Leaving the hospital with my twins was an incredible moment I will never forget. After an IVF conception, complications and a 12-day stay in the NICU, we were so ready to become a family properly. Though we’d been preparing all along, it was still a shock getting home and having two tiny babies to care for. Here are a few tips from my experience, to get you through the first few days and weeks.
Accept visitors only when you feel ready.
It’s great that everyone wants to visit, but there is no rush. You – the parents – are running the show. Getting discharged from the hospital doesn’t mean you’ve healed fully. You still need to take it easy. Extra stresses, strains, and pressures from visitors are definitely not welcomed at this point!
…and ensure they know the rules.
Newborns, and especially those born prematurely have fragile immune systems and are particularly susceptible to infection. Pass around the sanitizing hand gel and make sure visits are kept short. And, if anyone wants tea, they’ll have to get it themselves!
It sounds obvious, but really, do rest when you can. As the saying goes, you can’t pour from an empty cup. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Take people up on offers of help if you feel comfortable – other people can take care of housework. Looking after yourself and your new babies are your prime concerns.
Filter the advice.
Listen to advice (you’ll probably get a lot of it, whether you like it or not). The majority of people will be well-meaning, but ultimately, do what YOU feel is right for you and your family. Your intuition is the best tool you have.
I’m sure every woman has a vision of how she will be as a mother. You’ve gone through a huge change, and as much as you have prepared, it can still be a shock to the system! We all have the best of intentions but it can be a struggle, and it doesn’t mean you’re failing if everything doesn’t go perfectly to plan!
Keep everything you might need close at hand, wherever you might be in the house. Keep nappy supplies, plus muslins and bibs stocked in the bedroom and living areas.
Twins are more likely to be born with low birth weights than singleton babies, so you may worry about weight gain. Also, it’s easy to lose track of each baby’s output as you beginning a seemingly never-ending cycle of change, feed, sleep. We found it useful to keep notes on the feeds our babies took, for our record as well as to show health professionals. Check out the free printable I designed.
Find ways to be comfortable for feeding.
Whether you’re breastfeeding or bottle feeding, you’ll be feeding a lot in the first few months! Experiment with different feeding positions to see which work for you. You may find a pillow useful to prop your twins on, or you can try bottle feeding them in bouncers either side of you.
Go for a walk.
In a whirlwind of feeding cycles, it’s easy to get cabin fever! You might not feel up to much, but even a short walk in the fresh air can do you a world of good. Another twin mum told me to try to do this, especially in the difficult days and it always made me feel better. People love to stop and say hello, and tell you how beautiful your babies are, boosting your pride even further!
Take lots of pictures and videos!
My one slight regret about the boys’ early days is that I didn’t take nearly enough video footage. When you’re in the thick of a sleep-deprived fog, the weeks can go so fast. Make sure you capture the little yawns, sneezes, hiccups, and cuddles. You’ll love looking back on them in time to come!
Gemma Hawkins is a full-time mum to toddler twin boys and blogger at Two Little Misters. She lives on the outskirts of London and loves photography, graphic design, and naptimes that go to plan. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.