Having twins is an emotion filled rollercoaster ride.
It starts right from that first scan that sets you on track for a unique parenting experience – with all the challenges and joy filled moments that come with having children – Multiplied by two… all at the same time.
Once you’re over the initial surprise, jubilation and sore vocal chords from repetitively screaming “oh my god we’re having twins” to anyone within earshot…. 36 weeks later, two little bundles of joy will have entered your life – changing it forever as any parent can testify. (I make it sound like a piece of cake, don’t I? There are of course a host of questions you’ll have if you’re expecting twins, so check out the useful link I’ve provided at the bottom of this article too).
So, what can you expect now?
I recently interviewed a good friend of mine, who is living and breathing the ‘Twin Experience’ and one thing she has seen firsthand is the common theme associated with twins – the amazing bond.
My friend and her husband have travelled extensively and as a result the twins, Matthew and Annabelle have moved too (They couldn’t find jobs themselves elsewhere… I jest; they were below school age and had only just started to take their first steps).
My friend knows that this is far less stressful for the twins because as she puts it “they will always have each other”. If you’re questioning how much this bond matters and how strong it is, then this story will probably do a lot to convince you.
One day, Annabelle was taken to the doctors by her mother, leaving Matthew with his father at home. From the moment that Annabelle left the house to the moment she returned home, Matthew cried his eyes out and screamed so loudly that he actually made himself sick (excuse me if you’re reading this while eating!)
He had never behaved in this way before and it was only after a bit of thought that Matthew’s parents realised this was the first time that the twins had ever been separated. So, while having twins can present great challenges – some of which I will go into in a moment – it also allows you to enjoy, watch in awe and experience firsthand the powerful bond that many argue is unique to twins.
The tough first year
While the bond between twins has them synchronised on a lot of things – many of which appear to be tantamount to a ‘sixth sense’ – their sleep patterns, unfortunately, are not always so in tune.
With twins it is highly likely that you will have to operate on even less sleep than single child pregnancies. Get used to short bursts of sleep, as little as 30 minutes here and there is often commonplace, especially in the early days.
- Tag team! If you are not a single parent, then a ‘tag-team’ approach is a godsend. What I mean by this is simply having one parent responsible for crying babies during certain blocks of the day and the other parent to take care of other their ‘shift’.
- Wrap each twin in a swaddle – this can make them feel the closeness of the womb and enjoy a more restful sleep… meaning you get some precious dozing time too!
- Get a Nanny or Babysitter – You have nothing to prove to anyone. You’re already looking after twins, operating on minimal sleep, potentially working, looking after a home and everything else in between. There are some fantastic Nannies and Babysitters available, so keep in mind sites like www.babysittersearch.com.au and give yourself a much needed rest.
- Sleep your twins in the same cot. Remember the bond they have – keeping them together can often aid sleeping patterns.
- Eat well. This sounds obvious, but in amongst all the chaos it’s vital to remember to look after YOU. Eating healthily can help you to cope better with reduced sleep and give you more energy.
Eating patterns and nappy changes:
As sleep and feeding patterns tend to go hand in hand, if one of your twins is operating on a different sleep pattern to the other, then their eating schedule will also vary. This is one of the challenges of parenting twins – however, again you can make your life easier.
- Prepare feeding bottles, nappies and clean wipes beforehand, so you’re not stressed out and in a rush to get everything together with a screaming tot in the background.
- If breastfeeding, test whether one or both babies will happily drink your breast milk from a bottle. If they do, then prepare some in advance to give you some respite from ‘ad-hoc’ demands for your milk.
- Tag team – Again, just like sleeping, but this is more about the preparation of feeding packs, nappy bags etc. Where possible, get one parent to take turns for nappy changes and the other for feeding.
Building a support network
AMBA: Babysitter Search is a firm supporter of the Australian Multiple Birth Association (AMBA) and I can’t recommend enough the resources and support it offers. Visit www.amba.org.au/for more information – you owe it to yourself!
Family and Friends: While you might feel like you are about to turn into Jack Nicholson’s “Heeeere’s Johnny” character in the Shining (lack of sleep can do that to you, hopefully not to the same extent) – it doesn’t have to be that way.
If you’re lucky enough to have a network of family and friends, then ask them if they would be willing to help. This is crucial – even if it means just for a couple of hours to let you and your partner get out of the house and relax.
Babysitter Search: There are a wealth of Nannies and Babysitters available to give you and your partner a much needed rest. Just a simple evening out with friends or a romantic meal can not only preserve your sanity, but also keep your relationship fun and healthy. www.babysittersearch.com.au
BabyCenter: Here’s the link I promised to a great resource when caring for newborn twins or multiples: http://www.babycenter.com/0_caring-for-newborn-twins-or-multiples_3590.bc
So there you have it, a whirlwind exploration into some of the challenges of parenting twins and hopefully a few useful tips for you to enjoy and take away.
I’d love to know what unique challenges you have faced as a parent of twins. As this is a blog article where not everything can be covered, feel free to add your own tips, tricks and advice in the comments below too
Thanks for reading!
This article was supplied by the team at Babysitter Search, a website that provides childcare solutions.
BabysitterSearch.com.au is a community of nannies, babysitters and nanny agencies, all driven by the same goal – to give parents easy access to child care they can rely on.
For babysitters looking for their next job, to parents searching for the perfect babysitter in their area, or a nanny agency wanting to attract the cream of the crop – BabysitterSearch.com.au has all the tools they need.
BabysitterSearch.com.au also hosts a parenting blog with tips to help visitors travel seamlessly through the journey of parenthood.
Parents can also search our comprehensive Nanny Agency Directory for a Nanny Agency in their area.
For more information and to speak to a member of our team, please email: [email protected]