Seeing Double – Managing Life with Twins

When a “bundle of joy” arrives, new mothers may barely find time to revel in the moment, busy as they are with establishing feeding routines, changing nappies, and coping with sleepless nights. Somewhere in between, they might find a moment of respite to sweetly take pride in their little one but quite often it’s a harried few weeks before they can relax.

What if the “bundle of joy” turns out to be TWO “bundles”? And what if you happen to be the mother of the two?
As parents who have experienced this will agree – twins bring double the blessings and joys, but with quadruple the stress and worries. At the same time, they would never trade the experience for an easier time.

Rest assured, the rewards of bringing up twins far outweigh the challenges, just that you need to be careful and organized.

Here are some time-tested tips and tricks that can help:

● Enlist help from family/friends

While countries such as US have modern trained maternity nurses who can be hired to help with breastfeeding routines and more, in India, this concept is yet to catch on. This is because traditionally, Indian women are expected to spend the first few weeks (or even months) post-delivery at their mother’s place.

If you’re staying at your mother’s place post-delivery, you can implicitly expect a good deal of support.

But, in today’s times, many women stay far from their maternal homes and may not be able to shift there even for the delivery. If you happen to be one of these or you just do not have an option of staying at your mother’s place for whatsoever reason, you’ll need to arrange other help. Remember, precious spare moments to simply enjoy your twins won’t come by unless you specifically make time and ease up your own schedule.

You could ask the twins’ dad to pitch in. If his job or business has provisions for paternity leave, it’s great! If not, he may have to use up some of his regular “allowed” leave to help you at home.

You could also enlist the support of relatives, close friends, or neighbors for small day-to-day tasks or once in a while. Sometimes, they may be just waiting for you to ask or it may be possible they asked earlier and you unwittingly turned them down. They’ll understand if you change your mind and need their help. Keep your pride/ego aside and reach out if you need assistance. It’ll help you in the long run.

● Be gentle but firm with visitors

Right after your bring your twins home, you’re sure to be inundated with visits. Visitors, while welcome, can tend to make you exhausted, especially if you have been battling sleepless nights. It’s not necessary to exert yourself to
be hospitable during these visits. Be polite but ensure that they get the hint – you need to rest too.

● Synchronize feeds and sleep times

You will soon learn that if one of the twins wakes up to feed, you will need to wake the other one too and feed them, else you get one to sleep and the other one immediately wakes up. Establishing a routine helps you avoid being on
your toes 24 hours a day and also avoid complete chaos. Decide what works for you and stick with it. It may be extremely difficult to wake the sleeping twins for a feed. But if you don’t, they will wake at some other odd times, throw your routine out of gear, and won’t sleep at night when they ought to.
You might have to implement sleep training too to get them sleep at the same time.

Breastfeeding twins can get extremely exhausting so preferably go for options such as using a breast pump or using a mix of breast and bottle feeding.

Sitting on a sofa or propped up on a bed with lots of pillows and twins propped up can make it easier to feed the babies.

Besides feeding, also synchronize their bath times and diaper changes. If there is any must-follow tip for a new mother of twins, it is this – Follow a consistent and simultaneous schedule of everything for both babies.

● You are only human so cut yourself some slack

One of the hardest things for a mother of twins is the guilt they have over not being able to give 100 percent to the twins. If you’re alone and both babies want a bottle, both need to be carried, or both have a fall, you can’t possibly
give your 100% to both. One of the two has to wait. There’s no choice. So don’t be too hard on yourself. Do only what you can. If you can’t take them to the playground or supermarket alone, because they’re too boisterous and managing them would be next to impossible, accept it and take it in your stride. Don’t feel bad about it.

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● Take breaks

Every parent needs some “me time,” regardless of whether you’re stay-at-
home or a working parent. Take some time off to read a book, shop online, watch YouTube videos, or get a pedicure. Whatever helps you unwind. Remember, your body and soul needs recharging too and the longer you put it off the more drained you’ll feel. It’s a not a selfish gesture, it’s for the larger good.

● Maintain a diary to keep track of medication, vaccinations, and more

Many mothers may not admit this openly but they might be maintaining a diary or recording some of the essential tasks done/to be done. One mother of twin girls narrates how thanks to her diary (that she maintained daily to record feeds, bowel movements, medications and so on), she realized that on the previous feed schedule she had inadvertently fed one of the twins twice and not fed the other one at all. The diary helped her realize her mistake and she was more careful then on. While it may not be possible for you to maintain such a detailed one, you can jot down important items like vaccination appointments and more.

● Managing twins as they get older

You can bet that twin boys get up to some kind of mischief soon enough. It will be hard trying to keep an eye on them all the time so you’ll need to set some ground rules. Expect squabbles, spats, and petty arguments because not only are two kids under the same roof all the time, they are also of the same

age and belong to the same set of parents.

Seeing this day in day out may want you to tear your hair out. But remember

this too shall pass. At some point in future, they may become best friends,

look out for each other, and have each other’s backs.

● Dressing Them Up

You can choose to dress them identically or differently from each other. Even if you don’t want the twins to be dressed identically, you still have to buy TWO of each type of garment, such as two long-sleeved tops, two jackets, two shorts and tees or two nightgowns or PJs, and so on. As the toddlers get older, there may be sibling rivalry so to avoid conflict over whose outfit is better, you may then need to get similar outfits for both.

Bottomline, delivering and raising twin babies is not as hard as you think – with a little organizing and good thinking in place, it can turn out to be manageable and you’ll enjoy the experience!

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