Preparing for Twins: A Checklist of Everything You Need to Do

Overwhelmed with preparing for twins? Make sure you cover these areas, and you can be set on the right path (includes a checklist, too!).

Preparing for Twins Checklist

Everything moves pretty quickly in a twin pregnancy, don’t you think? For one thing, we don’t find out right away that we’re having twins. While I knew I was pregnant for a few weeks, I didn’t realize I was carrying two until my first doctor’s appointment confirmed it.

A twin delivery also usually comes sooner than a singleton one. I only had up to 38 weeks to deliver, and even then, still gave birth early. And what already feels overwhelming—expecting a baby—is made even more so because we’re now dealing with two.

A twin pregnancy feels shorter on both ends and crammed with tons of things to do in the middle. To help you feel better prepared, I wrote all the tasks I did throughout my twin pregnancy below. Hopefully, you can feel less overwhelmed and check off the tasks you need to do before your twins arrive:

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 so scared about having twins and 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. You might even feel guilty for not being overjoyed with having two babies, especially when so many people struggle to conceive one.

But you likely won’t feel these intense emotions the whole time. The shock will likely 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 can feel.

For now, allow your emotions to settle and give yourself time to process this new information. It’s a lot to take in, so do what you can to cope. Perhaps you’ll write in a journal, talk to a friend, or simply sit with your feelings.

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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. Start saving for them now so that when the bills come, your savings can buffer you through this time.
  • Make a list of recurring monthly costs for after the twins arrive, like childcare, diapers, clothing, and health insurance. Where in your budget can you move things around to afford what you need?
  • Don’t stress about getting two of everything. Start with one and see if you even need to buy 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’ll likely 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 hand-me-downs from friends and family so you can test-drive these items without spending a ton.

Sign up for a baby registry

Start compiling a list of must-haves for twins, especially with basics like car seats, sleeping places, and baby clothes and outfits. This will come in handy not just so people know what to gift you for a baby shower, but so you have a list of items you still need to get.

Choose from more than one store to make it convenient for friends and family to shop. A variety of stores will also offer different price points to shop from.

Buy, assemble, and test-drive big-item gear

Get all your twin gear in order a few months before the twins arrive so you can give them a test drive.

For instance, practice opening and closing the double stroller so you’re not scrambling or feeling stuck wondering how to close it. Experiment with the different settings on the swing and set up the bassinets so they’re ready to go.

You’ll also want to assemble furniture and big items like the cribs and changing tables. Even better: get your partner or someone else to do it for you, as these can be strenuous on your already-tired pregnant body.

As you get closer to your due date, learn how to install your car seats as well as best practices on how to secure your twins in place. For instance, you always want the chest plate high on the chest to protect the fragile rib cage, not below in front of the belly.

You might even hire a car seat specialist or ask your state highway patrol to make sure you’ve installed them correctly. You won’t be able to leave the hospital unless you’ve secured the car seats correctly and they’re ready to go.

Research health insurance

Start researching health insurance, especially if you and your partner are covered separately. Calculate the costs of adding the babies to either health insurance so you can decide which one to add them to.

Even if you only have one insurance provider for the family, give them a call so you know what you need to do to add them. For instance, they might need you to add the twins to your plan within 30 days of birth.

You can also talk to your Human Resources staff, as they might have their own procedures for adding your twins to the insurance.

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 bed rest at 31 weeks and completely not working by 32). Whether from complications, discomfort, or the twins arriving early, be prepared for just about anything.

Each state and workplace has its own rules, so schedule a meeting with HR or your boss to discuss your time off before and after delivery. Talk about when you should stop working, your maternity leave laws and rights, and duties to pass to your coworkers.

Look into childcare

Preparing for twins on a budget? One of the biggest costs is childcare once you’re back at work. Many parents won’t decide on childcare until after a baby is born, but begin researching options now so you know what to look for.

Compare costs, convenience, and your own comfort level with each childcare provider. Consider options like hiring a nanny, asking family to help, enrolling in a daycare or in-home facility, or a nanny share.

If you’re looking into daycare centers, ask if they have a waiting list—if so, now would be a good time to get added.

Childcare aside, start asking for help. Do you have family and friends nearby willing to help? See if they can help when the big day arrives. You might ask your mom to stay a few days or weeks, or friends to drop by on weekends with extra food and helping hands.

If you don’t have family and friends nearby and need to take care of the twins alone, consider hiring help. Look into night nurses during those exhausting nights or the teenager next door to play with the kids while you’re with the twins. You can also use a cleaning or grocery delivery service to take the load off your plate.

Select a pediatrician

We found our pediatrician by asking my doctor for referrals. You can also find yours through your insurance network and research reviews online.

Then, call their offices and ask to spend a few minutes to speak with and learn more about them. Are you comfortable with their practice? What are their office hours and policies for last-minute appointments and sicknesses? Come prepared with interview questions for pediatricians you should ask at each visit.

