Okay, maybe the title is a slight exaggeration. But, when you’ve gone days without sleep, the babies have been fussy all day long, or you need to go grocery shopping, trust me, you feel like you’ll doing anything you can to merely “survive”. You get creative, just so you can get a little extra sleep or those five seconds of peace and quiet. I’ve had a lot of people tell me they don’t know how I manage to take care of two babies.
Here are some tips we used that helped us survive the first year with twins:
My biggest things were:
- Wash sheets
- Put clean sheets on the crib
- Buy different types of bottles
- Buy different brand of diapers and stock up
- Wash some clothing (Not all-in case they are smaller or bigger than expected)
- Clean the house
If you have a great support system, I would have someone assist you in arranging help (night nurse, doula, family members) and meal prep!
2. Slow Cooker meals
Ok. It’s nearly impossible to feed yourself during the first few months after having twins. Here’s why: If your significant other worked all day, the chances of them cooking dinner is slim- they’ll be exhausted. If they do manage to cook, it’ll probably take them so long between helping change diapers, and entertaining babies that the two of you wont eat until at least 10 p.m. By then, your food with be cold or taste disgusting, or you’ll be too tired to eat. I cannot tell you how many times we used our slow cooker during the first year, but I’m surprised we didn’t have to buy a new one from wearing it out!
A slow cooker is truly a twin mama’s best friend. All you do is throw ingredients in the slow cooker, and it takes care of itself. You may have to mix here and there, but it’s practically effortless. And, you get a delicious meal out of it!
3. Carry out
This can get expensive, fast, but this was our other go-to when I couldn’t manage to go to the grocery store early enough. It was perfect, and still is to this day! If you don’t want “fast food”, don’t want to pack up the babies or are too exhausted to make a meal, this is wonderful. Almost every restaurant allows you to call in a carry out order, so you can have something different each night-sushi, burgers, wings, you name it!
4. Tandem breastfeeding
This hurts your bottom and back after a while, but it’s totally worth it. Not only is breastfeeding free, but it contains healthy nutrients for your babies.
Breastfeeding new babies takes a while. I was already sitting for hours when I would tandem breastfeed, I couldn’t imagine feeding one baby at a time. So, I would grab snacks, sit on the couch, turn on the TV, and rest my breastfeeding pillow in my lap. I would place both babies on the couch, one baby one my left side and the other on my right. I would grab the baby on the left, place them in a football hold up to my left breast, then the other, and place them in a football hold up to my right breast. They would stay there until they were done.
Once they get bigger, it becomes more difficult, though. The babies become too long, especially for the football hold. This is where bottle propping comes in hand.
5. Bottle propping
Unfortunately, I didn’t find out about the Table For Two until after my twins could hold their own bottle. Instead, we did the old fashion way, and used pillows and blankets to prop bottles. My husband would have the babies lay in his lap, heads propped by pillows, laying in the football hold position, and bottle feed them. My mom would put the kids in the Rock N Play Sleepers, and prop up their bottles with blankets when I was at work.
6. Rock N Play Sleepers
The kids slept in these for months! Technically, Rock N Play Sleepers aren’t considered safe-sleeping (Fours B’s-Back, By themselves, bare, baby monitor), but our son had terrible acid reflux making it difficult for him to actually sleep lying flat on his back. The swinging motion and noises were great, and allowed the kids and I to get some much needed rest!
This is for the parents sanity, and so the kids can sleep. Whenever the kids were overtired and refusing to sleep, I would take them for drives around the neighborhood. They were out like lights almost instantly! I also love going for drives, and created my own go-to spot that I find incredibly relaxing. Pro-tip: Pacifiers are helpful for driving, if your baby doesn’t hold a bottle yet!
We were very lucky to have our kids in the spring, because we had months of being able to go for walks. Just like driving, the kids were out during walks. Fresh air does wonders to your body and mind, and I believe it definitely helps kids sleep better!
9. Baby Carrier
We used the Baby Bjorn, but any baby carrier is a godsend. When you have a lot of cleaning or your baby is being clingy, you just strap the baby in and do what you need to do.
10. Routine, Routine, ROUTINE
This is the most important aspect of how we survived that difficult first year. The kids did everything like clockwork- They pooped, ate, and slept at the same times every day. Putting kids on a schedule is not only helpful when they are infants, but later in life it will be helpful for when they go to school or get a job.
How did you survive your first year as a parent? What would you recommend to pregnant mothers or new parents?
Here are some more twin-essentials that are helpful: