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Two by Two…

Some tried and tested parenting hacks for coping with twin babies.

The one thing you can count on when you are expecting twins is that your home life is going to change drastically. Yip, your house will resemble a day care facility and you may never get to make your bed! Everything is doubled! But that goes for the trials and the joys of having multiples.

To begin with it is a good idea to reach out to other twin parents, who have
been there and done that, for their best survival tips for raising two babies at the same time.

Here are some ideas that you can try:
Stick to a schedule
It is important to keep the babies on a schedule, no matter what. If one wakes
up to feed, wake the other one up. This way you can work in time for other
chores and not spend the whole day on the bed feeding them.

Feeding hacks
Coping with two hungry babies screaming together can be stressful. Breastfeeding or bottle feeding needs to be done at the same time so it is important to master this from the beginning. Prepare everything you need ahead of time: a breastfeeding pillow, bottles, burp cloths, pumped breastmilk or formula and nappy changing goodies.

Don’t forget a snack for yourself, especially if you are breastfeeding, as your
blood sugar can plummet mid-feed and then that just adds to the stress. Some soothing background music is a good idea too.

Whether bottle feeding or breastfeeding, you can get a twin feeding pillow
from your local baby shop or order it online. It will really save your back if you
prop up your babies. When they are finished feeding, put one in a baby rocker chair while you burp the other and then swap them around.

Bath time
When your twins are tiny, it’s easier to bath one while the other is near you in
the rocker chair. Once your babies are around six months old and able to sit up on their own, bath seats which suction to the bottom of the bath provide fun for them and makes it easier to bath them at the same time.

Confusing identities
When you stumble through in the middle of the night to pacify or feed, don’t get your babies mixed up. This can happen so easily if they are identical. Put a dot of nail polish on one baby’s big toe so you can identify them when your eyes are still half closed!

Sleep training
Another key to surviving double trouble is to sleep train the babies as soon as possible. There are books, websites and consultants who can help you with this. Don’t take it lightly, having babies who sleep through from a young age will totally help you to cope with the rest of the challenges twins present.
In the womb, there was no distinction between night and day. Now it’s up to you to help your twins adjust so that they’ll learn that nighttime is for sleeping and daytime is for waking and playing.

Let your twins sleep together for the first few months. This is called co-bedding and is perfectly safe. In fact, putting twins in the same cot can help them regulate their body temperatures and sleep cycles, and can soothe them and their twin. If you put put your twins in the same cot, follow the same safe sleeping advice as for a single baby. When the babies start wriggling around, move them to separate cribs, but keep them in the same room, where they can see and hear each other.

Find out what soothes your babies
It can be doubly stressful when both babies are crying together. Try to find what soothes them. They may have different methods, but you will soon see. Trying to give them dummies as soon as possible after they are born will also help a ton. Placing one in a rocker while you ‘wear’ the other one is also a solution. It’s not fun to listen to two screaming infants, but using trial and error to find out what works for each baby takes patience and practice.

Ask for help
Another set of hands to help you is key to surviving life with two newborns. We recommend having a system in place to handle parenting responsibilities, whether it be Dad or anyone who is assisting you. One person can bath a baby while the other one dresses.
Alternating who does the
dishes and other household chores shares the load too, especially if there are other siblings to take care of. For single parents raising twins, relying on grandparents for support can be critical during those first few weeks.

Try to get out of the house
Getting out will feel like an impossible challenge in the beginning.
However, being organised and intentional will make it a lot easier. Make up a check list to stick on the wall listing everything you need in the bag or bags to make your venture a success. You will need a suitable double pram or push chair in which the babies can be comfortable and able to sleep even if you are not home.

Connect with other twin parents
You can find twin communities online in Facebook groups or on websites. Find an expecting-twins class in your area. Parents of twins understand what you’re going through at a time when you think you are the only one in the world who is so sleep deprived.

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