Are you expecting twins? Learn how caring for newborn twins is different from singletons and what you can do to manage with two babies.
“Our bodies are only meant to carry one baby during pregnancy,” my doctor said. I sighed, knowing right then and there that caring for newborn twins would be a challenge.
And this goes beyond the pregnancy and its complications.
For instance, supporting them financially, from child care to education, takes a toll on anyone’s pocket. Then there’s the part where you handle two crying babies. Two kids going through the same developmental stages. Two little people who need you right this minute.
I already had an almost-three-year-old son when I first learned about the twins. I still remembered those crazy, sleep-deprived, newborn months. My husband, mom and I took care of one baby, and I still felt like it wasn’t enough.
How caring for newborn twins is different from singletons
Two babies plus my eldest to contend with—even with the same three adults on board—seemed all but impossible. I’d already gone through caring for a singleton and now needed to learn how different caring for newborn twins would be.
And yes, the differences were stark. This is why twin moms share an instant bond with other twin moms because few can understand what we go through. While caring for one baby has its own challenges, adding another one to the mix takes it to a whole other level.
If you’re curious about how twins compare to a singleton during the newborn stage, take a look at these differences that I found:
1. Newborn twins are smaller
More than half of twins are born prematurely, and sure enough, mine were. And while you’ll sometimes see six-pound twins, more often they’ll be five pounds or less.
Because of their tiny size, twins are more likely to need NICU time as is often the case with preemies. They may have respiratory issues from being born early, jaundice, or weight gain issues.
While my twins were able to come home with us from the hospital, one of them almost wasn’t able to because of weight gain. Even though my goal was to exclusively breastfeed for a year, I had no hesitation giving him formula if it meant gaining weight.
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2. Newborn twins need to be on the same schedule
With a singleton, you can feed him when he looks hungry or put him down for a nap based on his newborn sleep cues.
But with twins, you can’t exactly tailor your days according to their needs. Trust me—I’ve tried. But coming up with a different schedule for each baby only meant that I was getting zero rest. Juggling separate sleep patterns makes it impossible to get any breaks.
Instead, twin moms put their babies on the same schedule, one that works for both of them. You rely on the clock more so than on cues. You feed them at the same time. And when one baby wakes up earlier than the other, you put him back to sleep or play with him until his twin is ready as well.
Find and stick to a routine that works for you and the twins and they’ll grow accustomed to a typical day.
3. Baby items are a must
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More than ever, baby items like swings, wraps, pacifiers, and infant seats are a must with twins. For instance, at some point, you may find yourself alone with the twins like I did. And you can’t exactly carry both twins or hold them to sleep at the same time.
Instead, use a swing like this. While you hold one baby, you can place the other one in the swing. Baby wraps are also fantastic to keep your arms free. Again, while one baby is in the swing, the other is in the baby wrap. And a double stroller will allow you to be out and about and have your arms free.
This isn’t the time to snub baby gear for fear that your twins will develop bad habits. The newborn stage is all about survival mode, more so with twins. You can always undo these habits when your twins are older—for now, they’ll be your saving grace.
4. Fewer options for being out and about
Singletons are much easier to bring out and about, and that’s beyond the newborn stage.
For instance, I could easily bring my singleton baby to the beach since I could carry him in my arms or wear him in a wrap. But I couldn’t do the same with the twins because I had no way of carrying both of them through the sand.
Instead, you’ll bring the double stroller with you everywhere. I’d even use the stroller just to bring the babies in from the garage to our home.
Work on building your confidence on bringing them out alone. Start small, like a stroll around the block. Most of the challenge is in packing and getting yourself out the door. Once you’re out, the twins will likely enjoy the change in scenery.
And if they cry, it’s not the end of the world—they’re simply telling you they don’t like something. Make your way back home or to the car, or pick up the crying baby (or babies) and soothe him. The more you face your challenges, the more confident you’ll feel in bringing them out.
While caring for newborn twins is different, in many ways, they’re also like singletons.
They’re still individual people with their own unique quirks. One will like the pacifier, the other won’t. One will sleep like a champ while the other wakes up in 45 minutes. It’s the “taking care of two babies” part that makes life with twins different.
Still, newborn twins have their special traits as well. They’ll have an instant friend, a sidekick for life. They’ll snuggle close to one another like they did in the womb. And they’ll fill your home with noise and love.
Because yes, our bodies are only meant to carry one. But, as they say, double the trouble, but you also have double the love. And I’m so glad that while our bodies have their limits, our hearts don’t.
Get more tips:
- Finding it Hard to Raise Twins? You’re Not Alone.
- Scared to Be Alone with Baby when Your Partner Goes Back to Work? How to Manage:
- Moms of Multiples: When Does Caring for Twins Get Easier?
- Twin Baby Registry Must-Haves
- Beat the High Cost of Twins Using These Sneaky Ways
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