I have 3 other ladies that I know IRL who have blogged to me about their experiences having twins. They have said things like
"the first 2 months were like going through the valley of the shadow of death... You'll literally live from moment to moment, not even day to day. I had it easier in that I had my twins first and then a toddler later on, but it was still very, very hard."
"I lived with my family the my last trimester with the twins. I did nothing. They cooked, cleaned, did our laundry and took care of [my daughter]. It was a huge blessing."
"This is a mama talking from experience. It will be all you can do to get a shower every so often. You think it will be just 2x the work of one..no, it is like 4 times the work. "
I'm seriously terrified by their comments! Is it really THAT hard having twins? I'm doing everything I can to prepare ahead of time so I won't have to do any shopping after 24 weeks. I'm nearly done shopping now. I'm planning to feed the boys 1 bottle of pumped milk a day after they are 2 weeks old so that I can have a break sometimes and let someone else feed them. Is there anything else I can do?
I will not lie. For us it was that hard. Taking care of two preemies who took months to learn to breastfeed, plus taking care of my toddler...well, it was the hardest thing I've ever been through.
BUT! Some twin moms do not feel that way. Obviously, the closer you get to the due date, the better yoru chances are because you won't have preemie issues to deal with. But a lot of it will be luck of the draw. Will one or both be high needs, have colic, have nursing troubles, have food allergies or intolerances, have reflux...? If you get two babies with none of those issues, maybe it won't be so bad. If you have help and can get breaks? It won't be so bad. If your partner doesn't work long hours and is willing to jump in a help with parenting when he's there, including nights, it won't be so bad. If you have the type of newborns (I know they exist, I've heard about them) that sleep long stretches at night, it won't be so bad. If you bond well from the beginning, don't have to have them in the hospital, don't have medical problems, get out of the house frequently, and get naps during the day, then it won't be so bad.
In our situation, we had very few of those things go our way, so it was just really, really hard. Friends with singletons kept telling me "one day at a time" and I thought they were crazy, because I was usually in the mindset of "make it through this next hour" or during the bad times "make it through the next 10 minutes" and no, that is truly not an exaggeration.
It all just depends on your babies and your situation. I think it's best to prepare for the worst, hope for the best.
Oh--and I also heard often that if you can just focus on making it through the first 4 months, it will help. For me it was closer to 5 or 6 mos before it started easing up a bit. After that it was still hard straight through to age 2, but those first few months really are the most difficult.
ugh i am feeling the same way! so hard to get excited when all i hear are the stories of how HARD its going to be to have twin newborns/babies/toddlers/teens, etc.
not to mention im often overwhelmed by my already family...though i hope a lot of it has to do with how pregnant i am right now.
SIGH. we'll make it, i hope.
mama to m (3/96), o (8/07), p (5/09) and our twins: r (2/14/11) and l (2/15/11)
Yes, it is hard having two. When my singleton was born 27 months after my twins people asked "isn't it so much easier having a singleton?" and the answer was, I have three, not one. When the boys were little I had one who was especially high needs and one who was moderately high needs - still are in fact. And it was difficult most of the time I was by myself. But I was lucky in that people came to visit, but there was no such thing as a visitor and when someone walked in the door they either got to hold a baby while I took a shower or fed a baby while I took a nap or folded laundry while I nursed and we chatted. You absolutely cannot do everything on your own and I decided early on that we would eat off paper plates so the dishes didn't get have to get washed and that sometimes somebody was just going to have to cry because I am just one person. I did manage to get to them as quickly as I could, though and at 3.5 they seem pretty happy. My daughter was the quietest, best sleeper that I could have hoped for. It's all in the personality of the baby and your ability to deal with what comes. I got dressed once a week to take them to the baby wellness clinic and the rest of the time with the nursing it just seemed pointless, but after about three months things started to get easier and I was taking daily walks and by six months I would get about 45 minutes of quiet while they played together, so it did get easier. I actually don't have any friends with twins, so I didn't hear any horror stories, which was just as well. Really, IMHO, there is no reason to panick until you know what you are dealing with. Send positive thougths into the universe and you'll be surprised what might happen.
: wife to James, MoM to R and D (Aug 2007) and E (Nov 2009) and Y (April 2012)
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People told us many things, but in the end, we found a rhythm. It is a blessing to have help.
