Janice and I have always said we love being twins, but neither of us wanted to actually have twins because it would be so much work. In fact, when our mom found out she was having us, she was 33 years old with a 4 year old and a 6 year old and she burst into tears because she was so overwhelmed with the thought of all the work brought on by twin babies.
But we know first hand the blessing of being a twin, so we’re thrilled to share this post from Teresa Kindred about how to prepare for twins.
I am the proud grandmother of 5 grandchildren (with another on the way). I am also the mother of identical twin boys. My husband and I already had 3 children when we learned we were about to have another baby. I was 36 years old and teaching full time at our local high school. I couldn’t help but wonder how I would find the energy to keep up with 4 children. My mother had just passed away the year before and even though my husband was supportive, he had a full time job too. I was excited but a tad bit overwhelmed.
When I began having trouble sleeping at night during the 4th month of my pregnancy I complained to my doctor. I kept dreaming I was smothering and waking up feeling short of breath. My doctor ordered an ultra-sound (they weren’t routine back then) and when 2 small circles appeared on the screen my doctor pointed to them and said, “I know why you can’t breathe! You are are having twins!”
My first question (after a few moments of shocked silence) was, “Can you tell if they are girls or boys?” We already had 2 boys and 1 girl at home and I knew my daughter would want a sister. “Both boys,” he said with certainty. My response was, “The toilet seat will never be down.” Not exactly an expression of excited anticipation but my prophecy was right on the money.
Preparing for Twins
Perhaps you are expecting twins or twin grandchildren and you are wondering how to get ready, or how you can help the new mom. Here are some things we did that I hope will help you with the transition of bringing 2 babies home at the same time.
- Color code clothing and pacifiers.
Even though the mom and dad will most likely be able to tell the babies apart, other people will not, especially when they are infants. Our twins were named Grant and Russell and I used red for Russell and green for Grant. Even their pacifiers were color coded so we didn’t mix them up!
I also dressed Russell in red, or at least put red socks on him and Grant wore green ones, that way visitors and family members new instantly which baby they were holding.
- Talk about the babies before they arrive.
If there are other children at home, spend a lot of time talking about the babies and what it will be like when they come home. Assure them that their help will be needed to help care for their new siblings. Involve them in decorating the nursery, or washing baby clothes.
It makes them feel important and more excited about the new additions.
- Invest in a good washing machine.
If I had it to do over I would have bought a big, big washing machine. The one we had was average size and with 5 children there were mountains of laundry.
Even if there are not other children at home you will be amazed at how much more laundry twins will create.
- Be ready early.
In most cases twins come early so it’s important to be prepared well in advance of the due date. Ours were due the end of January and when I started having contractions in October my doctor ordered complete bed rest, which of course made me worry more. I gave notice at work and I went to bed and stayed there. The contractions stopped and our twins were born the day after Christmas, 4 weeks early.
So moms-to-be, pack your suitcase early because you probably won’t make it to your due date.
- Get a support team ready, you are going to need it.
The first night our twins were home my husband and I would get one to bed and the other would wake up. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. By the time the sun came up we were exhausted and wondering how we were going to survive. Thankfully we had friends and family who pitched in and helped.
If you don’t have friends and grandparents near who are able to help, then hire someone, at least for the first few weeks until you get your routine going.
- Breast feed or bottle feed, whichever works best for you.
Should you breast feed or bottle feed? That’s a personal choice but I’ll share what happened to me. I wanted to breast feed because I did my other babies. I was 36 years old and had 3 other children. Breast feeding my twins didn’t turn out to be a good idea for me. By the time they went back for their 2 week check up they had lost more than a pound. The pediatrician told me to start supplementing immediately and within a week they were back to their birth weight. Within a couple of weeks they were bottle babies. Did it make me a little sad? Yes, it did. But the health of your children is more important than whether or not you can breast feed.
Whatever is best for the babies is what’s best for you.
To all moms and grandparents expecting twins or multiples, “Congratulations!” Try not to feel overwhelmed because having multiples is a blessing, even though it’s challenging. I actually found twins to be easier than I expected them to be because they go through all the stages of childhood at the same time.
Yes it’s twice the work but your heart will be filled with twice the love.
It truly is a miracle times two!
Written by our “5 Minutes with Nana” columnist, Teresa Kindred.
Teresa is the author of several books including The Knot at the End of Your Rope; Ten Ways to Hold on When You are Stressed Out and Mom: PhD-A Simple 6 Step course on Leadership for Moms. She was a major contributor to Humor for a Teacher’s Heart and Cup of Comfort Devotional: Daily Reminders of God’s Love and Grace. She also authored four Precious Moments books that were illustrated by Sam Butcher.
Don’t miss Teresa’s post about How To Choose Names for Grandparents.
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