Taking care of twins or multiples can be challenging, demanding, tricky, and overwhelming.
Parents will try anything to make it a little easier, and they are very adept at developing solutions, strategies, and shortcuts that accomplish that goal.
Diaper changes, nap times, getting dressed, and meals can be challenging to navigate with one baby. However, when there are twice as many baby items to juggle, there are twice as many opportunities to derail even the best-laid plans.
With a little bit of creative planning and some luck, you can spend less time juggling and more time enjoying double the joy with your twins!
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Life Hacks for Parents of Twins
Set up Multiple Diaper Changing Stations
Set up multiple diaper-changing stations around the house so that you have supplies ready for a diaper change without having to lug the babies to a particular spot.
Make a “diaper kit” for each main room in the house by assembling a changing pad, stack of diapers, container of wipes, and any lotions or powder you regularly use.
Store it all in a plastic container so that it is always handy.
Pee pads for pets are a genius option for a changing pad — use them as a disposable pad or for extra protection under a traditional changing pad.
Use a Wagon for Hauling Twins
One of the hardest things about managing toddler twins is moving them from place to place.
It’s challenging to keep them corralled; they tend to take off in opposite directions. One fun and easy way to move them around is by using a wagon with two seats.
With two seats, high sides, and a comfortable handle pull, it is a great product.
Park Near the Shopping Cart Return
When shopping, try to find a parking place near—or ideally next to—the shopping cart return carousel.
That way, you can safely leave the babies in the car while you retrieve the cart and then position them in the cart.
When you return to your car after shopping, you can transfer them back into their car seats, pack up your purchases, and return the cart without leaving your babies out of sight.
Get Low for a Safer Home
A home with young twins needs to be carefully childproofed to ensure their safety—and the safety of the things in your home!
To start the childproofing process, get down on the floor, that is. But, first, you need to get a “kids-eye” view of the world to identify potential hazards.
Check out the view from the floor where your multiples play and try to anticipate every potentially appealing hazard.
Are there electrical cords or outlets in reach? Small pieces or parts of furniture that could come loose?
Cover all outlets and secure cords. A comprehensive childproofing process begins from the ground up.
Synchronise Schedules for Your Twins
There are multiple ways to parent twins, and no one way is right or wrong.
But experienced parents of twins generally concur that life with multiples is easier when everyone’s on the same schedule.
A routine where everybody gets fed together, sleeps simultaneously, and spends their waking hours playing together is much more pleasant than a chaotic mishmash of baby tag-team.
Without a semblance of a schedule, someone will always be hungry, sleepy, or requiring a diaper change, and parents are much less likely to get a chance to catch a break—or their breath.
It might take some time and determination to establish a routine, but these strategies can help.
Don’t Buy Two of Everything.
Doubling up on everything was unnecessary. However, there were some things that they could share and some things that they never used at the same time.
Of course, there were some things—like car seats—that were unquestionably a double purchase.
But before rushing out to buy two of everything, take this tip. Then, talk to other parents of twins and find out what you need.
Buy in Bulk
If there is one thing you’d know you don’t have time for, it’s running to the store to replenish those baby item stocks.
Baby wipes, formula/baby food, diaper cream, and diapers are great to keep stockpiled if you can.
You can even repurpose those giant diapers and wipe boxes and use them under the crib or the bed storage.
Don’t have space? Investigate stores and brands that will automatically ship items to you (such as Amazon Family “Subscribe & Save”) or deliver to your door.
Prep Meals Ahead of Time
While the kid’s nap or play, cook and freeze meals for the week and lay out the lunch or dinner spread, buy large quantities of meats, and cook them in advance, then divide them into individually portioned sandwich bags and freeze them to be taken out for meals as needed.
It sounds simple and obvious, but when two babies are very vocally demanding their meals, ten extra minutes of meal prep can make a difference.
Keep it Compact
You may find it worth your while to invest in the travel version, or collapsible version, of some of your large baby items.
We can’t rave enough about the collapsible, travelling high chairs.
These items are great for packing in the car or using outside or around the house if you don’t want to move or store their bulkier counterparts.
Set the Stage
Layout whatever you can beforehand in the areas that your twins will be using.
This means setting out bowls, certain foods, utensils, sippy cups, and bibs for breakfast the night before.
Sometimes prepping for even the smallest of tasks can make a big difference.
Have Some Tricks up Your Sleeve
When you’re out of the house, always have a couple of unique toys, music playlists, videos, or snacks that you can pull out when things get wild and crazy.
Be Specific When Asking for Help
Recognise when you are better off doing things yourself and when extra hands are needed. Then, if you decide to ask for help, make sure it’s the help you need.
It’s essential to keep track of milestones and maintain baby books and photo albums for both of your twins.
Set up the Twins’ Cribs Safely.
When setting up the twins’ cribs, be sure to either pull the cribs completely apart or push them together, so there is no space between them. Once they learn how to climb into each other’s crib, they could slip and get stuck in any space left between the two cribs.
Bathe Both Babies at the Same Time.
Use a laundry basket in the tub to keep the babies together and make bath time a bit more hands-free.
Feed Them Together.
Although you may only want to tackle feeding one baby at a time — especially if you’re breastfeeding — your twins might have other plans.
Place babies in a secure baby pillow or chair. Roll up some burp cloths or baby blankets into thick rolls and place the rolls under their chins.
Curve them around to ‘hold’ the bottles. Now you can relax and eat your lunch on the floor right next to them.
To feed or breastfeed both at the same time, use both sides of a nursing pillow at once, or invest in a double nursing pillow for a bit more space per baby — it’s a great item to put on your baby shower registry!
(Note: pediatricians advise against propping a baby’s bottle, so do this only in a pinch and never unsupervised).
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Tell Babies Apart by Their Belly Buttons.
