Tips for Surviving the First Year With Twins

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.

Coming home

Heading home for the first time

Gear Up

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!

Helping Hands

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!

Organize!

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?

7 thoughts on “Tips for Surviving the First Year With Twins

  1. My favorite gear is our BJCS and our Arm’s Reach Co-sleeper (original, not mini!) I love having the babies within reach in the middle of the night. It’s made things so much easier!

  2. We had changing stations set up at both ends of our house. We live in a ranch (so there were no stairs involved,) but having diaper supplies both in the nursery and in family room (yes, we found a special place for changing poopy diapers in the room we all relaxed in!) was a lifesaver. No walking back and forth, no forgetting the wipes or Desetin. We were armed and ready to tackle whatever those diapers held and we didn’t have to move too far from where we were before the ‘presents’ were left for us ;)

  3. Baby Bjorn! When grocery shopping for anything more than could fit in the bottom basket of my double stroller, I’d put one baby in a carrier on my body and the other in her carseat in the shopping cart. Also Amazon Subscribe and Save for diaper delivery. I didn’t have to lug large boxes of diapers any farther than from my front door to the nursery or garage.

  4. We hired a teenager 3 afternoons a week to come in and watch the kids so I could make supper, wash bottles, do dishes, etc. Just having that extra set of hands (during what was our kids’ cranky hour) made life so much easier. I would often cook 2 dinners those days, 1 for that night and 1 for the next night (when I didn’t have my helper).

  5. We had family/friends that prepped meals or brought over meals for us in the first month. My mom came over and still does (mine are now 19months) and helps me clean or will entertain the kids while I get some stuff done around the house. My husband has a schedule of working 24 hours on shift then gets 48 hours off. We were able to coordinate our shopping trips and give each other naps times or days to sleep in. We also found it key to give each both time out away from the house and kids at least once a week even if it was for 30 minutes to go get a coffee or run errands. Just having a little time away to clear your head and take a mini break saved me so many times.

  6. Yes, I remember all too well, 5 years ago, prepping in doubles and blissfully unaware of what we were actaully embarking on as parents. Now I am 4 weeks away from having a singleton and how easy it is to prepare a nursery with just one of everything! So much cheaper too!!

  7. Thanks for the comments everyone! @Mercedes, what is the BJCS? @Kaye C – wish I had hired a helper more often! @Missy – best of luck with your new adventure, let us know how different your experience is with a singleton after twins!

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