A few things we picked up along the way:
- Do I need two of everything? If you're unsure of what to buy in preparation for your twins, only purchase one of everything (with the exception of car seats and cribs, of course.) We couldn't have done without two swings, but we barely used the bouncy seat. We used our Bumbo seats and exersaucers every day, but got by with just one entertainer. Everyone's different. See what your babies like and then you can always go out and buy an additional one at the store or used on Craigstlist. Your friends might have one you could borrow as well!
- What kind of diaper bag should I get? My husband picked out our Eddie Bauer diaper bag, roomy and yet masculine enough for him to carry :) We used it well for the first few weeks, but with twins, you don't really have another arm to hang a bag. It didn't take us long to transition to a backpack and we're still using it! It's actually my backpack from high school. Being able to put it on my back gives my arms room to carry the boys. I highly recommend it for twins!
- What if they wake eachother up? We lived in a two-bedroom apartment when our boys arrived, so our twins had no choice but to share a room (we moved to a three-bedroom apartment when they were two, but still kept them in the same room - it would have been horrible for us to separate them!) Ever since they were six weeks old, they slept in their two separate at opposite sides of the room and they rarely woke eachother up. We learned later on that if they share the same room since birth, they will learn to tune out the cries of their sibling. Bonus!
- Can they sleep together in the same crib? If you talk to other veteran twin moms, most of them will answer "yes, I let my twins sleep together." But if you ask your pediatrician, the answer will undoubtedly "no." Doctors are worried about the chance of Suddent Infant Death Syndrome, especially between two and four months of age. But many moms find that their babies prefer to be together since they had been accustomed to it in the womb. We never had our boys sleep together, but I've talked to many moms that did and had no problems.
- If one wakes up, do you have to wake up the other? In an effort to keep the boys on the same schedule, we read beforehand that you should always wake up the other when their sibling wakes up. (They say this is easier when they're identical twins as opposed to fraternal because they share identical genetic material so it's easier to get them in snyc with one another.) There were times when I let the other sleep a few minutes longer and I always regretted it. If you're going to get any 'down' time, it's going to be when they'r both sleeping. You could probably just let them have their own schedule, but I guarantee you'll be going insane from trying.
- Do crib bumpers increase the risk for SIDS? When the boys were first born, I refused to use crib bumpers. I had heard statistics about infants falling asleep and suffocating in the bumpers or using them to step on and jump out so I decided not to use them at all. This wasn't a problem for the first few months, but when they started to move around a lot more, they would wake up in the middle of the night because their foot was stuck in the crib spokes. Other moms purchase a cotton mesh covering, which served the same purpose but didn't pose as many risks. We decided just to use the traditional bumpers (since we had been given them as a gift already) and found those to be extremely helpful.
- Should I try and pump additional breastmilk? When the boys were born, a lactation consultant recommended I use a breast pump to aid in my milk production. I was determined to breastfeed and wanted to provide as much as I could for my boys. Well, the first few weeks after the boys were born - recovering from the c-section, overwhelming realization that I had two newborns to care for and lack of sleep - were very discouraging. The boys were suuuuch different eaters that I struggled to breastfeed, pump and give formula. So I determined that I would pump exclusively, giving them each a bottle of formula a day to help cover what I could not produce. I'd recommend this pump: a double electric pump. I did this for one whole year. It was challenging and I'm not sure I would do it all again, but I'm proud I did it. However, I understand that not everyone has the same situation. You need to do what's best for you and your baby. If you're exhausted, frustrated and upset, you're not going to be able to give your kids what's best. Take care of yourself first. Formula is not the devil. I'm very grateful for it, in fact! Any breastmilk your kids are able to get is a home-run! Don't be too hard on yourself!
- What if I'm not able to deliver vaginally? I really wanted to deliver vaginally. But with this being my first pregnancy, I had no idea how my body would respond to the process nor could I have foreseen the circumstances when my boys were ready to come out. My OB was very knowledgeable and I trusted him to help us make the right decision when the time was right. The morning of May 5, 2009 I was exactly 38 weeks pregnant. Jonathan seemed to be in distress so they gave me a c-section and he was out within 20 minutes. Thank God for modern medicine! I had hoped for a vaginal birth, but I am even more grateful to have TWO healthy children. When I look at my (very tiny) scar, I am reminded of the two miracles that grew inside of me and am filled with gratitude that we have such a wonderful story to tell of God's grace. The trophy for delivering vaginally is no bigger than the one you get for needing a c-section. The trophy is no bigger. When we were pregnant, my OB wisely said, "Mindy, taking care of two babies in a lot of work. Taking care of two unhealthy babies is even harder." So true. I'd recommend talking with other moms who've had a c-section in the past so you can be more comfortable with the process in case you need it.
Here are some resources I've collected to help you along your new and exciting journey.
- Twiniversity - This free site (and Facebook page) is available to all parents of multiples interested in connecting with and learning from others like them. They offer discussion forums, product reviews, giveaways and events. One of my favorite places to go when I have a question I'd like to pose to other MoMs.
- Did you know that you could be receiving discounts for disposable diapers? Pampers, Huggies and Luvs all offer a one-time gift of money-saving coupons after you send them a copy of your babies' birth certificate. It's not much, but it's something. Save your rewards points on the packing of the diapers/wipes to earn some cool stuff down the road!
- Books for Parents of Multiples - Variety of books ranging from pregnancy to teenage years
- Cooking with your CrockPot - Follow a woman who cooked with her CrockPot for 365 days in a row.
- CrockPot Ideas - Organized by ingredients