Finding out that you are having multiples is such a surreal type of feeling. You probably will be super excited and absolutely terrified all at the same time! For moms, both experienced and new, these special added blessings can be overwhelming. Especially, when you may be taking care of them alone. You might be a single mom or have a husband who is gone most of the time for work.
Whatever the case may be……………
Just don’t panic!!
Well maybe for a little while. I know I did and when the shock was over about having twins of my own, I went down to work.
I am blessed to have a husband, but unfortunately with his job and his hours, he was rarely at home. This frightened me quite a bit. Not to mention, I also am raising boys, who were 4 and 2, when my twins were born!
So to panic a bit is definitely OK!
Taking care of newborns is difficult. For the simple fact that you may be a first time mom and all this is new to you. Adding two to the mix is also challenging, but if you think smart and prepare, you will be just fine!
Let me say that again……..
You will be just fine!!
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Let’s start by asking?
Why is raising twins so hard?
- Mom is outnumbered
- Not enough space for all those twin baby products
- You only have two hands
- They are expensive
This list can go on and on, but I am here to help you prepare to raise these twins alone and be just fine doing it!
(Keep reading to find the answers to these questions down below!!)
Here are some great newborn twin tips on how to physically take care of twins alone and get you through you day smoother………….
Same Schedules and Routines
Schedules are something a mom needs to keep in her arsenal of mom tips and tricks. When it comes to twins, this is very much essential. This definitely holds true for nap times and bedtime routines. When one baby sleeps the other should soon follow. Yes, there will be a lot of trial and error, but worth it in the end.
Routines and schedules will be your base for raising twins successfully. As mentioned above, sleep schedules NEED to be consistent. Keep bedtimes the same for each child and each night. Same goes for nap schedules, baths, feedings and playtimes.
Here’s a scenario of a scheduled day………
Baby A wakes up first while Baby B is still asleep. Get your morning snuggles in and kisses, then change Baby A’s diaper. Place Baby A in a secure area around you and (This goes against all the baby Gods), but you need to wake up Baby B. Yes, You read that correctly! Then do the same morning routine for Baby B.
Have a little playtime on a floor mat while breakfast is being made. Then feed them both at the same time. (More on feeding down below).
When nap time arrives, attempt to put both asleep at the same time. Notice I said attempt! This is will not go as planned everytime, but it will get better. Trust me, I was there. Being consistent with your daily routines WILL eventually get learned and both twins WILL adapt to their new schedules that YOU made for them.
An hour and a half goes by and Baby B wakes up. All while Baby A is still sleeping. Heres where you can let this sleeping schedule lax just a bit.
Go have some alone time with Baby B and let Baby A sleep for a half hour longer. No more!
Then wake baby A and play together and feed both twins at the same time.
Repeat throughout the day with same scheduled naps and feedings.
When nighttime comes, give Baby A a bath while Baby B lays in the bouncer next to you. After drying and dressing Baby A, switch and give Baby B a bath and so on.
Feed them both and place in their cribs or bassinets for both twins to go to bed.
Keeping to a schedule and routine will have its challenges. With all my kids, twins and singletons, there was a lot of trial and error. Roughly about 3 months in, moms and kids are able to adapt to their new schedules. This will not be the same for everyone, but it is very important to be consistent with routines.
Raising twins alone, will make schedules easier on the moms too. You will be the one to set theses schedules and to adhere to them. If you should be so lucky and get help on some days, your help needs to follow your schedule also!!!!
Advice for keeping schedules
- Plan a schedule that works for you
- Remember, they are apart of your lives now, not the only thing in your life.
- Set timers/alarms for nap times
- Keep a detailed schedule out for others (if you get help)
- Make sure that the twins are only awake solo for no more than a half hour
- Example) The twins went for nap at 9. Baby A wakes up at 10:30. Baby B is still sleeping. Let Baby B sleep for half hour longer then wake him up at 11. If your twin sleeps for at least an hour and a half. Thats great! Two hours is even better!! I learned from my own experience that 30 minutes was a good “buffer” to abide by. Longer than that will make their schedules go haywire!!
At nighttime, feedings with twin newborns and being solo, was very rough. Setting schedules where both babies would eat at the same time is great, but feeding solo? now thats challenging. If you don’t feed them both at the same time, you will be up all night.
Here’s a visual……….
Baby A wake’s up. You change her and then feed her and quietly place her back to sleep. Now baby B just woke up, now you do the same routine. When baby B goes down, guess what?
Baby A just woke up again to eat!!!!