Identical twins are a tricky business, but as the belly button is technically a “scar,” your twins will likely have different-looking navels.
If their belly buttons are too similar, tell them apart with a bold onesie set. There are so many onesie sets for twin babies — they’ll help you tell them apart and keep track of who is who, but a warning: they may make your baby’s Instagram famous.
Fashion a Quick Bottle Stand for Independent Feeding.
If you need a quick hands-free feeding moment (or 10), roll up a swaddle blanket and secure it with a hair tie to create a “bottle stand” for babies who are eating in a swing or rocker. The bottle gets propped, and as long as they’re not too fidgety, it should stay in place.
Feed Them Hands-Free in Their Car Seats.
If you have no choice but to get into the car with hungry twins, bottle slings are a perfect meal time hack for car seats.
The bottle won’t fall out of their hands, the babies can pause to chat to each other and go right back to eating, and you don’t have to worry about dangerously scraping the back seat floor to look for a lost bottle while a baby screams behind you.
Make Tummy Time and Relaxation Easy for Both Babies and Mama.
A twin pillow makes putting even the smallest of babies down to relax a breeze — it also acts as a double nursing pillow, a body pillow for mama, a secure surface for some tummy time, and more!
Save Time by Combining Pumping and Nursing.
First, get your pump parts set up. Wear a hands-free nursing bra with one side pulled down. Place one baby in a chair propped with a bottle while pumping one side and nursing on the other.
Push Both Babies in a Swing at Once.
If you thought infant swings had two sets of leg holes so that the baby could face either direction, you were wrong!
Infant swings are a twins’ dream, as both babies should fit snugly into the swing back-to-back, which eliminates any extra room for them to recline or jerk forward or backward while swinging.
Stick to a Schedule
Keep them on a schedule, no matter what. If one wakes up, wake up the other! If one eats, it’s time for the other to eat!
Your brain will be very sleep deprived during those first six months, so tracking what’s happening is one way to stay sane.
For fewer analogue approaches, twin parents also like the Pocket Nanny, a handheld digital device that allows you to record diaper changes, naps and feedings, and the Jumelle Twin and Baby Tracker, an app that can track teething, fevers and milestones in several babies.
Juggling two hungry babies is incredibly stressful. So whether you are breastfeeding or bottle-feeding (or a combination of the two), do whatever you can to try to master simultaneous feedings.
You have to learn how to breastfeed both babies at the same time to maintain sanity. When bottle-feeding, it helps to have two spots to seat them when giving bottles in tandem.
When bottle-feeding, use two pillows, two sleepers or a twin nursing pillow to prop up your babies.
Grab two burp cloths or bibs to drape over them. Hold the bottles for them or try a bottle holder to help one baby hold a bottle while you breastfeed or bottle-feed the other.
After feeding, burp one while the other hangs out in the pillow and repeat with the second baby. After that, give yourself props for making it through a double feeding!
Bath Times Two
When your twins are wee, it’s easier to bathe one while the other hangs out next to you or near you in an infant rocker chair.
Once your babies are around six months old and able to sit up on their own, bath seats (which suction to the bathtub) can make it easier to bathe both babies simultaneously.
Know Who Is Who
In the hazy early days of twin parenting, there will be 3 a.m. wake-ups where you go into their room and get your babies mixed up. So first, make sure you can identify who is who.
Connect With Other Twin Parents
Build your tribe with people who understand life with two babies. Find twin communities online in Facebook groups or on websites.
Find an expecting-twins class in your area.
Moms of multiples are indeed a sorority of sorts. You can save a lot of money on baby clothes by connecting with a twin mama whose girls are six months older than yours. But, best of all, twin parents understand what you’re going through and relate to you.
You can hire a sleep consultant who could give you a nap schedule and virtually hold your hands throughout the whole process.
Not everyone is up for the challenge of sleep training, though.
Some twin parents swear by twin-specific baby carriers. Wearing both of them will make so many tasks possible.
Crying Times Two
The witching hour can be doubly stressful when both babies are losing it. In addition, finding what soothes your babies can be challenging: One baby might prefer a different method than the other.
It’s not fun to listen to two screaming infants, but using trial and error to find out what works for each baby takes patience and practice.
We want to quote Amy Poehler by utilising her phrase, “Good for you, not for me.”
Feel free to apply this to any area of your life, but especially when you’re feeling the pressure to conform to the schedules or routines of your parents-of-singleton friends.
Part of the excitement of twin life is forging our path. We test out some plans and let some things happen organically. Enjoy the unexpected moments and learn to laugh.
Evaluate the things that are important to you, and surround yourself with people that enhance and support your new-found lifestyle and can occasionally babysit!
Asking for help isn’t always easy, but delegating tasks and having another set of hands to assist is key to surviving with two newborns.
For single parents raising twins, relying on grandparents for support can be critical during those first few weeks.
Rely on experts, like a sleep consultant, night nurse or therapist, to help when you need professional advice or much-needed sleep. Having twins is crazy, challenging and exhausting.
Remember, This Too Shall Pass
No matter what else, no matter how you feed your babies, or which diapers you choose, or whether your babies sleep all day and stay up all night, no matter what, remember this one thing.
THIS “TOO” SHALL PASS! But, these hazy, crazy baby days are temporary. Tomorrow is another day.
You’re doing your very best and are the very best parent for your twins. Soon enough, they will be feeding themselves, sleeping through the night, and requiring less of your constant attention.
Take a deep breath, pat yourself on the back, and enjoy the moment, knowing that it won’t last.
The best advice we got from other twin parents was that it gets easier after the first six months.
It does get better. While it might seem like the days are never-ending, the months are short, and soon you’ll be cheering on fellow twin parents who are going through those newborn phases with the same highs and lows that you did.
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