With twins you’ll often hear strangers say to you “double trouble” or “you have your hands full!”. What they don’t realize is it’s also double the work and double the gear for the first year!
Our Little Mister and Little Missy are now officially into the terrible twos. They’re walking, talking little people, and little helpers to boot. I’m taking some time to reflect back on the early days when our twins were too small to move, too tired to keep their eyes open and two cute to care!
Here are some lifesavers and tips that helped us get through the first year of caring for twins as first-time parents.
Do you remember the first time you walked into BabiesRUs, registry in hand? I was overwhelmed by the sheer amount of stuff for babies. Where to begin?? And do you really need 2 of everything for twins? Well, kinda. By the time the twins were born, our house looked like a BabiesRUs.
We had a baby monitor, bottle warmer, double electric breast pump, 2 bouncy chairs, 1 exersaucer, 1 jolly jumper, 1 musical swing, lots of bottles, receiving blankets, washcloths, sleepers, a co-sleeper, etc. We bought stuff from our local twins consignment sale (www.MBFA.ca), Kijiji (a Canadian Craigslist), got hand-me-downs from friends and of course gifts!
This was my first pregnancy, so if I were expecting a singleton instead of twins, I wouldn’t have though about buying second hand items. Since it was twins, we needed double of (almost) everything so it made practical sense to purchase resale. Now I’m so glad we did!
We have wonderful family, friends and neighbours. We had help during the day and night in the early days and even on weekend. Mr. Mama took over a month of parental leave (and couldn’t wait to get back to work!). I couldn’t have done it without him! To keep the peace in our house (and free up our precious time), we hired a housekeeper to keep things clean. We also enlisted our family to bring over food and groceries. I enjoy eating fresh fruits and vegetables, but it was a few months before I had the time and energy to chop up veggies and make myself a salad. Even now, every time I try to do something in the kitchen, I need to step away at least 3 times to check on the kids when I hear crying or – even worse – when they are too quiet! Line of sight is key!
We recorded all their changes, feedings and baths everyday for 3 months. Especialy helpful since we had lots of different people popping in those first few months to help. Also very helpful for me to record the amount of milk I was producing, and how much their intake was of both breastmilk and formula.
For housework, we figured out what chores were important to us, and who could help us with them. When our families came over we had a list of tasks they could do like fold laundry, wash and sterilize bottles, etc.
As we became more independent and I was home with the babies by myself during the days, I started doing more meal planning. I would cook a few things to last us a couple of days and freeze part of the batch for later.
Schedules & Sleep Training
We started sleep training around 6 months and kept at it. Luckily Little Missy was born with an internal clock that told her to get her beauty sleep by 7pm while Little Mister was our night owl. Still we tried to get them to bed early every night even if it meant we couldn’t go out for dinner or stay out late unless we wanted to be up all night with overtired babies!
The key was, and still is, routine, routine, routine. Even if we didn’t do things at the same time everyday. Our twins became accustomed to the cycle of nap, eat, change, play. One of our neighbours who has experience working in a daycare, suggested using the E.A.S.Y. method. Eat, Activity, Sleep, You time!
What tips and tricks did you use to get your family through the first year with twins?