Managing Twins

Updated on June 14, 2008
S.L. asks from Long Valley, NJ
16 answers

My brother and his wife have just found out they are having twins. The were thinking one last one, so they are a little over-whelmed, especially my brother as this is a second family for him, now totaling 5 children the oldest being a senior in high school. They are excited but are trying to see their way forward as the house is tight, the car is tight and money is tight. Can anyone provide any suggestions as to websites, chat rooms and/or books that I could share with them to help them get their minds around this? They are thinking of things like how to breastfeed two, etc. My brother especailly wanted help from a man's perspective. I know there are thousands upon thousands of your out there with multiples who have it all down. Thanks for your help in getting them some help and assurance that God has a plan for this great event!

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M.K.

answers from New York on

We have 2yr old twins that were unexpected as we already had a b & g. I found www.twinsmagazine.com to be the most valuable message board for me. Two years later and I am still in contact with all my birth month moms.

They can also contact their local chapter of Mom's of Multiples. Great support group for dad's too.

It will take lots of organizing, but it truly is dble the joy.

Wish them luck!

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B.A.

answers from New York on

MY bff just had twins and she wanted to breastfeed too. So together her and I came up with one of the most time efficient ways for her to do this was to pump so the babies would get the benefits of breastfeeding without her physically spending all the time to do so...because 20 minutes to pump is much faster than feeding all day.

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J.J.

answers from New York on

hi sherrie;

i would strongly suggest your sister in law go to her local La Leche League Intl. meeting; she can easily find her local chapter by googling the organization. they will really have the straight and up to date stuff on successful nursing of twins. and i think this is FANTASTIC that she is planning to do this. she will definitely make it happe. she just needs the right support.

your bro can check out the fun blog by Keith Snyder about being a father of multiples.

good luck to them and lots of love,
J.

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M.L.

answers from New York on

Hi S.,
I was just on CNN and saw this article, then came here and saw your post...If the cutting and pasting of the article didnt work let me know and I can try to email you the article directly!!
Meg :)

Moms with twins battle time on multiple frontsStory Highlights

(CNN) -- For the first few months of their lives, twins Maggie and Kate Fox ate and slept at different times. Their mother, Wendy, hardly had time to think.

Wendy Fox, mom to twins Kate, left, and Maggie, says it's important to seek support from others.

So, at 3 months, Wendy took some advice from another mother of twins and started the four B's -- bath, book, bottle and bed -- every night at the same time.

"A schedule to twins is beyond important," the teacher from Raleigh, North Carolina, says. Her twins, who were born about 7½ weeks prematurely, turned 1 year old May 16.

Fox says she's learned another valuable lesson in this first year: Turn to others when you need assistance. Help has come in the form of her mother, her husband, her sister, long-time friends and even people she has never met. She is a member of a multiples club and is so thankful for her new friends that she invited 60 of them to the twins' birthday party.

Another mother of twins says clubs are a huge help for most parents, especially the rookies.

"As a first-time parent, it was so helpful to have role models, moms who had been through it before me," says Pamela Fierro, the author of "Mommy Rescue Guide: Twins, Triplets, and More" and the mother of twin teenage girls.

The National Organization of Mothers of Twins Clubs says on its Web site that there are more than 400 multiples clubs throughout the country, with more than 25,000 members.

Pointers for Parents
If you don't have help at the twins' bath time, use a bouncy seat or infant carrier so you can keep one child nearby as one goes in the tub.
Get a slow cooker. You can prepare food early in the day and let it cook until dinner time.
When boarding a plane, one parent can board early to carry bags and get seats set up, while the other parent can board later with the kids.
When getting the multiples to clean up, separate them. If they are together, they tend to want to play.
Find a mother's helper, for example a trustworthy neighborhood teen, who can go on errands with you to act as an extra set of hands for a few hours.

Source: Pamela Fierro, author, "Mommy Rescue Guide: Twins, Triplets, and More" For Fierro, the clubs were helpful in finding playgroups with moms who had twins the same age as hers. Some clubs also have opportunities for parents to have a night out, and they often give older kids a chance to meet other multiples.

One of the best incentives, Fierro says, is the yearly sale that most clubs have. Parents who rarely have opportunities to shop can buy a lot of key items at once.

"It's a great way to stock up on two of everything instead of having to buy it all new," she says.

Fox likes her club for the private forums and the advice she can get from other moms. Rather than having to do hours of research, she posted a question about breastfeeding and quickly received 20 e-mails with a variety of suggestions.

