I am constantly asked twin questions. From random people in the store, to friends of friends who are having twins, and I thought I would condense all the information. Perhaps when I get asked questions, hand them a card with the web address? Would that be rude? Probably. Well it was a nice idea anyway. So here it is.
Q: Will I really need two of everything?
A: Will you need it? No. Will you end up with two or more of everything in the end? Yes.
While it may not make fiscal sense- your sanity and ability to get some non-twin-related-stuff done is worth something. If you don't want to buy it all in one fell swoop, stagger it out and get it as you need it. Or try second hand stuff- it's just as good.
Q: But will I need two cribs? Don't they sleep together?
A: (sad chuckling) Oh, you will need two cribs. I know it is tempting to try and save some $ and some space in the nursery, but the reality will come. You will wish that you weren't trying to set up crib #2 with twins running around- without causing damage to the already set up crib #1. (and sometimes the stores discontinue styles on a whim)
Yes, they may sleep together for a little bit. (Mine only lasted 3 mos) Think about it, if you had to spend all your hours with your sibling, wouldn't you be begging for some space of your own? Our twins slept so much better when they weren't bothered by each other. And it just seems odd to think that crib bumpers and plush toys in with baby are no-no's (even though my kids had both with them) but a whole other baby in there wiggling around would be ok. No thank you! And if you buy two big ticket items like that, you can usually angle for a discount! The least of which is the Babies R' Us twin discount of a whopping 10% (insert sarcastic oohs and aaahs here)
Q: How do you get them to sleep on a schedule?
First of all, check out the books on this list. A few items that you will need: swaddler blankets (I recommend these), or the super-amazing talent to properly swaddle with a normal blanket, a noise machine with a "white noise" setting, black out shades, and some patience. As new babies, there is really no hope of a schedule, although they may tend to do things in the same time frame if you feed them both in order or at the same time. The noise machine will help drown out superfluous noise and remind them of the womb, the black out shades will help during naptime, and swaddlers prevent them from waking themselves or each other up with any unnecessary and distracting flailing. I am also a big fan of the cry it out method, or ferberizing when the twins are older. I don't see it as cruel, I see it as teaching them a very valuable skill that they will need and I will treasure; being able to settle themselves down and self-soothe.
Q: Can you really breastfeed twins?
A: I have heard of women who do. But I was never one of them. I was so over-tired, over-stressed, and just wound up so tight in general that one more hurdle (like breastfeeding twins) was one thing I was willing to toss out the window at the first chance. I did pump for two months, and that was very difficult, and added at least 30-45 minutes to the already hour long feeding routine. Don't beat yourself up if it doesn't work for you. I have seen the pictures of those moms feeding both babies football style, but I just pitied their inability to delegate.
Having other people feed the twins was a lifesaver that I was not willing to part with.
Q: Were you put on bedrest?
A: Yes. And if you're carrying multiples, you will be too. I have yet to meet a multiple mommy who wasn't put on 'the rest' at some point. (yes, I am making up my own slang) Plan for it. I can't remember exactly how long mine was... it seemed like forever, but it was realistically like 6-8 weeks. There are so many things that can get you slapped with 'the rest' it is statistically likely that you'll have some special couch time too. My sentencing was due to blood pressure or what's known as pre-eclampsia. Start learning how to knit or something. I watched old Grey's Anatomy seasons I had on DVD about 10 trillion times.
Q: What kind of stroller is best for twins?
A: I wouldn't know. I am a self-proclaimed stroller junkie. But here's a few basic rules to follow: Tandem will work best for shopping, it fits in doorways and crowded aisles better than the side by side. Always check the packaging to see if it will accept two infant carrier/carseats. If you have a small car or a sedan of some sort, The Graco Duo Glider will be pretty much your best option. I would also recommend a jogging stroller. Although they are all side by sides, and don't fold as well, and are heavy, keep one in your garage for a good jog, walk to the park, or just getting out of the house for a while, etc.
Q: How many diapers did you use/change?
A: It's better not to ask questions like that. If you want to really know for budgetary purposes- just don't. Abandon that plan asap. It will only scare you. A good idea would be to stock up while you're pregnant. Get a bunch of different brands and sizes. Every time you go to the grocery store, pick up a pack, big or small. Or ask baby shower guests to bring a pack with them to the party. You will be glad to have a mountain of diapers to run to when your changing station is low.
You will probably feel personally responsible for cramming our landfills full of diapers. It's ok. Try not to stress. Just buy another pack, and don't do the math as much as you can.
Q: Should I dress them the same?
This really only is a question if you're having boy/boy or girl/girl twins. Those who know me have noticed my penchant for identical dressing. There are a lot of reasons for this, both practical as well as my own psychosis. First of all: Not everybody has twins! Most people only get one baby to dress! I've got a chance to be matchy-matchy, and I'm going to take it! Secondly: It may take longer to fold and keep the matches together, but it also ensures I don't loose pieces of ensembles, and I can see when I am getting low on clothes and need to do (yet another) load of laundry.
I have heard this may cause an identity crisis for my girls, or stifles their individuality. And while it may be a bit too extreme to say I'm ok with that- it's more of I'm doing the best I can, and I don't see it affecting my girls. When they want to dress themselves, they can have free reign, but I will have about 16 years of that ahead of me. Right now, they don't care what they wear. (well, as long as they are "pretty dresses")
Q: How do you do it?
A: Organization. That, and a lack of other options. I just have to "do it." And making the best out of the situation and craziness that ensues is a bonus. Get organized. It is possible- I was a classic example of Little Ms. Unorganized pre-twins, but have managed to turn into my mother. (or dare I say Mom 2.0?!) I take what works from other moms and tweak it to work for me too. And most of all- my twins are the most adorable, funny, lovable, and extraordinary kids on the planet... so that helps.