Bringing Twins Home for the First Time

Welcoming Twins Into Your Home and Family

6 hour old fraternal twins, Sofia and Mia
6 hour old fraternal twins, Sofia and Mia. Photo reprinted with permission of Sam.

The day has finally arrived! Your twins are here and you’re ready to welcome them into your home and family. During the long months of pregnancy, it may have felt like this moment would never come. A twin or multiple pregnancy can be fraught with anxiety and worries about everything from financial strain to medical complications to telling your twins apart. Your pregnancy may have been cut short by preterm labor.

Or your twins’ homecoming may have been delayed by days or weeks if they required a stay in the hospital or NICU to catch up and overcome problems from an early birth.

Hopefully, you’re able to read this article with time to spare, and can take heed and implement some of the issues addressed here. If not, that’s okay, too. Take a deep breath and know that it will all be okay. You may need a bit more help from others, but you’ll adjust to life with twins just fine.

First Things First

There’s one thing -- well, really two things -- that you simply must have in order to get those babies home. If you’re bringing your baby twins home in an automobile, you’ll need car seats approved for infants that meet the safety standards of your state. To be specific, you’ll need one for each baby, and it’s recommended that you buy these products new, to ensure that they have not been compromised by improper use or damaged in a previous accident.

They also need to be properly installed in your vehicle. This is not a process to undertake under pressure, with your babies waiting in the elements while you fiddle with the seat belts in the car. If possible, spend some time installing the car seats -- according to manufacturer specifications -- before it’s time to bring the babies home.

You can even have the seats checked by a specialist to be sure they’re properly installed. Many local fire departments and sheriff's offices offer this service. Visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website to find a specialist close to your home.

Get Your Home Ready

Speaking of your home, is it ready for babies? Along with those new babies, there is a lot of baby equipment that you’ll need to take care of them. However, you don’t necessarily need all of it right away, and you don’t necessarily need double of everything simply because you have twins. There are lots of things that they can share, or use in stages. Take some time to research before you run out and double up on every purchase.

So what needs to be ready right away?

Sleeping: Well, you’ll need a place for the babies to sleep. That may be a crib, or it may be something more temporary until the babies are ready to sleep in their cribs. Some families use bassinettes, portable cribs such as the Graco Pack 'n Play Portable Playard with Twins Bassinet (compare prices), Moses baskets, swings, or infant seats.

Eventually, you will likely want to have cribs for the babies, just to ensure that they sleep as safely and comfortably as possible (because when they sleep soundly, you’ll sleep soundly too!)

Eating: Highchairs can wait. Your babies won’t be able to sit up in them for several months yet, and they take up a lot of space. In the early days, depending on whether you elect to breastfeed or bottle feed the babies, you may only need a comfortable chair. Check out these tips for feeding two babies at the same time to help determine what you’ll need.

Changing Diapers: Other than eating and sleeping, your babies will do a lot of peeing and pooping in the early days. And you’ll spend a lot of time changing diapers. Whether you elect to use cloth or disposable diapers, you’ll need to stock up on diapers and supplies. It can be tricky to judge your babies’ size. If they’re born early, they may spend many months in preemie or infant sizes. But babies also grow quickly, and they may move up to a larger size diaper sooner than you think. Keep plenty of diapers on hand, but don’t overbuy. Don’t forget about diaper disposal. A diaper container with odor control will keep your home smelling pleasant, but many families find it just as convenient to throw out dirty diapers in plastic bags.

Give some thought to how you’ll live in your home as you care for the babies. Many families find it helpful to set up staging areas throughout the house, rather than staying exclusively in the nursery. For example, if your home is multi-level, you may want to establish a place for the babies to sleep on each floor, as well as a changing station, so that you don’t spend all day running up and down the stairs.

Line Up Help

When you’re caring for two babies at the same time, it’s tough to do it alone. There’s two of them, and you’ve only got two hands. Before your bring your babies home, think about what kind of help you’ll want.

Don’t be afraid to ASK for help. This is no time to play the martyr and try to shoulder the burden on your own. Almost everyone is thrilled to be helping during this special time of your life, so keep a list of those that offer assistance, and take them up on it.

Be specific in your requests for help. Need meals prepared? Errands run? Child care for older siblings? Pet care? Or someone to hold one baby while you feed the other one? Say so, according to what works best for your family. In some families, professional help from a lactation consultant, night nurse, or cleaning service is preferable to well-meaning but misguided loved ones.

Things to Consider

Finally, here are some things to consider as you bring your baby twins home from the hospital.

  • Your babies may not come home together. If one has more serious medical complications after birth, the other baby may be ready to leave the hospital alone. This seems traumatic, but in some ways, it can actually be an easier adjustment. Caring for one baby at a time for a few days can give you a chance to catch your breath.
  • Childproofing your home can wait. Your babies won’t be moving and grooving through the rooms of your home for a few months. But don’t wait until it’s too late. You know the old saying ... “Better safe than sorry.” Once your babies arrive, you’re busy! Time is scarce, so make a commitment to implement child safety measures before the babies are born, or else in the first few months.
  • If your babies are born prematurely or with special needs, you may be grappling with medical issues in addition to the normal demands of infant care. Work closely with your medical caregivers to learn the proper procedures for feeding, administering medication, or monitoring breathing.
  • Many twin babies are smaller than their singleton counterparts. Don’t be surprised if all those cute little infant outfits that you received as gifts don’t fit right away, even if they’re sized for newborns. Some twins, even if they’re born at the average 36- or 37-week timeframe, are small at birth and may need preemie-sized clothing for a few weeks or months, until they grow and catch up.
  • Work toward a schedule. The right schedule is whatever works for you and your babies, but most parents agree that it’s easier to keep both babies on the same schedule so that they eat and sleep at the same time.
  • Get to know your babies. If you have trouble telling them apart, try these tricks. It may seem confusing, but you’ll be surprised by how quickly you’re able to distinguish their cries and their personalities.

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