Eight months (or so) have passed where you’ve spent time imagining what your newborn twins might look like, what it will be like to hold, have them beside you to love and look after.
So that time is here. It is wonderful but, also, can be overwhelming at the same time.
Here are some things that might help you in overcoming the challenging times and preparing for the arrival your babies! 🙂
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1. PREMATURE BORN TWINS
This is the common occurrence with twins and other multiples pregnancies. It is not the ideal scenario, but the encouraging thing is, the medical science nowadays is so advanced and the hospitals are so well equipped that your babies are going to have the best care possible.
Depending on how premature your babies are, they will have to spend some time in the NICU.
My babies were born about five weeks premature (35wks&4days;) and had to spend some time in the incubator. My little boy was there only for a day but my little girl was there for five days. I found it really difficult to have her away from me.
Even though my post C-section days were somewhat painful I loved the fact I could look after my baby son immediately. Marija was brought to stay with us after five days and that was a joyous day!
However, she did have to be taken back for some UV treatment six hours every day for the next ten days. She was such a little trouper, always smiling when she got back. I cried every time they took her away, even though I knew why she was being taken, but your hormones are going sooo crazy that rationalizing stuff just doesn’t work. So, if you need to cry, that’s fine!
All in all, do prepare, you might stay in the hospital just a little bit longer than your friends who are having singletons. It is not the most convenient or desirable thing, but, if it is for the best for you and the babies, then it is not so difficult to put up with.
And now for the biggest piece of advice, I’m going to give you for the time when you are in the hospital: if and when nurses at the hospital offer to take your babies for the night so that you can have a good nights’ sleep, please, say yes! Do not follow my example and try to be a super-brave mom, arriving home after two weeks hospital stay, completely exhausted. Because, when you get home, you might not have any help (or enough help in any case) and these few nights in the hospital could help you really rest some, help your healing and milk production! All quite important stuff really…
My great-grandmother, grandmother, mother, my seven aunts and my sister-in-law all breastfed their children. On average, one year, with some managing until their child was three! So, it was the most natural thing in the world for me to expect that I shall breastfeed my babies too.
I had gone to great lengths to prepare for breastfeeding my twins and when they arrived, and the milk too, things looked really promising. I massaged my breasts as instructed by the midwife, that paid off too. As soon as you feel your milk coming on, please massage, massage, massage! And massage some more! For the massaging techniques and all technical info on milk production and breastfeeding your baby you might like to read through this latest on breastfeeding, really informative book:
Aleksandar latched on really quickly and we were off! Ha!
Who said the breastfeeding your baby, could be challenging?
Well, probably someone who had a baby like my baby-girl! She was just too small and weak to breastfeed and had decided she wanted nothing to do with it. We tried and tried almost every day for the first three months, but no joy. I expressed milk for her, and also gave her formula milk. Having tried quite a few breast pumps during that time, I feel I should say, in case you can afford some of the best ones, please do. You will be so tired from everything, wasting time and energy on half-heartedly built breast pumps is not what you need. Trust me!
Be prepared for all sorts of surprises and compromises while working out what is best for your twins and whichever way it turns out to be breast/formula/breast+formula it will be fine. Try not to stress about it – however, I feel I should be honest and say here that the stress of feeding my twins has, so far, been one of the most present and persistent stresses as a mom of twins.
My twins have just now, at the age 2 1/2(!) started eating all of their meals and without (too much) fuss. The time up to now has been an uphill struggle. It all turned out just fine, so now I regret feeling so stressed out. So, let me just repeat the thought from the top of this paragraph – please try to keep it cool (as much as possible)! 🙂
3. GOING OUT WITH YOUR NEWBORN TWINS
I must say, I did not feel like going out much with my babies in the first three months.
I did not feel like getting dressed, planning outings… The thought of leaving the house with the two small babies filled me with dread. Was I right to feel this way? Well, I don’t know, but that is how it was.
There was the pain from my C-section, then thinking of scores of things you need to take with your when you are out (luckily, you fast learn how to scale down and take just the most necessary stuff. More about that in another post!) all in all I found it an overwhelming situation.
We did have a few scheduled doctor’s appointments and spent the Christmas Eve at my mom’s place. That was enough as far as I was concerned!
This possibly differs if your babies are born in the spring or summer time. Mine were born mid-October and the weather wasn’t great, so a leisurely stroll in the neighborhood happened only once…
However, spring came soon, and everything did change… One thing that is great to think about, when moments are not as cheerful as you might want them to be – everything is just a phase, and you might, like me, find yourself not being able even to fathom leaving the house one month, and the next, be the towns’ mama champion in walking her babies every day!
The double stroller you get for your babies will be your best friend for the next two-three years! Please choose wisely, and check out some tips and recommendations here.
4. BABIES’ SLEEP
Lucky thing, in the first three months babies do sleep a lot! Not always when you’d like them to, but they do sleep. I would urge you to sleep when they sleep. Try, if at all possible, not to do the housework or anything else for that matter, but to sleep while the house is quiet.
Babies at this stage sleep for about 2-3 hours at a stretch and then need to be feed. Ensuring and encouraging your newborn twins to be on the same sleeping and eating schedule will make your life so much easier.
So, both babies should be awake after their nap and then feed together or one by one. Ideally, both babies should be awake the same amount of time and go to sleep at the same time.
I am, however, here to tell you, that seldom happens. If you manage to keep feeding/sleeping about the same-ish time, it will work out fine.
My two babies’ sleeping schedule varied greatly. Aleksandar could feed more, therefore could sleep more. Marija, however, had to be fed every hour around the clock, so things were a bit more delicate with her. After a couple of months of this feeding every hour on the hour and not sleeping enough, I did not feel too joyful. The aim every morning was just to survive another day, and that was as far as I could think. As I have mentioned before, this phase passes quickly and you remember only the nice moments! 🙂
5. LOOKING AFTER YOURSELF
I was in two minds whether to, actually, put this paragraph, in the spot No1!
I really believe, if you are not looking after yourself, you simply won’t be as ready and well to look after your babies.
Sadly, nowadays, new mothers are expected to ‘bounce back’ (I really dislike this term!) in no time. Slim down in 48hrs, be hyper-happy, smiley and managing everything as before – like you didn’t just go through a super-risky and difficult pregnancy, and given birth to two babies!
As mentioned earlier, please, do make sure you sleep when your babies sleep. You need to do that. Everything else can wait.
If any of your family members or friends offer to help, please accept it. The best thing is to say exactly what you need help with (cooking, laundry, grocery shopping…)….everyone likes to play with the newborn babies, but that’s your job – everybody else should be helping with other, less exotic tasks :).
Postpartum time is, with all its challenges, an amazing time when you will bond with your newborn twins, get to know them and learn about their needs.
It is a path of self-discovery too – as a parent, you might find the life very different now, in so many wonderful and surprising ways! Enjoy it and let the fun times begin! 🙂
Thank you for reading this post!
If you have any questions or topics you’d like me to write about, please do leave a comment in the comment section and I’d be more than happy to oblige!