There is never a dull moment and always so much to do when you have twins, that’s why I have put together this post about the “12 Tips for Twins in the first 6 months”. The first half year of Max and Mathilda’s lives has flown by and both Olivia and I have learnt so many valuable lessons. Most of the lessons were learned the hard way, through trial and error and lots of mistakes. Hopefully, what we have learned will help make your life easier. Having twins is stressful, you are always switched on and don’t really get a break unless you plan it weeks in advance. Having been through IVF, myself and Olivia are equipped for anything and the stress of looking after two babies at once pales in comparison to the stress of dealing with infertility and the invasive IVF treatment. Here are the lessons that I have learned in my first 6 months as a dad. Most of them are applicable to those of you with the easy job of having one baby too.
Tips for Twins No.1-The lack of sleep is not as bad as people say
People whinge and whine about the lack of sleep that you get with newborns. Once you are getting 6-8 hours of shut eye then you can function pretty well. You have to, your babies lives depend on it. The key is to go to bed early and not waste your time staying up watching Netflix. If you are staying up late, getting up early, and having broken sleep then it can be difficult. Initially, we were totally clueless with our sleeping patterns, sleeping only 3 or 4 hours per night, and we were like zombies during the day.
Our Midwife gave us a tip to sleep in shifts. I would sleep between 8pm-2am and Olivia would sleep between 2am-8am. This meant that we would get 6 hours of uninterrupted sleep, but sleeping and waking up at these times became very taxing. We were both on paternity leave and had time to experiment until we got it right.
One night, about two weeks into our shift sleeping experiment, we decided to go to bed together and put the babies in bed with us. We put them to sleep at about 10 pm and they woke up at 6 am with one interruption for 20 minutes to feed. It was a revelation. We had our first full night’s sleep since the twins were home. We decided to try it again the next night and the result was the same.
There are a lot of opponents against co-sleeping, but I would say each to their own. If you are worried about co-sleeping then there are options available where your baby can sleep in a bed beside your bed. Shortly after discovering how to get good nights sleep with twins, I discovered a viral video on Facebook that has subsequently been removed, you can see a version of it below. It advocated that children do not cry when they feel secure and are close to their parents. If you are worried about co-sleeping then there are options available where your baby can sleep in a bed beside your bed.
Further Reading on Co-sleeping:
Tips for Twins No.2 – Work is much easier than being a parent.
I have four full-time jobs, one as a key account manager for an affiliate marketing publisher, one as a parent to Max, and one as a parent to Mathilda, and one as a blogger. The first one is easy and it only takes up about 45 hours of my week. For my second and third job as a father of twins, I am on call 15 hours per day Monday-Friday and 24 hours per day on the weekends. I do more work over the weekend when at home with the babies than I do in 5 days at work. Obviously, there is stress and my day job is not all plain sailing, it is just so easy compared to looking after two toddlers. I know it sounds bad, but I go to work get a break.
Tips for Twins No.3-Do as much as you can to save time.
Time is the most valuable currency when you have two babies. I do everything in my power to save as much time as possible wherever I can. This involves lots of planning and preparation. If we are doing anything that involves leaving the house, then we plan it day in advance. If you are going out then you have to pack your bags the day before. It takes about two hours to leave the house when you have twins, so you have to do a lot of organisation in advance to get out on time. Usually, some spanner will throw itself in the works, a poonami or a cry attack while feeding, which can be seen above, can add 15+mins to your attempt to leave. When I am working, I do meal prep for the week on Sunday and refrigerate and or freeze my meals in advance. This saves me a lot of time during the week. Click Here to Learn about the meal prep lunch boxes.
Tips for Twins No.4 – Get Amazon Prime
Amazon Prime will save you so much time and effort. Anyone that has tried to go shopping at peak times with double stroller will feel my pain. There is absolutely no fun to be had trying to navigate hordes of shoppers with a buggy that barely fits through doors, and takes up about as much space as one of those mini street sweepers. That is where Amazon Prime becomes a trusty sidekick in solving/overcoming your fear of shopping with twins. It is so convenient, efficient and should the product not be up to scratch, you can return it with ease. I am lucky that I live in Berlin and the service is available here. I can get most products the next day and in some cases, there is same day delivery. You can click on the image below to learn more about Amazon Prime.
Tips for Twins No.5 – Make time for your Wife/Husband
This was a lesson that I learned when we were going through IVF. After two failed tries at reproductive therapy, a lot needed to change. One of the things that I changed was being there more for my wife. This lesson has carried over into our first 6 months of parenthood. It is important, at least once per month, to make time for your relationship. Olivia and I always make at least one date night per month. We get a babysitter and doing something romantic. This is a key factor in a successful relationship which is key to having a happy home for your family.
Tips for Twins No.6 – Ask for help
Don’t be afraid to ask for help.I live in a foreign city and German families are not as big as Irish families. This makes it harder to ask people for help. If I still lived in Dublin, I would have about 100 people to ask to babysit. This is not the case in Berlin where there are only a handful of people that I can ask for help. Having twins is far from easy and you need assistance, but finding people that can manage twins is difficult. If you have someone, then don’t be afraid to ask. The other option is to hire a babysitter or get home help. These are not avenues that we have explored yet, but we will in the future.
