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How we survived the first year with twins was basically just surviving in general. The first year with twins is full of obstacles but we did come through it with some tips for other twin parents.
Two babies to feed, two babies to burp, two babies to clothe, two babies to change, and two babies to wake you up all night! Here’s how we got through it, with a 2-year-old in addition to the twins!
Our Twins were Babies 2 & 3
Our oldest son was 2-years-old when our twins were born (2 years and 3 months to be exact). It was a lot to handle. Thankfully my mother-in-law was able to stay with us for the first 7 weeks, which was a huge help.
As I’ve detailed in my previous posts regarding my emergency c-section with the twins MoDi Twin Birth Story Part 1 and MoDi Twin Birth Story Part 2, we got off to a rough start. I won’t recount all of that here but feel free to click on the underlined text in the previous sentence or the images below to read how it went.
All that to say, I had some parenting experience under my belt at least, which helped somewhat but also made things more difficult as I wasn’t just dealing with two newborns but also a 2-year-old.
Schedule yet Flexible
A huge thing I had to get used to was being flexible after I had twins, while also having a schedule. I was used to having a schedule as I’m very Type A and am most comfortable that way. However, since becoming a stay-at-home mom about 15 months before my twins were born, I really didn’t like having a set schedule anymore. My oldest and I would just hang out and go wherever and do whatever when we wanted. The freedom was awesome.
Pumping and Feeding Schedule
With the twins though I had to be sure that I pumped exactly every 3 hours so I could keep up my supply to feed both of them as I had to pump about 55-60oz a DAY for them. I had to train my body to know exactly when it was going to happen to the point if I were late I’d start leaking through my shirt. The consistency was very frustrating at times as it’s not like twins schedule their poops, blowouts, naps, or when they throw up around when I have to pump. I was always connected to that darn thing.
All that said, having a schedule for pumping was huge, which I detail in my post about breastfeeding and pumping linked below.
Getting them on a nap schedule was also really important, which I’ll talk more about below.
Getting them on a nap schedule in which they both napped at the same time, was essential. I’m not going to lie though, this took time and a lot of tears (from them and me since I couldn’t tend to both babies at once and was overwhelmed). I’ve written separate blog posts on both nap schedules/sleep and twins crying at the same time, linked below.
Typically when they napped it’s not like I got to sit down and nap too. I needed to tend to things around the house, prep food for my oldest, who had just turned 2, and me, and give him some attention as well.
I’d generally have to pump while they were sleeping too and really, really hope that they wouldn’t wake up while I was pumping because I’d be attached to the pump and the wall. It was always complete chaos when I was home alone with them and my oldest for 10 hours a day that meant pumping alone 3 times, or 4 if my husband got stuck in traffic on the way home from work. Always doing my best to ensure everyone was well taken care of before sitting down to pump, oftentimes pumping while also feeding the twins bottles while they sat in their bouncers.
Having an Older Child Help
Prior to having the twins we had done all that we could to prep our only child for how much his little world was going to get rocked to it’s core and turned upside down with the twins coming. With me having to go in over a week early, leaving him in the middle of the night, then only coming home with one twin at first while the other was in the NICU were all things we didn’t prep him for as we hadn’t expected all of that to happen.
The ways in which we did try and prep him was to get him two baby dolls once we found out we were having twins (we got one when we first found out and then had to go back to the store and get another when we found out we were having twins).
Below is a blog post I wrote about preparing a child for a sibling, or two!
Our twins were premature, like most MoDi twins, or twins in general. One was in the NICU for 6 days while the other got to be with me in the hospital room, and then came home with me when I was discharged 4 days after delivery.
I took the twins to a lot of appointments once I was 4 weeks out from my emergency c-section and able to drive again. The twin who had been in the NICU was having a hard time turning his head both directions and the back of his head was getting increasingly flat, despite my best efforts.
I started taking him, and the rest of the children, to weekly chiropractor appointments and weekly craniosacral therapy appointments. This meant two different days, two different appointments, 10-15 mins each way, scheduled around my pumping schedule and their naps in the middle of a cold, snowy, and icy Minnesota winter. No wonder I ended up so darn depressed.
That started when they were a month old, and since they were born a month early, ended up being right around their actual due date when we started those appointments. We kept that schedule
One of the appointments was for tongue and lip ties, which I detail in the post below. The twins had been throwing up multiple times a day to the point I wasn’t sure they were getting any nutrition. It wasn’t just normal baby spit up, no, it was full on throwing up the whole bottle and at least once a day, one of them would projectile vomit, like the girl in the Exorcist. It was horrible. Often it’d be all over one of us.
