Yesterday, my babies turned seven months old! I know I sound like a broken record, but gosh, time is going by so fast. Each month gets better and better, but there is a little part of me that wants time to slow down, because before you know it, I won't have little babies anymore. Since it was just last week that I did an update on the products we love (read it here), I thought I'd share some tips on raising twins instead. I am by no means an expert, but thought I'd share some tips I've learned along the way. And if anyone has tips for me, as always, I would love to hear them!
Jeans and sweaters: Baby Gap
1. Get twins on the same schedule. This is probably the best advice that I was given, and the best I can give. I have my boys on the same feeding and sleeping schedule. This is hard to do with newborns, but being consistent has paid off. If one baby woke up for a feeding, I made sure to wake the other (except when Tyler started to sleep through the night, I didn't wake him, so I only had to get up for one baby). It also isn't the easiest thing to feed two babies at once, but the time you save will be well worth it. To do this I usually prop up one bottle and hold the other. (When I was breast feeding, I would feed one right after the other). I also put them down for naps at the same time, even if one baby doesn't seem tired. Usually they both end up falling asleep within 10-15 minutes. There are days when one (mainly Tyler) won't take his morning nap, which makes them off schedule from each other, and I end up attending to them non stop all day, and it's exhausting. Having them take naps together gives me time to myself whether I want to work out, shower, or work on my blog, and gives me some sanity too :)
2. Say yes to help. I thought this would be hard for me since I'm the kind of person that likes things done my way (I still won't let Mike wash the dishes or bottles because I'm afraid he won't do a good enough job. I know, I'm a little crazy, but there is only so much you can control, and if mine is knowing my babies have clean bottles, so be it). I don't have help on a daily basis, but when someone offers, whether it's my mom wanting to get them dressed, or a friend holding a baby when we are at a party, or someone offering to feed them (my niece is a great help at this) I always say yes. It's funny how no one offers to change their diapers, ha! Even if it's the littlest task, it ends up being a little less that I have to do that day, which adds up to make a big difference.
3. Make time to be with each child separately. When I was pregnant, like every other pregnant women out there, I got an earful of advice. I had one woman, who is a mother to four kids, two which are twins, tell me that I should have a third so I can experience that special bond you have with a baby that you won't get with twins. Well, I was taken aback. How can someone say something like that to a first time expecting mom? Now that I have my twins, I know where she was coming from. You don't get a lot of time for those one-on-one moments because there are always two babies to take care of. When the twins were new borns, it was hard to cuddle with both at once because they needed a lot of support when being held. Therefor, I mostly held one at a time, and when sharing that time between two, you do lose some of those bonding moments. Same when feeding them, I could only hold one at a time, and for newborns, feeding is a huge bonding moment between a baby and a mother. Not fully feeling that bond was the one thing I did complain about to my friends. However, as they grow older, I do feel that bond growing deeper. Because of this, I read that it's good to do activities with one baby at a time. Although, we don't do it very often, there are times when I'll take one of the boys to the beach, and Mike will take one when running errands. This allows us to spend more one-on-one time connecting with the boys. Plus, being a twin myself, I know how important it is to get some separation and independence from your twin.
4. Embrace their differences. Like any other normal human being, it's hard to not compare your child with that of someone else. Having a friend's baby who is already crawling when yours can barely push up on his arms, makes you wonder if your child is developing at a healthy rate. Well, same goes when you have twins. My boys are so different, and while one is ready to crawl, the other is ready to talk. At their six month appointment I told their doctor how concerned I was because Mason is rolling all over the place and is about to start crawling, while Tyler loves to just lay on his back. Because I was comparing them, I thought something was wrong with Tyler for being behind. It turns out that Mason was actually a little ahead for his age and Tyler was right where he should be. They are two different babies, so of course they will hit milestones at different times, and have different strengths. Now I embrace their differences, as each day brings something new.
5. Make me time. This is really for any mom, not just for twins, and goes a little hand in hand with saying yes to help. Because I'm with the twins all the time, once in a while I need a little break. So whether it's getting dinner with my sister or girlfriends, Going upstairs or in another room to read for an hour, or something as simple as a long, hot shower, that time away will help revive you. The more you take care of yourself, the better mom you can be to your babies.
Again, these are things I've learned that have helped me along the way. If you have any tips or advice for me, I'd love to hear it! Also, I will be taking the boys to Florida by myself next month and would love tips for traveling. I'll have plenty of help once I'm there as I'm visiting family, and my sister will be on the plane with me, but she'll have her hands full with her two kids. Since it will be the first time I'll be taking the boys on a plane I would greatly appreciate any advice on traveling with two eight month olds.