Tips for Twins No.7 – Buy second-hand clothes
You don’t need to buy new clothes for babies. Firstly, you get so many clothes as gifts that you will not need to buy anything in the first weeks and months. All you need is bodies, onesies and bibs. The babies grow so quickly that buying expensive new clothes is pointless. Berlin is probably the city with the most flea markets in the World. Rarely a week goes by, especially in the summer, when there is not Kinder Flohmarkt(Children’s flea market). We have been to two and bought 6 months of clothes for both children for under €100. The quality of the brands that you can buy at a fraction of the price is amazing. Children’s clothes do no hold their value and you can find some really great bargains.
Tips for Twins No.8 – Get Tips
Read blogs and ask as many parents lots of questions about parenting. It is better to learn from their mistakes than making mistakes yourself. You will save yourself a lot of time and money. There are lots of general parenting blogs online that can help you, but you should also go local and find out as much information about local amenities for your children. Google is your friend here, but so are your friends. For the essential products, we discovered a lot online through product reviews. For kindergartens, insurance and all things administration we asked friends.
Tips for Twins No.9 – Do all your admin before they are born
Nobody likes administration work, especially me. It is one of my many weaknesses. Thankfully, I have a super German wife that is one of the most organised people that I know. She is a master of paperwork and can skilfully navigate German bureaucracy with the grace of a ballerina. Unfortunately, If you have children, there is lots of administration work to do. There is no way to avoid it. We(Olivia) have done a lot, but there is always more to do. These include tax numbers, social insurance, health insurance, kindergartens, etc, etc. The list is endless, and it is easier to do before the children are born. I have thought about it a lot recently, what did I do with all of my spare time before the twins were born. If you are reading this before you have children, then cherish the free time that you have. Some of the administration that you have to do will not be possible before the birth but get as much done, as early as possible.
Tips for Twins No.10 – Get a Thermos Flask for night time feeding.
This is probably one of the reasons that we sleep so well. Well, reasonably well considering we have twins. The sleep is broken but we are getting enough sleep most evenings because we have a thermos flask filled with hot water, it’s always at the ready. This was a tip that the midwife gave us and it saves so much time. Fill your baby bottles with the necessary quantity of powder and have them ready for the night feed. When your baby wakes up then you can just add the hot water combined with some cool water to get the adequate temperature. It takes under a minute to make a bottle. Don’t forget to test the temperature.
Tips for Twins No.11 – Bath time is crazy
We experienced our first bath time in the hospital under the close scrutiny of a midwife. Hospital post bath time went swimmingly and not a single tear was shed. Fast forward to when we tried it at home and the screams that the babies let out nearly tore the roof down. I am surprised that the neighbours did no complain. We have a bath thermometer for the babies that gets the water to a balmy 38 degrees Celsius. You can find out more below.
Our problem, having Winter babies was the air temperature in the bathroom. Despite having central heating, our one hundred and fifty-year-old Berlin apartment, with its high ceilings, can be Cold in Winter, especially in the bathroom. The solution is a small heater above the baby changing station. Now that summer is here, bath time is a little easier. I think it is a result of the temperature being warmer and the fact that we attended our first baby swimming which has got them more used to being in the water.
With regards to bathtime, to save you time and money, and to do use less water it makes sense to get a baby bath. These small baths make life a lot easier. We Bought This one. Click Here. Olivia even thinks it looks nice, which never happens to me. The babies feel more comfortable and I can hold them much easier, all while being environmentally friendly.
Tips for Twins No.12 – The first solid food is wild.
The first feeding is time brings a range of emotions; pride, fear, excitement and joy. This cocktail of emotions is compounded by the initially surprising lack of coordination that babies have. Having sucked on a nipple or a bottle for 4-6 months, trying to chew and consume food is a challenge. The food is blended to give them a head start but the whole process is so alien to them that food ends up all over their face, in their hair, nose, ears, eyes, under their chin, on their hands, all over their bib, all over their clothes, it usually covers the chair in which they sit, ends up on the ground, and of course all over their parents. The customary feeding sneeze then makes sure anything that did not get hit gets sprayed in the end.
It takes a few days or weeks but they eventually get the motor skills to chew and swallow the blended concoction of fruit and veggies. Finding the right combo is tough. As with adults, every baby is different and has a different taste. There are many books available for recipes. We read a German book called Lotta Lernt Essen. Click here to find our more about Lotta Lernt Essen.
There are many baby food books available which you can find online. In the beginning, your babies will struggle with the spoon. The softer it is the better. We used the Cuddle baby spoon as it is BPA free and soft, so it does not hurt the babies gums. Click here to learn more about the Cuddle Baby Gum Spoon
To summarise, I have learned a lot in the last few months and I hope that the lessons will help you. Having twins is one of the most rewarding and challenging jobs in the World. You are constantly switched on and don’t really get a break. The tips that I have given you will help you to save time and money, and/or make your life easier. Is there anything that you have learned in your first 6 months with twins/babies. I would love to hear from you in the comments below.