Perhaps you are one of those ladies belonging to a family where twins crop up regularly, or maybe you have been having IVF where twin pregnancies are common – or maybe you just ‘feel’ that your tummy is housing more than one little bundle of joy. Whatever the reason for suspecting there may be more than one baby on board, until you know for sure, there will be no relaxing. Having a baby is always cause for celebration, but having two is a whole different ball game – and whilst twins can be the most rewarding and enjoyable ride for parents, it’s good to know how the land lies early, so that you can make twice the preparations.
Getting the proof
First things first, establish definitively if it is twins (or even more!) you are expecting. For the most convenient and quick results book yourself in for an early pregnancy scan at a private clinic. For mums living in the Midlands, Leicester baby scans are easy to book, cutting down on the anxiety of having to wait for results. Private pregnancy scanning clinics offer an alternative to regular NHS scans, providing the exact scan you want, when you want it. The first ultrasound scan you can expect to have under the NHS will take place around the eight to twelve week mark, so if for any reason you want a scan prior to this time, a private scan is your best option. Arranging for a private scan will not preclude you from having subsequent ultrasounds with the NHS, but will simply offer you an extra element of choice in your pregnancy care package. If you are resident in the Midlands and seeking specialist early screening, in Leicester baby scans can be simply and affordably arranged.
Once you know you are expecting a double helping of baby joy, it is time to start the planning and preparation. Sometimes it will take a while for the reality to sink in – twins can be quite a daunting prospect, but with adequate prep you can make the journey easier. There is no disputing that twins (or even higher multiples) equal a lot of work. The good news is that you will be so busy taking care of your charges, there’s little time to worry or fret about whether or not you are getting it right! With this in mind, it’s a good idea to get yourself a twin mentor – another mother who has navigated the twin path ahead of you. She will offer wise words of advice, support and tips to make your life easier. A twin mentor will sympathise and understand totally why you feel exhausted or overwhelmed – and she will have clever short-cuts and strategies for helping you cope with tough times.
Don’t assume you will automatically need two of everything. Yes, you will need two car seats, a double stroller and two high chairs, but baby essentials such as bathtubs and changing tables you will only need singly – there’s a limit to how much multi tasking a parent can do! Many twins like to sleep in the same crib at first, so don’t shell out on double cots if they are happier snoozing together. Take advantage of generous friends offering used baby items – it won’t be long before you realise twins can be costly, so anything you can blag for free, second hand or cheap, should be leapt on.
You will need a separate medical kit for each babe, to avoid any risk of cross contamination if the twins are unwell. Keep items separate and well marked to avoid mix ups.
If you opt for disposable nappies, order them online and get them delivered. You will get through nappies with twins at twice the rate and they are not easy things to carry around the supermarket with a large stroller.
Get an attitude
Once the twins arrive, you will be riding a roller-coaster of emotions. Managing the fluctuating post-natal hormones, lack of sleep, inconsolable babies and the sudden and constant drain on your energies will be a challenge. Be kind to yourself and develop a relaxed, positive attitude. Mums to twins learn early on that perfection is unrealistic, but once you get through the tough early days and weeks, it becomes easier. Get as much sleep as possible, accept all offers of help from friends and family and don’t neglect yourself – allow time for a shower or bath every day. Twins are lucky in that they have a permanent companion on hand at all times, make the most of this by leaving them to amuse themselves whenever possible.
If you want to give your parenting skills the ultimate test, try coping with twins. For twice the fun, fatigue and fabulousness, they really take some beating.