I’m a new mom to twins and have no idea what I’m doing. Have any practical tips?
A: You’re part of an elite group of moms and dads of multiples—the special forces of parenthood. The intensity of the boot camp period with two babies will leave you with a strength and pride that will spill over into everything else. I have three practical tips for the early weeks and months at home with twins—what I sometimes call “the emergency stage.” Its chaos can be triaged if you have support, schedules and sleep.
First, seek support. If you have family and friends nearby, don’t hesitate to accept help. If a postpartum doula is in your budget, it is money that will be well spent. If possible, join your local twins club—these fellow Navy Seals of nurturance are incredible resources for moral, emotional and tactical support. If you aren’t near a chapter, many of the twin-related online forums are also fantastic.
Second, establish a routine. This means that your twins should eat, sleep and play at the same times, in set intervals—often three-hour cycles in the beginning. (Your pediatrician will be able to advise you.) Once you have your system, expect that it may break down. Revise and tweak it accordingly, but keep at it. Back to that special forces idea: You go into your twin-parenting day with detailed intel, but even the best-laid battle plan might not play out with your babies.
If you parent with a partner, figure out a system together. Whenever you can, try taking shifts. Without a schedule and without shifts, you risk a situation where no one is asleep, ever. As a new mom or dad of twins you probably already understand why that must not be. So keep aiming for a handling of time that includes horizontal periods with your eyelids closed—which brings me to my final tip …
Third, sleep. When large swaths of it are impossible, practice the rapid strike nap: Get in; get out. Make it a priority, your ultimate form of self-care.
Above all, know that it does get easier. And you’ll be amazed at the love and joy
that emerges from it all.
—K.K. Goldberg, mom of twins and author of The Doctor and the Stork: A Memoir of Modern Medical Babymaking