If you are working, short term disability insurance (if you have it) may pay if you end up on bed rest, and after delivery if you had it before you became pregnant. Husband can take Family Medical Leave (assuming you live in the US, don't know how it works elsewhere). If you have a good relationship with either your mom, his mom, or an available family member, having help for the first bit can really be nice. If all else fails, people from your community (church, work, etc) can be asked for help. It sounds invasive to have others in your home, doing "your" work, it does help.
My experience was bedrest for the last 8 weeks of my pregnancy. For much of that, my mom lived with us, and for 3 weeks after the boys were born.
It seemed that we needed one adult to look after each baby, and one to run the house at first. For a long time (3 months? maybe more) I needed my husband to get up with each night time waking to help with the babies. Catching sleep when sleep can be caught is very essential. A good twin nursing pillow (I used the EZ2Nurse) makes nursing much easier, and allowed me to sleep sitting up if need be.
There's a learning curve to being the caretaker of two babies. It is a joyous journey, but there are struggles. It seemed to me that things got better at the threes-- 3 weeks became a bit easier. 3 months became easier, still.
My twins were my first. Do you have other children?
My twins are turning 6 years old tomorrow. I cannot believe sometimes that they are the tiny babies I see in my pictures.
My twins turn 6 months tomorrow and it has been quite hard. I had them when my son was 21 months old and I think the toddler being with them makes it much harder. They came 3 weeks early since I was basically forced by my doctor to be induced since identical twins shouldn't be delivered after 37 weeks. I think this was a huge problem. They act like premies, even though, they are technically full-term. I think a few more weeks in the womb would have helped them a ton. You will get through it though, it just will be hard and the time will fly and you will look at pictures and not remember them being so small. Now I am sad because I am probably done having kids and I feel like I didn't get to enjoy the first few months as much since there is 2 of them. We need to get a good schedule going still. I would recommend that early on. Everyone thinks you are crazy if you breastfeed twins, too. I still do and everyone just thinks it isn't possible. I have moved twice also in the last 6 months so that doesn't help the stress. You can do it! Are these your first?
for us it has been so much easier than i could have expected. our girls are 4 mo and were 5 weeks early and in the nicu for 5 days. we also have a just turned 3 year old boy. we had a lot of nursing problems and i pumped exclusively for 10 weeks. then all of the sudden nursing clicked and away we went. sometimes i actually think our three year old is harder than the twins are. we are blessed with babies that sleep well, go right back down after nursing at night, no colic or reflux. really just good babies. i envisioned everything being impossibly hard so finding out that things are less difficult than expected is nice. think of anything you can do in advance that will help-getting meals frozen, plan out rotating help, get a lc lined up just in case etc. heck, i just flew from ohio to florida with the twins by myself! and i am alive to tell the tale
it was alot of work for us, but not twice the work of a singleton (imo). i don't think it was harder then a toddler and a newborn (and in some ways easier). i would do it again in a hertbeat. we didn't get much else done the first year (besides childcare). but i feel like we did an awesome job at the parenting part. :-) and it was (and is) so so much fun.
Mama to Jet 6/05, Marvel 8/06 and Cash and Fox 2/09
Expecting Ada Marianne 11/14
I haven't read all of the replies...
However that said I was PETRIFIED of having twins. And really (today they are 8 weeks old) .. its not that bad! I really can't say having the two of them is any harder than having just one. My first DS was such a terrible baby that these guys are a peice of cake in compairison (he cried 10-12+ hours a day).
That said... there are some things that we have had to learn to adjust. We exclusively BF on demand... however we try to keep them on a schedule a very loose one. During the day they are pretty much eating/awake/sleeping as they please. At night however when one wakes, we wake the other and we offer them food. So I get up and feed baby A while DH changes baby B, then we swap.... and then I top baby A off and B off again if needed.
We co-slept for the first 4-5 weeks then after that they now sleep in a crib together in our room. For us it was easier NOT having someone attempting to nurse all night long and they seem to be sleeping better for it as well as I can really sleep deeply those 2 hour intervals vs being slightly awake/aware all the time. We've been working with them on laying them down awake but sleepy to get them used to sleeping on their own (we had many many issues with older DS not knowing how to fall asleep without cuddling and rocking so we wanted to try a different approach).