The pediatricians and lactation consultants we saw within the first two months told us it was normal or it was reflux. Finally during a chiropractor appointment pre-helmet, the chiropractor suggested we check out the local pediatric dentist who specializes in tongue and lip ties. Our oldest son went there for his dental check ups so we made an appointment for the twins and lo and behold, they had quite severe tongue and lip ties. Luckily she was able to diagnose and fix them with a laser all in the same appointment and it was all really quick.
Then there were the helmet appointments that started when the twins were 5 months old and went every other week for over 3 months. These appointments were a 30 minute drive each way, and sometimes on different days. He had the helmet fitting/adjustment appointments that lasted about 30 mins and the physical therapy appointments that lasted about an hour. The schedulers were great and tried to get us in on the same day one after the other whenever they could, but it wasn’t always possible so we’d have to make the trek two days in a week. The appointments were within a mile or so of each other but I’d have to get everyone all bundled up to go outside, and in and out of car seats and vehicles for each appointment so 4x per day if we had two appointments. I am in the process of writing a blog post about this experience as well.
It was a pain. It was worth it, but a pain. I often had to pump on the way to or home from the appointments since we were there so long, and I couldn’t change my pumping schedule.
ALL of the above with the appointments and such was going on WHILE we were working on selling our home and moving a couple towns over to a bigger house. Thankfully, decided to sell our home to Opendoor so we didn’t have to deal with any showings, home improvements, storage facilities, etc. It was hard enough to find time to pack and move with twin babies and a toddler, plus all the appointments, etc. there was no way we could have done it ‘the traditional way’ of selling a home.
We also happened to buy our home from Opendoor, which is detailed in the blog post above. It just so happened that our dream home was being sold by Opendoor at the same time we were looking. It had been on the market for 3 months so our realtor helped us get the price a bit lower than it was and bam! We sold our first home to Opendoor and bought our second home from Opendoor. It worked out really, really well.
It was still crazy stressful to move with twin babies and a toddler, but it was as good as it could be under the circumstances. We also hired movers so though we packed all the boxes during the 45 days between signing the agreement and moving in, we didn’t have to worry about the physical moving which was a HUGE load off – haha – literally!
Ok, back to more helpful stuff instead of me just unloading about all the difficult stuff. Sorry, as you may discover someday, it’s often cathartic to write it all out, or type in this case. As I say, I tell it the way it really is and what I wrote about is surely the way it really is (was).
Once we moved, one way of calming everyone down seemed to be getting outside. Our oldest LOVED being outside and soon the twins did as well. We had a play pen that we could set up anywhere that I’d bring out to the front porch and put toys in for them. They really enjoyed it.
- ON-THE-GO PLAYARD: As a parent, we know that life takes you many different places. So, we designed this playard to be lightweight and easy to fold, fitting snuggly into the included carry bag for travel or storage. No matter if you are outside at the beach, or inside at grandma and grandpa’s, this playpen is the perfect place for your child to hang out.
- COZY, YET BREATHABLE: We designed our Eclipse Portable Playard so your toddler could have their own cozy space to be. It was designed with mesh sidewalls allowing air to flow through and also making it easy for your baby to peek outside their play area.
- MAXIMUM SAFETY: JPMA certified and built with a durable metal frame with two locks. All six legs work together to provide a sturdy base for your child to sit, stand, or play in. Included is our removeable canopy which blocks 98% of UVA and UVB rays. Recommended age is 6-24 months and height up to 35".
- VERSATLE DESIGN: Our durable nylon floor makes it easy to wipe away any messes, and if those get a little too messy, the fabric can be removed and tossed into the washing machine. Along with this, the playard comes with a removeable canopy that is easy to set up.
- DESIGNED IN USA: Trusted by parents for over 20 years. Locally owned and operated in Rhode Island, USA.
We also went on walks either with the double stroller or our Radio Flyer Wagon. The great thing about the wagon is all 3 boys could fit as well as toys. At the time the twins were about 9 months old and our oldest had just turned 3.
We love this wagon because it folds up for storage, has seatbelts for the twins, and an optional canopy. Since we got this one, they came out with a wagon that has a push option as well as pull. I wish we had that especially now that the boys are heavier!
- 3 WAGONS IN 1: this collapsible wagon has 3 riding features: hauling, 2 rider seating and bench seating. Easily transform from hauling to bench seating with the zippers on the side of the wagon.
- FOLDS FOR STORAGE: easy one hand fold allows convenient storage. This wagon is portable and can be stored or taken anywhere! Folded wagon dimensions: 7 L x 18.50 W x 32.68 H inches.
- SAFE FOR KIDS: Radio Flyer wagons pass the ASTM-f963-13 toy safety standard. This wagon includes seat belts and a UV protection canopy to protect your little ones from the sun.
