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10 on Tuesday - 10 Things I Have Learned From Parenting Twins


Tuesday, April 5, 2016

When I first found out we were having twins, I was in complete shock. How was I ever going to raise two babies? I wasn't even sure how to raise or care for one baby and now we were going to have two babies!

Over the last 15 months, we have perfected (ya, right) this twin thing and I am here to tell you how we survived. I am also here to link up with Karli for 10 on Tuesday.
10 Things I Have Learned from Parenting Twins

One. There is a good chance your twins will end up in the NICU. Not all twins do, but a majority of them do. I was always under the impression that MINE wouldn't, but Sutton had other plans. She wanted out early (between 33 and 34 weeks) which meant they were not fully developed. They needed time to grow and learn to suck, swallow and breathe at the same time.

Most babies will be in the NICU if they are born before 35 weeks, are a smaller weight or need time for their organs to mature. It happens and that is ok. You get the added bonus of learning to care for your child by the amazing NICU nurses.

Two. Your twins will reach milestones at different times. And that is ok. I used to fret over my girls not rolling over, sitting up, crawling and walking when other babies their ages were doing so. I would forget that I had to take their adjusted age (minus 6 weeks) and go off of that. Twins can take up to 18 months to catch up to other babies. My girls sat up earlier than a lot of babies their age, but they crawled a bit later and we are still waiting on the unassisted steps.

Three. Not only will they reach milestones at different times from their peers, but from each other. When you have two babies, it is hard not to compare them. But you can't because they are their own person. Even if they are identical twins. They are their own individual and they will do things at their own pace. They will also feed off each other and learn from the other.

Four. Breastfeeding babies is hard, but breastfeeding twins is HARDER. I felt like I was never able to catch up. I would feed one, feed the other, then pump and have to start it all over. And when you have preemie twins, they might have latching issues (mine did). If you decide that pumping is better suited for you, go for it. I did. I got mastitis from breastfeeding and it wrecked havoc on my body and I gave up the special bond of breastfeeding. I internally beat myself up over it, but if I was nourishing my girls, that is the only thing that matters. I pumped for 9 1/2 months until I could barely keep up with what they were eating per day. I introduced formula and my girls did beautifully with it. There is no sense on shaming others who chose different ways to feed their babies. As long as you are feeding them, that is OK.

Five. Your heart will expand for the two little loves you have or are about to have. When I was pregnant with the girls, I couldn't conceive how I could and would love the girls THAT much and how there was enough love in me for two. But after they were born, my heart grew so much that I love them both equally. They are a part of me through and through and my heart loves them to no end.

Six. Get them on a schedule. It will save your life and sanity. I have been told when you have one you can be flexible, but I have found that when you have twins under one, a schedule is key. You schedule their feedings, their naps, their playtime, bath time, etc. Keep to that schedule. Having them on the same schedule will allow you to go out (Target was a favorite adventure of ours on maternity leave), do stuff around the house or have "me" time when they nap and have happier babies. When they get older, you can change your routine up a bit to accommodate the child, but when they are under one schedule, schedule, schedule.

Seven. The bond between the babies. I waited and waited for my girls to notice each other and it took a long time. They would be laying next to each other and didn't interact, but once they did, it was the cutest. Those first gazes at each other and utter shock on their faces is something you will cherish forever. They will follow each other around, talk to each other in baby talk (or their own language), learn to share, have a built in playmate and have empathy for the other twin. When one of my twins gets in trouble or gets hit by another baby, the other one will cry with her. So very sweet.
 Sharing secrets

Eight. You will get asked so many questions and hear so many thoughts from people. Some are fun to answer, some are dumb and some you really enjoy.
Are they twins?  Nope, I have two babies who look alike (physically and developmentally) but not related.
Having twins must be hard.  No shit. Wanna trade places for a day?
I want to get pregnant with twins.  It is pretty amazing. It is hard, but I wouldn't change it for the world.
I would never want twins.  Well good because God doesn't think you are worthy enough to have twins.   

