Twins. As soon as the sonographer causally dropped it in that there were two heart beats, I could see my husband's eyeballs turning to dollar signs. I was thrilled. Best excuse for shopping if ever I knew one!
* This is a guest post by supermum of twins, Danielle Sidders*
When we announced the news to family and friends they waved goodbye to us in much the same way as they had done when we told them we were moving to Johannesburg (they believed it to be the most dangerous place on earth) five years ago. Believing that we would never have a life once the little ones arrived, 'good luck', they said - and phrases like ‘double trouble’ and ‘you’ll have your hands full’ became the norm.
Twins definitely are hard work - but the pleasure you get from two tiny tots is immeasurable. Here are a few things that I’ve discovered and thought about.
1. Get help. It may seem obvious but do.... in any shape or form. There is the lovely story in the news at the moment of the Australian mother who has had Quintuplets and all of her town have been shifted in to help with feeds and nappy changing! A newborn can be a lot of work when there is just one but when it is double EVERYTHING it's pretty hard to cope especially if your other half is needed back at work PDQ. If you are going to have any chance of getting some rest and you're going to breastfeed (this is best done simultaneously so that you're not sitting feeding all day long). You will therefore definitely need help - someone to pass you the little ones when it's feeding time…and to help with the unbelievable amount of washing.
2. Read up online for things you REALLY need for twins. My top tip if you're going to breastfeed is that the 'My BreastFriend' Twins pillow is a must. The little towelling sun loungers we used for the bath were great too as we could safely bath them both at the same time. Bouncy chairs (we had the Baby Bjorn as they folded up nicely) are great for being able to bottle feed them both at the same time.
3. Try to get them into a routine ASAP. Obviously this is easier said than done but if you get them on the same schedule when they're tiny hopefully it will be in place for the long term. This includes keeping them in the same cot (we did until 10 weeks old - and I cried when we separated them!) and therefore getting them used to sleeping through each other's cries. Even now when one is wailing I'm astounded that the other is still sleeping soundly.
4. Be prepared for everything to be that bit harder when you're a mother of twins. Getting out of the house, getting them out of the car, fitting the buggy into a cafe/shop/down the street. It's hard but it's possible and it's all well worth it. Allow a lot of time to do everything!
5. Know that wherever you go, wherever you are, people will stop you. They will smile and then ask if they are twins (and you'll do your fake smile and nod again) and then they'll proceed to tell you (as if you didn't know) that it is hard work, they will ask how you're coping (without really wanting to know the answer) and they will then tell you that their Great Grandmothers sister's cousins niece once removed had twins or triplets or quads....
6. Take photos of them separately. I'm not very good at this but I'm trying to get better. I keep thinking that when they're older they will want some solo photos and I'm trying to be good and do separate photo albums of them.
7. Set up some email addresses for the little ones. That way whenever something important happens or you see something you think they will appreciate in time drop 'them' an email. This is by far the quickest way - when you have two, those baby books take quite a while to fill in!
8. Keep an eye out for offers on daily necessities - nappies especially. You will be amazed at just how many you will go through! Same goes for wet wipes. It's really rather scary. Join twin groups on Facebook and sign up to TAMBA. There are heaps of discounts for everyday things as well as other occasional purchases and travel etc.
9. Don't be afraid to travel with them. Living abroad we haven't had much of a choice - flying with them at four months old filled me with fear. Before they arrived I was astonished that one adult wasn't allowed to fly with two babies until they were two years old. Now I can't believe I was ever shocked!
Just be organised and get a 'umbrella' buggy that you can take to the plane door. Take two baby carriers too in case they don't give you your buggy back straight away when you land. Book window seats - you won't be able to sit in the same row so I've found the best is to sit in window seats one in front of the other. The windows make a good pillow for a (hopefully) sleepy baby. Take more nappies than you think as well as a change of clothes for you and the little ones. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, we’ve found the cabin crew to be amazing!
10 We did baby lead weaning. I dreaded the thought of trying to shovel puree in two little mouths at every feed. This worked so well for us although at times I was terrified they weren't actually getting enough food we seem to have come through the other side and now they will eat whatever is put in front of them. The mess is quite unbelievable but definitely easier in the long run. We purchased some excellent silicone mats that stick to the table and are easy to transport the food on. They're called EZPZ. A clever mum invented them!
11 Be organised. Be more organised than you ever thought possible. Have a changing mat upstairs and downstairs. Have a pack of wipes everywhere. Keep a bag of nappies and wipes in the buggy constantly. Buy more bibs than you could ever imagine. Prepare the bottles the night before with boiled water ready to just add formula.
12 Enjoy them. It goes so fast.
We've survived our first year. Now to the next. They're both crawling so the fun has started...
By Danielle Sidders