So you are expecting not one but two babies! The count down has begun to the day you will meet your special bundles of joy. Here are 5 things I learned from my experience with having 3 babies under the age of 18 months, that will drastically enrich your experience of having twins for a first time mom.
1. Talk to other twin moms
This might not sound like much advice, but trust me talking to other twin moms who have recently gone through what you are about to go through is invaluable. They will be able to prepare you (hopefully not scare you) for what lies ahead. Its also comforting to know that someone else has been there and that they survived.
2. Buy a Pram (Stroller)
I rank this really high on my list of to do's. We chose to buy an inline pram or stroller simply because the side by side prams often were too wide and don't fit down grocery store isles, through door ways and in your car. I used my pram daily because both babies would need my attention simultaneously and I couldn't calm or soothe them at the same time. For example at night time if they both woke up together and cried, my pram was set up in the lounge and I could easily put them inside and rock them back to sleep together. A pram could never replace cuddle time with mom or dad, but when you need that extra set of hands a pram is a great help. In the afternoons I would strap the twins in the pram and take them outside for a walk. The fresh air is good for everyone.
3. Get Organised
Sounds simple enough, but I cannot stress this enough. The more organised you are the less stress you have. If you are bottle feeding, make sure the bottles are sterilized before the feed and ready when you need them. When you change their diaper ensure the new diapers are within easy reach so that you never need to take your attention off your little one in the changing station. At bath time ensure all the products and clothes you will be using are close at hand. Another trick which helped me was to paint one of their toes with a tiny bit of nail varnish. This helps if you are struggling to tell them apart in the first few days. This will also enable you to remember, in your sleep deprived state, who has already been fed and who hasn't had a diaper change. Write these things down if you need to.
4. Get sleep when they sleep
If you are rested you will have milk to feed your babies and you will be calmer. Your babies feed off of your emotion and if you are stressed and tired they will pick up on this. I know practically it is not always possible to go and nap when they nap but try to at least have some time for yourself. Prioritise what is really important and what can wait until after you have had a sleep.
5. Get a good routine
Behind every happy family with multiples is a good routine. Try to stick to the same routine every day, especially the bed time one. I used to bath our twins at around 5:30pm followed by a feed, a diaper change and then they were ready to be put to sleep by 7pm. This routine has remained unchanged in our house for the past 5 years! Obviously as they get older you don't need to be as rigid with your routine, but it does help to have a sequence of events to get them ready for bed.