What if they come early? How will I carry TWO babies? Can I really do this? My mind was swimming with thoughts on how to prepare for twins. I was so worried about having twins, and at the same time trying to wrap my head around the reality—and inevitability—of two babies.
I had a three-year-old at that point, so I already knew life would be crazy. And despite already having gone through welcoming a baby once, I still had no idea how to prepare for twins.
After all, this is two babies we’re talking about.
How to prepare for twins
I know I wasn’t alone, either. Since having my twins, I’ve spoken to plenty of other expecting twin moms about the shock, excitement, and nerves about bringing two babies home.
If you’re reading this, you’re likely in the same shoes.
You may still be in shock knowing you’re having twins, riding the emotional roller coaster. You’re wondering what has helped other twin moms get over the news, or feeling nervous about the delivery. You want to buy the right gear, but also feel like you’re on a tighter budget now that you’re having two.
In short, you’re shocked and terrified, all while trying to stay positive.
Yes, life with twins is about to get crazy, and you know you’re in for a challenge. But rest assured that you can get through it, all while feeling prepared. Below are several tips on how to prepare for twins that will make this transition a simple, less stressful one:
1. Give your emotions time to settle
I cried every day straight for a week after hearing the news of having twins. From processing my worries to feeling anxious about the delivery, I was a wreck for the first couple of days.
Thankfully the rest of my twin pregnancy was not so doom and gloom.
Yes, the initial wave of emotions is overwhelming, especially in that first trimester. I even felt guilty for not being overjoyed at having twins, especially when so many struggle to conceive one. And yes, this isn’t to say I felt confident and chipper the minute that first week passed.
But I promise you won’t feel these intense emotions for the next several months. The shock will eventually dissipate, coming back only once in a while (and not always in unpleasant ways). The more you dive into the world of twins, the more mentally prepared you’ll feel.
2. Learn as much as you can about twins
Part of the anxieties about having twins is the unfamiliarity of it all. I had no clue about twins prior to having them—all I knew was that my belly would be bigger than usual and that twins tend to be born smaller. That was it.
But the more you dive into the world of twins, the better prepared you’ll feel. Research the different types of twins (identical vs fraternal, or MoMo vs MoDi vs DiDi). Ask your doctor how much weight you need to gain, or whether it’s okay to exercise or not.
The more you know about a twin pregnancy and life with twins, the better you’ll feel about it. More important, you’ll see that you’re not alone, and that others who thought they could never do this went ahead and did.
3. Prepare your toddler for life with twins
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One of my biggest worries about having twins was how in the world I’d manage not just two babies, but a toddler as well. I already had my hands full with one, and I had no idea how he’d react to the overnight additions to our family.
If you have an older child, start preparing him now for life with twins. Encourage him to be more independent and self-sufficient, especially with tasks you normally help him with. This way, you won’t have to be forced to teach him these tasks when the twins come. Some ideas include:
- Getting his own diapers and wipes
- Bringing his plate back to the kitchen
- Getting his own snacks
- Dressing himself in the mornings
4. Get your finances in order
One of the biggest worries many twin families face is how to afford two babies at the same time. Many parents admit they were financially prepared to welcome one baby, so the sudden news of having two throws them off.
Thankfully, you don’t have to be overwhelmed. Here’s how to manage:
- Start by preparing for the one-time purchases gearing up for the twins, such as hospital bills, baby gear and registry, and even a loss of income while you’re on maternity leave. Then, make a list of recurring monthly costs for after the twins arrive, such as childcare, diapers, clothing, and health insurance.
- Next, don’t stress about getting two of everything. Start with one, and see if it warrants buying another. For instance, there’s no point in getting two bouncy seats right now if you find, down the line, that only one (or even neither) of your twins takes to it.
- You also don’t need to get everything right now. You will need two high chairs, but not until the twins are at least four months old. Or even if you need two pacifiers, many come in packs, which means you don’t need to get two packs of pacifiers.
- And finally, accept any hand-me-downs from friends and family so you can test-drive these items without spending a ton.
Want a handy printable of all the items you’ll need for your twins? Join my newsletter and download my Twin Registry Must-Haves and keep track of what you have and the items you still need to get. Grab it below—at no cost to you:
5. Get your maternity leave organized
Most singleton moms can work up to their due date, but twin moms are a whole other story. While some can work for up to 38 weeks, most of us had to stop working much earlier than that. Whether from complications, discomfort, or twins that arrive early, be prepared for just about anything.
Talk to your boss or Human Resources department early about your rights and benefits. You’ll likely need to read a ton of paperwork, so set aside a physical and digital folder to house all these materials.
6. Prepare for your twin labor and delivery
Every birth story is unique to the mom who delivered. (For both my deliveries, I didn’t even know I was going into labor!) Still, you can start preparing now, especially with these four steps:
- Ask your doctor about typical symptoms to watch out for, and what to do when the signs point to delivery. You’ll want to know when it’s okay to come to the hospital versus laboring at home, and what to expect once you arrive at the hospital.
- Then, ask about the hospital procedures post-delivery, such as bonding and breastfeeding your twins, or whether you’d like them to stay in the nursery or in your room.
- Find out what paperwork needs to be filled out after the twins are born. You’ll likely get started on birth certificates, social security numbers, and adding the twins to your health insurance.
- And finally, expect to have your hospital bag packed a good two months before you’re expected to deliver.
7. Learn how to care for your twins at home
Perhaps the biggest hurdle for any twin mom to wrap her head around is exactly how to take care of the twins once they’re home.
For all the similarities caring for twins has with caring for one, there are just some things that sets twins apart. Routines and schedules, for one. While singletons can get away with feeding on demand or abiding by their cues, twins require routines and synchronizing their schedules.
You’ll also want to feed your twins at the same time, including breastfeeding. Master tandem feeding and you will save yourself a ton of time, as opposed to feeding one right after the other. (This is why I also recommend bringing a twin nursing pillow with you to the hospital, so you can practice right away.)
Hearing news about twins can throw any mom for a loop, which makes learning how to prepare for twins that much more important.
Start by giving your emotions time to settle, including learning as much as you can about twins to ease your anxieties. Next, prepare your older child for life with twins, including encouraging self-sufficiency and independence.
Get your finances in order, like having the right items on your registry, and budgeting for one-time and ongoing expenses. Prepare for your maternity leave, both in the paperwork you need to file as well as making the transition to leaving work as smooth as possible.
Then, get everything ready for your labor and delivery, from being familiar with your hospital to packing your bag a good two months earlier than your date. And finally, learn tips and hacks to care for your twins now, so that you’re well-informed by the time you bring them home.
As crazy as life with newborn twins can get, know that you’ll get through it in one piece—just ask any twin mom who has ever wondered, Can I really do this?
Get more tips:
- Secrets to Surviving Twins in the Newborn Months
- Preparing for Twins: A Checklist of Everything You Need to Do
- What to Do when You’re in Labor with Twins
- Tandem Breastfeeding: How to Breastfeed Twins
- When You Don’t Have a “Village”: How to Take Care of Twins Alone
Tell me in the comments: What are your best tips on how to prepare for twins?
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