When people find out I have twins, I hear “Wow, you are a saint,” “God bless you,” or “I can’t even handle one!” Yes, twins are incredibly overwhelming, but for me, it is normal. I have never had just one child. I was thrust into having two immediately, without knowing any better. If I had one to start with, I would be able to compare and understand how much harder it is.
To raise any number of children is a miracle in itself. Let’s face it- kids are hard. Each phase ends, and a new one begins. There is never a break, and it can be emotionally exhausting. There are 3 ways that I juggle twins that save my sanity and keep me focused during the day. Without these tools, I would be lost and completely overwhelmed.
1. Schedule, Schedule, Schedule!
My babies were immediately separated at birth due to health complications for my son. He was in the NICU for 2 weeks at the beginning, which was the start of many more hospitalizations. However, I knew going into having twins that I had to have a different mindset than if I were to have a singleton. Before they were born, I realized that I would never sleep if they were not on the same schedule.
Once they were both home, I immediately put them on the same schedule, even if it meant waking them up from sleep. (The “never wake a sleeping baby” is a myth in my eyes). I fed them at the same time, sometimes tandem breastfeeding, and sometimes one had a bottle while the other breastfed. They went to sleep together every 3 hours after they fed. If they both fed on demand, I would have been up 24/7. Sleep is incredibly important as a parent. I was sure to get what I could when I could so that I could stay alert and ready for the next move.
2. Make sure your partner is on the same page
I ensured my husband was comfortable bottle feeding from Day 1. He knew he had as much to do with helping with the babies as I did, and we worked as a team. We got on a sleeping schedule right away so that I was not the only one doing feeds at night. I would take the late shifts and he would take the early morning shift so that he would just get ready for work afterward. Even though he went to work during the day, he knew that at least once during the night, he would be getting up. Staying at home with two babies is harder than a Full-Time job! Try to ensure all parties involved are working together.
This includes as the kids are growing up and discipline comes into play. If you are not on the same page, the kids will become incredibly confused. If they do not have stability, they will act up even more and things will just get worse.
3. It’s ok to use formula during infant years
I knew right away that I would not be able to exclusively breastfeed due to the issues with my son. Even without those issues, I was never planning on it. The first three weeks of their life were grueling. I loathed pumping, breastfeeding hurt, and I was so overwhelmed. I felt like all I did was feed and pump over and over. I was ready to quit pumping and breastfeeding during those three weeks. I used formula when I was too tired or everything hurt too badly. Once I figured out how to tandem breastfeed, my life changed. But, by no means, did I stop using formula when I needed it.
These things worked for my family. I still keep my twins on the same schedule, and they are three! I don’t regret anything I have done with them, and I truly feel the three things above are absolute wins for twins. No matter what you decide to do, you are right because that is what is best for your family. Twins are a different beast, always bringing more unexpected twists and turns. Just hang in there and know that whatever you are doing is amazing! We are all Rockstars!