Hey y’all! Twins come with many added challenges. First of all, they are twice the work. And secondly, it takes twice the time to get ready to leave the house. However, it evens itself out because they are also twice the fun and twice the love! I know this from personal experience, I have twins- a boy and a girl. And I wouldn’t trade this “out of the ordinary” experience for the world!
From the first day of pregnancy NOTHING was ordinary. However, I didn’t know any better because they were my first babies, so I had no idea what to expect to begin with. But if you aren’t a first time mom be prepared for the extra doctor visits, trips to the Lab, and the extended Non-stress tests. (One baby will cooperate, the other will only want to dance.) With that being said, don’t freak out. It’s truly not as bad as it sounds. Focus on the positives, like, double bundles of joy, feeling the extra love, and having an incredible story to tell!
Disclaimer- I AM NOT a professional therapist, doctor, or child rearing guru. These suggestions are simply ideas that have worked for my family. If you are looking for professional help, please discontinue reading now. But if you are interested in some helpful tips I encourage you to read on!
NOT EXPECTING A LIFE WITH TWINS
If you were anything like I was, you DID NOT expect to see two babies on your ultrasound screen. I was instantly hit by sheer terror, yet somehow still filled with pure excitement and joy! My husband and I left the doctors office wondering what our next step was…how do you prepare for two babies at once? Thankfully my doctor gave me a book that was extremely helpful- “What to expect when you’re expecting.” (This is the version I read.) There was a whole section in there for multiples, which included diet plans and exercise tips. I lived by this book for 7-8 months.
When you are carrying twins it’s pretty normal to be considered “high risk”. You may be a very healthy person, with a clear family history of diseases. But when you have two (or more) little humans growing inside of you anything can happen. I am not saying this to scare you, but to caution you. IT IS okay to slow down your busy life and rest. It’s okay to let people help you and to listen to their advice. After 2 pregnancies I’ve figured out that most advice is learned information. However, remember to take it with a grain of salt. I had advice coming out of the wood work and everyone thought they were an expert on twins. I was getting a little overwhelmed.
So, mommas be sure to trust your “mom” instincts and talk to your doctor if you are unsure about any of the given information!
How do I know what advice to take?
- Be sure that the advice giver is actually taking their own advice.
Sometimes people like to hear themselves talk without acknowledging what is coming out. (I mean that in the nicest way possible.) We can all be guilty of this, but when it comes to the health of you and your baby wisdom must take over.
- Do they have kids of their own?
I use this question often because I was this person pre-kids. Thinking you know how to bring a child into this world is a lot different than the actual experience! (Don’t look at that momma sideways for wanting Epidural if you’ve never been in labor!)
- Don’t write off the Grandma advice givers!
Just because it’s been years since they have been pregnant and raising kids, they still have a lot to offer. Child birthing may be different now but their wealth of knowledge on “don’t make the mistakes I did” is worth listening to!
- Last but not least- always verify the advice before simply taking it!
Sometimes you will hear something that sounds tangible but is totally out in left field. Then again you can hear advice that sounds like foolishness, but turns out to be spot on. So, take a minute to google multiple mom blogs, hospital websites, or even place a call to your doctor.
It never hurts to listen. There may be a gold nugget buried in the mud that you would hate to pass over. My approach was listen to everyones advice and only apply what pertained to me, my situation, and my babies.
how to keep you and your Twins healthy
First and foremost, it is extremely important to keep all of your doctor appointments! I know they can be very frequent and overwhelming, but they are crucial to keeping your babies healthy. Sadly, complications can occur. However, some can be managed if caught in time. But never blame yourself and try not to worry; having a healthy mind is just as important as having a healthy body!
Secondly, be sure to take a prenatal vitamin! This will help get you to your daily nutritional goals. Ask your doctor for recommendations if you are unsure which brand to take.
Lastly, a healthy diet is a necessity! You are not only fueling yourself now, but also two other little people! Also remember that a healthy diet during “twin pregnancy” varies slightly from a “single pregnancy” healthy diet. Ask your doctor what he or she recommends. There are also many plans and books out there to help guide you.
I actually really enjoyed this part of pregnancy, I got to eat about 6 times a day! BUT it wasn’t all ice cream and cookies. I had to be mindful about the amount of dairy, veggies, and protein I was consuming. Too much or too little can throw off your babies development.
Tips for feeding three
- Calorie consumption! It is recommended by most doctors that you add 300 calories per fetus. However, you need to make the calories count. Empty calories from junk food is not helping you or your babies.
- Follow a “multiples” pregnancy diet. There are many diet plans out there, but don’t get overwhelmed, they are all very similar.
Get protein from lean meats, nuts, and certain dairies. Keep your bowls moving with a good amount of veggies and fruits.
- Drink plenty of water! You need at least 8 glasses a day. Try to keep your water intake consistent throughout the day. Waiting til mealtimes to gulp water can make you feel full, which results in you eating less of the nutrients that you need.
