Once the shock has worn off (and it will probably be weeks to months before that happens), you will find yourself swimming in a sea of information. Some will be self-imposed (internet searching or asking advice of total strangers) and other tidbits of information will be thrust upon you by well-meaning friends, family, and complete and total strangers.
We found a few things that helped us filter out unneeded, unwanted, or unnecessary information as we tried to make sense of our soon-to-be new reality.
1. If you hear the same advice from several people (three or more), listen up!
You will soon have your hands fuller than they have ever been. Don’t reinvent the wheel. If you start to hear recurring themes in the advice you are receiving, they are worth listening to. Make notes and talk about ways to implement the advice with your spouse. You’ll be glad you did.
2. When listening to or taking advice, try to find out how similar the situation is to your own. This truly will help you filter out the inapplicable and help you set reasonable expectations for your experience.
Consider this. A first-time parent of one baby has a huge learning curve. It takes a good, long while to figure everything out. A second-time parent tends to enjoy #2 a little more because they’ve “been there, done that” with the first. And so it goes, with each progressive addition getting a little easier to handle.
Consider this. First-time parents of twins will be doubly overwhelmed. Parents of multiples falling a little farther down the birth order chain don’t face the same challenges with the same intensity.
So if you take advice from someone whose twins were #2 and #3, and yours are #1 and #2, be prepared for some disparity between their advice and your reality.
3. One person’s experience is not necessarily generalizable to your own. For example, my wife talked to several women about breastfeeding twins prior to the birth of our twin girls. After our twins were born and we tried breastfeeding, my wife dealt with a lot of frustration because it wasn’t working like everyone she talked to said it would. Upon reflection, this was due in large part to the fact that the women she talked with had twins as #1 and #2, or #2 and #3, not #3 and #4 like ours were. Having two other young children at home changed the face of breastfeeding for us.
(RELATED: Still looking for the right twin gear? See my Twin Baby Gear Essentials.)
4. Finally, make note of what works for you as you go along. You will inevitably be solicited for advice from others!