Let’s face it, being a twin mom is never going to be easy. Yes, your heart is full but I can tell you right now, sometimes it will feel like your hands are somewhat fuller. Whilst there are really no ‘secret’ parenting hacks that are the key to unlock the day-in-day-out chaos you are about to endure, there are a few small things you can implement that will make your life just that little easier.
1. Pre-make Baby Bottles (Formula-fed babies).
When it comes to cleaning and making up bottles, you’re going to want to keep this boring but inevitably necessary task to a minimum. I’m telling you now, it’s boring as bat shit, and just when you get on top of them, there’s a fresh heap in your sink again. In fact, your kitchen sink will never be clean and empty of plastic bottles, containers, lids, bowls, sippy cups etc ever again. Like ever. From now until your kids leave home, your kitchen sink will be reminding you that there is still more work to be done.
(Sorry, I feel like I needed to get that out of my system. Rant over. Moving on.)
Save time and sanity by buying enough bottles to last a full day’s worth of feeds and make them up every evening after the babies have gone to bed. For us, this is 14 bottles in total between the twins and Charlie. So, every evening before bed you will find us washing and pre-making ALL bottles on a quest to ensure everything is prepped and ready to go for tomorrow. Line them up in the fridge from left to right (or whatever system works for you) so you’ll always know where you’re at. This way, all that is needed is a quick heat in the microwave and you’re done. If you’re one of those people who is against microwaves that’s totes cool, but just know that you will be making your day-to-day life a million times harder waiting for your baby’s milk to heat up in a cup of boiling water, 15 times a day. Save yourself the anguish.
Also, if you decide last-minute to leave the house, you can quickly grab your bottles and be on your way. When leaving the house with three children feels like a bloody marathon (because it is), you’ll be grateful for anything to make the process quicker and easier. This is also a great one for when visitors drop in and ask “what can I do?”.
2. Schedule Help.
Organizing help for yourself before your babies arrive is a really great way to ensure that the help is there when you need it. Having a schedule for any help that is available to you i.e. in-laws, grandparents, friends, sisters, brothers, babysitters, neighbors, your sister’s best friend’s aunt… you get the gist, IT’S ALL HANDS ON DECK (for the first six months anyway). Anyone willing to help must be utilized.
Use what feels like an interminable eternity (i.e. your pregnancy) as a chance to get organized and recruit helpers! I recommend having a monthly calendar up next to the whiteboard with who’s doing what and when.
When it comes to offers of help always say YES! When someone asks if they can help you say YES. Say YES before you even know how they can help. Say YES now and figure out the ‘how’ later.
3. Pre-cook and Freeze Meals.
This is a big one. Welcome to your new existence of eating to live rather than living to eat. No longer will you have time to sit and enjoy your dinner or breakfast. Fast food will become your new best friend, and not the fast food you might think. Boiled eggs, muesli bars, bananas, bread, basically anything that is relatively instant with the least possible amount of prep time will make up your new diet. Whilst these foods are great and all, let’s face it, your body is going to need a little more than that, especially if you’re breastfeeding.
Prepping and freezing meals in advance will ensure you get at least one proper meal per day. I recommend (if you have space) buying a second small freezer to allow you to go all out with the idea.
I started freezing meals early on in my pregnancy with the twins. Each night when I was making dinner I just made extra. Simple as that. I bought cheap plastic containers and placed a portion or two in the freezer (and dated them).
If your in-laws are open to getting involved, ask them to do the same. This way when you’re starving but don’t have the time or energy to prepare something for you, your other children or your partner – everything you need is there and ready to go.
4. Get a Whiteboard.
This one was a real lifesaver for us. The first few months with the twins, communication for me was really difficult. Whether it was between myself and my husband, my mom, grandparents or others, trying to relay information about who fed last, how much, and when they were next due, was almost impossible. I was sleep deprived like you wouldn’t believe and running on empty most of the time. Ben, my husband, would ask me when the boys were next due to feed and it would take me a good few minutes to conjure the brainpower to work it out. Because there are two, you will often also find yourself getting swamped in confusion when it comes to WHO is doing what, especially if (as in my case) they look the same.
The solution? WHITEBOARD. WHITEBOARD. WHITEBOARD.
The whiteboard ensured that Ben (or anyone for that matter) could take over at any moment and know exactly who needed what and when. Every morning I would write ‘JACK’ on one side and ‘WOLFE’ on the other and then scribe down their day using specially formulated code language, ie. F for feed and S for sleep. Always work in anticipation of what’s coming next!
Another wonderful element of the whiteboard is its ability to host the beloved ‘To Do list’. Write up a list of to-do’s ie. prep bottles, finish washing and so on. This way, visitors asking what you need can quickly pick a job and get to work.
5. Bathing Does NOT Have to be Part of the Daily Routine.
There you go – I’ve said it! I know having an evening routine is important with babies, but so’s your mental health. I find the daily bathing of babies to be unnecessary and just another massive obstacle in concluding our sometimes never-ending day! Now, I know some of you will be reading this right now thinking “how ridiculous and unhygienic” and to you, my response is this: you enjoy bathing your twins and toddler every evening while I sit on the lounge relaxing.