Take a hospital tour

Know your way around the hospital before the big day. Many hospitals offer tours so you know the steps to take and the places you can expect to be and wait.

For instance, you’ll find out where to park, which floor to check in, where triage is located, and the typical delivery rooms you’ll be in. You’ll learn their policies, from when and how many visitors are allowed to whether children can visit.

Since you’re carrying twins, you might ask about visiting the operating room. Even if the plan is to have a vaginal delivery, you’ll still be in the operating room should any problems arise.

And enroll in childbirth, infant care, and CPR classes to learn tricks like which way to face your babies when changing diapers and how to breathe through contractions. Your hospital likely offers these classes, and you can even tour the place and get familiar with the protocol when you arrive to deliver.

Expert tip

Pre-register for your hospital stay. The last thing you need as you’re wheeled into the hospital is to fill out paperwork. Mail your registration now and call to confirm that they have your information on file. That way, you won’t have to fill out forms upon arrival because everything is already in their system.

Buy comfortable maternity clothes

As you progress through your pregnancy, you’ll need clothes to fit your expanding belly. Maternity clothes are also useful after the twins are born (after delivery, you’ll be the same size as you were at about six months pregnant).

They don’t have to be ugly or frumpy—many stores offer affordable options. And just because you’ll likely be home with the twins, don’t think you won’t need them at home, either. Regular clothes—even your sweatpants—might not cut it.

Since this is a twin pregnancy, err on larger sizes than your own. There isn’t a “twin maternity” category of clothes, so choose those that are larger and loose-fitting.

Make a game plan for when labor starts

Make a game plan of what to do when labor is near with twins and you need to get to the hospital.

For instance, ask your doctor when you should head to the hospital as well as the sign that you’re in labor. Decide who will babysit your older kids while you’re away. Labor might happen under circumstances you can’t control, but preparing will help you feel less overwhelmed.

This is also a great time to pack your hospital bag. When it comes to a twin pregnancy, anything can happen, from early labor to complications you didn’t expect. Some twins are born pretty early, so having your bags packed will save you a ton of time.

Even if your twins aren’t expected to arrive earlier than usual, pack your hospital bag and keep it with you so you have everything you need ready to go. And encourage your partner and babysitter (if you have older kids) to do the same.

Narrow down a few names

Whether you decide on a name months before or on the day you meet your twins, start looking into potential names (you’ve got two sets to come up with!). You might choose unusual old-fashioned names, popular ones, or those that are significant to you.

Consider the meaning behind the names, the initials the names make, how the twins’ names sound together, and even fun nicknames.

And select birth announcements. You won’t have your twins’ pictures yet, but look through templates or create your own announcements so you’ll have them ready to go. This is a perfect task to prepare before the twins arrive. Choose online templates (virtual or printed), or even create your own if you’re crafty.

Prepare your other children for their new siblings

Raising twins after a singleton is possible! Share your pregnancy with your older child when your belly begins to show so she can be prepared for the big day.

Read books about welcoming a new baby so she can see other people in the same situation. Let her know what to expect, including challenging situations like lots of crying and her parents taking care of two babies.

And encourage her to look for ways to help care for the twins. She can read to them, make funny faces, hold a bottle, fetch a diaper, or pat them to sleep.

Get your home ready

Begin putting the twin nursery together as your due date comes closer. After you’ve assembled your big twin baby gear and furniture, don’t forget the other parts of the nursery. Install the shelves (don’t forget to secure them to the wall!) and fill them with books. Place baby clothes in the dresser drawers or closet.

If you plan to paint or apply wall decals, do so before adding the furniture for easy access (and to let the paint smell air out!).

Don’t forget to stock up on household supplies. The last thing you need after bringing your twins home is to realize you’re out of toilet paper and cleaning supplies. It’s easy to overlook—we’re so prepared with items for the babies but can forget the other household items we need to keep our home going.

Avoid last-minute trips to the store by stocking up on household supplies before the babies arrive. Buy items like toilet paper, toiletries, and other frequent purchases.

Lastly, cook and freeze food you can eat during those first few weeks. You likely won’t cook fresh meals every day when the twins are born. One simple way to still eat nutritious food is to cook these meals now and freeze them for later.

Another option is to gather take-out menus and restaurant gift cards so you’ll have food on hand when you don’t have much time.

Final thoughts

A twin pregnancy can be one of the biggest whirlwinds you’ll experience, especially as you get used to the idea of life with twins.

With this checklist in hand, now you know the practical steps you need to take, without worrying about whether you’ve overlooked a key task. Regardless of where you are in your twin pregnancy, this checklist will make sure you have everything you need before the big arrival.

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  1. My biggest concern is that I only wanted to have 1 kid. I feel like I’m in over my head and they aren’t even here yet! I worry that I’ll be a bad mom.

    1. Nina Garcia says:

      I totally know what you mean. Even though I already had an older child, I wasn’t expecting twins. Actually, I only wanted one kid, but then relented and thought I could manage two. So when the news of the twins came, I felt completely thrown off my “plans.”