The first few months of being a parent can be overwhelming enough but, when you're expecting or looking after twins, things can get even more complicated. Fortunately, there are some tried and tested dos and don'ts we can offer to save you plenty of time, energy, and stress. So, it'll be much easier for you to enjoy being the new parents of twins.
Here, we're going to outline what you can do to streamline all of the little jobs you need to do when looking after your newborns, and also explain which pitfalls you can avoid.
DO sync your babies' schedules
In the first few months, new parents typically find it very difficult to get time to themselves but, for obvious reasons, it can be even harder when you have two littles ones to look after. Fortunately, you can increase the chances of you finding time to nap, shower, and show yourself some self-care by ensuring your twins are on the same schedule.
Of course, your babies will be individuals who have their own ideas of when they want to sleep and be fed. Plus, it's likely they'll differ when it comes to how much they eat, how well they sleep, and how much entertainment they require. However, it's still worth persevering to get them on the same schedule.
For more information about this, make sure you also read our guide to creating a newborn baby routine, which offers plenty of hints and tricks you can use along the way.
DO connect with other parents that have twins
Most new parents will share a similar experience, but having two babies at once can add an extra level of pressure. So, as well as going along to standard baby groups, we would recommend also seeking out those that are specifically for people in your situation.
There are a number of benefits to this. Socialising with other parents of twins should help to take a lot of the stress out of everything, because you'll be able to chat openly about your experience and share your worries with people who totally understand. You'll also be able to see first-hand that everything you're going through is totally normal, and that all new parents of twins get overwhelmed sometimes. Often, simply knowing that you aren't alone can go a long way to brightening your mood.
DO opt for unisex clothing if you have a girl and a boy
As the parent of twins, you'll soon find that time is of the essence, so you'll want to take steps to streamline everything as much as possible. Once of the simplest and most effective ways of doing this is by having a communal wardrobe full of clothing that both of your twins can wear. If you have two boys or two girls, this shouldn't take too much thought but, if you have one of each, sticking to unisex clothing can be very helpful.
There are a number of ways in which this will save you time every day. Firstly, when you're dressing your babies in the morning, you can be confident that whatever outfit you grab is going to work just fine. And, the same can be said when you're pulling out spare outfits to pack in your changing bag. You'll also save time when you're doing the laundry, because you won't have to worry about separating all of the pieces and putting them in two different wardrobes — everything can just be put away together without much hassle.
DO ask for help
Looking after twins takes a lot of time and work, so never be afraid to ask for some extra help from your partner, friends, or family. Whether you need them to bottle feed one baby while you're breastfeeding the other, you need an hour to yourself so you can get showered and ready, or you want to run some errands and aren't confident you'll be able to push, carry, and do everything yourself, asking people you trust for some help will help to make your days much less stressful.
Don't feel like you're being cheeky for asking your loved ones for help, either. They'll recognise you've got a lot on your plate and will most likely jump at the chance to help you out!
DO leave plenty of time for everything
If you're a first-time parent, it's likely you'll be shocked by just how long it can take to do the simplest of tasks when you have a newborn. And, this is even truer for those with twins. Therefore, to keep your stress levels low and ensure you tick everything off your to-do list, it's vital that you always leave plenty of time to get it all done.
While you're still getting used to everything, from dressing your twins to placing them in the car, we would recommend leaving twice, or maybe even three times the time it would take you to leave the house before having your little ones. By leaving a margin for error, you won't have to worry too much if anything goes wrong and, if you get out earlier than your expected, it'll be a bonus.
DON'T double up on everything
When you have two babies, it's easy to think that you also need two sets of all your baby essentials. But, this isn't true of everything. To begin with, you don't actually know what your babies are going to like: one of your twins might love sitting in a bouncer or rocker, while the other might hate it. So, it's a good idea to buy one of everything to begin with, and then invest in another if you need it.
Most of the time, you'll find you can get by with just one. Although, of course, there will be some essentials that each baby requires, including a car seat and cot.
DON'T separate them
It can be tempting to separate your twins to give them a sense of independence — especially when they're sleeping, in case you're worried one might wake the other. But, whether it's during the day or night, putting your little ones in separate rooms is likely to stress them out and might leave them unable to settle.
Your twins have their whole lives to grow apart and forge their own identities, so don't rush the process — keep them together in the very early years, and they'll keep each other company. As a result, you should find that they need far less entertaining, and you might even be able to get some quiet time to yourself.
DON'T blame yourself if anything goes wrong
There's no guidebook that can completely prepare you for first-time parenthood and juggling the care of two babies can be even more difficult. So, don't beat yourself up if there are times when you're struggling to keep on top of things, or you run into trouble. It's a steep learning curve, and you can only do your best.
As we've mentioned, socialising with other parents of twins and asking for help can take a lot of the pressure off you, and make you feel much better if you have a particularly stressful day. Parenting is a fantastic experience, but it certainly isn't easy, so don't blame yourself if things don't go right — tomorrow's a brand-new day, and things will get easier.
Becoming a parent is always overwhelming but caring for two babies at once can be even more so. But, by having these dos and don'ts in mind, you should find it much easier to streamline everything, so you can save time and make the whole experience much less stressful.