She says she has met three other mothers who had twins around the same time she did and they've become fast friends. When she has an issue that's too sensitive to share with the hundreds of multiples bulletin board users, she can turn to her three friends.

In the future, the mothers may take turns helping each other, alternating baby-sitting duties while the other parents run errands.

Supermom's support system

Asking for help when she needs it is critical for a mother of multiples, says Fierro, who also writes an advice column at http://multiples.about.com.

Fierro initially wanted to be a "supermom," but soon learned she would need to reach out to friends and family. Her mother helped by cooking two of everything before the twins were born and saving the extra for the first few weeks after her daughter came home from the hospital.

Fox says it is a good idea to line up people to bring food. Many people tell parents they want to help, and she says many moms want to be self-sufficient. But she says parents have to realize their limits.

Don't Miss
In Depth: Busy Moms
"When you have twins, you have to have help," she says. Don't be afraid to ask someone to either watch the kids while you run an errand or find out if someone close to you can run to the store or go on another errand.

These days Fierro likes to go to meal assembly stores, where customers can prepare several meals in one evening and put them in the freezer. She saves a lot of time by not making frequent trips to the grocery store.

"It is nice to have something I can pop in the microwave or oven and not have to think about cooking or shopping or cleaning up afterwards," she says.

Must-haves for multiples' moms

If you do have to go out by yourself with multiples, Fox suggests finding several "car" toys that stay in the vehicle and occupy the children while you are trying to get them in the car. The kids focus on those toys and it helps settle them down, she says.

Fierro also recommends getting a double stroller with seats that snap into the frame and also act as car seats. That way you can put the children in the seats in the house, roll them out to the car and put them in the vehicle without having to pick them up in your arms.

"A good double stroller is the most important piece of equipment the parents of twins can invest in," Fierro says. "For the first year, it's really a lifesaver."

You also learn which stores are twin friendly, Fox says. She knows which ones have shopping carts with two seats, and she also knows -- most of the time -- where the bathrooms are that have a stall big enough for a double stroller and an adult.

"That's the kind of crazy stuff you have to think about," she says

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C.R.

answers from Syracuse on

There are lots of multiple parent groups out there...they can start with the internet or the hospital they are going to deliver at...I don't have twins but we had 5 in 7 years(the first 4 in 4 years...last was a delightful oops)...anyway as far as it goes in handling the everyday chaos...it can be done and they should sit down and make a plan or chart as for each adults chores/responsibilities and sleep times...daddy can bathe/and bottle feed everyother feeding(there are ways to nurse both at the same time but it maybe less overwhelming to do both...she can pump while nursing so they don't have to use formula if they don't want to)...One crib will do at first and help them sleep for longer...We were 7 people in a 3 bedroom one bath house for 2 years and it really wasn't bad...organization is the key...a place for everything and pitch or donate the rest...Good luck to them!

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J.S.

answers from New York on

I've got 18 month old twins. It is a lot of work, but they are wonderful! Scheduling is the most important thing. You've got to get them on the same eating and sleeping schedule immediately! That means when one wakes up, wake up the other.. feedings together or consecutively. They fall into the schedule quickly! check out...
http://www.twinstuff.com/forum/index.php?s=4f68dbed0e040e...

Great website and boards, tons of help and advice!!

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K.H.

answers from Utica on

Hi S.
What a kind sister you are to ask!!
"Twins" magazine was very helpful to me, as was Mothers of Multiples an international org. that may just have a local chapter, when I had my twin girls when my boys were 18 & 14 and I had been married almost 20 years. The other thing that was helpful was the chat room I happened upon when I searched for families with wide age differences. My girls just graduated from Homeschooling and are headed to college, one on campus, one commuting, and we have been married near narly 38 years.

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C.B.

answers from New York on

Hello S.,

I am a mother of twin boys who are now 22 months old. I breastfeed them for 13 months, 11 months exclusively. It is a great bonding experience, very healthy for the kids and is challenging, but once you have a system down, it just works. We saved TONS of money and the best part about it, the boys had amazing nutrition. Some moms like to supplement with formula as well, but I was very lucky to have a great experience with no problems or issues. It is all about the supply and demand, and if the babies are demanding the milk, your body will supply it. La Leche League is a good place to reach out to if you need to, but the lactation nurse in my hospital was amazing and very helpful. Having twins is overwhelming, but worth every sleepless moment! I also kept a small notebook and made notes of when each baby ate and on which side and just rotated for the next feeding. This was helpful since I was so tired and needed something to refer to.