Nine. It is hard raising babies. Whether it is one baby, two babies or three babies. It is hard. And people can prep you for that, but you never know until you are in it. I have spent days crying because I can't even get a shower in when I feel so gross and need just 5 minutes to myself. It gets hard when not only one, but both have massive blow outs in Trader Joes on Mother's Day. It gets hard when they both meltdown in Target because they don't want to be in their carseat/strollers anymore. It is hard and that is ok. You will make it through. My best advice is schedule time for yourself, have a partner who will help you do it all, get a babysitter and have date night, know that you can't do it all and that is ok, enjoy your babies because they grow so fast and let them cry it out while you are chained to the pumping station. They will be ok.

Ten. You will sleep again. The first three months of my girls' lives were crazy. I felt like a zombie in the wake of it all, but it too shall pass. They always say to nap when they nap, but when you have newborn twins, it doesn't work that way. So take turns napping between you and your husband. You can and will survive on three hours of sleep. You may not want to, but you can. And they will eventually develop sleep patterns and habits which will allow you to sleep more. And when the days get rough and you are beyond tired, have a cup or ten of coffee. Coffee has become my best friend. That and wine. Even 15 months later when I only get up zero to two times a night to tend to the girls, I still manage to drink 3 cups of coffee a day.

Bonus. Your twins may end up wearing a helmet to correct a flat spot on their head. My girls spent over 8 months crammed in my belly with little room and then one month in the NICU. They didn't get to move around much and in that time, they developed flat spots on their heads. They were moderately "deformed" (I hate that word, but that is the word the doctor used) and needed helmets to correct the shape of their heads. I was super worried about what everyone would think instead of wondering what the results were going to be. We got questions about the helmets, but everyone was kind about it. And many people just wanted more information about helmets. Some even had stories of their own to share with us. My girls wore their helmets for 8 weeks and since they hit a growth spurt at the right time, it was less than most (3+ months). My girls now have perfectly shaped heads (probably more perfect and proportionate than mine and Rory's) and they didn't even care about the helmets.

Need anymore advice on parenting twins, email me and we can chat some more. 

34 comments:

  1. I have so much love and respect for you girl! I know how difficult it was the first few months to year with Cameron being a month early, so having twins and twin born early whew! I bow to you. Love your advice. Sutton and Avery are absolutely beautiful and so sweet. Seeing them in their helmets makes me smile. They looks so small and my goodness so cute.

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    1. Thank you Jessica. Meeting you through Emmy's helmet journey has been such a blessing. Twins is hard work, but having any babies is hard work. Did Cameron spend anytime in the NICU?

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  2. You are awesome!! Raising one baby is hard. Twin mamas are super mom!! Way to go pumping until 9.5 months!! Although Graham was only 3 weeks early that initial nicu stay was so hard. Those nurses are amazing!! Your girls are darling!

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    1. The NICU was a blessing and a curse. The girls got amazing care, we learned a lot and then it was a curse because I wanted my girls home with me. It was a tough 27 days for us as a family.

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    2. I felt the same way ab it being a blessing and curse and mine was only in there a few days! It all seems like
      A blur at this point

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  3. I only have 1 and I have my hands full with her I can only imagine what its like with two! My daughter spent time in the NICU as well as she decided she needed to join the party a little earlier than needed. Scary but so thankful for those NICU nurses! Keep doin you and being the mama that you are! Your girls are gorgeous!

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    1. Thank you so much Nikki. NICU babies are very strong babies and we learned so much from the nurses there.

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  4. Your girls are just the sweetest. You are doing an amazing job! Your lady babies are so lucky to have you!

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    1. Thank you Amy. I feel beyond blessed to have them as well.

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  5. I love this post about your sweet twins!! Those are 10 great things to know!
    I also wrote a 10 this Tuesday post and would love if you stopped by! :)
    http://sheridanjohnson.com/2016/04/05/10-tools-this-tuesday/

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    1. Thank you so much and I am heading over now to check out your blog.

