Just taking care of infant twins during the first three months of their lives would have been chaotic enough. But I also had to care for their older brother, move out of my house while my kitchen was being remodeled, and cope with my husband being admitted unexpectedly to the hospital. How did I get through it? A combination of organization, a schedule, and help from family and friends.
We decided to have our kitchen remodeled the last few months of my pregnancy. We moved in with my mother-in-law two weeks before I had the twins. It was nice to have the help, and my oldest son loved the attention from grandma.
After the birth of my twin girls, our kitchen still had a ways to go. We left the hospital and went back to my mother-in-law's. Even though I consider myself lucky to have the mother-in-law that I do, the living situation didn't feel ideal at the time. In hindsight, however, I realize that it was a blessing because I didn't have to worry about keeping up with cleaning or anything like that.
The first week after the twins were born, my mom and dad stayed at my mother-in-law's with us to help out with the babies. The second week, my husband had to have emergency gall bladder surgery. (I thought he was just trying to get out of helping with the late-night feedings!)
After two weeks, I felt like I needed to be home with the babies. Although the kitchen wasn't ready yet, I was. So we moved back to our house. I was pretty much bound to our bedroom and used my bathroom as my kitchen. I sometimes look back and think the only way I managed that was because I got a lot of help from family and great friends!
Once the kitchen was finished, the next few months seemed like a breeze. Okay, not really, but anything would have been easier than that first month!
These tips helped keep me sane:
- Keep everything handy. Have stations on each floor of the house where you have essentials such as diapers, wipes, extra onesies, cloth diapers, and wash rags.
- Try to get into a routine. Even a loose routine will help both you and the babies. Try to keep the babies on the same feeding schedule; this is not an easy task, but it is doable—particularly if you have some help. Try to nap when the babies are napping.
- Be efficient with feedings. I breast-fed simultaneously for the first four weeks. Yes, I was that lady you see in the breast-feeding books and think to yourself "that's just crazy." I really wanted to have the twins on the same schedule, and I didn't want to be breast-feeding for an hour and then have less downtime. If you are not breast-feeding, you can put the babies in their carriers or prop each of them up on a boppy pillow and sit between them to bottle-feed. Once I started using formula, I had a Dr. Brown pitcher where I could premix the formula; I loved it! After feedings, I always changed the babies' diapers right away.
- Make the most of naptime. With twins, you don't have the luxury of cradling them to sleep. But in the end, it's better for you and them. They will learn to sleep on their own, which is a big deal! I had a pack and play on the main level of my house and would just lay them down next to each other. Make sure they have fresh diapers, swaddle them up, and take a nap yourself.
- Set up a system for bath time. First, find where you are most comfortable. I liked using the sink—kitchen or bath. Then, like with everything else, preparation is key! Have everything set up and ready before you start. Don't even begin until you have everything you need. Set things up like an assembly line: washcloth, shampoo, body wash; warm water; towels and an area to apply lotion and dress the babies; lotion (I liked to soak the lotion in hot/warm water to warm it up); and diapers and clothes.
- Accept and ask for help. Reach out to friends and family. You will be surprised how many people would love to help but don't want to bother you the first few weeks/months. If you can afford it, hire a nurse.
- Hang in there! Know that even with one baby, the first few months are an adjustment for everyone. You will have your ups and downs, but you will get through it. Try to enjoy every minute because you will not remember the first year!
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