which was good. I still at 16 weeks express a little but generally get very little out now.
Great thread, really interesting. I'm 19+1 with DCDA, also our first, so any advice is welcome! Am also wondering about expressing rowrowroar so would be interested if anyone had any experience on this
Great thread OP, currently 25wks with DCDA, our first. All we've got so far is the buggy (hurrah, went for the babyjogger!) so all these tips are fantastic, I'm going to shamelessly stalk in the hope that more advice is forthcoming! Thanks to everyone who's making suggestions
My twins are now 14 weeks and it certainly became a lot easier from about 9/10 weeks. I think this was due to a combination of them becoming more settled and me having a better idea what I was doing.
I try to get out the house everyday otherwise I find the day feels really long. My husband is out each day from 6.30am to 6.30pm so it is a long time to be on your own with them.
Things I would recommend are:
Changing Tables - we have one upstairs and one downstairs. In the early days you will be changing a LOT of nappies, we reckon we were going through 120-140 a week. You can pick them up v cheaply on ebay, I paid £3.50 for one of mine!
Car seat bases - these let you click in the car seat and go. Much easier than fiddling round trying to get the seatbelt round the carseat especially with two to deal with.
Nappies - we use Aldi ones and find them fantastic, no leaks at all to date and very reasonably priced especially when you go through so many.
Baby Groups - I have been taking mine since 8 weeks and take a bouncy chair with me so that I have somewhere to put one whilst holding the other. Bjorn do one that folds flat which I wish I had known about before I bought ours as mine are not the most portable.
Buggy - We have the Baby Jogger City Select and find it excellent. The car seats and carrycots clip in and out really easily and it is very flexible with the different seating combinations. I am able to get around the shops easily as it has a reasonable turning circle and is no wider than a single buggy.
Hope this helps.
Loving this thread too. I'm almost 30 weeks with B/G twins and have a 17 month old. I know three people with twins and they've all advised that lots of expressing is the way forward as it is much easier to feed two with bottles at same time than on breast, plus enabled others to help out more easily. Any of you experienced mums have thoughts on this? I must admit that I never expressed much last time as it seemed such a faff when I could just whip my boob out! However, I am concerned about trying to feed two with an 18/19 month old toddler running round...Any recommendations on pumps to buy/hire?
I would like to breast feed as much as possible but think the advice above about not beating yourself up if it's difficult is sensible.
Thanks so much for adding your advice andadietcoke My DH is quite tall so I will have a look at that to make sure we can fit it behind his seat!
We have just bought the baby jogger city select. It seems pretty good and we could actually fit it in the boot unlike the bugaboo donkey we tried which was never going to fit!
Bodeccia it seems to be going pretty quickly now and I am sure they will be here before we know it
Hi OP, I'm expecting twins in April too, I'm 24+5 just now. B/G like yourself. I have dd1 as well who'll be 23 months when the twins arrive.
Loving this thread
I love this thread. Mine are 18w now and it's helped me.
We were in for 6 nights but that was down to me and my blood pressure. They were in SCBU for 48 hours but we still would have been able to go home on Day 4 if it wasn't for my BP.
I found things got a lot easier at around 3.5 months when they could be entertained with toys and would play on the activity mat. I've bought a Lamaze fold up one for taking out which I keep their toys in. It means I can put it down and they can play on there when everyone else's singletons are bouncing on their knees.
I had a twin feeding pillow but didn't use it much because in the early days they were feeding to sleep and then I'd get stuck with two sleeping babies on me who would wake up when moved.
I wish I'd not got a side by side buggy. We have the Donkey and I was massively against the idea of a tandem because I thought it wasn't fair if one baby couldn't see out. The Baby Jogger City Select would have been okay though. It's a lovely buggy though, and fine most of the time, it's just a nightmare in some shops when they've got lots of fixtures. I had a bit of a cry before Christmas because I couldn't get to the till in a clothes shop (after driving round the car park for 20 mins to find a parent and child space).
In the early days I lived off McDonalds and Costa because they would sleep in the car and in their pram. Otherwise I wouldn't eat.
We have two Sleepyheads for them to sleep in and they've been great. They're very portable and low profile. Initially we had both of them in the cot in them and at the moment they sleep either side of me on a bed. As soon as they're reliably sleeping through they'll be in their own cots in the sleepyheads
They fell into their own routines in terms of feeding. Mostly still every 3 hours in the day. If I'm on my own I try to put them down to nap in the day at the same time. At night I imposed a milk/bath/milk/bed routine and they've slept from 7.30pm from about 8 weeks. Most nights we're still on one feed.
I went to a mother and baby class and it ended in tears, literally. I haven't done one since, and I feel I've missed out a bit but I'm sure I'll get over it. I'm dragging my mum with me to baby massage from 20th Jan.