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  6. Love all of this. We had a helmet for 3 months as well. She barely noticed it.

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    1. That is incredible. I love how there is a community out there with lots of helmet babies. I was so scared that my girls would be different from the other babies, but so many people were so supportive.

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  7. This is awesome. And so spot on! I talk to Moms at daycare who are amazed that both of my kids sleep through the night and take decent naps. Schedule and routine are SO critical. I'm lucky I'm pretty scheduled so it was easy for me, but I have friends who just want to live their life the same way they always have and then wonder why their kids are up 3 -15 times a night! And all the cool kids wear helmets :).

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    1. Exactly. Having twins is hard, but with a schedule, it is so much easier. My girls really only wake now if they are teething or sick, so that scheduled helped out a lot. I didn't have a schedule right away and it was rough. Yes all the cool kids wear helmets!!!

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  8. Your amazing! I loved reading your post. Your girls are lucky to have you as a mom.

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    1. Thank you Rhonda. I feel blessed to be their mama.

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  9. A friend of mine has six month old twin boys and she was talking about milestone with me the other day. One can hold his head up and the other can't. She says he's lazy. Ha!

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    1. Haha. They do progress at different stages. We called Avery the lazy baby after she wouldn't crawl for us. She was fine scooting around while her sister was on the go. That lasted about 2 to 3 weeks and then she was off.

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  10. I think they look so cute in their helmets! My friend who had twins said the nurse came to her after the birth and was like "we have this brand of formula, and this brand. which one?" she said trying to exclusively breast feed twins isn't even really an "option" because it's so difficult. Doctors and nurses just know that twins will be supplemented and they try and make it easiest on the Mom. I'm so amazed you pumped for over 9 months!!! so incredible!!!!!!

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    1. I love their helmets and miss them sometimes. We were told to supplement with formula right away, but then my milk came in and I was able to pump the entire time they were in the NICU and build a good supply. So the doctors and nurses want to make you feel better that you might not be able to do it, but then they are amazed when you can.

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  11. I have always thought that twins were incredibly fascinating and yours are such baby dolls! And I can't even believe that you were able to breastfeed them... that is just amazing!! Hats off to you, Momma!

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    1. They are fascinating. I had always wondered about them and learned so much from being pregnant and now raising them. Breastfeeding the girls was rough. I had to stop due to latching issues and the abscess I got from it. But I continued to pump on with a huge hole in my chest from surgery. So worth it though!

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  12. Oh my goodness - the fact that they are going to be best friends is amazing!! Thank you for sharing all of this! Twins run in my husbands family and I'm sort of nervous...xo, Biana - BlovedBoston

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    1. I know. I can't wait to see the bond that they will share over time. You are welcome! Twins are pretty amazing. Twins ran in my family and I was overwhelmed at first, but they are the best. I wouldn't change it at all.

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  13. Love this. I think that the lil helmets they had to wear are adorable. There are quite a few kids out there nowadays that need them, it seems. Beautiful lil ladies you have there. :)

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    1. Thank you Mandie. I didn't know about helmets until my girls were going to get them. Now I see them out more and know how awesome the parents are for doing that for their children.

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  14. You are a super mom! This was so interesting to read! I love that for you it's girls so they've always got a best friend!

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    1. Thank you Christina. Me too. Built in best friends!!!

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  15. They are SO cute! I love the picture of them sharing secrets. I'm sure it must be so much fun to watch their bond develop!

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    1. It is the best to watch them bond. They follow each other around and always search for each other. I have taken one baby in my car and Rory has taken the other baby in his truck and the girls missed each other. They were searching and fussing until they were reunited.

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  16. I am so amazed by the parents of multiples because having one newborn is hard having two just blows my mind! It is definitely a special calling. Your girls are just cuties!!!

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    1. It is a tough job, but so very worth it! And thank you so much!

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  17. I am DYING over those helmets. Adorable!

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