Discovering you are expecting twins/multiples is quite a shock whether you’re a first time parent or not.
If you already have a child, you certainly have the benefit of experience and have more confidence in your parenting abilities. However, the leap from one to three is pretty huge and juggling the demands of a toddler (who can have a tantrum at the drop of a hat and who probably wants entertaining most waking hours) with having not one, but two newborns can be quite challenging. You would definitely need more of the best baby accessories if you want to be prepared to be a great parent.
Twins after baby number one
When the twins came along my eldest daughter (Sofia) was two-and-a-half but she was still wetting her bed. It turned out that she dictated a very big part of our schedule, not the newborns. That’s not what I’d expected! We ended up purchasing a Chummie bedwetting alarm system, it worked like a charm, she was sleeping dry in just some weeks and that gave us a little bit more time.
You have to be realistic and a lot more flexible with twins as opposed to a singleton, and with an older sibling on the scene as well, you’re not going to be able to please all of the children all of the time and you’re not always going to be able to do things perfectly. Having felt that for baby number one I did things to the best standard possible, I struggled a little when I was no longer able to do everything ‘perfectly’ with three. I had to get over that otherwise I’d have gone insane.
There were times when Sofia was a bit bored as I fed one or both twins for the umpteenth time that day or sat hooked up to the breast pump. I didn’t like letting Sofia watch too much TV, but sometimes needs must and I had to learn not to beat myself up about it. Sofia loved her TV time, but we’d always make sure we did something that was specifically for her multiple times a week.
We’d go out to Childrens’ Centres, parks, play dates etc even if the twins hadn’t had their feed or the sleep they needed. I’d feed them when we got there or they could have a sleep en route. I’d have never done this with Sofia; I danced to the beat of her drum. If it was time for her nap we’d leave somewhere a bit early, if she needed a feed we’d leave the house a bit late, if she wanted to sleep in my bed I wouldn’t use my travel CPAP machine, if I thought she was a little under the weather we would cancel plans. We all had to be adaptable and the twins had to fit in, wherever possible, with the routine we already had. It would have been unfair to expect Sofia to have to cope with everything changing. Far from being detrimental, I think not pandering to the twins’ every whim was actually very good for them and keeping things as similar as possible for Sofia meant that we kept the dreaded green-eyed monster at bay.
It is hard work, but it is fantastic having twins with an older sibling and I was far more relaxed and confident second time around.
Sofia absolutely loves having two little sisters, she knows it’s something special and she continues to receive a lot of attention and fuss because of it. So do I for that matter. If I’d had a pound for every time someone exclaimed: ‘you’ve got your hands full,’ I’d be very rich!
It is amazing to see them all interact. The twins obviously have a special bond, but they really look up to their older sister and as the age gap is relatively small between them and Sofia, they are all natural playmates, which is wonderful. I feel amazingly proud when we are all seen out together.
It’s also been very good for my self-esteem: I’ve survived having a toddler and newborn twins and everyone is always very quick to congratulate me 🙂
I wrote this article for the Epsom and Leatherhead Multiples Club, which I’ve been attending for the last two years.
Go to: www.tamba.org.uk for more information about having twins and multiples.