Finding out that you’re pregnant is a huge step for any parent-to-be. But when your doctor delivers the news that you’re carrying not one, but two babies, it can seem even more daunting to prepare for the years ahead.
Fortunately, others have been there before you -- many others, in fact, given that the twin birth rate has risen 76% since 1980. Here, 9 parents of twins share their best advice to prepare to bring two bundles of joy into the world.
Allow them to express their individuality.
"One important thing I learned over the years with my twins was to recognize each one’s talents. Identity can become an issue even if they look nothing alike. Taking the time to give them individual choices, express their feelings, and letting them know their opinions matter became very important."
-- Angel Frisbie, via Facebook
Keep a routine.
"A mother of quads told me before I had my twins that a routine and schedule will help keep your sanity. A singleton baby off schedule will drive you insane, but twins off schedule will put you into a mental hospital."
-- Malissa Fry, via Facebook
Get help at night.
"If I could go back in time, I would have tapped into savings and paid for someone to come help us out at nights. It really would've helped with the sleep deprivation. And I really wish I had known to just slow down and enjoy the ride."
-- Tracy Bennett, via WebMD Video
Everything comes in phases.
"One of the things I wish I'd known about having twins is that there are phases. Everything comes, and everything goes. And before you know it, after you've racked your brain to try to figure out why something is happening, they've already moved on to the next phase. It happens with all of the bad times, and it happens with the good times, too. Just remind yourself when you're in those periods where no one's sleeping and everyone's fighting you, or they're fighting with each other, that this will also pass."
-- Jennifer Fields, executive editor, WebMD
Spend time with each twin separately.
"I wish I just had more time with each of them. You're always with both of them, so if you and your partner can actually spend some time one-on-one with them, they’ll be the most precious moments that you have."
-- Hansa Bhargava, MD, medical editor and expert pediatrician, WebMD
Enjoy every minute.
"I have twin 4-year-old boys. My advice: It's OK to dress them alike and make life easier, but allow them to have their own likes and dislikes -- they are 2 completely different people. The grocery store is by far the hardest part, and give yourself at least an extra half-hour, as everyone wants to see them. Look for ‘moms of multiples’ groups -- you can buy clothes a lot cheaper. And last, enjoy every minute."
-- Lisa Line, via Facebook
"I have two sets of twins, 22 months apart. It was almost like raising quadruplets. My best advice would be to have a lot of patience and when a friend offers to help, take them up on it. Sometimes our house was in chaos, but I wouldn’t want it any other way."
-- Patty Shipes, via Facebook
'Don’t sweat the small stuff.'
“I like to remind those who are pregnant with twins not to worry and enjoy that time -- as much as you can when you feel like a beached whale! Also, once they arrive, don't sweat the small stuff. A wise old doctor once told me that all you need is love, and everything else falls into place.”
-- Amy Schehr Macdonald, via Facebook
Know you will get through it.
"Just remember: They don't stay young forever and you will get through it. My girls are still so close to each other, which is the best part. When one baby wakes up to eat, feed her, change her, and when she's done and back to sleep, wake the other one up to eat right after. Keep them on the same schedule -- or you will never get any sleep. Also schedule doctor and dentist appointments at the same time. That was a lifesaver. Have a lot of patience, a lot of love, and know you can and you will get through it."
-- Penny Mayor, via Facebook