I try to get out every day; either for a walk or out in the car.
Speaking of, cars... If you or your DP is tall, check the car seats will fit behind the driver's seat. We discovered ours didn't 4 days after the babies were born. We ended up borrowing a car from my parents and buying a new car!
We have plastic bath rests from mothercare which mean I can bath them both at the same time.
Join TAMBA and see if there are any of their seminars coming up near you. I wish I'd done their AN class. We did a half day one instead which was really good, but I think I'd have benefitted from more practical advice.
You'll be fine. Congratulations!!
I think I do need to really get my head around the fact that we might need to stay in hospital for a while as this is something I don't think DH and I have considered. You just imagine the bringing them home after birth scenario when it is your first.
Did others have a similar/longer stay with their DTs?
Routine! Seriously, there's nothing so sweet as knowing when they'll nap (means you can shower/dress/clean/read/nap/whatever). I used Gina Ford's book as a template but didn't freak out if we didn't follow her suggestions all the time. I just was so overwhelmed that I wanted someone to tell me exactly what to do at what times!
Get a good pram. I love my bugaboo donkey, but there are several good ones out there. Having a good pram will mean that you can, as a previous poster suggested:
Get out every day, even if it's just for a walk and a little coffee. The bugaboo goes on buses and trains without a problem, so you can even go a bit further away if you want--they sleep a lot in the first weeks and can go just about anywhere. Just plop yourself down in a coffee shop for a few hours whilst they're sleeping in the pram if you need a change of scenery. It will make you feel human.
Be mentally prepared to spend at least a week in the hospital after birth, even if you're planning a natural delivery.
DH and I quickly discovered that we got a lot more sleep by putting the twins in their own room and having one of us sleep in the room with them. We began to operate a 'shift' system at around 4 weeks so that we both could get at least 6 hours of sleep at night. 8pm-2am and 2am-8am. I just pumped so that he could have the necessary feeds available during the time I was sleeping. Honestly, a solid chunk of uninterrupted sleep made life seem a happier place for both of us!
Breastfeeding is ideal, but if it doesn't go as planned (not enough milk, the babies don't feed well, etc--mine ended up getting thrush and refused to breastfeed quite early on), don't shoot yourself. I lived on the pump for a month before moving them to exclusive formula at 3 months, and I can tell you that we are all much happier now that I can just enjoy feeds with them instead of freaking out about how much milk I'm getting out). I would have loved to breastfeed exclusively, but it just wasn't possible. Sometimes, allowing even just one formula feed/day (for example, on dad's shift) can make a big difference in your willingness to persevere because it gives you a little break and let's you recharge your batteries.
Mine spent 2 weeks in SCBU and when we got home they were in a fantastic routine. I tweaked it to suit us and stuck to it religiously. I still do and my twins are little creatures of habit now.
This was the only plus side of SCBU.
Prepare meals to freeze in advance. Most nights you will only have energy for making toast let alone cooking.
Get as much as you can done now, you get big VERY quickly from 30 weeks onward and I found pretty much everything exhausting.
You will feel like you have been hit by a train for the first few weeks. It is exhausting/emotional/difficult. It gets better. You notice a difference at 3 months and things improve drastically at about 7/8 months. By 12 months having twins wont make you think "what the fuck have I done"
Get yourself comfortable pajamas/lounge wear that you feel comfortable wearing around others. In the beginning you wont have time to change in the mornings.
Dry shampoo is a life saver
2in1 shampoos was all I used for the first 6 months. Also, showers are rare
sometimes, so is brushing your teeth
You will need a lot of vests in the first year. I had winter babies and 14 vests in all the sizes, from newborn to 12 months.
Get as much as you can second hand, there is no shame in this. I am still pleased that we spent the grand total of 35 pounds on cots for our babies (one free and one second hand off eBay)
You don't need fancy baby equipment like chairs that rock. A plain cheap bouncy chair will be fine. You will need two of these.
Swaddling small babies (which twins often are) in the first few weeks really helps them settle.
White noise is fantastic and mine still like it when they sleep.
Muslins and lots of them. We had 24.
Routine like previous poster said. Always feed them together and when one wakes at night, wake the other for a feed.
A feeding/changing log is important. I once fed one baby twice and couldn't work out why the other one was crying so much. Also keep them in the same place in the cot so you don't muddle them in the middle of the night when you are sleep deprived. Email me if you want my copy of said log.
Mine spent a few days in hospital and I had complications after C-section. By the time I was well enough to take over their care, they were on a four hourly feeding routine. I adapted that to suit us once they got home.
Wow. Thank you for the great advice so far! It is so much better hearing it from people who have been through it than reading it in the books I have.
Another question whilst on the topic: Did your twins naturally fall into the same routine or was it up to you to make sure they did?!
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