- Pay attention to your iron levels. You will need 30-60 milligrams daily during pregnancy. Iron can be consumed through red meats and dried fruits. There are also supplements that you can take. However, NEVER take anything or change your diet until you talk to your doctor.
Having the right amount of iron is very important! It produces red blood cells and reduces maternal anemia. Anemia can be very serious for you and your babies. It not only decreases your appetite and increases fatigue, but also reduces the amount of oxygen that gets to your organs and developing babies.
- Extra magnesium is also recommended. Magnesium is good for you and your babies. For you it produces and repairs body tissue, along with regulating insulin and blood sugar levels. And it builds strong bones and teeth for your babies. Magnesium can be found in a multitude of foods from whole grains and leafy greens, to yogurt and sunflower seeds. As always, talk to your doctor before taking a supplement and/or changing your diet.
Get enough exercise
Exercising was my biggest struggle to maintaining a “healthy pregnancy”. For the first few months I stayed pretty consistent. But once I got to about 6 months it was a little more challenging. I felt so big and clumsy, and it only got worse the bigger I got. I’m glad I had purchased a pregnancy workout video because that kept me motivated. The exercises changed with each stage of the pregnancy. I highly recommend that you do workouts that work for and with you!
If a workout video isn’t really your thing that’s okay too! Take an easy stroll outside! But do not take an actual HIKE! I made that mistake around 6-7 months pregnant, I thought I was gonna need carried out of the woods! (haha) But I will say, the breathing techniques I had learned in the workout video REALLY helped!
Other ways to stay active is swimming, prenatal yoga, and pilates. Now I did not try any of these, they weren’t my cup of tea, but I have heard that they are helpful! And if all else fails, take a walk around your living room or up and down your hallway. The most important thing is to keep moving at a good steady pace, be careful not to overdue it!
Preparing for your hospital stay
This step may not seem very important, but trust me it is! Waiting to pack anything until your delivery day (scheduled or unscheduled) will only add unneeded stress. My recommendation is that you pack your bag at least a month before your due date. (My twins were a month early, thankfully I had my bag packed a couple weeks prior.)
Hospital stay list for the twins:
- First and foremost, you will need carseats to bring your twins home in. If they are used, be sure they are not expired. (Carseats generally expire 6 years after manufactured. If you are unsure of expiration date, call the manufacture.) I also recommend that if you are using a used carseat that you be sure to get it from someone you trust.You should never use one that has been in an accident, it can alter the safety of the carseat.
- You will also need an outfit to bring your cuties home in! Be sure that it is something soft, newborns have sensitive skin. Also, be sure it’s easy to put on. A sleeper with a zipper was my favorite go-to outfit.
- Essentials for the twins– diapers, wipes, change of clothes, blankets, burp rags, and bibs. The hospital usually supplies diapers and wipes while at the hospital but I liked having some for the ride home. (You never know when a poo poo will happen!)
Hospital stay list for you:
- Essentials for yourself– toiletries, pads, comfortable pj’s (somethings that’s easy to nurse in, if you are nursing), slip on slippers (with tread, you don’t want to take a chance on slipping and falling).
- An outfit for yourself to go home in. I recommend something loose and easy to put on. (Sweat pants or shorts -depending on weather, as well as a zip or button up shirt.) If you have a cesarian birth, I HIGHLY recommend bottoms that are extremely loose or high waisted so they are not resting on your recent cut.
- Entertainment for when you aren’t sleeping or feeding your babies. It’s nice to think we will spend our hours cuddling our babies and pouring our love on them. But reality is, you will need some alone time and love from a short distance. Plus, babies will go for checkups in the nursery. I ended up being in the hospital for 8 days because my son needed to be in the NICU. (His lungs weren’t fully developed yet, but they assured me that was completely normal and now he is perfectly fine!)
So, I am glad I had a book and word search puzzles on hand!
- Phone charger. You will need to keep your phone charged in order to update family and friends. As well as, snap memories of your precious angels!
Going home with twins
The day you have been waiting for has arrived- the day where you begin your life as a “twin mom”! My first piece of advice is to surround yourself with emotional support! Not only from other twin moms but also from family and friends who can offer valuable advice or even a caring hug.
Secondly, if you are truly exhausted, don’t turn down help! Your well being is just as important as your new babies. Thirdly, don’t be hard on yourself. All new moms, especially moms of twins, feel like they aren’t doing “momhood” right. NOT TRUE! There is no one particular way to raise a child. Every family is unique. So, as long as you are pouring love into them and handling the basics well then all else will fall into place! And lastly, enjoy the journey! Don’t let the lack of sleep and minor details get in the way of seeing the beauty in the miracle! (I made that mistake and I regret every minute of it!)
The first year is full of adventure! To help you navigate it check out my “First Year” tips. And as always if you have any questions or comments I would love to hear from you!
God bless you in your new twin journey!