Overwhelmed with all the things you have to do to get ready for your twins? Get my preparing for twins checklist so you don’t overlook important tasks.
Everything moves pretty quickly in a twin pregnancy, don’t you think?
For one thing, we only find out later 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.
And second, a twin delivery usually comes sooner than a singleton one. I was given only until 38 weeks to deliver, and even then, still gave birth a few weeks earlier. Other moms deliver even earlier still due to the type of twins they have or complications that came up.
Finally, we’re mentally preparing for twins and life with raising two babies. What can already feel overwhelming—expecting a baby—is made even more so by the fact that we’re now dealing with two.
Our window of a twin pregnancy feels shorter on both ends and crammed with tons of things to do in the middle. Whatever time we have during pregnancy can feel crazy and chaotic. We’re barely wondering how to survive with twins while dealing with the actual steps to getting ready for them.
Preparing for twins checklist
Rather than scrambling to discover what I needed to do and when, I wrote it all down and ticked them off as I got them done. If anything new came up, I simply added it to the list to make sure I didn’t lose sight of it.
Keeping all this information in your head feels stressful. It can make what should be a straightforward timeline of tasks seem like an impossibility. Plus, you’re less likely to forget something you told yourself to do when you have it written down.
And perhaps most importantly, referring to a checklist like the one below helps you avoid overlooking something you need to do but hadn’t considered. Checklists are a fantastic gauge of whether you’re on track with preparing for twins.
I’ve learned a lot about time management and organization, especially as a mom to twins. I know through reading books about psychology and behavior that we’re more likely to follow through when we write those tasks down.
I also know we’re more confident and reassured when these tasks are out of our heads and written on paper.
1. Enroll in childbirth, infant care, and CPR classes
Knowledge goes a long way. In these classes, you’ll learn tricks like which way to face your babies when changing diapers (a baby’s bottom should be on the same side as your dominant hand) and how to breathe through contractions.
Your hospital likely offers these classes, which is another good opportunity to tour the place and get familiar with the protocol when you arrive to deliver.
Free resource: I made the following checklist as a printable PDF you can download—at no cost to you—and keep as a timeline! Join my newsletter and get it below for a convenient way to keep track of everything you need to do:
2. 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 of names to come up with, so have fun with what you come up with. You might choose unusual old fashioned names, popular ones, or those that mean a lot to you.
Consider the meaning behind the names, the initials the names make, how the twins’ names sound together, and even fun nicknames.
3. Select baby announcements
You won’t have your twins’ pictures yet, but look through templates or create your own announcements so you’ll have them nearly ready to go.
This is a perfect time to prepare, before the twins arrive. Choose online templates (virtual or printed), or even create your own if you’re crafty.
4. Purchase comfortable maternity clothes
As you progress through your pregnancy, you’ll need clothes to fit your expanding belly. You can also look into maternity clothes for after the twins are born (after delivery, you’ll be the same size as you were at about six months pregnant).
As I say in my book, Expecting Twins:
“Buying maternity clothes for a twin pregnancy isn’t the same as carrying a singleton. Maternity clothes aren’t typically created for moms of multiples, so you’ll need to be smart and creative about stocking up on maternity clothes.”
Maternity clothes don’t have to be ugly or frumpy—many stores offer affordable options to wear out and about. And just because you’ll likely be home with the twins, don’t think you won’t need maternity clothes at home, either. Regular clothes—even your sweat pants—just might not cut it.
5. Get familiar with your maternity leave policy
How can you prepare for twins financially? Start with your work place. Once you’ve shared the news at work, look into your maternity leave options.
Each state has its own rules, as does each workplace, so schedule a meeting with Human Resources 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 fellow coworkers.
6. Select a pediatrician
We found our pediatrician by asking my doctor for referrals. You can also find them through your insurance network, and research their 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? What are their policies for last-minute appointments and sicknesses?
7. 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 learn 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 you deliver vaginally like I did, you’ll still be in the operating room should any problems arise.
8. Pre-register for your hospital stay
The last thing you need as you’re wheeled into the hospital with heaving contractions is to fill out paperwork. Be prepared and pre-register for your hospital stay ahead of time. Mail your registration before you arrive, and call to confirm that they have your information on file.
