Image Credit: kangheungbo
This is a guest article from Delyth Raffell, mother of twin girls and founder of Twins UK, who writes from her own experience about the challenges of having twins, on how to cope in those first few weeks with your newborn twins.
When the girls arrived, it was a major shock not only because they were 7 weeks early and I wasn’t ready but I had no idea just how life-changing this was going to be.
In the hospital, I struggled with bonding with either of my babies as the birth experience had not been enjoyable and I hadn’t seen them for 3 days. They then spent weeks in incubators where you can only take them out and hold them for a few minutes so it’s really difficult to get to know your children under these circumstances.
This is really hard to explain to people as the common myth is that you will fall in love with your babies as soon as you see them – this was not the case and it took a long time for me to bond with them and I felt incredibly guilty.
Many twins arrive early, at 37 weeks or less rather than the average of 40 weeks for a single birth. Triplets arrive on average at around week 34 and quads at week 32. Approximately 50% of twins, 90% of triplets and virtually all quadruplets are either premature (less than 37 weeks for twins) or considered low birth weight, less than 5.5lbs.
Once they come home, you spend the majority of your day with your babies but I certainly felt a bit ‘cheated’ as a twins mum, as I didn’t have as much time to play or have fun as singleton mums.
As there were two of them to look after, everyday tasks seem to take up most of the day. Although the first few months are hard, this does get better as they grow up and you do have the double joy of two first smiles, two first steps, two first words and two big kisses and cuddles later on !
My girls started their life spending 7 weeks in Special Care, so it may be a bit different to some parent’s initial experiences, but this was a positive point as they established a routine whilst in the hospital which we were able to try and keep to when they came home.
We had charts to ensure we knew which baby had slept, been fed, changed, given medication etc and at what times and we religiously completed these even at 4am!
We also found that by dividing the daily tasks between us it was a lot easier to get everything done – for instance one of Graham’s jobs was to make up the 16 bottles we used per day. Teamwork is essential when you have so much to do and I was lucky to have a very supportive husband who was involved from day one in their care.
I believe having twins is an advantage for dads as they do get to be far more involved.
I have to admit, I ran the house like a military operation in the first few months and all hell broke loose if they decided they didn’t want to stick to it! I relaxed a lot more over the next few months , but the first year is very stressful and a routine does make it easier to manage two babies’ needs.
I found that you do need to be flexible and adapt your routine and you may have to try a few different ways before you find what works, for instance feeding two babies is a challenge in itself and there are many different methods – you need to establish what you are comfortable with so there is no ‘right or wrong way’ just one that works for you.
About the Author: Delyth Raffell is the founder of Twins UK, a website dedicated to families with twins, triplets or more from pregnancy to pre-school. She offers straight-forward advice, their exclusive TwinKits™, unique TwinGifts™ and an extensive range of products to make life with multiples a little easier.