Sunday, August 11, 2013

twin rearing // the first six months

I am almost 6 months into this gig.  Can you believe it?   I have had several new and expecting twin mamas ask me some questions on how I "do it."  
I am not an expert, probably have made a gillion mistakes, never read a "twins" book, but I come to you HUMBLY with my two cents (it's way too long--sorry non mama readers).  I would also like to say that I have the most sweet, relaxed, easygoing twins but I am pretty sure it's all God, NOT me, and also just the nature of having 3 babies under 3 who don't have a mama constantly doting on them.
1. Find a system that works for you.
I started out nursing twins separately, then tandemly, but because of some latch issues with James started feeding one a bottle and one on a breast around 4 weeks old.  This worked so well for me and still does.  It was less cumbersome than tandem nursing and allowed James to work on his latch over time, without making me sore.  I still pump 3-5times during the day based on the days demands.  I prop one baby up on a pillow with a bottle and nurse the other.  I nurse the babes separately during their early morning feedings since they hardly ever wake simultaneously, almost always feeding James first and then waking Elle (she's my sleeper).  I do this to ensure that I get the most sleep possible.  
2. Eat good food.   
Coconut oil, raw almonds, chia seed, heavy cream, chocolate milk, whole milk yogurt, avocados, oat bran, eggs...all keep me full and keep my milk supply at a sufficient level.  I don't take any vitamins but I do take cod liver oil.  I also keep quite a bit of random trader joes packaged food around (frozen section mozzarella sticks baby) KIND bars for my purse and ice cream, always.
3. Stay open minded.  By gods grace I have somehow been able to provide milk for my babes.   2 months ago I caught the flu and my supply dropped big time for 2 days.  Some of my nursing friends brought over extra pumped milk for me (that's love!).  I have figured out that I make appx 80 oz of milk a day, sometimes more and sometimes less. This is just enough for my babes as they are very content and very chubby.  If they weren't, I would be supplementing with either a goats milk based or store bought formula.  Formula gets a terrible wrap these days, but it provides good nutrition for a baby and if it brings more peace to you, your baby, your family, by all means, use it!  
4.  Swaddle them up!
This is how my twins learned difference between night or day (night=tight swaddle).  Miracle blaket worked like a charm.  We "deswaddled" at 4 months when the twins broke out of their miracle blankets.  We also borrowed a swing which I used for James during some naps.  This was a great tool.  If he woke before his sister in their crib I would put him in the swing where he almost always fell back asleep and they therefore stayed on the same (and better) schedule.  We never used it at night, but do what you gotta do.  
5.  Sleep together.  Eat together.
My twinnies sleep in the same room, allowing them to sleep through almost any noise.  I wake Ellie to nurse now that James does a similar long stretch of sleep at night, but didn't when she slept through night and he still woke up at 1am.  When they were about 4 months and younger I often woke them up from naps or used the swing as mentioned above to keep them on the same schedule.  Now they follow a very close pattern and usually get up within 20 min of each other so I don't have to do that.  Some days they don't follow the same pattern and I have found that on those days it's better for all to just let them do their thing (since they are teething/learning new things at different times etc.) and enjoy the alone time.
6. Accept help.
My mom stayed with me for 5 weeks after my sister in law and mother in law were with me the first week and a half.  This helped the transition so much for Reagan and allowed me to savor my twins, rest and heal.  If you don't have older children, this will be a lot different.  You might not need the extra help, but please take it!  Take the meals (people from our AMAZING church brought us hot meals for 2 months) Take the flowers.  Say "yes you can clean my bathroom" and instead of worrying about having a perfectly picked up house go hold your babies.  Just stare at them.  Take way to many pictures.  It's going to flash before your eyes.  I already hardly remember those foggy yet beautiful newborn days.
7. Trust God.  You were created to be the mama to those twins.  Your baby's strengths are a blessing to you.  Their weaknesses will make you stronger.  Believe that.  Try to turn restlessness into REST.  Take one day at a time.  I definitely don't always do this but God showers me with the peace He promises when I hand my anxieties over to Him.  (Philipians 4:6-7)
Please comment with any further questions.  I would love to discuss any twin subject and pray for your babies specifically.  


  1. Thank you so much, Katie. My initial read-through happened during a 2 am nursing session, and it filled me with such peace (and anticipation of all to come)! I'm so excited to hear of your nursing system- the very day of the post was my first time nursing and pillow-bottle feeding, and it worked well for me, too! Tandem feeding has been a struggle, and although the girls cooperate often enough that I still try, it is so good to have a back-up method for when I'm alone.
    And last night, the girls gave us around 6 hours of sleep (and my hubby gave me an extra 2), so I'm feeling good. A welcome change from a fussy streak which left us wondering if we had bad babies. But they're too cute to be bad. Isn't that how it works?
    Trust in God-- that is always a good reminder. The first time I stopped and thought about the vocation of twins was when our friend's 5 year old asked "how" there were two babies in my belly and "why." Her mom responded, "Because God thought she could handle it." I take comfort in that simple response and in knowing that God provides so much. Double babies, double grace!
    Love and blessings to your sweet family!

  2. Hi Katie,
    I was directed to your blog by a friend of a friend because I am expecting twins this December. I also have an almost two year old son. I really enjoy your honesty in this blog. Anyway, we are trying to figure out the stroller situation for 3 kids under 3, and wondering if you have any thoughts, or what yo u purchased? Is a double stroller enough? I would appreciate any wisdom! Thank you!

  3. Hi kristi! We purchased a double stroller and I either carry one baby in ergo and have Rea and other in stroller, or Rea walks. We bought the joovy double and are very happy with it. It has lots of room in bottom to use for grocery trips!!!