That way, you won’t have to fill out forms when everything is already in their system.
9. Prepare your other children for their new siblings
Share your pregnancy with your kids when your belly begins to show so they can be prepared for the big day.
Read books about welcoming a new baby so they can see other people in the same situation. Let them know what to expect, even challenging situations like lots of crying and their parents taking care of the twins.
And encourage them to look for ways to help care for the babies. They can read to the babies, make funny faces, hold a bottle, fetch a diaper, or pat them to sleep.
10. Sign up for a baby registry
Start compiling a list of items you’ll need when the twins are born, especially with the basics like car seats, sleeping places (bassinets or cribs), and baby clothes. This will come in handy not just so people know what to get you, but so you have a list of what else you need to get.
And choose from more than one store to make it convenient for your friends and family to shop. A variety of stores will also offer different price points to shop from.
11. Research health insurance
Start researching health insurance, especially if you and your partner are covered separately (for instance, you have your own insurance apart from him). 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 within 30 days of birth.
You can also talk to your Human Resources staff, as they might have their own procedures of adding your twins to the insurance.
12. 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 day care 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.
13. Make a game plan for when labor starts
Labor can happen any time, especially when it comes to twins. Make a game plan of what to do when contractions start and you need to get to the hospital.
For instance, ask your doctor when you should head to the hospital as well as the signs to look for that you’re in labor. Decide who will babysit with your older kids while you’re at the hospital.
Labor might happen any time and under circumstances you can’t control, but being prepared will help you feel less overwhelmed nonetheless.
14. Install the car seats
Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links, which means I will earn a commission—at no extra cost to you—if you make a purchase.
As you get closer to your due date, learn how to install your car seats correctly, 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 their 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 your car seat is installed correctly. You won’t be able to leave the hospital unless you have the car seats installed and ready to go.
15. Buy, assemble, and test-drive big-item gear
Get all your baby 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 and putting on the brakes so you’re not scrambling for a late appointment or stuck wondering how to close it properly. 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-item gear 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.
16. Ask for help
Do you have family and friends nearby willing to help? The twins aren’t here yet, but discuss with friends and family if they can help when the big day arrives.
For instance, 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 to help, consider hiring help as well. Look into night nurses to help during those exhausting nights, the teenager next door to help play with the kids while you’re with the twins, or even a cleaning service to take the load off your plate.
17. Wash the baby clothes
Your twins’ skin may be sensitive to clothes, either store-bought or hand-me-downs. Wash the baby clothes with a baby-friendly and skin-sensitive laundry detergent before putting them in the closet or dressers.
You’ll likely keep washing their clothes in baby-safe detergent until they reach the one-year-old mark. At that point, you can wash their clothes with regular detergent.
18. Decorate and assemble the nursery
Begin putting the nursery together as your due date comes closer. After you’ve assembled big-item 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!).
19. Pack your hospital bag
When it comes to a twin pregnancy, anything can happen, from an 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.
20. 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 baby items but can easily 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. Buy items like toilet paper, paper towels, toiletries, and other frequent purchases.
21. Cook and freeze food
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 (these containers work great for freezer meals).
Another option is to gather take-out menus and restaurant gift cards so you’ll have food at hand when you don’t have much time.
22. Stock up on entertainment
The first few weeks and months with twins can also be a whole lot of doing… nothing. You’re breastfeeding or carrying a sleeping baby or otherwise not able to do much or get around.
Load up on entertainment like DVDs, books, music, and your favorite television shows to pass the time. I watched plenty of movies and shows on the Netflix app on my phone, especially in the middle of the night when I needed to stay awake to breastfeed.
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.
Welcome to the world of twins, mama!
Get more tips on preparing for twins:
- What to Do when You’re in Labor with Twins
- How Caring for Newborn Twins is Different from Singletons
- 11 Interesting Facts about Twins You Probably Didn’t Know
- Raising Twins after a Singleton
- Surprising Costs of Raising Twins You Never Knew
I made the following checklist as a printable PDF you can download—at no cost to you—and keep as a timeline! Join my newsletter and get it below for a convenient way to keep track of everything you need to do: