by Annette Parrent
So you think you are on top of everything when buying “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” along with the pregnancy test.
That is… until you find out you are not having one, but TWO (or more!) babies.
Once you find out you are having multiples, everything changes.
After the shock and disbelief sinks in that you really are cooking more than one bun, you do everything you can to learn about your crazy new reality. Even if you were expecting it (due to IVF and such), it’s still an overwhelming reality.
Cue the book search (I know the first thing I did was type into Google: “Books for Moms Expecting Twins”!).
If you are a first time Mom, get one of the old standbys covering all aspects of a pregnancy and delivery. They will answer tons of questions and alert you to new and fun things your body will start doing!
With a twin pregnancy, there is soooo much more to keep track of.
A journal can help you remember everything as your mind slowly slips away into pregnancy. Sure, you can just get a blank journal, but if you have no idea what you need to record or remember, then the “What to Expect: Pregnancy Journal & Organizer” works well. It has separate sections to document all the ultrasounds, doctor appointments, and a space for a daily journal to remember all those fun (and ridiculous) pregnancy moments.
Back to the twins stuff: There are several twin-specific books out there, but my favorite is “What to Do When You’re Having Two: The Twins Survival Guide from Pregnancy Through the First Year” by Natalie Diaz.
This book is a great overview on the entire twin pregnancy/newborn process. Natalie highlights the twin-specific knowledge you will need and how to prepare yourself, your home, and your family for twins; she also covers delivery and caring for twins.
My favorite part is the advice on how to handle all the offers for help, a la “wow twins will be a lot of work, let me know if I can help!”….why yes, yes you can…. The record sheet (who pooped, who ate how much) and the birth plan references are very helpful too.
If you’re looking for something a little more quick and dirty, I would recommend, “Twins 101: 50 Must-Have Tips for Pregnancy through Early Childhood From Doctor M.O.M.” It has 50 tips for twins with twin facts, hints, and stories. It is written by a children’s health education doctor and a Mother of Multiples (M.O.M.) herself.
And — if you are even thinking about breastfeeding, do yourself a favor and get “Mothering Multiples: Breastfeeding and Caring for Twins or More! (La Leche League International Book).” It’s basically the bible for breastfeeding multiples. ‘Nuff said.
Your baby daddy does not get a free pass, no no. The “Dad’s Guide to Twins: How to Survive the Twin Pregnancy and Prepare for Your Twins” helps twin daddies-to-be navigate the entire process and covers everything from pop’s perspective.
By the same author (Joe Rawlinson) is also “Dad’s Guide to Raising Twins: How to Thrive as a Father of Twins,” which is a brief recap of the first book and has more about surviving the first year with twins.
My husband naturally waited until the girls were already seven months old to read it, so most of it was no longer helpful. Thus, be sure your guy doesn’t procrastinate on this one. I can hear them already, “I already read the other one…” yeah, mmmhmmm. Cry me a river: try carrying two babies at the same time.
Sleep and Schedules
If you have any plans of sleeping in the first year, you should read Dr. Weissbluth’s, “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Twins: A Step-by-Step Program for Sleep-Training Your Multiples.” He explains all about sleep (?you ain’t never gonna get it…whatcha talkin…never never gonna get it?), he reviews the sleep studies, and how to approach both naps and nighttime sleep with twins.
Every book/person you talk to will tell you how important a schedule is with twins (it definitely is!) and this book helps you get there. Note that Weissbluth recommends forms of CIO (cry it out), which you may not be into, but the book still has lots of valuable information for twin sleep habits — even if you don’t want to use his method.
To round out your sleep knowledge, and for a nice break from reading, the DVD The Happiest Baby on the Block: The New Way to Calm Crying and Help Your Baby Sleep Longer, teaches the 5 S’s to help create the perfect environment for sleep. This is not twin-specific content, but good general baby knowledge. The best part is that it’s a 30 minute video you can watch on your exciting Friday night! Not mandatory, but… just another tool in your arsenal. You’ll quickly learn that parenting twins is about exactly that: an arsenal of tools.
You may be interested in the “attachment parenting” style, as discussed in Dr. Sears’ “The Baby Book.” I started to read it until I realized a lot of it is not really practical with twins (feed on demand..wearing your babies all day, etc.). That said, some people are committed to that style and if they can pull it off, props to them. Bottom line: it’s super hard with twins.
If you want even more details about schedules for your twinnies, I recommend “On Becoming Baby Wise” (not twin-specific). It is very similar to Weissbluth’s method and expands on the sleep with feeding/activity schedule as well. Again, twins on a schedule = sanity.
Now that you are an expert on twins [ahem], if you are stuck on bedrest or just want to put your feet up (you should), Jane Roper’s “Double Time: How I Survived—and Mostly Thrived—the First Three Years Mothering Twins,” is a memoir of her journey with twins and depression. She is funny and honest about what life is like with her girls. It was a great read and helped me pass the time when I was tired and ready to be done with the whole pregnancy thing.
To recap, if I had to do it all over again, I would get the following:
▢ a journal to keep everything straight while the babies are sucking my brain cells
▢ What to Do When You’re Having Two for an intro into the world of twins
▢ Mothering Multiples for successful breastfeeding
▢ a book for your guy (we don’t want him to be left out), and…
▢ Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Twins so you all can get some sleep (eventually)
Happy Reading — and don’t worry, everything will be okay!!!