HOW TO SURVIVE TWINS (THE FIRST 2 YEARS) IN ONE PIECE
I prayed and prayed for a big family. And prayed. And one night after crying myself to sleep convinced I was never going to have another baby, I prayed some more. And I’ll never forget the moment I sat in that ultrasound and the tech said after a very long uncomfortable pause, “I’ve got some news for you ma’am, you have two babies in your belly, you’re going to be a twin mom!”. Like I was sort of out of my body in disbelief. And my husband? Well, let’s just say he was laughing and crying at the same time. We were to be a family of six. God knew what he was doing. But us? We were scared to death. Cue to today, and I’ve made it to year two as a twin mom, and the husband and I are still married. Anything is possible mamas. And in case you didn’t know, everyone is having twins and I’ve had numerous messages about how I’ve survived it all. So if you’re pregnant with twins or your sister or friend is, here’s the edited list of how I did it. Also, if you can do this, you can do ANYTHING.
| year one |
Congrats you’re having twins! And, oh shit. Yes. You are having twins. It’s real. Very real. And also, that makes you a bonafide bad ass, because, your body is indeed holding two humans. Yeah. Miraculous. And kind of a big deal. Your #1 job through this process is to breathe. Because without breath, we cannot live. And you have two new tiny humans (and perhaps an older sibling too) and they need you Mom. So, despite being overwhelmed and exhausted, unshowered, irritable, hungry, sore, dazed and confused, if you can just breathe through it all, you’re half way there. Through the tears, the sleep deprivation, and the chaos, just breathe. It’s survival mode and you’re going to survive. So to recap, if you don’t breathe, you’re dead. And we need you. So, please remember to breathe.
Your body is going to look like shit for a couple months. Just putting it out there. And that’s ok. You built two humans in there and let’s just embrace the shit part. It’s gonna be squishy and not cute, but if you glance down to your lap right now and look at those tiny miracles you built over 9 months, you will understand why your body is squishy. And it’s ok. In fact, it’s bad ass. So, for the love of sanity, health and your babies, please eat. This is not a time to count calories and although you might think (I just had two babies and gained 40-70 pounds) and I need to count calories, don’t. You won’t be able to count anyway because you’re too tired. So when you’re hungry, eat. And when you don’t know if you’re hungry because you’re too sleepy to remember if you’re hungry, shove a kind bar in your mouth and a bottle of water. Keep food on your night stand, in your diaper bag and say yes to every meal chain your friends want to do for you. Just do it.
In case you have a c-section, which with twins is more likely than not, here’s what I learned from experience.
Stay ahead of your medications. Don’t be a hero. Take them. Listen to your doctors. Listen to your nurses. You will thank them later. Also, move. As much pain as you’re in, you’re not going to want to move. MOVE. It will hurt, but your body will heal faster by keeping it in motion. Don’t go for a jog, just move. Walk to the bathroom and back. The next day, walk down the hall and buy a nursing bra. Drink all the water. Stay on the meds. It might feel like it’s never going to get better, but it will. Day 3 and 4 I was like, woah, I just had two babies pulled out of my belly and I’m nursing twins right now on my couch while eating chocolate covered strawberries.. Dude. Anything is possible.
There is no right way to say this, but try to sleep when there’s a window. That whole sleep when the babies sleep doesn’t happen with twins. It’s total bullshit. Maybe the rare occasion, but no. So sleep when you can. Mostly at night, but sometimes while nursing and sitting up. Or in the car after you’ve parked and you literally zone out. But do sleep. If you don’t, it’s bummer zone. Also, the sleep schedule for the babies is imperative and is also the window to your own sleep. Which also means freedom. See below (The schedule).
Non negotiable. And by non negotiable I mean, anyone who offers to help: help clean, help cook, help drop off food, help take your oldest daughter on a play date, help do laundry, help braid your hair (just because it feels good), help watch your babies while you shower, help watch the babies so you can cry in said shower, help watch the babies so you can go on date night, any Help, just say yes. If it’s friends, family or neighbors, don’t assume you’re taking advantage of them when they say, “can I take your daughter to the movie today?” when they already had her over for a playdate 3 days ago. Just say yes. They know you need help. They want to help. Say yes.
If you have the ability to hire professional help, hire them. Night nurses, babysitters, a nanny. Whatever works for you and your family, do it. The investment in help with twins, is immeasurable. And it will do wonders for your marriage.
