If you are just starting your twin pregnancy or are really further along, I’m sure you’ve thought about how much help you’ll need with newborn twins. I’d love to say “Yeah, don’t worry, twins are easy,” but we’d know it’s an outright lie and I don’t want to start off our relationship built on a bed of lies. : )
All kidding aside, I can honestly tell you that it really is totally possible to manage your newborn twins solo or with a little help. Will you really want to? That’s a different topic. Let’s break it down and talk about how to manage newborn twins without any help.
Make a game plan
You and your partner have GOT to be on the same page when it comes to caring for your newborn twins. Start talking now (while things are still quiet) and discuss the real issues you’re about to face: diaper changes, middle of the night feedings, giving each other breaks, your breastfeeding wishes, etc. When there’s two babies it’s all hands on deck. Both partners have to be in it 100% of the time or someone’s going to be carrying all the work and that will only lead to resentment. Have real conversations about real expectations and make a real game plan for how you’re going to communicate when the poop starts to hit the fan. The first six weeks might be the most challenging. If you’ve had a c-section you’ll be healing from major abdominal surgery. This means: no heavy lifting, no driving, resting when you can, eating properly and generally taking better care of yourself than you may have usually done. Your partner will have to pick up a little more of the slack here, but yes, it’s still totally doable.
Live by the schedule
Once the babies are home, create a schedule for feedings, tummy time, going for walks, and naps. A routine will start to form and it’ll be easier to predict when and how long they will nap (which means free time for you to relax or even shower!) Plan out the day and divide up your free time to rest, to do chores, and to take care of everyday things such as making doctor appointments and paying bills. Make sure to schedule naps for the grown-ups to make sure you and your partner are getting enough sleep. I can’t stress how important this is! Sleep deprivation is a literal form of torture, and we don’t need you torturing one another if it’s preventable.
Teamwork makes the dream work
You and your partner have to become a strong team. Check in with each other Every! Single! Day! to see if there’s anything you can be doing better for each other. Try to do every feeding together, even if mom is breastfeeding. If the lack of sleep is really starting to affect you, consider “tag teaming” overnight feedings. This is where one parent is responsible for doing feedings for both babies to allow the other parent to get a solid 5-6 hours of sleep. Ear plugs are essential to tag teaming so make sure to stock up!
Outsource everything but the babies
Many folks think that “help” only comes in the form of folks holding and feeding a baby, but there are MANY items you’ll need help with. You’ll need groceries shopped for, the lawn mowed, the dog walked, the laundry done. Consider outsourcing items that are causing stress in your life if your budget allows. Even just a little bonus outside help here and here will relieve a huge burden for you. Chinese food every Friday night is a treat you can look forward to and a makeshift date night at your dining room table until the babies get a little older and you feel comfortable leaving them home with a sitter or family member.
Why having NO help might be a GOOD thing
Believe it or not, there is a silver lining that we’ve discovered among Twiniversity students of our expecting twins class! While some folks have been very quick to hire a nanny or have a family member come and stay with them for a bit, COVID-19 has us in a full-on quarantine. This means that parents are flying solo with their babies and not always by choice. HOWEVER, one of the most common things we’ve heard from parents (especially dads) is that they had more opportunities to bond with their children where they may have otherwise deferred to the folks in their house who came to help. Some dads, who were previously intimidated by the concept of caring for twin newborns, have had no choice but to roll up their sleeves and jump in. This has caused more bonding between not only dads and babies, but mom and dads. It’s heartwarming to see your partner become the person you always knew they were. They might have been afraid to try if someone else was there to jump in and help. It’s a common concern, and we’ve seen some wonderful bonding opportunities because folks have had ZERO help outside of their marriage.
Those are just a few tips to help you get through the newborn stage with twins, but there are plenty more available at Twiniversity.com. Just remember that you are not the first person to have twins without any help! Tons of parents have come before you and they did it, so YOU CAN TOO!
If you are still freaking out a bit, join us for an online live or on-demand Twiniversity expecting twins class or grab a copy of our book “What To Do When You’re Having Two” so you can get schooled by the pros on how to prep for your twins and managing them once they’re home. But the thing is that you WILL figure it out. Once you’re in the thick of it you will start thinking to yourself, “Hey, this isn’t actually that hard.” Once you start getting the hang of it -- just like riding a bike -- you’ll quickly find your groove and start wondering what you were ever scared about.
We wish you the VERY best of luck, we hope to see you in our own virtual backyard at Twiniversity.com and if you need ANYTHING, we are an email away at Community@Twiniversity.com.
Natalie Diaz, CLC, CPST, The Big Cheese. Founder. Author. Group Publisher. Dishwasher Slayer. Cat Midwife. And shown below with her twins