One random tip, have them get a double snap and go stroller that they can snap the infant car seats into. It makes your life so easy and you can go lots of places with the babies without having to take them out of their seats. The basket on the bottom is HUGE. Helpful for food shopping. It costs around $100, but it is really worth it. You can probably find a used on on craigslist.org or in a local second hand shop.

That is all I can think of now. Good luck to you all!
C.

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L.B.

answers from New York on

Well, depending upon what their faith is...direct them to FOCUS ON THE FAMILY.ORG, click on family challenges, Life transitions, & then Becoming A Parent. Lots of good info. on this site, and they can also call for any help they need concerning the family. Hope it helps!

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K.M.

answers from Albany on

You have great advice here already! After stressing about how I would manage with twins and a toddler I set out to find an organizational tool that would make me feel more at ease. My girls are now 20 months old, but I created used a feeding-nursing-bathing-diapering chart for the first four months. I found that what could have been chaos was quite managable and I was reassured that the girls had been nursed and diapered enough times in one day - especially when I was functioning on not-enough-sleep! I nursed with no formula supplement for 12 and 15 months (one gave up before the other) and it was a blessing to have a clear record for the doctor to see. Additionally, any one who helped out with the babies could record diaper changes, concerns and cute notes - and I now have those memories saved!

I sell these custom charts on eBay (though I do not have one listed right now) and have had great response. I include a detailed description of products, resources and services that I found essential in those first few months, and advice for setting up an organized system for the nursery. My mom-business can be found here on mamasource - it is called TwINspirations and I think you can access a description of my charts by clicking on my name. This makes a great gift and can be a lifesaver at the hospital when the babies arrive - most hospitals are not really equipped to help new moms with multiples.

Good luck to the new parents!
-Kat

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M.S.

answers from New York on

Dera S.,

I am the mother of 1 year old twin boys, fraternal. Also my second marrage. My 2 other children are 22 and 19. So I do fully understand where you're coming from. There are plenty of websites out there, you should register at enfimil.com, goodstart.com and all other formula companies, they will send you coupons. When you shop at carters, children's place, etc, tell them you have twins and you'll get a discount, at babies r us you get a discount on the second identical item you buy, register everywhere for a baby registry, even if you don't tell anyone about it, you get free stuff just for registering, register at babies r us, buy buy baby, baby depot, target, and anywhere else that has a baby registry. go on craig's list and look at the free stuff section and the baby section, you can get lots and lots of stuff really cheap, I got both my cribs on craigs list for between $40 to $80 each. Find out the gender of the twins, that makes it easier to get stuff. Breastfeeding twins can be done, I did it for about 2 - 3 weeks, I stopped because all I was doing was either breastfeeding or pumping. You can keep the twins in the same crib until they learn to roll over, then it's time to put them in separate cribs. I can tell you much much more including that this is the best thing that will ever happen to you. So try to relax, accept the fact it's twins and just enjoy life. It will all work out. Feel free to contact me at [email protected]____.com. M.

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M.G.

answers from New York on

Dear S.,
I,too was blessed with Twin Girls 26 years ago! I found that being a breast feeding Mother myself (1 1/2 years!) used a supplement of soy protein (ProSoybe). My husband would feed the one that was not breast feeding first and then we would switch. It is only hard when one is crying and they both are hungry at the same time! They are twins!! My twins are the healthiest gals I know even today. I have enjoyed ever second with them and they are each other's best friend too. She will enjoy the journey. It is a God Given Gift for sure! Lots of liquids, lots of sleep when the two are sleeping too! Keep healthy the Twins will benefit from that too! She can call me anytime with questions, I remember it like it was yesterday!
###-###-#### EST anytime. or email me at [email protected]____.com
M.

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P.W.

answers from New York on

Hi, I am the mother of 14 yr old twin boys. Boy I know how your brother feels!!!! We have no twins in the family and I wasn't on any fertility drugs. Best advise Bouncy seats!!!!! whoever invented them I would love to KISS!!!! I never got the hang of breast feeding them at the same time, but I did have them on about a half an hour span - I would breast feed one and have the other in the bouncy seat until his brother was finished then I switched. I nursed for about 5 months. Also I belonged to a mother of multiples group. Good to know that you are not the only one out there. Check with the local Chamber of Commerce for a listing for the group. I would say also get the other children involved to help care for them. Also don't spend the extra money making them wear the same outfits. Waste of time, and they will be upset with you later. Check out the local thrift stores and Goodwill's for baby clothes and equipment.

