Does having twins always mean double trouble? Lisa, a member of Westwood PTA in Buckley, shares her story…
I was overjoyed when I discovered, just 7 weeks into my pregnancy, that I was having twins, so I had a long time to get used to the idea!
I had my first twin, Sam, naturally and then had Connor by emergency caesarean section. Looking back I think I was just in a daze about it all initially. By the day 4 I felt as if I would never again get to enjoy more than a couple of hours sleep at a time!
But after 5 days I was well enough to come home. The first obstacle we had to overcome was getting them in their car seats to bring them home. Twins, naturally, are a little smaller than a single birth baby, and we just hadn’t taken this into account when adjusting the straps for the car seats. It took us at least 20 minutes to get them both strapped in. This was not an ideal start. I remember thinking ‘I can’t even manage to get them home from hospital without a drama!’
The challenge of breastfeeding
However, once we got home things did start to get easier. We decided it would be best for all of us if we introduced a (flexible) routine from the start. I was breastfeeding and feeding on demand, but, once one of the boys had woken for a feed, I would wake and feed the other twin at the same time. I found this particularly helpful at night, otherwise, I would have been up all night feeding with just snatched moments of sleep in between.
I had a large V-shaped pillow that I would use to support each arm and baby. My partner, if he was around, would help to latch them both on, as I found it difficult to latch the second baby on without the first one falling off the breast!
I made the decision to stop breastfeeding after 3 weeks as I was finding it just too draining. We mixed fed them (alternating a bottle of formula, then next feed with the breast) for a week. By week 4 they were bottle fed only. This cut the feeding, winding, changing process down considerably, as I could do one baby whilst my partner did the other.
The sleeping and bathing arrangements
They each slept in a moses basket, which we kept downstairs during the day and in our room at night. We would wind them and change them after each feed. We had 2 changing mats and a box full of nappies and wipes downstairs, as well as upstairs. This just saved the palaver of carting everything up and down the stairs.
After about 8 weeks we decided their bedtime bath would be at 7 (ish). We wouldn’t wake them to bath them, but pretty soon we discovered that they were usually awake around that time of the day anyway. We bought 2 bath seats, which we found to be invaluable. They supported the baby really well and left you with a hand free to clean them, wash their hair and play splash them. They loved bath time.
After the bath, we always stayed upstairs, I suppose to establish the fact that after bath time it was bed time. We would dress them and feed them upstairs. Then we would settle them in their moses basket in their cot.
Team work and routine is the key
I was really lucky to have my partner at home with me for the first 5 weeks. Yet once he had gone back to work, if he wasn’t around for bath time, I would always get an extra pairs of hands. My mother-in-law, my older daughter or a friend would help out. Flying solo at bath time whilst they were so small was just too scary to contemplate!
They settled into a routine really well, and I think having a routine with twins is a must. What the routine is doesn’t matter, at long as you stick to it and it fits in with your lifestyle.
As with everything, practice makes perfect, and I’m glad to say it does get easier (they are both strapping 12-year-olds now)! Just enjoy them. I feel having twins has been a blessing, they are certainly special, it’s definitely been double joy, not double trouble, for us.
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