Advice can be hard to give and take when it comes to parenthood. When you’re a new parent, you may want support when it comes to figuring out how to get your little one on a routine or what kind of formula to use for belly issues. Some new moms embrace every ounce of advice thrown at them while others are hard-headed and wish to try everything out on their own first. You may want to make suggestions kindly to others, but fear they may take your suggestions one way rather than the way you intended.
When you’re a mom of multiples, the stage is set a little differently. Every ounce of advice truly helps – especially if it’s directly from the mouth of another twin mama.
When faced with the insanity of twinhood, getting involved with other twin mamas is incredibly helpful. This can be through local parenting groups, social media pages or through people you already know. Being a parent of a singleton is tough, but when you add an additional little one into the mix – the dynamic truly does change. A lot.
Hearing stories and suggestions first-hand from twin moms brings forward a fresh look. No family situation is the same, every child is unique (even when there are multiples involved). However, there are similarities that come into play with twins that singleton parents may not understand when handing out advice.
20 “Schedules And Routines Will Be Your Best Friends.”
Some parents say, “Never wake a sleeping baby.” Well, when it comes to twins, that saying can be tough if a routine is something you want to solidify with your twins. If both little ones are on their own schedule, the parents may have a tough time transitioning their little ones into a sleep schedule later on or planning time for each baby to be awake and interact together. Many moms of multiples agree that routines and schedules are critical not only for their little ones, but for the sanity of the parents as well.
“Schedules and routines will be your best friends!” explains Bath Clark, Mom of three-year-old boy/girl twins. Jessica Sugg, another mama of boy/girl twins (who are almost two-years-old), agrees with the need for strict routines. She states, “Have them on the same schedules! For example: Nap time. That way you get a little mama time even if it’s just 20 minutes!”
19 Take Time To Bond With Each Twin Separately
“Each twin is their own unique individual. Don't let anyone make you second guess yourself if you don't do the exact same thing for each child,” states Wendy Hvisdak, Mom of 16-year-old twins. “Have a "sneak out" with each child and each parent separately.”
Creating a personalized bond with each twin is important. You don’t want any kind of “favoritism” or obvious special treatment to create a separation between the parent and their little ones. Even though one twin may sometimes be a bit needier than the other, making sure you spend quality, loving time with each is essential to their well-being as well as the well-being of the parents.
18 Accept The Fact You Will Do Double Everything
Twin parents hear it all the time (especially during their pregnancy): You will be doing double of everything. Even though this isn’t the case with absolutely every little thing that goes into twin parenting, it is pretty darn close to the truth.
“Once you accept that you have to do everything more than once it gets easier. Changing two or three diapers, putting on shoes (or re-putting on shoes), feeding everyone, packing the diaper bag - it can all seem overwhelming,” says Anne Noonan-Pahl, Mom of two-year-old twins. “When you accept and work into your routine doing all these things multiple times it gets a lot easier. Adjustments might have to be made in other areas but it will all fit.”
17 “You Do Need Two Of Some Things, But Not Toys.”
One major question new parents ask when beginning the registry-making process is what to get two of. Even though every twin dynamic is different, doubling certain items is critical. Some of these critical items usually include car seats, high chairs, and swings. Many twin moms end up doubling (or tripling) the number of swaddle blankets, bottles (if that is the preferred way of feeding for your family), diapers, wipes, boppies, bouncers, and carriers.
Of course, this isn’t the case for every twin family, but one thing has become almost a fact: Do not double the little toys.
“You do need two of some things, but not toys. They only want what the other one is holding,” Kristel McGuire states, Mom of 13-month-old twin girls. Even though having similar toys can be nice, having double the blocks, plastic rings, and rattles can be enough to make the floor of a home never visible again (and the ankles and feet of parents forever twisted and bruised).
16 Mom’s Health Matters Too
“Moms of multiples go through so much and it can be hard,” explains Ashley Evans, Mom of 10-year-old quadruplets. “But without a healthy mom, it’s not going to work.” This. This plays a huge role in the upbringing of a family.
Every element of a mom’s health is incredibly important. If Mom is overloading herself to the point of a nervous breakdown, her little ones will sense the anxiety. If Mom isn’t keeping up with a cold or sinus infection, the immune systems of her multiples will take a toll.
Moms take on a lot when it comes to motherhood: Diapers, feedings, laundry, chasing little ones, re-fastening gates, scheduling appointments all while still focusing on their own life, work, and relationships. Not taking time for herself makes a beautiful situation a less enjoyable one and no one wants to see motherhood as anything but beautiful.
15 Do A Diaper Raffle Or Ask For “Diapers-In-Place-Of” At Shower
Every twin mom knows just how real it gets when it comes to the number of diapers and wipes multiples go through. Though some parents turn to cloth diapers, that doesn’t always work with as much ease for twins as it may for a singleton (even though, to each their own).
“Diaper raffle at your baby shower will give you a nice stash. You go through about 18 diapers a day at first!” Lauren Miranto explains, Mom of two-year-old twin boys. Meghan Bucheker, a mama of four-month-old twin boys, agrees with the need for diapers and wipes to be staple items at baby showers and/or on the registry. When people know you will be having multiples, they will usually come through and provide help. “Have a diaper party before they come. We still haven't had to buy diapers!”
