Preparing for twins is pretty similar to preparing for one baby…just double. Much of the advice for the end of pregnancy and preparing for a baby works just the same as when you’re expecting two…but there’s more.
Stay as healthy and rested as possible
Not that you weren’t trying to keep as healthy and rested as you could before you knew you were having twins, but once you find out, your health and well-being are even more important. We’re not suggesting that you do CrossFit or any crazy workout program, but labor is quite the process, and it helps to be as physically fit as your body will allow.
Another easier-said-than-done goal to have is to get as much rest as possible. Finding a comfortable position to sleep in is no easy task with one baby living in your womb, much less two, but taking care of twins is a high-effort gig, so you’ll need all the energy you can get.
Get your extra stuff
More babies means more stuff. From bottles to clothes to diapers and more, make sure you’re perfectly clear on what things you need two of, and those with which you can live with one. You can read more about the things you’ll need two of, and the things you won’t here.
Figure out feeding
Whether you plan on using formula or breastfeeding, twins and higher order multiples can present some feeding challenges for even the savviest parents, which is why it’s critical to start thinking of your feeding plan well before your babies arrive.
If you plan on breastfeeding your twins, it can help to get your supplies ahead of time, and think about some strategies to make feeding time easier. Many moms prefer to use a nursing sling for hands-free breastfeeding, allowing them to keep an eye on the baby who isn’t currently at the breast. It can also help to use a breast pump, allowing you the flexibility of bottle-feeding while still using breast milk.
Formula-feeding presents fewer differences from singleton-feeding than breastfeeding does, as it’s easier to feed two babies at the same time. The main difference with twins is simply that they may be hungry at different times, which is something that applies to breastfeeding babies as well.
You should talk to your healthcare provider about ways to prepare for feeding two newborns.
Remember that they have different personalities
It can be easy to get stuck in the thinking that twins have the same likes and dislikes, and personality in general. This is especially true for identical twins. However, it’s important to remember that they are in fact two different people, and need to be treated like it.
They might have different feeding schedules, different temperature preferences, different ways they like to be bathed – just make sure that you pay attention to them as individuals, and not always as a pair.
Square away some help
Every new mom could use a bit of help in the early days, but it’s even more important for the parents of twins. Whether from your partner, family, friends, or even somebody whom you find through a (trusted) support group, having somebody there for the first few days at least can make a world of difference.
Communicate with your partner
Every new addition to the family changes the dynamic a bit, so two or more new additions could have even more of an effect. Having clear lines of communication with your partner about your and your babies’ needs during those first few weeks and months and years can help influence the dynamic in a positive direction so the two of you can come up with an equitable arrangement. There are going to be double the diapers to change and double the late-night cries, so it’s even more than usually important to make sure you and your partner are communicating effectively.
Know the signs of preterm labor
We know that many women give birth around 40 weeks, but women carrying multiples tend to deliver a bit earlier. Most twins are born around 37 weeks, while higher multiples are frequently born around 34 weeks. If you’re carrying multiples, it’s important to understand the signs of preterm labor. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists lists the following signs:
- Change in type of discharge, or an increase in discharge
- Pelvic or lower abdominal pressure
- Constant low, dull backache
- Mild abdominal cramps, with or without diarrhea
- Regular or frequent contractions or uterine tightening, often painless
- Ruptured membranes (water breaking)
If you notice any of the following signs, it’s best to contact your healthcare provider right away.
- “Preterm (Premature) Labor and Birth.” ACOG. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. November 2016. Web.
- “Preparing for Multiple Births.” KidsHealth. The Nemours Foundation. October 2013. Web.