Overwhelmed with preparing for twins? Make sure you cover these 7 areas, and you’ll be set on the right path (includes a checklist, too!).
What if they come early? How will I carry TWO babies? Can I really do this? My mind was swimming with thoughts on preparing for twins. I was trying to wrap my head around the reality—and inevitability—of having two babies.
I had a three-year-old at that point, so I already knew how crazy life gets, even with just one baby. And despite already having gone through the newborn stage once, I still had no idea how to prepare for twins. I felt like a first-time mom all over again.
After all, this is two babies we’re talking about.
Preparing for twins
I know I wasn’t alone, either. Since having my twins, I’ve spoken to 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 handle the news, or feeling nervous about the delivery. You want to buy the right gear, but are also on a tighter budget now that you’re having two.
In short, you’re shocked and terrified, all while trying to stay positive during your pregnancy.
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 preparing for twins that will make this transition a simple, less stressful one:
1. Give your emotions time to settle
I cried every day for a week after hearing the news that I was expecting 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 two babies, 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 the whole time. 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. Get your finances in order
One of the biggest worries many twin families face is how to afford two babies at the same time. You may have been financially prepared to welcome one baby, but the sudden news of having two is throwing you off.
Thankfully, you don’t have to be overwhelmed. Here’s how to manage:
- Prepare for one-time expenses, such as hospital bills, baby gear and registry, and even a loss of income while you’re on maternity leave.
- Make a list of recurring monthly costs for after the twins arrive, like childcare, diapers, clothing, and health insurance.
- 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.
- Don’t get everything right now. You will need two high chairs, but not until the twins are at least four months old. Even if you need two pacifiers, many come in packs, which means you don’t need to get two packs of pacifiers.
- Accept any hand-me-downs from friends and family so you can test-drive these items without spending a ton.
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3. Learn as much as you can about twins
Part of the anxieties about preparing for twins is the unfamiliarity of it all. I had no clue about twins before 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. You’ll see that you’re not alone, and that others who thought they could never do this overcame their limiting beliefs as well.
4. Prepare your toddler for life with twins
I worried about how I’d manage not just two babies, but a toddler as well. I already had my hands full with one and had no idea how he’d react to the overnight additions to our family.
As I say in my book, Expecting Twins:
“It’s tough for kids to adjust to one baby, let alone two. He won’t spend as much time with you like he does now. You’ll feel more tired and be more likely to snap and lose your patience, and a more attention will go toward the two babies.
But starting now, you can begin to prepare him for what’s to come. While he won’t understand the changes yet, he’ll feel better informed when they do.”
If you have an older child, start preparing him now for life with twins. For instance, encourage him to be more independent and self-sufficient 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
Set expectations so that he’s a little less surprised when the big day arrives. Talk about bringing home two babies or that you’ll be nursing and changing diapers. He’ll still have to adjust once they’re home, but he can refer to past conversations you’ve had about these expectations.
And finally, start transitioning him into any new changes he might go through with their arrival. For instance, assemble the twin bed he’ll eventually sleep in, or research preschools you want him to attend. That way, he’ll have more time to adjust to these changes long before the twins arrive.
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 up to 38 weeks, most of us had to stop working much earlier than that (I was on bedrest at 31 weeks and completely not working by 32). 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 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.
- Ask about the hospital procedures post-delivery. Will you have a chance to bond and breastfeed them right away? Would you 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.
- 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
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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 following sleep cues, twins need synchronized schedules.
For instance, feed your twins at the same time, including breastfeeding. Master tandem feeding and you will save yourself a ton of time, instead of feeding one right after the other. (This is why I also recommend bringing a twin nursing pillow like this one with you to the hospital, so you can practice right away.)
Hearing news about twins can throw any mom for a loop, which makes preparing for them so 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 and encourage 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 hospital bag. 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:
- 12 Sneaky Ways to Beat the High Cost of Twins
- Preparing for Twins: A Checklist of Everything You Need to Do
- 11 Interesting Facts about Twins You Probably Didn’t Know
- Tandem Breastfeeding: How to Breastfeed Twins
- When You Don’t Have a “Village”: How to Take Care of Twins Alone
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