Christina and I are over 2 months into being twin parents and although our social media posts are all sunshine and lollypops, this adventure has been much more challenging than either of us had been prepared for. We’ve enjoyed it a lot so far and we look forward to many more weeks, months and years of great learning and fun ahead. Here are my top 5 tips for getting through the first 2 months:
- Team Work Makes the Dream Work: Guys, your wife didn’t get pregnant without you and she shouldn’t have to be on her own with feeding and caring for your new bundles of joy. I’ve noticed an attitude amongst some male friends I’ve talked to who have suggested that I should leave at every opportunity possible to get some space and take a breath. I call bullshit. Christina and I are lucky because we both work from home and we have a lot of flexibility in our schedules, so we have been able to share feeding shifts, give one another breaks and work together. Raising twins is VERY hard physically, mentally and emotionally and it has to be a team effort if everyone is to come out the other side feeling satisfied with the experience and emotionally and physically sound.
- Pumping and Formula: This relates to point 1. Christina has been pumping breastmilk into bottles and we have been feeding our boys using a combination of milk directly from the breast, as well as from bottles. We have also used formula a few times where necessary due to circumstances. This has largely worked well for us – it allows me to take on some feedings, giving mom a needed break. We have generally split the nights up where Christina feeds at 11 PM and 2 AM and I feed at 5 AM and 8 AM. We also sleep separately in different parts of the house. This allows each of us to get a solid 6 hours of sleep per night, although mom does have to get up to pump – but being up for 10-15 minutes is better than over an hour, which is how long it takes to get both babies fed.
- Clean Whole Food: We have learned that what mom eats impacts babies drastically and we have had to learn through trial and error which foods are ok and which are not. Obviously, every baby is different and there are no hard and fast rules, but generally, dairy and processed foods have not worked well for our boys. Too many spices are also not great. One big lesson we learned quickly is that Whey protein shakes (powder) is a very terrible idea!! How do you know if a food doesn’t work? Diaper blow outs … you will know what I’m talking about when you see them – trust me. After learning the hard way, we have stuck with good healthy whole food and we have been able to avoid the blowouts. Keep it simple, fresh and healthy and you will have much better nights!
- Take the Help: As the saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child … and it takes as much help as possible to raise twins. I was pleasantly surprised to see how many friends and family members have reached out to help, dropped off food, came over with warn meals, clothes, etc. People have been extremely generous with their time and I cannot say thank you enough to every single person for what they have done to support us. Your network will reach out and ask how they can help and you should have a list of ways that they can help ready. Don’t be shy or coy about this – people are genuine about their desire to help you and you should take them up on their offer.
- Keep on Living: Christina and I decided that we would not let having twins stop us from doing the things we love to do. In their short 2 months of life, our boys have joined us for 5 holes of golf, attended a political conference in a different city, travelled with us on a business trip to Kamloops (where we are now) and joined us for a walk with the dogs almost every day. This has in no way been easy, but every time we get out, it gets easier. Be realistic about your ventures out of the house and be flexible as your babies may have different ideas. But get out. To do the things we have done, we have had to pump in the car, change diapers in the middle of a walk, etc and we have only been able to do things for very short stints at a time. This has allowed us to keep our sanity and to build confidence. Having babies doesn’t mean your life is over – keep on living and learn how to adjust – everyone in the family will be better for it.