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K.L.

answers from New York on

I can't say enough about the EZ-2-Nurse pillow that has allowed me to tandem nurse my 10 week old twins fairly easily from the beginning. I always nursed them together during the day in the early weeks and once they regained their birth weight, I started nursing them separately at night because I have one who is a better sleeper than the other one. Now I sometimes do a few separate feedings during the day depending on who is napping. I am not at the stage where I have them always napping at the same time yet and I don't actually mind because I find myself craving some one-on-one time with them (which is even harder to come by with an older child who is almost three around the house too). One thing I would say is do not expect them to be "the same." My twins could not be more different. My little boy loves stimulation and new things/people/places to look at. My little girl gets easily over-stimulated and needs comforting in overwhelming situations. A sling carrier works well for her to feel more secure and protected. I also must emphasize how important it is for you to have lots of help in the early weeks. You will not be up to handling cooking, cleaning and housework AND I think it is important to always have at least two people available to hold the babies in the early weeks before they are happy to be put into a swing or bouncy seat. Even if you are nursing, nighttime help is a must in the early weeks. Having my mother live at my house with me for almost 7 weeks of their lives was so, so helpful. I will encourage you that it does get easier as they get older.

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N.B.

answers from Buffalo on

Well, first of all, I'd say pray! God's grace is there for the asking, even when we feel overwhelmed.

A great, godly couple recommended to us a book entitled "Debt-Proof Living" by Christian writer Mary Hunt. It helps you learn to manage wisely & well what you do have, and how to save, plan, etc. It was both an eye-opener & life saver for us, and I think it would benefit couples with no kids, to 2, to 6, and so on.

Other than that, I would encourage them not to be afraid to ask for help- (having family take the kids out, letting the mom get a break, arranging date nights, etc.) Peace!

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G.T.

answers from Rochester on

Well, what can I say except, "Been there, done that"!. I had an 11 year old, a 10 year old and a 13 month old when I found out I was having twins. I was in my 8th month of the pregnancy at the time and couldn't get my husbands word out of my head. After our 3rd child was born he said he wanted another child because he didn't like odd numbers! Now the doctor was telling me I was having twins....that meant 5! Another odd number! I told my husband had better get to liking odd numbers because this was it for me!

There were times I didn't think I was going to make it! But I did and now that the twins are 25 years old I don't remember it being so bad. One of the best things I ever did was to join a Mothers of Twins Club. Go to the National Organization of Mothers of Twins website (http://www.nomotc.org/) and find a club near you.

In the meantime, as your sister in law tells people she is having twins many of them will tell her that if she needs help to call them. Tell her to write all their names down and when the time comes to call them! She will probably be able to handle taking care of the twins but may need help with what I call the "daily chores" (the laundry, dishes, cooking (from time to time), dusting and vacuuming, etc). That's when I would call one of the people on the list and remind them that they had offered to help and ask them if they could please come over for an hour or so.

Let me tell you a quick, funny story of what happened to me one day when the twins were only a few weeks old. My husband was at work, the older kids were at school and the 14 month old was taking a nap. A normal day. But the twins were not cooperating at all that day and I suddenly felt so overwhelmed. Then the door bell rang. It was the guy that reads the gas and electric meters. I was crying out of frustration when I answered the door. One baby was in the swing (screaming and crying like a banshee) and the other was in my arms, pitching a fit! He asked if I was ok and if I needed help. The next thing I know I was handing him a baby and a bottle and told him to sit down and start feeding! Both of us sat there feeding the babies and talking about them. He even changed her diaper and rocked her to sleep when he was done feeding her. He said he loved it and couldn't wait to go home and tell his wife about the fantastic experience he had that day. Over the next year or so when he would come to read the meters he always asked if he could do something to help. I usually found something for him to do, even if it was to just watch the babies while I put a load of laundry in the washer. He got transfered to a different route after that and I never saw him again but I did get a Christmas card from him once with a note that he would miss the twins and really loved the time he had with them!

My point to telling this story is so you can tell your sister in law that sometimes she may need help and it may come in the strangest ways. Keep an open mind. Don't be afraid to ask for help when she needs it! There are a lot of people out there that will be more then happy to help and will never forget the great time they had doing it!

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