Being the obsessively organized planner that I am, when we found out we were expecting twins I immediately jumped into research mode, googling—with stalker percision—the words, “twin must-haves.” And to my surprise, there were limited hits to my search that I actually found helpful. Ty googling, “monthly cost of twins” and I wish you luck in getting a straight answer to aide in your budget planning woos.
Feeling my pain? Or perhaps you’ve just started your own googling marathon. Either way, welcome to the most amazing club ever. A club that gets better every single day. Yes, two are harder—but two are also immeasurably more than anything you thought possible.
My hope is that the below twin must-haves and must-dos will help in subduing the hard moments that will inevitably come so that baby bliss can take its rightful place.
1. Read this book.
“Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Twins: A Step-by-Step Program for Sleep-Training Your Multiples,” by Marc Weissbluth M.D.
Run, don’t walk, to buy this book. This was—and remains (as we refer back to it often)—the most helpful guide in setting both my husband and me up for success in raising our twins, setting their schedules and engaging with their sleep cues.
Weissbluth shares the good, the bad, the ugly and the fabulous about creating healthy habits for your twins. His refreshingly practical, unemotional, yet deeply compassionate direction will be invaluable to you.
2. Master sleep cues.
As parents to newborn twins, sleep cues will quickly become your best friend. Stave off the overtired baby meltdowns (x2!) or even “witching hour(s)” altogether by being proactive about monitoring your twins’ signs that they are ready for bed.
When sleep cues are monitored and honored, your wellrested babies will be the best version of themselves.
3. Buy the best double stroller you can afford.
Navigating the world outside your house can be hard enough with twins, let alone adding a cumbersome stroller into the mix. Be kind to yourself and buy the best double stroller you can afford.
Make sure it has a large bottom basket, quick release fixtures for your infant car-seats, options to ensure that the stroller grows with your children and is sturdy, yet lightweight in design. The last thing you want is to be pushing a tank-around all day.
After copious amounts of research, we went with the UPPAbaby Vista. But there are many other great options at varying price points. Find the one that you feel would work best for your growing family.
Can’t afford the brand-new stroller of your dreams? Don’t worry! There are some great second-hand options that might help.
Bonus tip: kit out your stroller with all the extras!
4. Keep your twins on the same schedule.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock, Inc., Used By Permission.
I can’t stress this one enough. Create and adhere to a schedule as soon as your babies are ready.
As a parent of twins, at times you will find yourself needing to parent very differently than parents of singletons. Case in point, with a newborn singleton, it’s well-known wisdom to never wake a sleeping baby. Not the case with twins. If you want to keep your sanity when one baby wakes to feed, wake the other one and feed them together.
You can read more about this and other scheduling tricks in the above mentioned, “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Twins: A Step-by-Step Program for Sleep-Training Your Multiples,” by Marc Weissbluth M.D.
5. Get outside.
At least once a day, make sure you get outside. Go for a walk. Pop to the grocery store. Trust me, your emotional health (and your marriage!) will thank you.
6. Brush your teeth.
Sounds silly to even mention, right? But trust me, when there are two of them, and they are crying, hungry or being altogether adorable, you will forget. And when you forget (for the fourth day running!) Mr. Root Canel comes calling.
Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
7. Talk to other twin parents.
Hoard the wisdom of those that have gone before you and survived—but more than survived, thrived! Look for the twin parents that can teach you what to do and what not to do. The more you talk with other twin parents, the more you’ll be able to ascertain what your parenting approach will be.
8. Establish your parenting approach before the babies arrive.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock, Inc., Used By Permission.
Sit down with your spouse, before the babies arrive and navigate together your desired parenting approach.
Trust me, you do not want to be navigating these discussions after the babies have arrived when you’re sleep-deprived and acclimating. Be kind to each other—and trust me, having these discussions at 3 am during the 3rd night feed is not being kind to each other.
Should it be helpful, here is a list of topics my husband and I found imperative to discuss and agree upon before our twins arrived:
- Are you going to sleep train? If so, what approach?
- Will you be establishing a bed-time routine? If so, what type of routine?
- How are you planning to outwork feedings, especially night feedings? Remember, there are two of them! Get a plan of attack in place.
- Will you be rocking the babies to sleep or training them to be laid down awake?
- Will you be predominately holding the babies to soothe them or actively training them to self-soothe?
- How will household chores be divided up once the babies arrive?
- What house-guests are allowed to visit and for how long?
- Who is your relief team? And how/when can they help? Book them in now!
- Pacifier or no pacifier?
NOTE—once you’re in the throes of parenting twins, your pre-agreed decisions will, of course, eb, flow and evolve. So plan with that tactically in mind.
9. Baby registry go-to items.
Looking for some baby registry insight? We have found these items to be essential!