14 “Write Notes About Them.”
Some people get lost in the chaos of the essential “parenthood tasks” such as diaper changes, feedings, playtimes, naptimes, doctor’s appointments, laundry, dishwashing, and bath times. Those busy moments can sometimes overpower the important, special moments a mom needs to create with their little ones. Reading books, tickling, snuggling, and laughing with your twins is more important than housework in the end.
“I didn’t expect that the first year to be such a blur. So take a lot of pictures, BUT write notes about them,” says Jenna Bates Romano, Mom of eight-year-old twin girls. With social media being such a huge outlet for so many people and parents, written word is often pushed aside. Physically writing notes to or for your twins is an intimate way to cherish memories and capture moments that may, unfortunately, be taken over by technology in the future.
13 Take Help From Others
Moms, especially first-time moms, sometimes have a tough time taking help from others during those first initial weeks of motherhood. When you have two (or more) infants at the same time to care for on top of yourself, taking help is something Moms really should do. It doesn’t mean you are lazy or not putting in the effort your babies need, it means you are caring about your health and well-being so you will be ready-to-rock in the coming weeks when help isn’t as available.
“Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Family, friends, neighbors, whoever is willing to come even it's just to sit with them so you can run to the store or take a nap or just take a breath,” says Meghan Bucheker, Mom of four-month-old twin boys. “No mom is perfect and you don't have to do it alone.”
12 “Go With The Flow.”
When you’re new to motherhood, and the wild world of twins, sometimes the best advice out there is just to “Go With The Flow.” Everything going on is new to you: Transitioning into the title of “Mom,” recovering from delivery, figuring out a new routine, dealing with weird body changes, learning about your little ones. Sometimes it simply doesn’t matter what blogs you’ve read or what classes you’ve taken – just going along for the ride is a cliché you should follow.
“My best advice is to go with the flow and enjoy every moment,” Amanda Arters states, Mom of seven-year-old boy/girl twins. Twin mama, Deena Rodriguez, also agrees with this concept. “Just go with the chaos. It’s temporary and beautiful.”
It’s a weird truth. Before you know it, your babies won’t be babies anymore (another cliché that’s way too true).
11 Contain Your Children (As Weird As It Sounds)
Some parents scowl when they see kids on “leashes” or make comments when a house has gone from an “open concept” to a very, very closed concept because little ones were learning to crawl. When you have multiples, these options start looking like smarter ideas because, well, keeping both babies in the same vicinity is not easy (or safe).
“Containment! Baby gates and double high chairs. Do everything at the same time - it's just easier (meals, naps, diaper changes),” explains twin mom Jane Marissa. Keeping both babies in “contained” spaces doing organized activities can help prevent injury and maintain the sanity of parents when they multitask throughout the day.
10 Take Time for Yourself
“Taking time for yourself. Once a week, a few hours out of the day. Not doing laundry or catching up on dishes, but actually doing something relaxing, something you enjoy, something just for you.” Samantha Brascoupé, a mom of one-year-old twins, truly believes that taking time for yourself as a person (not just as a mom) is critical. “Self-care is so important and I don’t think a lot of moms realize that or think they deserve it.”
Many people only see themselves as “Mom” once their little ones enter the world. Though being “Mom” is now a major role to be played, it isn’t all a woman is once those twins make their official debut. She is also a human being with her own set of interests, hobbies, and passions. Finding time to focus on those interests and focus on yourself is important to a person’s overall health.
9 Waterproof Everything
Having a baby means spills are bound to happen. Spilled milk (or formula), water, juice, baby food, whatever is (or was) in the cup on the side table – you name it. When you add one more child into the mix – you better make sure you’ve waterproofed and used spray guard on your furniture and rugs numerous times.
“Put a waterproof mattress cover on all the beds in the house,” says Laura Vargovich, Mom of three-year-old twin boys. “There will be a day (or likely middle of the night) that you'll thank me for the tip.” Once your little ones are on the move and they see something they want, it can be tough to either get it out of their heads or catch them before it’s too late.
Or before they get their twin in on the mission.
8 “It’s Very Hard At Times, But You Will Get Through It.”
“It’s very hard at times, but you will get through it. There are more good moments than bad,” Barbara Henzler states, Mom of two-year-old boy/girl twins.
Motherhood isn’t easy and twin moms know this to be especially true. Moving doubly as fast while trying to figure out who needs what done when can be a mind-boggling experience. Moms can easily have moments when they want to break down and just give up, but when you’re a parent – you don’t really get breaks; you can’t just give up.
And when you look at your little ones, you realize those tough times are worth pushing through.
7 “If They Are Crying – It’s Okay! It Means They Are Breathing.”
“A NICU nurse told me, ‘If they are crying, it's okay - it means they are breathing!’ That was my mantra for the first year, and sometimes still today!” says Sara Baron-Beitz, Mom of four-year-old twin boys. This quote may seem laughable, but it actually is one that new moms should listen to – especially when they are panicking over why their little one (or ones) are crying.
