Once I found out that I was going to have twins, I began reading everything about multiples and asking everyone with multiples as many questions as they would answer. To my chagrin, I read and heard a lot of horror stories. Very few articles and even fewer people had stories of the good times. I was terrified and contemplated how to keep them inside longer. Once they came, the first few weeks were difficult; but once we established a routine, it's been pretty much smooth sailing. Don't get me wrong, there have been plenty of bumps in the road, but nothing compares to the stories I was told. So, here's my attempt to help women who just found out they are having twins.
1. Remember it will get easier. I guess, it's really not a step, but something to remember as you read through the rest of the steps. The first few weeks feel as if they will never end, but there is light at the end of the tunnel, and it's not the train barreling towards you:)
2. Be organized. If you aren't a naturally organized person, ask someone to help you get organized. It's during the times of total chaos that the world seems to be falling down on you. You need to be able to get your hands on whatever you need quickly, and having to hunt for what you need only makes you more frazzled. This was easy for me because I am a very organized person, usually:)
3. Color code as much as you can. For me, each boy had a different pacifier strap color, and I was a stickler for making sure the right pacifier was on the right baby. The first thing that I wanted to accomplish was that each boy had his individual things. I want them to be considered individuals and not one entity. The second thing that I wanted to accomplish was a way to tell who was who. For the first couple of months at church, everyone would look for the pacifier strap to remember who was who. Peter had the blue pacifier strap, and Titus had the orange one. I also color coded their sippy cups and baby blankets.
4. Label as much as you can. Since many times one baby is bigger than the other(s), labeling comes in very handy. Gallon size zip-loc bags are the easiest to label things in the diaper bag. If they are in different size diapers, put the different sizes in the bags and label them with the correct name. Also do this with extra clothes in the diaper bag. This saves you time and the person who may be helping. You won't have to sort through a big mess in the diaper bag to find what you're looking for.
5. Remember size difference affects everything. I didn't think about the size difference until I went to put them in their car seats for the second time. The first time was no big deal because we had to adjust the straps to fit them. Then, I went to put them in their car seats the second time and had to guess which one was adjusted for Peter and which was one was for Titus. After that fiasco, I attached a monkey rattle to Titus's car seat and a zebra rattle to Peter's car seat. This was also another way people remembered who was Peter and who was Titus. Also, many people have a tendency to throw away the hangers that baby clothes come on. Don't! This is a quick way to make sure that you are picking up the correct size. Ever since the boys were around three months old, Titus has been wearing clothes a size or two bigger than Peter. Since I kept the clothes on the hangers they came on, I'm able to pick out the sizes better.
6. Let people help. If they offer, let them help. Of course, there will be those times that you'll have to ask, and most will be more than willing to come help. The first few months are when you will need the most help. My mom came over around 9:00 am, a friend relieved her after lunch, and my husband got home around 5:30 pm. I wasn't by myself very much the first few months. Some people even came over just to clean and bring dinner. Now, I like my house cleaned a certain way with certain products used, but I had to allow them to help in their own way. Which means that I had to allow them to clean their way and not stand over them and make them do it my way.
7. Don't let yourself be trapped. If you feel trapped, your twins will feel it too. Go somewhere; do something, even if it's just a quick trip to Wal-mart. Of course, going places is easier with an extra pair of hands, but I can go places by myself with the boys and come out unscathed. The trick is to feed them right before you leave the house. Full babies are happy babies! I was talking to a cashier at Wal-mart a couple of months ago, and she said that she didn't go out with her twins by herself until they were two years old. Don't let yourself be trapped by your twins. They aren't trapping you; they're adding spice and adventure to what was a rather dull life. Take them out by yourself and see what happens, just be prepared for all the questions from inquisitive minds.
By no means, have I been totally stress free and made no mistakes over this past year, but I have done a lot of trial and error that I can help you avoid. Raising twins is definitely a lot of work; but if they're your first like me, you don't know how hard you really have it:) And check back regularly for more tips on raising twins.