For me the hardest part is not being able to comfort someone the moment they cry. You get used to hearing crying unfortunately... its not possible to not let someone cry at some point. That said trying to stick to a loose routine does cut down on the amount of crying because I'm always ahead of them. I tend to DD first usually and by the time I'm done with her DS is ready.
So for me... having twins hasn't been bad. Its actually been a lot of fun so far, but I did greatly change my expectations of newborn life. I try to make sure myself is hydrated/fed/ and rested so I can take care of them. So its meant changing some things that I have done with my singletons so I can be mentally sound to take care of them both and my older two. I know someone with two sets of twins who prefers twins to her singletons... and I have talked with her a lot over things that have helped her and not so I knew very early on that we had to do some things different just to make life easier so I could tend to two noobs at once.
I do suggest lining up help. You won't need help holding the babies, but you will need help with cleaning, laundry, meals, etc. It will be nice to have someone watch the babies so you can get a quick shower, too.
I do have to say that everyone told me to get the twins on the same schedule from the get-go. I didn't listen to them. My twins are on their own schedule. They nurse when they are hungry, sleep when they are tired. I decided not to force it. It works well for me because I get some one on one time with each of them. I do not feel like i am juggling two constantly. Listen to other people's experiences, but in the end, follow your own Intuition/mothering instincts.
Thanks for all of your thoughts and experiences and honesty! Some days I feel excited/hopeful and other days, especially when I'm tired, I feel discouraged.
I do have a DD who just turned 2 years old. She'll be 2 yrs, 4 months if the twins arrive at 40 weeks. I also have my 20 yr old sister who is staying with us now and will stay for 2 months after the babies are born.
Joy, I'm new here (in fact this is my first post!) but I am a BTDT twin momma of girls (they are 4yo, I also have a nearly 6yo daughter)
For us, having newborn twins was more 'awkward' than 'hard'. They were a bit early (37 weeks) and small (4#9 and 5#9) and had some breastfeeding challenges (sleepy and small meant that they needed to be finger-fed expressed milk, and were not back to birth weight until 4 weeks old). I found tandem nursing for most feedings to be really helpful. For me though, it wasn't realistic to be able to nurse in tandem until the were a few weeks old and someone experienced nurslings. I used my slings and wraps constantly, so no one ever needed to cry more than a few moments changing diapers (we used cloth from the beginning, too). Showering happened when my husband got home, and it helped immensely that he was able to wrap and wear babies as well. I love having twins, and I loved parenting them as newborns. We coslept and by the time they were 2 months old, I could tandem nurse while lying down and asleep.
It was difficult to fall in love with two people at once. It was hard to bond with them as individuals, and I struggled a little with bonding to one (smaller) more than the other. But even that went away by the time they were 3 months old.
I would say that filling your freezer with meals can help you tremendously. We did make some concessions on what we ate - it wasn't as healthy as we normally would have eaten. We had take out far more than we ever had in the past. But even doing that we could still make good choices. My mom stayed with us for 5 weeks (minus weekends) but that was a week longer than I needed. My greatest fear before they were born was not being able to take care of all my children by myself. But by the time they were 3 months old, I was a confident momma again.
My DS1 was at school so I had just the twins daytimes... managed on my own. DP is hands on but EBF and did nights. The newborn bit wasn't bad at all.. in fact I was on quite a high. Bt they latched 2ell, and I had had an easy birth and recovery.
I have another baby now (12w old) and the birth, recovery and bf have all been much harder due to health problems for me and a tongue tie for him, plus twin toddlers to look after
I enjoy my twins much more than I thought I ever would. I intentionally did not "prepare" for having twins - I just didn't want to know how bad it can be. I will say that my DH makes my life possible . . . wouldn't have made it through teh 1st year w/o him. Now that they're toddlers, that's introducing new challenges. BUT, they love each other and play together! When my DD was that age, the only option was for her to play with one of us. They really do have a little built in buddy, and big sis loves to play with them too.
All I can offer . . . is that it will be what it will be. And somehow you'll do it. Sure, you may live hour to hour for a while, but I felt that way the first time around too. Some days you're in survival mode, and other days it's great.
But you can do it!!!
Kimberly, mom & wife - about pregnancy and birth
DD 2004; 3 babies 2007-08; twin DDs 2009; DD 7/12/11 hospital VBAC after 2 cesareans!