Preparing for twins
The thought of twins can be overwhelming. Shannon O’Reilly-Fearn, CEO & Founder of Twin Love Concierge, shares her expert tips on how you can prepare for the birth of multiples.
Finding out that you are expecting twins is the ultimate bombshell. It’s an amazing blessing that’s often followed by a big shockwave. Your initial response of ‘wow, we are having TWO babies’ quickly turns into ‘HOW are we going to manage?’ Don’t worry. You are not alone – these are the initial, confused feelings of all expecting parents of multiples.
Preparation is not optional. It’s essential. You can’t just hope that everything will fall into place, because it won’t – you’ll have double the demands and double the responsibilities for your two gorgeous babies. As a multiples prenatal educator, I’m an expert in helping new parents ready and steady themselves. Here are 7 key points to keep in mind when preparing for twins:
1. Pause and take 5 deep breaths
Close your eyes, take five deep breaths and know that you are not alone. A relaxed Mommy will make for healthier babies. Then begin to prioritize and focus on what’s immediately important: educating yourself in key subjects such as breast & bottle feeding, sleeping, scheduling and baby gear. Anything outside of these areas isn’t necessary to know initially. Anytime you start to feel overwhelmed take another five deep breaths.
2. Be as prepared as you can by 30 weeks
Close to 50% of moms expecting multiples are placed on some form of bed rest by about 30 weeks. Try and make this your ‘readiness point’ and save yourself the stress of being stuck in bed worrying about untested strollers or still-to-be-selected bedding. At the very least, make sure you’ve had your baby shower by then (if you are having one) and have your maternity pictures taken.
3. Don’t buy two of everything
It is a myth that twins can’t or won’t share. This is especially true when it comes to activity toys such as rockers, bouncers or anything electric. It’s much better to buy different types of equiptment so that you can rotate the babies between them. What’s most important is buying individual pieces of gear that help make your life easier. Some of my favorites include a double feeding pillow, a stroller that fits your lifestyle (think tandem vs. side-by-side) and the Keekaroo peanut change table for easy-to-clean use. There are many well-designed products to consider. Just remember, it’s the quality not the quantity that matters.
4. Talk to and get advice from other moms of multiples
There’s great comfort and advice to be taken from hearing from moms who have been through it all. Parenting techniques are constantly evolving so recent experiences and techniques can be really useful. That being said, the backbone to your twin learning experience can often come from older moms who have a wealth of amazing information at their fingertips and are eager to share. Find out about and join your local multiples group and try to attend the monthly meetings before and after your babies arrive. Surrounding yourself with a network of parents in the same situation will guarantee that you walk out with a sense of reassurance and a smile on your face.
5. Choose a medical support team that has experience with multiples
This applies in all areas, from OB/GYNs to Paediatricians. Multiple births, premature babies, twin development and even twin milestones, can vary greatly from singletons. Try and find experts who are suitably experienced so that you feel completely comfortable in their care.
6. Plan to schedule everything from the moment your babies come home
Keeping the twins on the same feeding, sleeping and activity schedule means that you can plan your day more efficiently and not feel like you are running around 24/7 with no respite. Think about who you can organize to help aside from your partner with tasks such as feeding as you will know what time approximately your babies’ wake periods will be. If you’re considering hiring a baby nurse or a doula, they can be extremely knowledgable of the scheduling process and can help you manage the emotional instincts of instant response.
7. Book your post-natal support pre-delivery
Budget and preferences permitting, you could benefit immensely from the services of a Postpartum doula, baby nurse and/or a lactation consultant. Whichever you choose, ensure that they have extensive twin experience and can provide substantial references to confirm their expertise. This is non-negotiable for parents of multiples: no twin experience = not worth pursuing.