We’re about to celebrate four whole weeks with our twins! We’ve only been home with both for about two weeks, due to our time in the NICU – but two weeks has taught us quite a bit! Especially this week where Marshall went back to work and I found myself outnumbered!
I sure don’t know it all, heck, I don’t really know what I’m doing at all! It’s a blessed miracle that we’re all surviving! But all things considered, I do think we’re doing pretty well so far. Not to say I haven’t had my moments. They’ve taken me by surprise a few times, throwing fits together, waking up hungry at the same time. Y’all, having twins should grant you access to an extra set of hands. They’ve even blessed us with that wonderful oh, my diaper is off! Let’s pee!
But over the past two weeks, I’ve gotten a whole lot of questions about what is and isn’t working for us. What is helpful, what is stressful. So I thought I’d chime in my two cents about how we’ve survived these first weeks at home! Whether you have one newborn or an army of them, I hope that this will be helpful for you!
1. Schedule schedule schedule! One of the upsides to spending a few weeks in the NICU was that we left the hospital on a schedule. We didn’t have to come home and figure out what to do with a newborn all day. The docs and nurses there had us on a strict 3 hour rotation for the twins. 8-11-2-5. At the beginning of each three hour set, we changed, fed, burped, had awake time (minimal, if any), then rocked back to sleep. Over the weeks their awake time has increased, but we’ve kept the same general schedule. It makes it easier on us, because we know what to expect and when. It makes things routine for babies – and has made it easier for them to fall asleep, and wake up not totally starving. Now, we’re adjusting to a four hour rotation. 8-12-4. Day and night. Again, schedule, schedule, schedule. It’s easier on everyone. And with two, I don’t think we’d make it through any other way!
2. Two different kinds of BOPPY pillows! I’m sure you’ve all seen the original BOPPY pillow, but have you seen the lounger? Game changer. We learned pretty quickly that neither one of the twins likes to be laid flat out on any surface. That’s made things difficult with the pack and play, the play yard, etc. So, we got a little creative and started putting them on the play yard, but in the BOPPY lounger. We’re pretty sure that makes them feel a bit more cradled, and allows them to relax a bit more. In the lounger, they are happy to sit next to us, on the play yard, wherever really – happy as clams!
3. They already share. This one is more for mom and dad. Let’s be honest here – if one has germs, they both do. So the whole concept of this is his and that is hers has been tossed out the window. They share everything. Including pacifiers, bottles, swaddle blankets, burp rags, etc. I don’t get something new each time I swap babies. Why create extra laundry and dishes? We’ve got enough to keep up with. They might as well learn to share early on in the game!
4. We share too! This is particularly a night time deal. Marshall is at work all day, so the day time is all mine. But once he gets home at night, it’s two for two. We tag team the night feedings, which has (so far) allowed both of us to get a relatively decent amount of sleep. Considering.
5. One and then the other. Once we came home, we real quick decided to get into a routine of one and then the other – meaning they don’t get changed at the same time, they don’t eat at the same time, etc. When it comes to our eating rounds, we pick up one, and handle that one completely. Then, we handle the other. So they don’t both eat at 8. One starts at 8 and the other probably around 8:30. General rule of thumb: the crankiest baby gets to eat first! If the other is sleeping or content, let them be!
6. This stroller. All the praise hands! The Contours Options Elite Tandem stroller is a game.changer. Double strollers are large. There’s really no way around that one! But – this stroller is easy to manage, and lightweight compared to the others we looked at! I can set up and collapse it myself, and loading the kids/carseats into it is a breeze. This has made our first few trips out and about much easier than we anticipated! It’s also pretty easy to push and steer – which we noticed very quickly for not-so-strong-me!
7. Set yourself up. I like to do things the night before to prepare myself for the following day. That has included making sure the diaper bag is fully loaded and ready to go – whether we plan to leave the house or not. This also means having all clean bottles, and enough bottles prepared for the night time! It’s much easier to wake up in a sleepy slumber and warm up a bottle, than to measure / mix formula, etc.
8. Sleep when they do? Everyone says it, but so far this hasn’t really worked out. The feeding rotation with two babies leaves just enough time before the next rotation that I have enough time to get one or two things done. Since we can’t completely breastfeed, I’m also pumping, and that takes about a half an hour out of each rotation. Usually after that I have enough time to knock one thing off the around the house to-do list. Nap? Yes, there’s time for that here and there, but I learned fast that my naps are quickly interrupted by a fussy baby. So the past week or so, I haven’t even bothered trying. I’m sure this will catch up to me soon and I’ll start taking naps every chance I get, but our night time routine also has me waking up decently rested, and not in a desperate need for a nap at all times. I know this will change. But right now, when they sleep, I try to get something accomplished!
9. Meal Train! Thanks to a few sweet friends from church, we’ve had a few nights now where dinner was brought to us! This is in.val.u.able. Right now after the 5pm rotation, I’m immediately jumping into Ok what are we going to eat. It’s SO wonderful to have a hot meal ready to eat! So if any of your friends are bringing home a baby (even one!) do them a solid – take them a meal!
10. Grab + Go snacks. If and when you make it to the grocery store, make sure to get a few foods that are quick and easy to grab and eat! If you have 5 minutes of quiet, last thing you’re going to want to do is cook something to eat. I like to keep fruits, instant oatmeal, and my water cup full!
Extra Credit: Get Out Of The House! I’m not going to go somewhere and pass the babies around to everyone. But we DO need to get out of the house! Thanks to these great car seat covers which I refer to as the ‘don’t touch my baby’ covers… we’ve been able to get out and about and not be so worried about the babies. Staying in your house all day will make you crazy. Staying in a tiny NICU room with no TV and no windows? Let’s just say you’ll be itching to take a walk. Find the nearest coffee shop and just go. You’ll be glad you did! Get out to the grocery store. Go walk the neighborhood. Go sit in someone else’s house. It really will help!
So, that’s what I’ve got for you. Keep in mind that this is all from a meager two weeks of experience. But, it’s what has gotten us through these two weeks at a relatively successful pace. Got any other tips and tricks? I’d love to hear them! Comment down below with the best bit you have for new mamas!