- STORAGE CAPACITY: the wagon can haul up to 150 lbs. of kids or cargo! It also includes a rear storage pouch to store the canopy in when not in use and two front cup holders.
- SPECIFICATIONS: Assembled product dimensions: 39.37” x 21.26” x 40.75”. Recommended for kids 1 ½+ years. Maximum weight capacity 150 lbs.
- CERTIFIED B CORP: Radio Flyer meets the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability. We believe profits follow purpose and take pride in creating long-lasting products that inspire active play and create warm memories. We are dedicated to preserving the earth for future generations.
- PUSH & PULL: The Convertible Stroll 'N Wagon offers the convenience to push and the adventure of a pull wagon in one vehicle. It features a Never Fall wagon pull handle in the front and a fold-away push handlebar on the back.
- FOLDS FOR STORAGE: Easy one hand fold allows convenient storage. This wagon is portable and can be stored or taken anywhere!
- SAFE FOR KIDS: Radio Flyer wagons pass the ASTM-f963-13 toy safety standard. This wagon includes a rear foot brake, 5-point safety harnesses and a UV protection canopy to protect your little ones from the sun.
- QUALITY WHEELS: This wagon features front caster wheels for nimble steering and large, 12” easy-push rear wheels. Made of high density foam, these wheels will provide a smooth, quiet ride.
- STORAGE CAPACITY: The Convertible Stroll 'N Wagon can haul up to 120 lbs. of kids or cargo! It also includes a rear storage pouch to store the canopy in when not in use and two front cup holders.
- SPECIFICATIONS: Assembled product dimensions: 47.2” L x 24.4” W x 41.3” H. Recommended for kids 1+ years. Maximum weight capacity 150 lbs.
The Way it Really Is & Regrets
The first year was complete chaos and honestly, I think I’ve forgotten a lot of it as a survival mechanism. I started weekly therapy right after we moved since the move to a bigger home didn’t magically make me happy. I also started antidepressants six months after that, soon after our twins turned one.
To any mama of twin newborns, it is really rough that first year but you’ll get through it. Try to soak up this time with your babies as much as you can.
I really am sad that I didn’t get help sooner for my PPD and get on meds. I feel I missed out on a lot that first year since things were so busy and I was so darn depressed. I just wanted to get away from the kids as much as I could whenever I wasn’t home alone with them because I was so overwhelmed and depressed. I wish I hadn’t done that. I wish I had enjoyed the little guys more in their infancy since they’re my last babies, I wish I would have held them more, played with them more, and soaked up more snuggles overall.
They are almost 4 years old now and seem well adjusted…well as well adjusted as one can be while isolated during a global pandemic most of their lives so far. All that to say, I don’t think that my PPD hurt them in any way, I hope, they seem fine, I just know I missed out on a lot and wish I could turn the clock back. At least one of them still loves to snuggle so that’s good (update: they both love snuggling now and often fight for my lap).
Update when Twins were 4 and oldest was 6
After going back through and doing EMDR therapy for trauma when my twins were 4 years old I finally was able to see that I not only survived that first year, I freaking rocked that first year.
(Note: their birth wasn’t my only trauma, it was just one of the many…)
During the first year of their lives, I was able to produce enough milk for twins for 8 months until my therapist and I decided it was more important that I work on my mental health than continue to pump. Basically, it seemed as if I kept pumping my kids might not have a mom anymore, things were that dire within my head.
Despite severe postpartum depression that was undiagnosed for the first 7 months, I was able to notice when my twins had medical conditions that others may have missed, and doctors did miss at first. I took them to appointments that I didn’t have to. It wasn’t like baby B was going to die because he had a flat head but I knew it’d bother him in the future so I sought out alternative therapies such as craniosacral therapy and chiropractor, and eventually deciding to go to a helmet and physical therapy. I didn’t have to do that, especially trying the more natural therapies first, but I did because I felt it was best for my little guy! I also would often pump either on the way to the appointment or the way home because I had to stay on schedule to keep providing enough milk for my twins. Same with their tongue and lip ties early on, I knew there was a problem and I kept advocating for my little guys until they were finally diagnosed and ties were revised.
All these years I’ve been feeling like we merely survived that first year, and maybe it was that way as we went through it, but looking back we did a great job. You will too. Just hang in there and believe in yourself.
As a mom of identical twins and a son two years older, I have gained invaluable experience in the realm, and chaos, of parenting. With a Master's Degree and Education Specialist Degree in School Psychology, I spent years as a school psychologist, helping children navigate through their educational and emotional challenges. Now as a stay at home mom and professional blogger, I combine my areas of expertise to help you in your parenting journey.