The best advice I received as a mother of one was schedule. The best advice I received as a twin mother to be, was schedule. Schedule means structure. Babies like structure. Structure means some sort of organization in an already chaotic household with two tiny infants. Utilize the schedule. Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child is the only book I read for this. Healthy Habits twins was also good, but I referenced Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child more often to follow the same regimen I learned with baby 1. Also, we did use the cry it out method (based off the book above) and the method was mild and worked best for me and my family. Everyone is different so do what feels best for your family. With 3 kids and a stepson under my roof, by month 5 I needed some rest and my doctor said they didn’t need the two middle of the night feedings so I used cry it out method. This was sheer survival and it worked.
Twins, despite being twins and in my case, identical twins, are not in fact the same. They look the same, but they are very different. Therefore, they sleep different. Here’s how I got them to sleep through the night in detail including their schedule https://maile-misajon.squarespace.com/home/2017/1/5/how-i-got-my-twins-to-sleep-through-the-night. Following a structured schedule is key. And sticking to it for consistency is your road map to continued success.
There’s a lot of gear you need. And a lot of gear that you’ll never use. I’m kind of minimal. For example, I breast fed and used formula (because my milk wasn't quite enough for twins) but I never purchased the baby brezza which is basically a keurig for bottle making because I had a system in place from day one in the hospital. I never gave them a heated perfect temperature in a bottle. I wanted to do the bare minimum because I didn't want to ever be stressed if their bottle wasn't hot. But, if you want to make life easy, and if formula is the name of your game, this is worth the investment.
Here's the gear I needed to survive year 1.
1. Rock and plays (We basically slept the babies in these in our room for the first 8-10 weeks). We slept them in their cribs for naps. We got sleep because of these. They are a must. Side note, we had a swing and some other contraptions and only used the rock and plays. They were magic.
2. Cribs (I bought two, and they are side by side and I still use them today at age 2)
3. Brest friend twin nursing pillow. Used it everyday till I stopped nursing. A must.
4. Twin Z pillow. Perfect size pillow to lay both infants in after breastfeeding to hang out or sleep. It was a place to put them. You always need to put one down or both down. You have to pee. Always. I also bought two used rock and plays to have in the living room because you need them there too. The babies loved the rock and plays, again a must.
5. The swaddle. I've used them all. Tried them all. This halo swaddle is what they used in hospital and I immediately bought several of them. Best and most secure swaddle. Swaddles means sleep, so yes.
5. Joovy twin roo. Whatever infant car seat you choose, be sure it fits in one of these. This was my go to when I wanted to leave the house. If the babies are sleeping when you get to your destination, just simply place their infant car seat in the twin roo and walk your way through the mall no problem. Used it religiously until they were big enough for the big stroller.
6. City mini twin stroller. Used it back then, use it today. It's the easiest and most chic double stroller. Also practical. I can lift it up in one swoop. It fits through all doors. It's the easiest to travel with. A must.
| year two |
Yep. Still breathing. Still important. Congrats you made it to one year old! Milestone. Time to celebrate. But also, time to soak in that the next year is just as hard as the first. But wait. Don’t panic. It’s also, way more fun. So it’s kind of a conundrum. Their cuteness outweighs the fact that they are moving everywhere and you can’t slow them down. So when they get into the pantry and spill a whole bag of flour, just breathe. And when you find them (after searching for them because they’re so quiet) and you find them drenched in toilet water having a blast, don’t panic, just breathe. They won’t die from toilet water. They just might need a bath or shower. And you might need wine.
Drink the wine. They finally sleep, it's time to celebrate! And who cares if you’re not back at your perfect pre-baby body and they’re 2. You had twins. Be healthy, make good choices and enjoy your life. Your body will adjust over time and I promise you will start to feel more like yourself in due time. And wine helps. Enjoy it and by the way, how else does a twin mom survive?
Also about now you’re past the sleep deprivation and it’s time to get out and stop hibernating with the twins in your sweats. Don’t be afraid to get out with them. People will stare no matter what, because twins. Twins are fascinating. And they need to see the outside world. Clean hair, nice clothes and makeup are not prerequisites. Maybe just a bra.
Not gonna lie, it's been an investment, but it's also been sanity. With no family nearby, babysitters are for the win and it's no lie. Read this if you don't believe me. http://www.maile-misajon.com/home/2017/8/23/dear-nannies They are life and I'm crazy grateful.
Here's the thing
I'm no expert at twin momm-ing, I just dove in and I learned. There's no other way. And the highs and lows and everything in between is the highlight of your life as a twin mom. It's ever changing and so are you. And one day you look in the mirror and you're holding two babies that you've raised and kept alive and you might even look well rested. And you be like, Damn, I did this. I'm a hero. No, but really. Congrats mama, welcome to the club. xx