When newborns are eating they take awhile to drink that bottle or nurse. Sometimes they might use the bottle or even you as a pacifier to settle them down back into slumber. With singleton baby’s this was fine. With multiples, its a different baby game!
Thats why you need to feed them TOGETHER!!
Sleep deprivation is something all moms endure, but with multiple moms it can be way worse.
Moms need to sleep in between feedings as much as they can. It may only be for 30 or 60 minutes, but it’s something.
When you are alone at nighttime for feedings, here are some useful things that will help you to feed 2 humans at once, so hopefully you can get some sleep in between!
What twin feeding tricks are there……..
For the nursing mom
Invest in a bobby pillow. They are very useful because there are no straps to attach or tighten. Which can be difficult in the middle of the night when your sleep deprived. All there is to do, is wrap it around your stomach and place each baby’s head on the u-shaped pillow and their legs behind you. Place each baby on one breast. Your arms are now free to hold their sides and guide them to your breast to feed.
It can also be used when they are older to support their backs and head while you play with them on the floor. Another tip when they are reaching tummy time age, is to use the bobby for better side support here too.
There are other nursing pillows out there made specifically for holding twins. I personally used one for awhile. I soon stopped because it was too bulky and not a quick pillow to set up for 2 very hungry twins in the middle of the night!!
We are all different and this may work well for other twin moms. The nursing supportive pillow will allow one baby on each side just like the bobby. It is more of a square shape. The advantage of the shape gives more room for each baby’s head. As the baby’s grow they will definitely be more comfortable with more space.
Pro’s of Bobby Pillows
- Easy to use
- Longer use when older
- Free’s up your hands (I got carpal tunnel, it’s not pleasant holding a baby on your arms for too long!)
Con’s of Bobby Pillows
- Shorter use when twins get bigger for feedings
- U-shape may make it not fit around moms waist comfortably
Pro’s of Twin Nursing Pillow
- Square shape gives more room for baby
- Square shape also gives more room for mom along waist
- Free’s up your hands
- Longer use when twins get bigger for feedings
Con’s of Twin Nursing Pillow
- More expensive
- More difficult to place around your waist alone
- Not ideal for twin support on floor during playtime with them
If you are so blessed to have a twin baby shower, register for a pump!!! Whether you are working away from home, or not.
Pumps are essential for the nursing mom.
There are many brands out there, but hands down my Medela Pump is the greatest. I used it for all my kids, did I mention I have 4 total with my twins included?!
I work part time and I needed something portable and lightweight to bring to and from work. Keep in mind that your pump needs to have a recharging battery, hands free option, and a dual electric pumping feature.
Important things to have with your pump are……….
- Cooler bag with an ice pack (these usually come with your pump)
- Nipple Cream(pumping can make you more sore than baby)
- Milk storage bags and sharpie to label
- Breast pump accessory wipes
- Extra pump tubing and parts (mainly after use of previous child is when I changed mine)
- Nursing Pads (for leaking, I used these all the time!)
- Nursing Bras
Raising twins alone, you will most likely be nursing all day long.
So you may ask………..
Why do you need to pump?
- IF you are able to go spend some quality mom time alone
- Pumping will actually increase your milk supply
- Some twins may not be latching well, so you can still give them your milk after pumping and with a bottle
- Dad might want to share in the experience at times feeding their child too
My twins were premature and had to stay in the NICU for a short period of time. During this time I pumped like a crazy mom and stored my milk in storage bags. The NICU nurses , AKA my twins second mommies, would store my milk in the hospital and give it to my twins.
Since I was pumping primarily while my twins were in the NICU, I actually rented an industrialized pump from the hospital. My Medela pump was great and I did use it when they came home, but the hospital pump was more powerful. I was pumping every 1.5 to 2 hours at home. The hospital pump was like described, industrialized. Stronger than any other pumps you can buy at the store. Unfortunately ,very expensive!
In my unique case, as might be yours too, check with your medical insurance. I was very fortunate to have my medical insurance cover the cost of the pump I rented. It really did help a lot!
Bottle feeding moms
As mentioned above, my twins were premature. I did my best to try and nurse them for as long as I could. With their stay in the NICU for some time, and 2 toddlers at home I needed to care for, our nursing skills, weren’t up to par. It was difficult! When nursing was becoming more of a problem, I started to pump. I would pump and store my own milk and then bottle feed my twins.
Needless to say, I know the tips for nursing AND bottle-feeding twins.
On to the bottle we shall go…….
Bottle feeding may be more challenging when you are alone. But very doable! This is where creativity really plays a role.
