Cherie Richards from Just Love Sleep explains her top 9 tips for surviving the first year with newborn twins!

“There are TWO of them and one of you, but it takes a village”

1. Accept the fact you are not an Octopus.

You will never have enough arms and you will learn to become pretty clever with your legs!

2. You often feel like your drowning (in endless washing and nappies).

Adopt a twin parenting mantra: “just keep swimming” like Dory & Nemo, or “this too shall pass”. Repeat these to yourself at LEAST a few times every day.

3. Find other twin mumma’s out there.

No one quite gets it like a fellow twin mum!  Hearing mums of singletons (yup, that’s what us twin mums call ONE baby) talk about how rough it was last night with no sleep or how little Johnny has reflux too, is not fun to listen too.  When you are running on empty it’s very hard to maintain a filter in a sleep deprived state! Find another twin mum who truly knows what you are going through.

4. Don’t be a martyr.

Accept all offers for help. Say YES to any help.

5. Even though all babies are individuals, twins need to be synced up in order for you to survive!

Having them on the same feeding and sleeping schedule as soon as possible sure does help.

6. Be prepared for the unhelpful comments from strangers.

They may mean well but “are they all yours” or “double trouble” or “are they natural?!” tires pretty quickly.

You may even feel like a tourist attraction, especially when someone whips out a camera to take a photo of your babies! Put a muslin cover over your double pram to hide the fact there are two babies in there but be prepared to be asked if they are identical even if they do have totally different physical anatomy of boy and girl, you will still be asked!

7. Get out of the house.

It makes the day go much faster!

When the twins were a month old and I was flying solo during the day I would venture to the mall. I confess, almost every morning. It was a ‘safe place’. I knew where the parent rooms were. I knew by walking up and down the mall, I was guaranteed they would sleep AND I was out of the house and conquering the world with my takeaway coffee.  

Even though getting out of the house was a mission in itself, 2 babies, 2 poo explosions just as you were leaving (did you know twins synchronize their explosions?!) twin playgroup or mall trips helped keep me sane.

8. Find joy in the small things.

Like the 2am nappy changing races I’d have against hubby. For the first few months even though I was breastfeeding, my husband had to get up every 3 hours with me to feed these teeny babies. With my older two I’d never dream of waking them during the night if they stretched past 4 hours but twins are often premature so 3 hourly feeding overnight is necessary.  I’d position myself in the chair, hubby would grab one, pass to me so I could latch on, then the other. I’d feed then we’d have races in our sleep deprived state to see how fast we could get each baby burped, changed and back into bed within the hour only to repeat the same cycle 2 hours later. To be able to smirk “I win” was finding that joy in the small things at that relentless hour of the night.

9. Keep your expectations realistic 

twins will probably be the breaking of you but also the making of you and I’m yet to find another twin mum who doesn’t agree.

Cherie Richards is a Certified Baby & Toddler Sleep consultant at Just Love Sleep and mum of 4 including 3 year old twins!

Learn more about Multiple Awareness Week at Multiples NZ.