We are living in a day and an age where everyone is talking about life hacks. There are cooking, cleaning and even parenting hacks. Now that I have been a twin mom for 8 months I am ready to share the things that have really helped me survive infant twin life. Having multiples can be mentally, physically, emotionally and financially challenging. I promise you it is also incredibly rewarding and completely worth it! Be kind to yourself and simplify your life. Don’t cause unnecessary stress on yourself and try to enjoy every day. I want to share a few things that have help me thus far.
Schedule Schedule Schedule…..Schedule
Schedule is key! This is honestly the most important thing to me. I was adamant about keeping the girls on a schedule since day one (no it doesn’t happen right away but you start trying). The whole “Never wake a sleeping baby” was thrown out of the window immediately. If one baby was hungry the other baby was woken up and fed at the same time. I only made an exception to this rule when they learned how to sleep through the night at two and a half months. If one baby woke up two to three hours before normal wake up time I would only feed that baby (use this as special bonding time). Feeding the babies at the same time, putting them down for naps at the same time and putting them to bed at the same time truly kept me sane. Trust me this will save your LIFE the first few weeks to months when your baby is eating every two hours or so. If baby A is hungry at 11:00 pm and baby B is left sleeping then baby B is going to be hungry at 12:00 pm. Now you are up every hour feeding babies and will get even LESS sleep. The better they sleep during nap times the better they sleep during the night. If they sleep through the night you have the opportunity to sleep through the night. If they sleep during the day at the same time you can grab a shower, do dishes, clip your fingernails and so on.
Notice that I didn’t use the term “sleep training” here. Our girls were sleeping through the night by two and a half months. Let me know in the comment section if you want me to write a post on how we were able to accomplish that! We do use essential oils on their feet and spine before bedtime. We use a roller bottle filled with fractionated coconut oil with two drops of lavender and one drop of frankincense. We started using these when the girls were three weeks old. Sleeping is so important for a baby’s brain development. I do my best to keep my babies on a nap schedule and a night time schedule. My girls sleep for twelve hours at night (give or take an hour). Half of the time they will want a bottle after ten and half hours and the rest of the time they go the entire twelve hour stretch. I call this a win! I do make sure that the girls either have two big naps or three smaller naps during the day and about 90% of the time they will take these at the same time. Always follow your baby’s sleep cues and know when they are sleepy. I can’t emphasize this enough – get them to sleep before they get over tired. If the second baby isn’t ready for a nap yet call this a victory that you get some quality time with that individual baby. There will be sleep regression around LEAPS and you may have rough nights if your baby’s have a cold or a virus, but you will really thank yourself for getting your babies on a sleep schedule as soon as you can! I may be exhausted sometimes but I guarantee you it is not because my babies kept me up at night! Any time our babies are fussy around bed time we look at our Wonder Weeks app and see that they are entering or in the middle of a learning development app. This was a paid app but we have really enjoyed it and it helps ease our minds when the babies are “fussy”.
Tandem breast feeding or tandem bottle feeding is where it is at. The Twin Z Pillow is incredible. They are starting to try to feed themselves but I still have to help them a lot and I am still using the Twin Z every day. I cant say enough about it. It is my number one product recommendation for a twin mom. This pillow made breast feeding and bottle feeding so incredible easy. If you want to know more about the twin Z pillow check out my 10 Twin Baby Must-Haves blog. My babies are 8 months old and I still feed them in this pillow a majority of the time. If they are getting a bottle and are not in the pillow they are either in a car seat, stroller, or the Infant-to-Toddler rocker chairs. When my husband is home we do enjoy each holding a baby and feeding them.
We are currently using a combination of baby food purees (homemade and store-bought) and baby led weaning and we use our high chairs for this. It only took me one feeding to learn that babies are MESSY when they are learning to eat. I usually will strip them down to diapers and just wash cloth bathe them after high chair feedings. I use these suction toys to stick on the highchairs to entertain the babies when I am preparing their meal. When I am washing each baby individually and re-dressing them I will leave the other baby in their highchair with the suction toy. This is our usual routine with feeding them their solids for breakfast and lunch time.
There is an app called Baby Tracker that has really helped us for bottle feedings (and breast feeding when we were doing that as well). It is really amazing how fast time can fly between feedings. It can be past time for their feeding and it will feel like I JUST fed them 20 minutes prior. This app allows you to track multiple babies. You can input when they ate, how much they ate, if their diaper was wet or dirty etc. The app inst for everyone but we love it and still use it. It really helps if you have a nanny or a babysitter as well. You can all stay on the same page on how much and how often your little one is eating. The wet diaper option really helped me when my girls were sick and I needed to make sure they were hydrated and making enough wet diapers. We still use this app at 8 months.
Bath Time (Spa Day)
There are many times that dinner time solids lead right into baby bath time. Did I mention how messy babies are when they eat? So messy! I don’t bathe my babies at the same exact time yet because they aren’t good enough at sitting up on their own and I am too nervous about having them both in a bath tub at the same time. Oh, how life will be easier when this day comes. I have survived bath time alone many times but I very much prefer waiting until my Hubby is home for backup. He will rinse out the tub and start warming the water while I grab three towels, two wash cloths, their robes and diapers. I am pretty proud of our current hacks!
We will bring one baby still in the highchair into the bathroom. They will play with the suction high chair toys while we bathe the first baby. We always dip the baby’s toes in the water before taking their diaper off. This way they don’t get the water dirty immediately after putting them in. We place that random third towel in the water and then place it on the bottom of the tub and back rest to keep the baby from sliding on that slippery plastic. Jason washes the baby’s food crusted face off and wets her hair while I wash the front side of the body. I then wash the baby’s hair and he will pick the baby up so I can wash the back side of her body. I use a 2 in 1 rinse cup to rinse the hair and body and he will place the baby in my arms on her towel. While he washes the tub out and warms more water I dry off the first baby, lotion her up, and put her in her robe (the robe obviously isn’t necessary but oh so cute). We put the clean baby in the chair and turn the vibrate and music on. We will usually hand her a pacifier and maybe a toy and she will wait while we bathe baby number two. If we don’t feed them immediately before bath time we use the chairs before and after each of their baths instead of the highchair.
Be Kind to Yourself
I would definitely suggest joining some sort of twin mom support group. You may have a local group that meets or you may want to find one on Facebook. This will really help you feel like you are not alone. Twins are so much fun and so much work. You aren’t perfect but you are supermom! All moms of multiples feel like they aren’t giving each baby enough attention. Don’t beat yourself up too much. Cherish your moments with each individual baby that you have. It will somehow all even out in the end. One baby will want to be held all day for a week or two and then rolls will flip before you know it. Think about how amazing it is that your little ones will always have each other as well for comfort. This is all they know and they love you so much for everything you are able to do for them. You are not alone. YOU are doing an AMAZING job!