For me, I was already up pumping and filling up bottles with my milk. Right when the babies are “stirring” about is when you need to get your formula bottles ready. This is the time when diaper changing happens.
Speed is key for nighttime feedings, especially when there are 2 babies. Critical part to nighttime diaper changing is, how quickly can you access that dirty diaper?
Sounds hilarious, right??
Try using a sleeper gown. It looks just like it states, a gown/dress . This gown will allow you to pull it up and over the diaper for easy changing. Never having to button, zip, shove a foot into a pant leg! Crucial at night while trying not to disturb a baby too much. More importantly, for a sleep deprived mom, not having to mess around with buttons and such! Also keep a stocked diaper caddy right by. Everything you need will be at your fingertips when changing their diapers. This will really speed up the process!!
After you changed both babies, your formula should be at room temp! See no need for bottle warmers at this time.
A crucial step for solo nighttime feedings, is to always be prepared!
Twins sleep better when tightly wrapped up in a blanket, in medical lingo, we call it papoosed. Tightly wrap your twins in a blanket and feed them their bottle. After they burp and a quick hug from you, place them gently in their crib/bassinet. The feel of their blanket wrapped around them, gives them a sense of security which will allow them to fall asleep better.
If you are prepared and do this BEFORE they eat, you won’t disturb them as much when laying them down.
Less disturbance of your baby = less disturbance of their slumber.
I will admit papoosing my twins was not my strong point!! My husband was amazing at it, but unfortunately he wasn’t around during these late night feedings.
Here’s the start of creativity for solo nighttime feeding……
A swaddle blanket is great to have at night for feedings. You simply lay your infant on the blanket, wrap them in it and attach the velcro together. So easy to do when you’re alone and need to swaddle them up fast to eat. If using a blanket, chances are your twins might “break free” from the blanket and be exposed. With these swaddle blankets they are contained and its very easy to wrap your baby in when its only 3:00 AM!!
Bassinets are great to have with all newborns, especially twins. Chances are your twins are so tiny that can can even fit in one bassinet. By the time they grow you will put them into a crib and eventually in 2 separate cribs.
With bassinets, it is easier for you to watch over your twins and also feed them. This will allow one child to be in your arms to feed, while the other stays in the bassinet along side you, all swaddled and ready to eat.
Bedside bassinets are great for moms with twins. The bassinet lays along side your bed and you can fold the one side down. This makes it easier to lean over and hold your twins bottle comfortably in their mouth while they eat. All the while you have their sibling on a bobby pillow eating from another bottle.
Let me explain it better………
Baby A will be all swaddled up with their legs pointed down toward you. The bedside basinet will be close by your side. Wrap your bobby pillow around your waist and sit up in a criss crossed position on your bed. Place pillows behind you for back comfort and support.
Place Baby B on the bobby pillow with their head toward the same side of their sibling. (for explanation sake, Baby A and Baby B are now on your right side.)
Your left hand will now be able to feed Baby B on your lap and your right hand will be over Baby A with their bottle feeding them. The bobby pillow will be used for support to hold Baby B along with your legs and knee that is already in a criss crossed position beneath them.
If you sleep on the opposite side of the bed, switch all to the other side, as mentioned above.
At night babies will be hungry!!! They will cry. With twins, they will cry more. You now have 2 mouths to feed and only one of you.
Babies cry because they want or need something. Food, to be changed, attention, gas, or whatever the case may be. Just do the best that you can. This is new to you and for them. Letting them cry for a it, will not hurt them!
Let me reiterate ………
Letting your twins cry for a bit, will not hurt them!
When you prepare yourself for nighttime feeding and in the dark diaper changing, this will help ease those late night cries.
Advice for late night feedings
- Keep a night light on (less disturbing sleepy twins, but enough light for you to see)
- Have a diaper tote full of diapers, wipes, butt cream
- Pacifiers if your twins use them (mine didn’t)
- Bobby pillow
- Burp cloths
- Water for yourself at your bedside (definitely if your nursing, you need to stay hydrated!)
- Extra Swaddle blankets (spit -up happens!)
- Extra sleeper gowns (I found raising boys, they peed a lot!)
- Keep extra bottles in area with purified water and formula handy (fix up those bottles in a jiffy)
- A tote to place used bottles in after they are finished (DO NOT clean bottles at night, sleep is more important!)
- Plastic bags to place soiled clothes in (you have enough onesies to last forever, you don’t have to spray them now to clean it)
Bath time is always fun. When its time to give those little stinkers a bath, a bouncy seat is helpful. Since they are still way too young to wash both at the same time, when you are on your own, one twin can sit in the bouncy next to you while the other washes up.
