When you find out you’ll be receiving twin bundles of joy in the not-too-distant future, you’ll likely start to panic. Here are tips for twins from your fellow twin parents to help you keep things under control and enable you to conquer the twin parenting challenges ahead.
“Don’t feel guilty if one twin needs more attention than the other! One may be more fussier and needier. You can still make special time with the less needier twin…. and sometimes they will switch roles of being the twin that demands more attention!” (Brian Z.)
“When they first arrive, be selfish with your new family’s bonding time. You only get to be a brand new family once so enjoy it, make everyone wait.” (Ryan T.)
“Split them up often to connect with them separately. They need that.” (Anna G.)
“We were advised early on to accept all offers of help, hand me downs, support etc. The independent part of me found it was hard to change but the reality of life with multiples required a lot of changes in me and this was one I’m totally grateful that I embraced.” (Ali M.)
“Get/accept help. Even if it is someone who claims to know nothing about babies. Extra hands are awesome.” (Marla H.)
“Get help (family, friends, paid help) as early and as often as you can because it’s going to get overwhelming especially those early years.” (Todd S.)
You don’t have to manage the burden of twins by yourself. It is fine to ask for help. In fact, you should ask for all the help you can get. An extra pair of hands will be a lifesaver for helping take care of your twins, the house, and other children.
Getting a Routine
“Hands-down, the best piece of advice I was given was to come up with a routine – and to stick to it! It was tough work – especially in the first few months – but sticking with a routine not only gets the babies into a good rhythm, it also, paradoxically, goes some way to alleviating the pressure on the parents. It’s important to be adaptable, and it could take some trial and error to get into a regular pattern, but if you can remain disciplined and stick with what works , it won’t be a walk-in-the-park, but it will be a lot easier than it could have been!” (Craig M.)
“Routine! Keep them in sync as much as possible! Which wasn’t easy in the beginning! But reaping the benefits now they’re 28 months” (Dave H.)
(NOTE: Still expecting? Get weekly updates on your twin pregnancy here.)
“Get them on the same nursing/bottle schedule ASAP.” (Marc S.)
“Have them both feed at the same time, that way they aren’t waking up for feeds staggered every hour and a half ” (Michael M.)
“Keeping them on the same schedule saved us. That seriously was the best advice ever.” (Erica M.)
“Feed them at the same time and nap them at the same time so you can save time.” (Christina S.)
“Get them in a schedule, and stick to it!” (Matt V.)
“Stick to routines and schedules. That has made our lives way less complicated that what we expected.” (Fernando R.)
“As a mom of now 4 year old twins.. KEEP THEM ON THE SAME SCHEDULE! it will save your sanity.” (AnaLeya R.)
Expectations and Realities of Twins
“I think it is very important for Dads of twins to drop the expectations around the house and the expectation of how much work the twins are for the dad as well as the mother.” (Ryan S.)
(RELATED: Expecting twins? Avoid these 4 critical mistakes expectant twin parents make.)
“It doesn’t get easier, it gets different.” (Joe G.)
“The first four months are the most difficult.” (Marc S.)
“It will be okay. No matter what happens. It will be okay.” (Michael H.)
“It gets easier. This is very true by the 18 month mark when they play together.” (April K.)
“They will not be babies forever.” (Marc S.)
“With twins, be ready to change what you’re doing if it will help your babies.” (Lyra F.)
“Oh and don’t eat around them lmao. Because even if they just ate they will always want your food.” (Brett V.)
“That ‘it will get easier’. I honestly didn’t believe it the first few years and thought people were just saying that. Mine just turned 7 and I can confirm it gets WAY easier after the third and even fourth year.” (Rick B.)
(RELATED: Don't reinvent the twin parenting wheel. Get my 7 Things Every Dad of Twins Needs to Know.)
“Pick and choose your battles. Also don’t put yourself down about not getting to daily chores right away. The first few years with twins, a lot of things will get put off because you will be so busy. Just go with the flow.” (Bella G.)
“Give up on ever being organised again ,accept it and do your best. You’ll get this all back when they get older” (Kas T.)
“Try not to compare your twins with one another – or with singleton children for that matter (especially if your babies were premature!).” (John V.)
“Try not to compare when they achieve milestones that first year. Even though they are twins, they are unique in their own way! I spent too much time worrying about when the other would reach a milestone if one did.” (Jennifer S.)
As the twins grow older, they should be treated as equally as possible. When I say “equal,” I mean try to avoid favoring one child over the other. Your parenting will need to adapt to each child’s needs and personalities.
Because the twins will be unique individuals with varying interests, parents should always recognize that they are separate entities. Resisting the urge to compare their accomplishments will serve your family well through the years ahead.
Your Partner Relationship
“It’s a teamwork event. You and your partner need to tackle things together” (Scott M.)
“Don’t ever stop laughing with your wife or loved one. The road is tough-the nights are long but always remember to kiss your spouse goodnight and say I love you. You’ll never get this time back-so be as positive and open minded as possible!! Enjoy the ride brother!” (Erik L.)
“Be gentle with your spouse. You two are GOING TO ARGUE. Sleep deprivation + repetitive stress is not a formula for straight thinking. Twins wear us down in a way that’s hard to describe, and you can feel both intense love AND be really freaking annoyed with your spouse at the same time. It doesn’t mean there’s a problem. It means you’re sleep deprived. Don’t listen to that turd of a voice in your head.” (Craig W.)
Of course, raising twins is tough business. You will find yourselves ragged and crazed during the first several months. To recoup some of your strength and maintain your relationship, you should give yourselves some downtime whenever possible. This may mean taking turns or calling in a babysitter so you can take a break away from the twins.
Twin Baby Gear
“The best advice I received was that you don’t need 2 of everything and 2nd hand stuff is great!! We purchased a lot of second hand clothes, strollers, boppy’s (which you do need 2 of, because they are AWESOME) and just about everything. Having twins does not have to break the bank.” (Tyler W.)
“I discovered babywearing helps a lot, especially when one is sick.” (April K.)
“My three wear a lot of hand me down ‘new to them’ clothes and today my son dressed himself in a lovely outfit that he pulled together from his drawers and he got so many compliments.” (Ali M.)
“Sleep when they sleep!” (April K.)
“Save as much money as you can to pay for a night doula who will help babies develop good sleep habits!” (Melissa H.)
“You will survive. Walk away when you have to. Let them cry for 5 minutes and they will probably fall right back asleep. Sleep train, for your own sake. Sleep is sanity. Twelve Hours’ Sleep by Twelve Weeks Old is the book I used. I didn’t follow absolutely everything but I used a lot of stuff in there!!” (Kate H.)
Keep a Sense of Humor
“If you break one, don’t worry about it. That’s why you have two.” (Dakota H.)
“Just roll with it. No matter how much you plan it never works out the way you want.” (Tiffany G.)
“If at the end of the day the house hasn’t been burned down and your still alive, you’ve done good. Now prepare for the next day.” (Tim C.)
“Enjoy small victories” (Daniel R.)
There Are No Perfect Tips for Twins Parenting Advice
Every family situation is different and twins bring many surprises to your home. Take the advice from people that have been there, done that. Try it out. If it works, great! Put it in your routine. If it doesn’t, move on and try something else. You’ll constantly be adapting and changing how you parent your twins. Be flexible and have fun!
Special thanks to all the twin parents above who helped give awesome tips for twins based on their experience. If you’d like to help your fellow twin parents, join us on Facebook.
You’ll find more tips and practical advice on raising your twins in the Dad’s Guide to Raising Twins: How to Thrive as a Father of Twins.
Picture by Aaron Goldberg