- Tandem feeding pillow. Whether bottle feeding or tandem breastfeeding, this pillow will make it all easier.
- Wipe warmer. Be proactive in finding ways to preemptively soothe your babies/keep them asleep. Trust me, when there’s two of them, its worth it! That and who wants a cold cloth on their bum at 3 am?
- Fenugreek. Aiming to breastfeed, but unsure if you’ll be able to produce enough milk for two? Keep this supplement in your backpocket—it’s magical.
- Bouncer. These puppies are soothing sanity for all. Great for cat-naps and comfort sessions. We have two, and they have been the most used items we bought. They are great for dual bottlefeed sessions as well.
- Rock ‘n Play Sleeper. The first eight weeks were made infinitely less painful for us because of these glorious inventions. Cannot recommend enough.
- Organic nipple cream and diaper blam. Both are clutch.
- Infant to toddler bathtub. Be kind to yourselves and buy a tub. We tried to go sans one and we were fooling ourselves.
- Bandana drool bibs. When you have two, I assure you, you do not want to be changing clothes all day. So instead opt to go through several bib changes instead. Find any and every way you can to make everything as simplified as possible. We have about 30 and go through them every single day. Hello, laundry!
- Bottle warmer. Planning to use bottles at all? Make sure you buy two of these!
- Formula Dispenser. Using formula in any way, shape or form? Then, you’ll thank yourself for purchasing two of these.
- Side-snap shirts. Again, simplify simplify simplify. Newborns aren’t lovers of having things pulled over their heads. Especially five-pound newborns. Enter the side-snap shirt, which literally was a game-changer for us. These beauties cut cry sessions in half for us in the early weeks.
- Gas relief drops. Miracle in a bottle.
- White noise machine. This one is compact, portable and our best friend. We own two.
- Long-corded phone chargers. Your labor and delivery hospital stay needs these. Outlets are notoriously far away from hospital beds, so arrive prepared.
- Velcro swaddles. Our babies slept best and longest when in swaddles, so we invested in several. As they grew, we transitioned to Merlin’s Magic Sleepsuits and then to sleep sacks.
- Bumboo seat. A very kind friend to the parent that still needs to get some household chores done or grab that much-desired cup of coffee.
- Activity Mat. One will do it, and it will be so fun to watch your babies interact with each other while playing.
- Formula. Most twins, even when breastfed, will need to be supplemented with formula. This one is our favorite and has proven to be one of the most natural on the market. Just don’t panic when you see the instructions are in German.
10. Soak-in every word of this.
People’s reactions when you say you are going to have or have twins: “Oh my one is hard enough, can’t imagine two”, “Wow your hands are going to be full” “ Twins, that’s double the work!”, “Better you than me!”… 👶🏻👶🏼 Now these aren’t meant to be bad things but when you are pregnant with twins and already don’t know what to expect, it can scare the crap out of you! I know it did for me. Every time someone said one of these phrases I would smile and laugh it off but deep down I was TERRIFIED ! It was actually pretty rare to hear anyone say anything comforting so this post is dedicated to you soon to be or brand new twin mamas… 👶🏻👶🏼. First off, congratulations, you have hit the freaking baby jackpot! No joke, you are so blessed and you might not completely recognize that yet, especially if you are currently sleep deprived. Is it double the work? Hell yeah it is! I mean there’s two! But it’s also double the LOVE, double the LAUGHS, double the SMILES, double the CUDDLES. Ever have two newborn babies snuggle on your chest holding each other’s hands? It’s the sweetest image you will ever see and the best feeling you will ever experience. You, my momma friend, are so lucky. Just wait until your babies start acknowledging one another. Just wait until they start their “twin talk”. Oh my gosh and just wait for their reaction when they see each other after only being apart for 15 minutes. The smiles on their faces to be reunited with their “womb mate”. Priceless. You, sweet mama, wait until they start entertaining each other and you can just sit back and watch while you sip your ☕…. 👶🏻👶🏼 There is so much happiness and love that you have to look forward to. Oh my god, you are seriously in for the time of your life. When you lock your eyes on those two precious babies, you will not be able to imagine your life just having one of them. God gave you two for a reason. They will both be so uniquely perfect. Cheers, to you, my fellow twin momma! 📷 @teresasphotographs
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11. Most Importantly, cherish every single minute.
Every single day it dawns on me afresh that I get to experience something that hardly anyone gets to, the utter delight of parenting two infants at once. A.K.A. twin bliss.
There are moments where I actually feel bad for singleton parents because they never get to experience the beauty of twins—double the cuddles, double the love, double the smiles, double the coos, giggles and wiggles.
And most importantly, the sweet connection between your two children—a bond so intrinsically and powerfully formed in the womb—that you’ll spend the greater part of every day marveling at.