People ask me if having twins is more difficult than when I became a first-time mom with my eldest son. Emotionally—yes, because I know what to expect and that the challenging months are temporary. But physically? It’s much more difficult—there are two of them and still only one of me with no extra hours in a day. But these last several months, I’ve learned how to take care of twins and still get stuff done.
How to take care of twins
Put the babies on the same schedule
One of the best ways to streamline your day and master how to take care of twins is to put both babies on the same schedule. If one baby wakes up hungry, feed both of them, even if it means waking a sleeping baby. Put them down to nap at the same time. And bathe them one right after the other.
I’ve tried putting them to sleep based on individual cues instead of on the same schedule. The result? I felt exhausted. I felt like I was on a chase, exhausted from task after task. Now I put the babies on the same schedule. They’ve learned to adjust not only to one another but to the routine that guides their day.
Tandem nurse or bottle feed simultaneously
Most people assume it’s impossible or have never even heard of tandem feeding. (“Wait—you’re breastfeeding both of them? At the same time?” are common reactions I get when I’m with family). Newborns nurse for 20+ minutes and are awake sometimes only for an hour. Tandem feeding is so beneficial when learning how to take care of twins.
You’ll want a nursing pillow catered to twins (I use My Breast Friend Twin Deluxe). You can place both babies on the pillow and keep your hands free. Start with the baby with the more difficult latch. If one finishes before the other, burp him by either holding him up to your shoulder or sitting him on the pillow.
Practice makes perfect, especially when learning how to take care of twins. For the longest time, I wasn’t able to burp the babies on my own and would have to hand one to someone else. But over time I was able to handle the feeding—from placing them on the nursing pillow to burping—all on my own. Plus, I couldn’t stand feeding one while the other was wailing his head off. With tandem feeding, I know they’re both nursing and taken care of.
Feeding babies with bottles can be done in tandem as well. Once your babies have control over their necks, place them in bouncers so you can hold their bottles.
You may not be able to buy cartloads at the grocery, but running errands with a stroller allows you to get stuff done. You can entertain the babies and even squeeze some exercise into your day. Taking the twins out on errands can save time as well as get you out of the house.
This may seem daunting, especially when you double the chances that a baby will start crying. You may want to avoid places like the library and stick to loud places that won’t mind you soothing a fussy baby. There are two of them, and only one of you.
Use baby gear like swings, bouncers, mobiles and baby carriers
I have a love/hate relationship with swings and baby carriers. You don’t want your babies to get used to them so much that they can’t sleep in anything. But… they work.
If they have a difficult time sleeping in bassinets or cribs, place them in a swing, baby carriers or wraps. They’ll outgrow the gear at some point, whether on their own or through sleep training. Use them now when you most need them.
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Bouncers and mobiles are other useful items to keep your little ones occupied so you can do quick tasks. They’re also great for entertaining one baby while you tend to the other like diaper changes.
Get creative with bath time.
With two babies to bathe, you’ll need to get creative with bath time. For us, my husband and I are lucky: we’re almost always together to bathe the babies. One parent was the designated bather while the other was the dryer and changer.
But, whether alone or with help, you’ll want to get everything ready before starting the bath. Set up the pajamas, diapers and any other medicines, nose suctions or other gear you’ll need. Prepare the bottles or set your breastfeeding station up with the nursing pillow. Preparation is key with bathing, especially since it’s one of the tasks you’ll need two hands.
Accept and get help, especially during the first few weeks
Asking for help is common even with singleton babies, but much more necessary with twins. If someone can spend a few weeks at your home, even better. You’ll need help soothing and caring for the babies or tending to your other kids. Others can help prepare meals, wash dishes or throw out the trash). Even weekend helpers can bring meals, buy groceries, or play with the babies while you catch a break.
Learning how to take care of twins means leaning on your village, especially in the first few months. You’ll feel outnumbered during those challenging moments, so ask or even hire help.
As a mom with twins and a three-year-old, trust me when I say that you can definitely master how to take care of twins. Put the babies on the same schedule. Buy gear to make life with twins easier. And accept help when offered. From taking a shower to going for a walk around the block, you’ll get stuff done, even with twins in tow.
Get more tips on caring for twins:
- How Caring for Newborn Twins is Different from Singleton
- Moms of Multiples: When Does Caring for Twins Get Easier?
- Beat the High Cost of Twins Using These Sneaky Ways
- Interesting Facts about Twins You Probably Didn’t Know
- How to Sleep Train Twins
What are your tips on how to take care of twins?
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