While pregnant with twins, I read every book and article that I could get my hands on. The number one piece of advice I would see again and again was to get your family and friends to help. This is GREAT advice, in the beginning, but eventually the MealTrain comes to a halt, friends have to go to work, and you realize your closest relative is five hours away. Eventually, many moms have to figure how to stay sane, when alone with twins.
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Me Time Let’s face it, when you have twins, “me time” is almost nonexistent. We make sure to take care of our kids and our partners but what about us? Everyone needs a break at some point. Having “me time” whether it’s grabbing a cup of coffee or going for a walk alone will make you feel terrific. Try it.
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Accessible and informative, What to Do When You’re Having Two is the must-have manual for all parents of twins.
There is no way to explain the physical and emotional demands of taking care of two tiny humans at the same time. There is also no way to explain the joy these two tiny humans will give back. Do the best you can and take an occasional bubble bath. Sure, it may be interrupted by crying babies, but it may not. It will get easier. When? Every. Single. Month.
Put your twins on a schedule. This is an absolute must. I encourage you to start this within the first few weeks of your twins being born. Having them on a schedule allows for some consistency and predictability in your otherwise inconsistent, unpredictable twin world .
Write it down. I can’t stress enough the importance of this one. It is very hard to remember things when you are sleep-deprived. Instead of being annoyed with yourself that you forgot something that you need or had to do, write it down. Such a simple tip for keeping your sanity.
Hindsight is a beautiful thing. I’m hoping that all of my new found wisdom will be of help to you.
It’s okay to say NO. Family and friends are going to want to see your babies. You will be invited places with them and people will want to come over to visit. Some days you just can’t do it. It might be due to their feeding/sleep schedule or on that given day it might just be too hard to pack them up and take them out for the day. It’s okay to say “No”. I repeat, it’s okay to say “No”.
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Get out of the house every day. It sounds so simple but when you have twins it is not always so easy to do. The fresh air will do everyone good. They most likely will fall asleep in their stroller allowing you to take a breath, get some exercise and hopefully clear your head for a moment or two.
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When I reached my second trimester, the nausea finally went away, and I started feeling more like my normal self (plus 20 pounds of baby). It was around this time that I registered for a half-marathon. I told my family and friends that if I didn’t feel like it when the time came, I wouldn’t race. I knew in my heart that I needed to meet this goal for myself. Fast forward to when my babies were 8 months old. Not only did I finish the race, but my time was a personal best. Sure, it took a lot of training, and I had to sacrifice some sleep to train. But running gave me a place of solitude, during which I could reflect or zone out. It refreshed me in a way that sleep couldn’t.
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Elyse Habenicht is a former science teacher, turned stay-at-home-mom of 1-year-old boy/girl twins. Her pre-children hobbies of cooking and running, are now prepping healthy baby food and logging miles with her kids in the jogging stroller.
Double feed. I was a little wary about this after I had my twins. How could I possibly feed both at the same time? I promise you, it can and should be done. You can double feed if you are nursing or bottle feeding. By feeding both babies at the same time you once again are creating a few free moments for yourself. Remember, the goal is to stay sane.
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Staying sane means that you find the bright spots of every single stage. I find myself missing the cuddles of my newborns, but loving when my babies run into my arms for a hug. Even though you are “alone” with twins, you are not actually alone at all.
The days of grabbing a granola bar and a cup of coffee to last me through teaching four middle school classes were over. For almost nine months, I provided breast milk for my twins by exclusively pumping. This activity is a caloric-burning-equivalent to running fifty miles per day. What worked for me? Smoothies. There are nutrient-dense smoothie mixes that help lactation. Throw in a frozen banana and some coconut milk, and you will have a great breakfast to sustain you…until second breakfast….one hour later.
Just say yes. If family and friends are offering to help you, accept their help. You can always use a hand in making/cleaning bottles, running errands, folding laundry or even just having someone to hold one baby while you hold the other one.
The rate of twin births has risen 79 percent over the last three decades, and continues to increase. A mom of fraternal twins and a national guru on having two, Natalie Diaz launched Twiniversity, a supportive website with advice from the twin-trenches.
My first outing with the babies, by myself, was to the grocery store. I parked at the very end of the parking lot, with no cars around, because I knew I would need space for my giant double-wide twin stroller. My heart raced in anticipation. Would the babies cry? Or poop? Would I be able to put the stroller together? Would my favorite cereal be on sale? I only had to call my husband for encouragement (and stroller help) twice before the babies and I made our way into the store. And guess what? I don’t remember if anyone cried or pooped. I do remember leaving the store feeling like Superwoman.
In the newborn days, I came to realize that I was meeting the recommended 10,000 steps per day, without ever leaving my 1400 sq ft. house. The perfectly cute nursery we had envisioned needed to change to the absolutely most practical set-up possible. I moved the babies’ dresser (with a changing station and all of their clothes) into the living room, where we spent most of our awake time. Also, my husband set up remote switches so that when I turned on the light in the nursery, two white noise machines, one salt-lamp with a perfect warm glow, a nursery fan, and a humidifier all turned on simultaneously.
Related Articles 3 Daily Habits That Saved My Sanity As A Twin Mom Twin Wrangling Gear To Save Your Sanity Rules For Surviving The First Week With Twins Sign up for the Twiniversity Mailing List to be the first to hear about product giveaways, contests, and special offers exclusively for twins and higher order multiples! Expecting twins? START HERE! Check out our ultimate list of the most important articles for expecting twins and managing your newborns! Are you a new twin parent? Check out Natalie Diaz’s new book “What To Do When You’re Having Two: The Twin Survival Guide From Pregnancy Through the First Year”, available in stores now!
What to Do When You’re Having Two is the definitive how-to guide to parenting twins, covering how to make a Birth Plan checklist, sticking to one sleep schedule, managing double-duty breastfeeding, stocking up on all the necessary gear, building one-on-one relationships with each child, and more.
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You’ve gotta laugh. Sometimes just laughing at the insanity of having twins is the only way to keep your sanity.
Jennifer Genel is a renowned twin expert and licensed social worker. She is an associate at Twin Love Concierge, USA’s Premier Twin Specialists. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and twins, Jake and Rachel.
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Speak with other twin parents. Raising twins is a very unique experience. On a somewhat regular basis, your emotions run the gamut from immense joy to being overwhelmed beyond belief. Who better to commiserate with than someone who is also going through it? I’m certain that this will make you feel better and a bit more sane. Maybe even get you to laugh a bit.
Someone once told me that having twins feels like chronic insanity… and they were right. My twins are 2.6 years old. I am happy to say that we are in a very good place at the current time; however, the road up to now has been filled with many moments of insanity.
Take a shower daily. Lets face it, you are exhausted. You have a lot that needs to be done, from laundry to cleaning bottles. Taking a shower might not be a priority but I promise, you will feel so much better after you do and…you will smell so much better too!
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