Because twins are not easy, and YES, two is so much more than one
by Krystle Gard
My twins are almost four, and I am constantly thinking that I should write something about having twins. But when I stop and think back on those early days, I can barely remember anything. I was so sleep deprived that I ended up with postpartum depression when my twins were eight months old. So, I don't have any flowery words about the wonders of twins. What I do have is practical advice, that I like to call the T-W-I-N-S Method, that will help you thrive during the first year, so you can enjoy all of the many sweet moments amidst the chaos.
As hard it can be to admit we need help...admit you need help! We often feel we have to do it all ourselves - I certainly did. But we don’t have to. I wish a friend would have recommended a postpartum doula, or a family member who doesn't live close by would have bought me a gift certificate for some postpartum doula hours. It would have been life changing. Partners are wonderful and are priceless. And at some point you both need sleep and support. Imagine for a second… a wonderful, kind woman comes to your door. She sends you off for a nap, engages your older child (if you have one) in something fun while she washes, dries, and folds a load of laundry. She feeds the babies and preps some food for dinner. Then, with her help, you set a new record for getting everyone out of the house in under 36.8 minutes. Every twin mom, whether their twins are their first babies or not, deserves that kind of support.
Looking back, this could have really changed how that first year went. I decided at some point I was going to follow the advice and “never wake a sleeping baby.” With my babies on opposite waking schedules, this meant I woke every two hours to feed one of the babies for 11 months, which really translates as For. Ever. This is where I lost all my sleep. Take it from me: Dream Feed* the twin that doesn’t wake up. It will save your sanity.
You are going to hear the same things over and over: “Are they twins?” “Are they identical?” “Wow, you must have your hands full.” Or my favorite: “I don’t know how you do it.” If you get bothered every time you hear one of these comments, you will be stressed all.the.time. Accept that you will hear at least one of these each time you go out - and just let it go.
To save time and give yourself more freedom, try to feed your twins at the same time. This may seem impossible, but practice makes perfect. There are a couple of great nursing pillow options** and several positions to accomplish this. Hiring a lactation consult is a fantastic way to get the help, support and knowledge you’ll need to feel comfortable nursing both at one time. A postpartum doula can help with bottle feeding, and she’ll come armed with a ton of pro tips and ideas to make it as easy and streamlined as possible. With some practice, you’ll be able to feed like a champ, even in public.
Sleep deprivation is no joke. We don’t realize how bad it is when we are in it, and it can compromise relationships with our partners, older children, other family members and friends. Getting one or two nights a week of good sleep, or 4-5 consecutive hours of sleep in each 24-hour period, is absolutely necessary. Having a friend or family member come to help with feedings and baby care for an overnight once or twice a week in the early weeks can be a lifesaver. If you don’t have friends or family able or willing to help out some nights, look for outside support - hiring a postpartum doula will give you the freedom to get a good night’s sleep while trusting your babies are in good hands. Plus a postpartum doula can also do some light housework and meal prep!
Twins are amazing and so adorable. My boys are now starting to call each other their “best friend,” which makes my heart melt into a happy puddle of mama-love. Twins are such a blessing - and when you have the support you need in those first few months, you can create some of the best memories of your life.
*Dream feeding refers to feeding your babies while they are sleeping, such that you can sleep more, too. You can dream feed just before you go to bed, or throughout the night if they wake up on different schedules. Read tips here and here to learn more.
Krystle Gard is a postpartum doula with Bridgetown Baby in Portland, Oregon. When she isn’t writing or supporting other families during their 4th trimester, she is hopefully outdoors somewhere beautiful with her three young boys (including 3 year-old twins) and husband.
This Mother’s Day, Give Yourself the Gift of Support
For those families who need it the most, we are offering our Multiples Package at a $100 discount for the month of May - $1,190 (Regular rate $1,290)
The Multiples Package includes two 9-hour nighttime shift and three 4-hour daytime shift for two or more babies born within six months of each other.
Multiple babies are without a doubt, overwhelming and exhausting. They also give more smiles and snuggles as they grow. It may not always feel like it, but a family is very lucky to have multiple babies. A postpartum doula helps a family feel lucky. First and foremost, she helps the family sleep, which makes everything else better.
A postpartum doula will do everything she normally does; support the mother’s recovery, provide healthy cooking, laundry and light housekeeping, plus teach valuable skills that will make it easier to feed, bathe and wear two babies. A postpartum doula can teach the parent/s, grandparents, and other caregivers. It’s a Party/It Takes a Village: The Multiples Package is an invaluable gift for every family expecting multiple babies, but especially those without extended family close by.