What role can Dad actually take to provide the most help to a new Mom without feeling like he’s getting in the way?
Things Dad Can Do
Well, frankly there are a ton of things that you as a father of twins can do to help around the house with the twins and help Mom. You will not get in the way, believe me. With twins there is plenty of work to do for Mom and for Dad. In fact, oftentimes there is more than both can handle.
So what are some things that you can do to help relieve her burden? Try to change all the diapers. From the moment the twins are born until they get home (and in those early days when you’re on paternity leave) take advantage of that time to see if you can change all of the twins’ diapers. Just you, by yourself. Give mom a break. She’ll have plenty of diapers to change soon enough.
Take the Night Shift
You can always take the night shift. This may work particularly well if your wife is expressing breast milk. And so you can bottle feed your twins either with breast milk in a bottle or with formula. This will allow Mom to get a good night’s rest and help her the next day as she cares for the twins – perhaps by herself if you’re off to work already.
Bedtime and Bath Routine
Dad, you can give mom a break by bathing the babies. I enjoyed giving our girls, or all of our children for that matter, baths when they were little. It did give my wife a chance to relax a little bit in the evening as I helped with the bedtime routine: getting the twins in the bathtub, getting them clean, and then getting them in their pajamas and ready for bed.
Feeding the Babies
As a father, you can always help with feedings. The logistics of feeding twins are a challenge. Yes, one person can feed two twins. Mom can breastfeed both twins at the same time, but it doesn’t mean that it’s easy. So whether you are breastfeeding or bottle feeding the twins in your household, you can still be of help.
So if your twins are bottle feeding, you have a lot more opportunities to help. You can make the bottles up, prepare the formula for delivery, and then you can take one twin and your wife can take the other. Or you can put both twins in bouncy seats, and you can sit between the bouncy seats and feed both twins by yourself and give Mom a rest.
If Mom is breastfeeding, you can always bring the babies to her while she gets comfortable in her chair, help her get situated with the twins, and then you can handle the logistics around feeding like burping the babies, bringing burp clothes, changing the diapers, etc.
Dad, you can get really good at doing the laundry. As you know with twins, especially newborns, there’s going to be tons and tons of laundry. So be proactive in making sure that you are the one taking care of the laundry, running it through the washing machine, getting those things prepared and back into the pile so they can be used again quickly for your newborns.
Let Mom Rest
Definitely find opportunities to let Mom rest. If there’s any time that you can spend with the twins, if it’s feeding, if it’s bathing, if it’s playing with them or just holding them or even taking a nap with them, it’s a great opportunity for mom to not have to worry about those things, and she can rest.
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Another thing you can do, Dad, is run some errands. If you’re already back to work, think about what errands you can run on the way home from work or the way to work, to pick up things that you need, supplies for your home. Perhaps you can stop at the grocery store on the way home or bring some dinner home. That would greatly help Mom, especially in those newborn months when it’s very difficult to get out of the house with the twins.
Talk Through Any Challenges
There are tons of things that you can do to provide the most help to Mom without feeling like you’re getting in the way. And if you do feel like you’re getting in the way, have a conversation. Talk with your wife. Figure out what she would like you to do, what she needs you to do, what are you doing that she finds most beneficial, and then make your plans from there.
Don’t assume that you know what needs to happen. Don’t assume that you know what she needs. Talk to her and find out what the truth is, and then you can take action on those errands or steps or tasks that you need to do around the house to be the most helpful to her and to the babies.
This question was originally addressed on the Dad’s Guide to Twins Podcast Episode 60: When One Twin is Sick, Helping Mom Without Getting in the Way.