Raising twins is one of the most rewarding jobs a parent can have.
Being first-time parents raising twin babies can be daunting but Mom of twins, Anne Marshall shares some thoughts on making that important first year with your twins as enriching as possible.
For any Feeding Method You Use, Feed Them Together
I had been intending to breastfeed, but ultimately ended up bottle feeding.
When my partner first went back to work, I would feed them one at a time. One would be screaming while the other had their bottle.
It was stressful for all of us.
Then another twin mum told me how she propped hers up with cushions, so she could feed them at the same time. Perhaps if I hadn’t been so sleep deprived I could have thought of this myself? So, I put them in their car seats on the sofa and fed them together.
No waiting, no tears, genius! – the other mother, not me!
Routine, Routine, Routine
From a very early age, I decided to establish a routine for raising my twins.
They were fed at the same time, napped at the same time, played at the same time, we went for a walk after lunch at the same time which was also a nap time, and went to bed at the same time.
Funny enough, a mother of a singleton said to me that this must involve a lot of crying. Perhaps it sounded very regimented. I wasn’t a believer in crying it out, so this wasn’t the case, and if you get a feel for what your babies do naturally, getting them on a routine can happen quite cohesively and naturally.
The routine will change and adapt every couple of months as they change, but I found the structure helped me to organize myself, prevented me from getting overwhelmed in chaos, and allowed the babies to feel secure.
Don’t Worry About Quality Time When They are Infants
Obviously, it’s nice, when there are two adults around and they can have extra cuddles, or you can go a bit further afield more easily, but don’t worry that you aren’t doing swimming classes or any other class.
Of course, there are ways around these hurdles, but don’t put yourself under unnecessary pressure.
Your twins are happy just to hang out with you, walk through the park, have a dance party at home, go for coffee. They have you, and they have each other.
They don’t need to be adding to the special skills section of their C.V at 5 months old.
If Your Twins are Born Prematurely, You Might Want to Read Up on That
Mine twins were born 5 weeks early and I really didn’t know anything about it.
My best baby- mama friend had a full-term singleton, who could put his pacifier in and out of his mouth all by himself, while we were at coffee, while mine were always fast asleep in the buggy (bonus, really).
Don’t compare what a full-term baby does to a premature baby. It usually all evens out quickly, or there may be things that show up in the future. For instance, my daughter is hyper-mobile which was picked up on by a physiotherapist when she was only 6 months.
This has affected some of her fine and gross motor skills. However, we can’t say for sure this was because she was born prematurely or not.
Every Stage Moves On
Sometimes when you’re in the thick of it, especially in a first year with twins, it can feel as if this stage is how your life will always be, and that can be overwhelming.
So, remember, if your twins don’t sleep through the night yet, or you’re alone a lot and your friends don’t understand what you’re going through, or whichever stage you’re at, ‘this too shall pass’.
These stages, especially in the first year of raising twins, move past so quickly as I mentioned before in the routines section. Just when you think you can’t go on anymore, they’ll start sleeping through the night, or you’ll meet a new friend etc., or they’ll start sitting up and playing differently, and life will change all over again.
Look After Yourself
People like to say, ‘if Mums not happy, the kids won’t be happy’.
That’s a little harsh if you are feeling unhappy, so don’t be hard on yourself. But, I do believe it’s O.K. to be selfish.
Take time for yourself. Take time out.
Keep something for yourself that makes you feel good, whether that’s yoga, a trip to the cinema, painting, work, or something where you can express yourself. It’s important to keep nourishing yourself because motherhood can be overwhelming, and you really can feel that you’ve lost your self. You’re still you. Don’t worry, you haven’t lost anything, only gained.
You don’t have to be the perfect Mum either, you’re just fine as you are, and you are perfect to your babies. The first year goes so fast, it really is only 12 months of little infants before you drift on to toddler-hood.
Good luck Mama, you can do it 🙂
Anne Marshall is a mother of 4 including twins and blogs on Huff Post, Parents U.K about twins, raising multiples and more, mothers, society etc. She currently resides in Cardiff, Wales.