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Did you just discover you’re going to have twins? Don’t worry if this news makes you feel confused or shocked instead of thrilled and ecstatic. That’s how pretty much every parent of twins felt when they first got word of the two peas in their pod.
When my sonologist first confirmed hearing 2 heartbeats besides mine, it was more shocking for me. I was overwhelmed by this new piece of information that would shape the next few years in a completely different way than I had envisioned. Having 2 babies at one go was never part of the plan. But blessings and surprises from nature knock on your door when you least expect them or when you’re the least prepared for them.
When it comes to having a multiple pregnancy, you need to accept that it’s utterly different carrying, delivering, and raising multiples compared to a single child. It requires a lot of pre-planning and preparations to make yourself and your home ready and safe for welcoming your babies.
A lot comes to mind when imagining juggling 2 newborns. The thought of feeding and changing diapers for 2 babies simultaneously or designing their nursery without making your home look like a mini IKEA store may keep your pregnancy brain occupied and worried. You can’t answer all the questions right away, but you can bring down your anxiety levels with research, systematic planning, and preparation. If that doesn’t help, keep some ice cream handy!
Here are our tried and tested tips on preparing for twins to make your expedition relatively less bumpy:
1. Preparing emotionally
Read and learn about twin pregnancy
Having a multiple pregnancy is undoubtedly special, but some of these pregnancies can be of high risk because of possible complications. It’s justified to be worried and anxious in such situations, so read and research guides to having twins as much as possible.
Read first-hand parent experiences in blogs or parenting forums to know how to prepare for twins pregnancy and what worked for them. This will clarify what to expect and how to handle any issues and instill the confidence that you aren’t trusted for something impossible.
Connect with other parents of multiples
Find a club online or in your neighborhood that connects expecting and experienced parents sailing the same ship. Getting tips and advice from seasoned parents will help you keep your boat steady in new waters. You can share your questions and worries without fear of judgment and other moms who relate to the struggle are usually willing to help.
2. Preparing moneywise
Sort out the finances
It doesn’t matter if this was an unplanned pregnancy or if you were trying to conceive for a while. The news of having multiples will change the shape of your account books. The chances of medical and hospital expenses increasing from either the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) due to preterm birth or extended hospital stay due to complications will significantly affect your finances.
If you haven’t worked out your finances, don’t wait any further. The sooner you figure out your saving strategies, the more time you’ll have in your hands to fill the gaps and piggy banks. Shift your daily and monthly spending habits and prioritize your expenses to make more significant savings. Here’s a comprehensive guide to sorting your finances as you prepare to welcome your babies into a stable future.
Figure out how to get help or a nanny
It takes a village to raise a child and it’s beyond question that you’ll need a lot of help. Figure out early what will work best for you and your family. If you’re going back to work, getting a qualified live-in nanny is vital. If you’re a stay-at-home mom or if hiring a live-in nanny is out of your budget, you may consider hiring part-time help for other household chores while you devote your time and energy to taking care of your babies.
Some families also opt for family support or community volunteers if hiring any help is not affordable. Either way, sort this out sooner and make arrangements accordingly. If you decide to hire a nanny, start the process of interviewing well in advance to avoid last-minute apprehensions.
3. Preparing on the medical front
Pick and choose your healthcare team
When choosing your ob-gyn, doula, midwife, lactation consultant, and pediatrician for your babies, make sure they have experience dealing with twins or multiples. Since a multiple pregnancy can lead to complications, find a gynecologist experienced with twin births.
An experienced care provider will make you aware of the complications you can face and guide you into handling other twin related aspects such as how to breastfeed twins or take care of twins born prematurely.
Create your birth plan and attend childbirth classes
Make a birth plan earlier into the pregnancy. Studies suggest that more than 50% of multiple deliveries are through C-section. But that doesn’t mean you cannot have a vaginal birth. Talk to your doula or doctor and choose the kind of birth process you’d prefer.
Since multiple pregnancies are full of surprises, be flexible with your plan. I would also highly recommend going for childbirth classes, especially the ones tailored for twin pregnancies. This will help you become more confident about the process and prepare your body for labor and delivery.
4. Preparing the home
Arrange the nursery
This might be the most stressful task on your to-do list, especially if you’re a first-time parent. Here’s my advice; when buying for twins, you don’t need to have everything in double. There are many things your twins need individually, like a car seat, crib, or high chair, but they can also share a lot of stuff like the bathing chair, changing table, to name but a few. We have a detailed list of what you need for newborn twins.
Start exploring the options in stores around you while you can still walk around because you might find it challenging to window shop towards the last trimester when babies grow the fastest. The possibility of your babies arriving before 40 weeks is also higher so prepare as soon as possible.
Baby proof your home
With 2 babies to cater to, you should baby-proof your house 3 months before birth. Don’t leave this task for the last minute because your hands will be full. Here’s a detailed guide to help you baby-proof your home before bringing home twins from the hospital, to keep them safe and give them room to explore.
More dos and don’ts when preparing for twins (they’re never enough)
As a seasoned mama of twins, I can go on and on about what you need to prepare. But to summarize, here are more insider tips that will save you a lot of effort, time, and money (things most new parents run low on).
- Do NOT hoard diapers before the babies arrive. Your babies will need way more diapers than you can imagine. But you still don’t know what size they’ll need. There’s a possibility the twins can be born premature, or even when born full-term, they can be smaller in size. Babies grow faster and will leave you with packs of unused diapers they’ve outgrown, and we know the average cost of diapers for twins is not pocket change.
- Prepare older siblings to cope with the news earlier. If you already have a child, it might be difficult for him to see his parents transfer their attention to the twins. Prepare him mentally and emotionally for his younger siblings right from the beginning and involve them throughout the pregnancy.
- Don’t hesitate to use baby formula. Not unless your pediatrician advises explicitly against it.
- Pamper yourself. I can’t emphasize this one enough since I regretted not doing this enough. Know that you’re doing a miraculous job making and bringing 2 lives together, Mama! You’ve earned some indulgence.