When the boys were little(er) I bathed them once a week. Mondays were bath night and it was non-negotiable. Obviously if there were poosplosions or other unforeseen circumstances then I would bathe them, but for the most part, it was Mondays. Now that they are older and onto solids, I have included a second bathing night, Friday. So we have moved onto two baths a week.
Until your babies can sit safely in the bathtub, bathing with twins is just a bit of a logistical nightmare. So, save yourself the time and stress. Until they reach this milestone, keep it simple.
6. Put the Laundry on the Night Before.
Probably a no-brainer, but most of us moms have lost a small part of our once-sharp brain so I’m putting this out there. Stick a load of laundry on before you go to bed and set it to the timer so it starts around 7:00 a.m. and is ready for hanging or the dryer. If your washing machine is old school and doesn’t have the timer option, put it on before bed anyway. So it sits in there for a few extra hours…big deal. You will wake up feeling like you have already achieved something on your household to0do list which can sometimes set the ball rolling for the rest of the day.
7. Keep Two Aluminium Bottles of Pre-boiled Water Ready at All Times (Formula-fed babies).
In case you didn’t know, you will need to boil water for your baby’s bottles to get rid of any nasties. I only say this as I didn’t know for the first few weeks (insert awkward face). You may find yourself in desperate need to make up a bottle but you’re stuck waiting for boiled water to cool and this can take a fair while. To avoid this, buy two aluminium bottles and keep them on the kitchen bench. Always keep them full. This way there will always be pre-boiled water ready for bottles. As you finish them, boil another batch of water so you’re working in anticipation of what you will need next. Again, a simple one, but a good one.
8. Have Two Diaper Bags.
Whether you have twins or a singleton, buy yourself TWO diaper bags. The first belongs with you, always with you, wherever you are and whatever you do. Sometimes however, in the chaos you ‘will’ leave the house without it. For instances such as these, the other diaper bag belongs in your car. This is your back up. Now repeat after me:
“Though shalt never remove the backup bag from the vehicle unless absolutely necessary.”
“Though shalt ALWAYS put the bag back (fully stocked) for the next time.”
“In this bag though shalt pack diapers, wipes, a change of clothes, and pacifiers/soothers.”
In addition to this, have (yes, another) pencil case in the glove box with MORE soothers, teething gel, baby Tylenol and the like. The bare but very essential essentials, so no matter where you are or what you’re doing, you’re always the most prepared momma you can be.
9. Put Multiple Layers of Bedding on Beds/Cots.
When you make the babies’ bed, always put multiple layers of bedding down. Nothing is worse than a poosplosions or vomit all over fresh bed sheets in the middle of the night. On top of that, nothing is more annoying than having to fully unmake and make up the bed. Layer the sheets: mattress protector, fitted sheet, mattress protector, fitted sheet and so on. It will save you a lot of time and hassle. Trust me.
10. Buy a Portable Cot and Keep it in the Living Area.
Finally, THE most important tip I can offer you if you have newborn twins and other children running rampant in your home. BUY A PORTABLE COT. Yes, it’s not the most aesthetically pleasing addition to your home. Yes, it’s ugly and yes, you would rather keep it in the bedroom. But in this instance, you’re going to have to get over yourself and go with it. Your home has or is about to be invaded by all things baby, and that vision you’re currently having of red, blue, yellow, and green blocks scattered all over the floor is indeed about to become a reality. Take a deep breath, exhale, and deal with it.
Invest in a portable cot that has the change table attachment and set it up in the main living area of your home. If you’re like us and have a toddler/other children, then finding a ‘safe space’ for your new additions can be tricky. We’ve had many sneaky kisses turned headbutt, many attempted cuddles turned body slam, a poke in the eye, mouth, nose, ear… you name it, we’ve had it. In this way, the portable cot acts as a protective barrier between your newest addition and all other former additions. But wait… there’s more.
The beauty of having a portable cot in your living area is that it is so much more than just a portable cot. It is a safe place to put your babies down in a hurry without having to worry they may roll off or having to restrain them to something e.g. a bouncer. It’s a viewing zone for your other children to admire their new twin siblings without poking and prodding; it’s an extra cot for you to put the babies to sleep in; it’s a changing table without the hassle of constantly taking them to their room; and it’s a place to store wipes, diapers, pacifiers, and all manner of baby paraphernalia. If I can offer you just one piece of advice, this would be it. Buy a portable cot. You won’t regret it.
This is a guest post by a fellow mom of multiples. If you wish to contribute and share your multiples story/ tips, please head to our Submissions page for more details! This post has been syndicated with permission to Multiples Illuminated.
After having three babies in 2016, Eliza Curby from Sydney’s Northern Beaches provides advice on her blog Twingenuity on motherhood, multiples, and everything in-between. Check out Twingenuity on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.