Remember how excited you were when you found out you were having a baby? What about that moment when you found out you were having two babies? At first, you may have been shocked, but as you started adjusting to the idea of caring for two babies, you shifted into planning mode...hopefully.
Caring for a newborn is hard enough, but caring for two newborns presents a whole new level of hard work for a new mom. Sometimes it's easy to get so caught up in the work of caring for twins that moms forget to enjoy their role. Yes, it's twice the work, but it's also double the love, double the smiles and giggles, double the tiny toes and sparkling eyes.
If you're going to survive caring for your newborn twins, and still look back on the experience with your sense of humor intact, you're going to need some help. Take some of these top tips from parents who have tackled twins before:
Ask for help - Remember the old saying "it takes a village to raise a child"? If you ever wondered if that were true, you're going to find that it is when you have twins. Twins are all the work of a newborn, times two. Diapers, feedings, rocking, nighttime calming, playing and everything else will need to be done twice. Don't feel like you have to "tough it out" by yourself. Plenty of people will be willing to cuddle, care for and love your babies with you. All you have to do is ask.
Expect (and prepare for) the worst - Babies spit up, have scary-looking bowel movements, put everything into their mouths, get colic, fuss and scream for no apparent reason. Expect them to also run fevers, get rashes and generally cause you sleepless nights from day one. Understand that this will happen, so you can prepare for it. Find a great pediatrician. Get your health insurance in order. Make sure you have a supply kit handy with a thermometer, medicines, lotions, creams, saline spray, extra pacifiers and anything else you may need to grab quickly. Have help ready at the touch of a button, so someone can come to your rescue when you need it. The wonderful times will come with some tough times, and being ready will help.
Don't double everything - Yes, twins are twice the amount of baby, but you don't necessarily need two of everything to make it work. Do you need two baby swings? Probably not. Will you want two baby swings? Maybe. Do your twins have to match? No. Will you want them to? Maybe. Pick what things are non-negotiable for you to double up on (like bassinets). Everything else can be shared. Borrow what you can from other moms so you can save some money up for double the college tuition.
Simplify - Life is going to be quite complicated with twins, at first. Between post-partum emotions, sleepless nights and all the hard work, you will be at risk for feeling very overwhelmed. Don't let yourself feel obligated to live up to high standards for a clean house, getting dressed up, or even showering regularly. Give yourself a break. You and your babies come first. Everything else should be scheduled around that.
Prioritize your sleep - All new moms are told to "sleep when the baby sleeps" - and it is good advice. Parenting twins is different, especially if they're not on the same sleep schedule. Of course, you should absolutely nap when both babies are napping, if that ever happens. Also, be strict about (your) bedtimes. Don't stay up late to catch up on your favorite shows, do chores or anything else. As soon as those babies are in bed, you need to be in bed, too. You need to recharge your batteries whenever you can.