Use a bath support when washing your child. This will help support your twin while bathing and not hurt your back in the process. A thing to consider when purchasing one, is a mesh background. This helps the dirty water to flow away from your baby rather than him sitting in it, just like this one.
The other child now is sitting in their bouncy looking at the toys hanging above her head. This will help occupy and distract them while you take care of their sibling.
Make sure your bouncy is not too bulky, it has toys on a removable arm that your twins can play with. The arm should be easy to remove, for ease of placing and taking your child in/out of the it.
It is lightweight! Chances are this bouncy will be used all throughout the house and it needs to be easy to carry around. This will be handy for those of you with homes with multiple levels.
With twins I do recommend 2 bouncy chairs. As they grow older they will play with one another and bounce to the same beat. Its absolutely adorable!! I used mine a great deal throughout their first year. While I cooked, washed dishes and even took a shower. (See creativity !). They will always be bouncing away or napping on the floor next to me, in clear sight.
Keeping the bath time together will eventually save you time in the future. When they grow older and are able to sit up by themselves, you can bathe both twins in the same tub. This will save you lots of time and easy to do all by yourself!!
So lets ask that question again………
Why is raising twins so hard?
Mom is outnumbered
Yes when you are alone, you will be outnumbered! Don’t let this scare you. As I mentioned multiple times above, you need to be creative. Use the ways I discussed about how to feed your twins at the same time. Most importantly keeping up with your schedule you set for them. Including bedtimes, naps and feedings. The more consistent you are with your babies, the less resilient they will be toward the task at hand. Keep in mind that you are all learning this together as a family. Trial and error is inevitable!! Sometimes you may need to just listen to the wants of your twins and let the rest go for while. This learning curve will help set the lifestyle that works with your family!
I always get this question from my patients’ parents at work………..
Does raising twins get easier?
I answer it the same every time. Our first year was a blur, but yes it really does get easier! They do become more independent, but you will have other types of challenges to face when they are older.
Not enough space for all those twin baby products
With twins you will need double of certain things, but not everything needs to be set in 2’s! Depending on the size of your twins, they could both fit in the same basinet. No need for 2!!
In my personal opinion, parents should move their twins out of their room shortly after 3 – 4 months. Chance are your twins probably can still fit in one crib together for short while longer. Cribs are bigger than your basinet, but eventually you will need 2 cribs.
Your house will probably look like a baby store. Just take comfort that you do not need everything doubled. So do not go out and buy it all, just start with the basics first then find what your family needs as your twins grow!
You only have two hands
There are so many ways to take care of your twin with your 2 hands! There are so many useful baby twin products on the market that can make your life easier!! Use some of the tricks on feeding and bathing above to help with those solo situations you may endure.
Place a rolled up blanket on the side of the bottle, to help hold it for your baby. This was one of the tricks I used a lot during feedings. A patients mom told me of a baby bottle holder. Yes there is such a thing!! This was a total game changer for me.
Most importantly, know that your twins will cry. You have only 2 hands and it will be difficult to console both of them at the same time. Thats ok! They will be fine as will you. Just do your best and try to snuggle them as best you can!!
They are expensive
Kids in general are expensive!! My twins were numbers 3 and 4. I did not have the luxury of having a twin baby shower. I still had my old carseat and high chair from their other siblings.
Don’t be afraid to ask friends and family for baby products. Ask friends who are in no need of their non-expired carseat and ask to borrow it.
Accept hand me downs!!
To get hand me downs such as, clothes, highchairs, walkers, is key to raising twins! This will help save you tons of money. They grow so fast that certain things will not be used for so long, so why not borrow them from someone. Just ask!!
Important Raising Twins Advice
- Remember, they are apart of your lives now, not the only thing in your life.
- Moms need to sleep in between feedings as much as they can. It may only be for 30 or 60 minutes, but it’s something.
- Pumps are essential for the nursing mom.
- A crucial step for solo nighttime feedings, is to always be prepared!
- Less disturbance of your baby = less disturbance of their slumber.
- Letting your twins cry for a bit, will not hurt them!
- Ask for help when you can, it can be done alone, but much easier with help
- Remember you are blessed with 2!! Some unfortunately can’t have one
- Two mouths to feed = two smiles to receive
- Love those twins as much as you can, because they are only little for so long
My twins at 5 weeks old
photo by Michelle Marie
My twins at 5 years old
Photo by Michelle Marie