Getting to know your new twin babies
1. Congratulations if your babies are already here! You will now start to notice how many sets of twins there are in the world - keep your eyes open and you will spot them everywhere.
2. Don’t worry if it takes a while to love those little bundles. It is an overwhelming experience and suddenly these 2 little people enter your life with a bang! It will take time to get to know your new family but as a new parent of twins you will have less time than normal to get to know your baby as you will also have another baby to care for. I promise it will come - give it time.
3. I think the advice now from health visitors is to give babies dummies - these things seem to change with the wind. However, assuming that your babies are not kept in the special care baby unit, I would certainly recommend whatever your views on dummies having 2 in your bag for the hospital just in case!
4. Identifying Identicals! At the hospital your little bundles of joy will have tags on so you will always know who is who. However, once you go home the tags will come off so how are you going to make sure that you know which baby is which? Newborns, even if identical may be quite different in size but this won’t last forever. Once they start moving, which could be as early as 3 months rolling around it will be increasingly difficult to keep tabs on them.
You have the choice to dress them the same or differently. Many people dress them differently but in similar clothes (I.e. same design t-shirt but different colours), other people go for completely different outfits whilst some people love to dress their twins the same.
One top tip is to pick a colour for each child and use that in a t-shirt or other item of clothing, hair clip if a girl or dummy/hat etc. This will also help other people know which is which. You will need to be somewhat organised for this though.
4. Don’t rule out breast feeding twins but don’t feel guilty if you can’t either. One of my twin mum friend breast fed her twins for a year. I managed 9 days (although I count it as 18 given there were 2 babies!). If your babies are in the special care baby unit your choices will be different again. I’d also recommend buying a box of formula and a steriliser even if you are planning to breast feed . That way if it becomes too much and you decide you’d rather go with bottle feeding you have everything ready.
My twin mum friends and I also adopted different approaches to feeding. Some fed one after the other whilst others (including myself) often fed them at the same time. With bottle fed babies this can be done by propping your babies on a cushion or sitting them in their bouncy chairs for a feed but is not so easy if one suffers from wind as their companion will complain very loudly if you put their bottles down in order to pick one up to wind. There are also ways to breastfeed 2 at once although this will take a bit of practice and it is hard to be discreet feeding this way. The hospital should help you with this, although I sometimes felt that staff at the hospital were a bit rushed.
5. Don’t rush home from the hospital under you are ready. Unless they are desperate for the space, as a new mum to twins they are likely to be happy for you to stay until you are ready. This will be different if you have a Cesarean as you have had a major operation and they will want to keep you in, probably for 5 days or so.
I stayed for 4 days and knew I was ready to go when everyone started getting on my nerves!! However, before this the support and care provided by the hospital gave us the chance to learn get the hang of the baby thing without having to worry about cooking, cleaning etc.
More tips to come xx