How to Cope with Twins

Having one new baby can take a lot of adjustment but if you have twins you will have to be prepared for even more. Having twins can be a lovely thing, you only have one pregnancy but get two babies and you will hopefully be able to let them play together which may help them to be entertained as they grow. However, there are some things that are much more complicated when you have twins and so it is worth being well prepared.

Sleep


For all parents of new babies sleep is very important. As babies tend o wake every few hours for an hour, they can tend to be very sleep deprived. However, when you have twins they may not sleep at the same time so you will be awake feeding one, get an hours sleep before the other wakes and you could find that you will only get between two and four hours of broken sleep at night. Health visitors say that you are fine as long as you get a six hour block of sleep, but those that advise that have obviously never had twins! If you have a partner then you could take it in turns to sleep in shifts, doing the feeds in the night for half the night each or taking it in turns to get up. Going to bed very early can help as you may be able to get an hour of sleep in the early evening. Having a few nights off can really help, so if you have a friend or relative that is willing to take the babies for a night that can be great. If they would rather sleep at night then perhaps they would come around in the day and look after the babies while you have some sleep. Try to get sleep whenever you can and be careful if driving as you will be shattered.

Feeding


Feeding two babies at once can be quite a challenge. If you breastfeed then there could be a midwife that will be able to show you how to feed both babies at once and many twin mummies find that they can manage this easily. Otherwise if you are bottle feeding you may need to be prepared to prop up the babies and hold two bottles or prop up the bottles and cuddle two babies. Never leave them alone with a bottle though. You can also buy hands free feeding bottles with an attachment like a straw between the bottle and teat where the baby can suck without you holding the bottle. These are great for using with a pushchair as you can prop the bottle next to the baby or even in highchairs or bouncy seats at home. It means that you can feed both at once and have your hands free to play, cuddle or get on with the chores.

Going out


Going out with a baby can be quite a challenge and going out with two even more so. You will need to take twice as many nappies, spare clothes and things like that. This is not that tricky really, but when you have two nappies to change just as you go out the door (as they will always be dirty just after you have got their coat on!) and two sets of socks and shoes to put on (and then on again as they have taken them off) you will need a lot of time. You will also find that while you are out lots of people will admire the babies. There is something about twins that attracts people and they will want to stop and chat and ask all sorts of questions. Some questions and comments are lovely but some can be quite strange. Be prepared to be asked which is the evil twin, whether they were natural or IVF and whether they are identical (even if one is a boy and one a girl). People mean well and they do not always realise how difficult it can be to be sleep deprived, hormonal and stressed and then be expected to smile and be polite when stopped on the street for the fourth time that journey to be asked if your children are natural or not. A wraparound black insect screen/sunshade for your pushchair can be really handy as no one can see what is inside and you can get through your journey without being disturbed.

Potty training


Potty training is never fun but if you have two to work on at once it can be really difficult. It is actually much easier to tackle one at a time. It is likely that one child will be ready before the other so just work with them and then the other. This will make it easier for you, less stressful and you will have less washing as well. You could find that if you try both at once that you will run out of clean clothes before the end of the day whereas if you do one at a time, they can wear their siblings clothes (assuming they are similar sizes and the same sex) so you will not run out of clean things so quickly.

School


What is tricky about school is that you will have to decide whether to keep the children together or in separate schools or classes. Practically having them at the same school will be much easier for dropping off and collecting. Some schools are big enough to have more than one class per year and this allows the opportunity for twins to be in different classes. Most schools tend to separate twins as they feel that this allows them to be independent and make their own friends. It is something that you will have to consider in primary and secondary school. They may wish to be separated, which will be easy if the school has several classes, but not if it does not. They may want to be together which will be easy if there is only one class per year, but if there are more school may want to separate them. In secondary school you will have to go through it all again, with separate schools being more possible due to school buses and separate classes due to streaming but if they want to stay together it may be more difficult to persuade the school to let them.

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Having one new baby can take a lot of adjustment but if you have twins you will have to be prepared for even more....
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