Making it through the first 30 days home with your twins is no small feat.
If you are here, then I hope you are ready to prepare. I’m going to share with you what we found to be helpful and what we wish we had done differently.
1. HAVE SOMEONE MEET YOU AT HOME AFTER DISCHARGE
Getting home from the hospital and settled in with your babies is suprisingly stressful!
You’ll probably realize as soon as you get home “Oh crap…we need__(insert random items here)__ to make it through the next 24 hours. Both babies have poopy diapers and need to eat again already. I just want to pee and shove some food in my face before I begin the 2-hour long feeding/pumping process”.
If you have a friend or family member meet you at home, then you’ll have help getting everything situated and someone will be able to run out for the essentials.
2. FOLLOW A SCHEDULE
For babies that come home from the NICU, this part is easy. They are already used to a schedule, so keep with it!
Otherwise, start a feeding schedule right away. We floundered for several weeks just trying to feed our kids based on hunger cues, but it was a disaster.
With no predictability you have no idea when you are going to get ANYTHING done other than feeding babies and changing a never-ending stream of diapers. This includes feeding yourself and getting even a small amount of sleep.
I know it seems super uptight, but I swear putting my kids on a schedule is the single best thing we did when they were younger that has made our lives with twins more manageable. Even our au pair agreed that the schedule was crucial to making it through the day with two babies.
What I ended up doing was basically following the schedules from Practically Perfect Baby. We tweaked times a little to make them work for us and what we thought our kids would tolerate.
The schedules also provide sleep & wake times. Now, I did not strictly follow those or use the 15-minute rule that the site pushes for naps. Instead I used it as more of a guideline as to how often and how long I should try to lay my kids down for nap.
If you’re like me, though, and need a hard outline to start from to create a schedule and figure out how to transition to bigger feeds farther apart, I recommend starting with those.
3. USE AN APP TO RECORD DIAPERS AND FEEDS
With newborns, you have to record each of these things to make sure they are healthy and getting enough nutrition and hydration:
- How frequently they are eating
- How much they are eating at each feed
- How often they pee
- How often they poop
- What the poop looks like (I’m serious. It matters.)
The app we liked for twins was Glow Baby. It was great because you could create multiple profiles (it could handle two babies) that you could easily flip between.
My husband and I were both able to add in data from our separate phones, and it would automatically sync. The basic app is free, but you do have to pay if you wanted to have more than 2 caregivers linked to the account.
4. BOTTLE FEEDING TIPS
For those of you doing any sort of bottle feeding (whether it be supplemental, expressed breast milk, or formula), you probably want to go ahead and get around 4-6 sets of bottles per kid.
Its a lot. I know. But we couldn’t keep up with cleaning bottles after every feeding because we did want a chance to sleep a little.
We ended up washing bottles in two batches throughout the day. That way we always had some fairly dry ones to use.
Also, instead of buying a couple bottle warmers, we just used our Keurig. How? Just dispense plain hot water from the Keurig into an oversized mug, then place the prepared bottle in the water to warm up. It only takes a few minutes.
Lastly, if you think you are going to use bottles, you may want to start with several different brands instead of all one type.
We found ourselves at Babies R Us (RIP) after a week buying 3 different bottle sets to try because my kids were having issues with the ones we had at home. I think we went through 5 brands before finding one that didn’t cause problems for my daughter.
5. BABY CLOTHING
When all your kids do is eat, sleep, and poop, you really don’t need much more than zippered sleepers or baby gowns and socks.
You will be changing SO MANY DIAPERS that easy access is a must. The last thing you want to be doing at 3am is fumbling with 20 freaking snaps that AREN’T LINING UP.
Bonus points if the zippers on the sleepers open from foot to neck instead of the usual neck down. That way you can maaaaaybe manage to change a diaper at night without completely unswaddling, and therefore waking, your baby.
6. FEEDING YOURSELF
Somehow we survived the first 4 days at home off one order of pizza. We did not prepare at all, but then again its hard to do when you’re on bed rest the last 7 weeks of your pregnancy.
If I could do it all over again I would have filled my freezer with meals that required minimal effort to cook. Think dump-and-go crock pot meals and Schwann’s frozen entrees.
We ended up using Kroger click-list several times that month so that all my husband had to do was drive out to pick up the order and bring it back. Minimal time lost. There are a lot of options similar to this now, with some grocery stores even offering delivery. Take advantage of it.
7. GET AS MUCH HELP AS YOU CAN
Everyone loves babies. And guess what? You have two. Everyone is gonna want to come see them. So put your visitors to work.
Aunt Beth wants to drop by this afternoon to see the new darlings? Cool, as long as she washes the dishes while she’s there.
Cousin Susan has some time tomorrow to say hello? She’s welcome to get in some snuggles after she gets some of the overflowing laundry started.
If your visitors are put off by you asking for some help while they are there, they aren’t visitors that you want. You have waaaaay too much going on to be worrying about entertaining others, and if you get help during the day with the chores, you may actually get a chance for some sleep yourself.
We created a calendar sign-up for people through SignUpGenius.com and shared the link with anyone interested. That way people could see when we really needed help and what we needed help with.
About a week after we came home, we had a cleaning service come and clean our entire house, which was wonderful. It was a one-time splurge, but worth it. My babies and I napped in the nursery while the rest of the house was scrubbed down.
We also paid for mowers to take care of our lawn so my husband had more time to help with the kids. Every minute is precious, trust me.
8. SLEEP IN SHIFTS
The first few weeks home you will be living your life in blocks of 3 hours, because that’s how often your babies will be eating. Once you finish the routine of feeding, pumping, changing diapers, and cleaning up, it’s basically time to do it all again.
During the day my husband and I worked together to try and get the feeds done efficiently. But, at some point you have to sleep, so overnight we took shifts. One of us took every other 3 hour shift on our own to let the other person rest. And it sucked to do it, but honestly it’s the only way we got any sleep.
We had 2 Graco Travel Lite Cribs (basically slightly smaller pack-n-plays with bassinets) that we kept in the living room. The “on” person stayed in the living room with the the babies (napping on the couch next to them if time allowed). The “off” person got the chance to sleep undisturbed in the bedroom for 3 hours.
There is such a thing as a night nanny. Our budget did not allow for it so we didn’t have the chance to use one. However, I know others who did that said it was well worth the money.
9. ACCEPT THE INSANITY
You are going to be more tired than you’ve ever been in your life. Coffee will be your best friend, even if you’ve never liked it before.
Your house will look like a tornado hit. Unless you have Beyonce’s money, and can hire 6 nannies like she did, it will look that way for a while.
Try not to stress too much, you have more important things to focus on. Its not going to be easy, by any means, But it will get better. Just remember to focus on the most important things – taking care of your kids and taking care of yourself.
How else are you prepping for bringing your kids home? Let me know in the comments!