Crying takes a lot of lung-work for a little one. If the tears are coming, simply knowing those lungs are working can provide some reassurance for a new mom. However, if there are twins who are crying non-stop and food, diaper changes, snuggling, and re-positioning still isn’t cutting it – it could be something else. Perhaps they are teething, overtired or gassy, but at least you know those lungs are working.
And that’s a positive.
6 Find Time For Your Significant Other
“Don’t get caught up in the craziness. Still date your husband/spouse,” Charlene Maslowski says, Mom of nine-month-old twin boys. Getting caught up in the craziness of twins definitely happens. Those first few weeks (sometimes even months and years) can drastically change the family dynamic – and it makes sense that it will. However, it’s important to remember what got you there in the first place: A special connection with another human being.
Making time for you and our significant other is important. This is crucial not only for the growth of your relationship, but for the overall energy in the home (which includes your little ones). Wendy Hvisdak, Mom of 16-year-old twins, also believes in maintaining this critical bond. “Stay connected with your partner. Work together to get through the bedtime routine, and spend time together when the kids go to bed.”
5 Practical Advice Is Sometimes The Best Advice
Sometimes it isn’t the suggestions and recommendations given to new parents in classes or books that make all the difference. Sometimes it’s the simplest hints and tips thrown your way from other moms of multiples that can mean the difference between a day from “you know where” and the “perfect day.”
Even though, any parent would love to see what this “perfect day” scenario entails.
“Use kitchen scissors to cut up their food and get a spare potty to leave in your car - it will save the day. Trust me,” explains Tina Treichler, Mom of four-year-old twin boys. The tiniest tidbits of knowledge, such as using scissors for food-prep, can make an overwhelming moment a little less chaotic.
4 “Take Advantage Of Your Support System.”
“If no one offers and you need a break - ask for help. People don’t mind! Take advantage of your support system - it’s a sanity saver! Twin mom, Katherine Peterson, states. If you have family members, friends, co-workers, and even neighbors nearby who are willing to come over for even an hour every day – take full advantage of them. This could mean taking a long shower instead of a quick, anxiety-ridden one or walking the poor family dog who probably seems a little left out.
If you don’t have a strong support network to lean on, there are ways to find them. Asking your pediatrician, OBGYN, lactation consultant, or WIC counselor about local “Mom Cafes” can link you with other twin mamas (or moms in general). Social media also has many pages that are specifically focused on being pregnant with or raising twins. Even if the support is through Facebook or Instagram, it’s still a good feeling when others can relate to your situation.
3 Be Prepared For Public Outings
Going out in public with multiples is always an adventure. In the back of a twin mama’s mind, she sometimes chuckles when singleton parents complain about the preparation that goes into getting their little one ready for a quick trip to the grocery store. Though this may sound a bit rude, it is something some twin parents take a moment to laugh about because, well, preparing two (or three or four) for a public outing can be intense.
It also makes twin parents feel like superheroes (especially when they need a pick-me-up).
“When people tell you, ‘Wow your hands are full,’ smile and respond with, "Yes, but my heart is more full" - because it truly is double the love,” says Barbara Henzler, Mom of two-year-old boy/girl twins. By responding in a positive manner to strangers who smile or comment when you walk in with your double stroller or hands filled with car seats, you are reassuring yourself of that “you got this” mentality so many parents need to follow.
2 “Have Confidence And Trust Your Instincts.”
“Remember to have fun and enjoy the moments as they happen because you will never finish all of the laundry and dishes anyways,” says Ashley Marie, Mom of 16-month-old boy/girl twins. This positive mindset is what many new parents push to the side when chaos completely takes over. Again, motherhood isn’t easy and some may see twins as adding more stress to an already overwhelming situation.
Seeing “twinhood” as an “overwhelming situation” will only bring a mama’s self-esteem down. Having twins should be seen as adding more love and adventure to an already beautiful scenario. As Ashley stated, focusing on the memorable moments should come far before focusing on those dirty dishes or all those bibs covered in green beans. “You are stronger and more capable than you think. Have confidence and trust your instincts,”
1 “Accept Everyone’s Advice, But Pick What Works For You.”
“Accept everyone’s advice, but pick what works for you and your family and don’t apologize for your choices,” says Jessica, Mom to eight-year-old twin boy. “Sometimes it won’t work out and you will have to try again, but it has to be what you think works best for you.”
Even though the entirety of this article is focused on accepting advice from others, it’s important to pick-and-choose what works best for your specific family dynamic. Every child is unique and not every suggestion works well for everyone. Advice from a singleton parent may also not work for your family of multiples – that’s just the honest truth. Twins are different and that’s what makes the adventure a thrilling one.
Only take the advice that works for you. If the advice does not fit your lifestyle, move on and move forward.
References: Real responses from real “Moms of Multiples” who gave full consent to use their quoted statements: WNY Mothers Of Multiples (Facebook Group), Gentle Parenting of WNY (Facebook Group)