As if one weren’t enough to shake up a life, you’ve just found out you’re having two. Whether you’re frightened or thrilled at the prospect of having twins, you’ve already stepped onto the wave, and the challenges and joys ahead are part of the ride. The most important thing you can do is accept and embrace the babies. They’ll be here any minute, and they need your strength, faith, and most of all, love. Here are six tips for parents expecting twins, from your friendly neighborhood Newborn Care Expert. You can find even more advice at Twiniversity, a site for new parents of multiples. Read my post about my first experience as a newborn care expert for twins, here. Today, my client says she couldn’t imagine life with only one baby.
Your very first challenge is to accept that you’re having twins. Yes, this means double the work and double the rush, but it can also mean double the joy. Embrace the fact your family might be growing faster than planned. I can’t stress enough how important your mindset will be in the coming year!
Now’s the time to gather information about twin life like a magpie. Read articles on the Internet, buy books, take a parenting class. Join a twin-parent support group or your local mom’s group. And tell your family, because their love is invaluable.
- Face A New Reality
Once the twins are born, hit the ground running. Yes, you’ll be in survival mode for the first three months at least, but twins are a trial by fire, and you’ll be a better parent at the end of it. When you feel crushed or tired, remind yourself that growing pains are normal — after all, you’ve transformed, seemingly overnight, from a person into a parent. And you’ll keep learning and growing every day you spend with your new babies. It’s a joy to watch their personalities come clear. Even when they look like mirror images, no two babies are ever the same.
- Don’t See Double
Twins are double the giggles, hugs, and fun; also double the bottles, laundry, and expenses. However, it’s crucial to remember that each baby is unique. Each will develop at their own rate and in their own time. As you embark on the twin parenting journey, try not to compare them in negative ways.
- Practice Patience
Twins learn patience, learning early that they must wait their turn. Parents of twins learn patience, too. Your twin experience will pay dividends in the form of your character and theirs.
Of course, practicing patience isn’t easy, especially if you’re also sleep deprived. If you can afford it, hire someone to help out while the twins are small, either with baby care, or simple household chores. Take turns with your partner or other family members, create and follow a newborn life schedule, and keep your babies in sync whenever possible. They should nap together, feed together, and play together. Babies pick up on their environment, and creating a calm space will help them thrive.
- Trust Your Instincts
No one anywhere is as bombarded with well-meaning advice as new parents, and because you’re the parent of twins, that counts double (doesn’t everything?). The people around you want to help — in fact, they might be wondering how you’re still standing — so thank them for their help, but feel free to completely and totally ignore it. When it comes to your babies, YOU are the EXPERT!