Seeing as life hacks seem to be everywhere at the moment, I thought I’d write one that might be useful for someone with twins. Having multiples can be mentally, physically, emotionally and financially challenging, but it’s also one of the most rewarding experiences too. Be kind to yourself and simplify your life, so you can enjoy all the best bits without the stress.
Here are my life hacks for parents of twins
1) When your little ones are still a bit too small to fit in the swings at the park, put them in back-to-back. They fill up the seat perfectly so neither can slide out!
2) Avoid stress at the weigh-in clinic by taking your babies to clinic along with a bag containing an identical set of clothes and a nappy for each. Ask your health visitor to weigh your baby fully clothed, then get them to weigh the identical clothes and nappy. The weight of the nappy and clothes can be deducted to give an accurate weight, without you having to get them undressed. Getting the babies out of the buggy, undressed, dressed and putting them back in the buggy while you start all over again is such a stressful experience, so if your HV is willing to give this a go it’s well worth it.
3) Keep your babies in sleepsuits for the first few months. Not only does this make dressing and undressing them easier, there’s also another reason…Picking up two tiny newborns isn’t too hard as you can do a double scoop if they’re lying side by side, but when they get a bit bigger it can be tricky. While you have the first baby on your shoulder you can use the front of the sleepsuit to carefully pick up your second baby to put them on your other shoulder. This was the first skill I learnt from the other twin mums when I joined my local twin club and it was the most useful because there are so many times when you have to pick both babies up off a play mat and carry them somewhere together.
4) If you decide to bottle feed your babies, get a Podee bottle for the occasions when you’re feeding your babies alone or when you’re out and about and your usual methods of feeding in bouncy chairs/propped up on cushions isn’t possible. The Podee bottle is a self-feeding bottle where babies suck the milk through a tube themselves. I wish I’d known about this product when my boys were little.
5) Buy different coloured beakers/different types of bottles for your babies as identical ones will constantly get mixed up. This lets you keep track of how much each baby is taking, and it also allows you to prepare formula or divide expressed milk in advance in different quantities, as often one baby will be hungrier than the other.
6) Don’t bother with the expense of Moses baskets, instead just top and tail them in a full sized cot. It will take up less space in your bedroom during the first six months than two baskets, and saves you money. It also means they won’t be unsettled later when you move them from a basket to a cot.
7) Get a car with a sliding door. With a baby at either side of the car, you’ve always got to open the door into the traffic to get one of them out if you park on the road. A car with at least one sliding door makes life so much easier. It also means you can still load the car easily if someone parks close beside you in a car park. You can read some more tips in this post about picking a family car if you’re expecting twins.
8) When you take your babies swimming, blow up any inflatables before you set off to the pool. Trying to blow up swim seats while dealing with two babies who are cold, grumpy and impatient is not fun.
9) If you’re going out somewhere busy with your toddlers, dress them in matching bright colours. This makes it much easier to pick them out of a crowd, and as you have two to look out for you’ll spend a lot of your time scanning around for them to make sure both are within your sights. This is useful at toddler groups and becomes even more useful as your children get older and you take them to playgrounds or the beach.
10) If you’re going to town with young twins and you know it’s going to be busy, consider taking a single buggy and a carrier. You’ll be able to nip around the shops much quicker. However, don’t expect any less attention as people will still want to stop you every few paces to ask if they’re twins and to tell you their sister’s boyfriend’s aunt had twins.
11) Don’t bother with a baby bath, instead invest in two baby bath seats so you can put them in the bath together. It saves a lot of time and as they start to interact they’ll love splashing one another. You can get lie back baby bath seats, and then when they’re able to sit up you can move them to some more grown up ones.
12) If baby led weaning isn’t for you and you decide to feed purees, use one bowl between both babies. Having a bowl each makes the process much more complicated and creates more washing up than you need. Instead, use one bowl and spoon feed one, then while they’re swallowing, spoon some to the other.
13) When you move your toddlers from their cots to beds, turn the chest of drawers in their room around to face the wall. This will stop them from pulling out drawers and potentially toppling the unit on themselves (not to mention trapping fingers), and it will stop them from pulling all of the clothes out. Yes, it means you have to pull it out every time you need to put something in or take something out, but it means they’ll be safe and you won’t have to tidy their room up every five minutes. It also saves you trying to find drawer locks that work on your particular product (I bought loads that didn’t fit before giving up and realising this was the easiest method). Moving them to beds means they’ll probably end up sleeping in the same bed too, which is extra cute. Note in the picture below, they’re also wearing their sleepsuits on backwards to stop them from stripping off their nappies in the night (anther great life hack!)
14) When you’ve just given birth, use the fact you’ve just had twins to your advantage by asking for a private room. Most hospitals have them and they’re earmarked for special circumstances. Having more than one baby is usually one of those, but they often don’t offer it so you need to ask for it. If you’ve had a particularly difficult birth or are struggling to feed two babies, you deserve that quiet space so make sure your voice is heard.
15) To keep your babies safe outside during the summer, zip them into a trampoline enclosure. Taking a playpen outside is a big task, and trying to keep them on a rug is impossible when they’re on the move, but a trampoline enclosure is safe and fun. You can lay on there with them and gently bounce or just take some toys for them to play with while you read a book and all get some fresh air.
16) Invest in a travel mug. When you have twins you’ll find that drinking hot coffee is a thing of the past for the first few months. Put your coffee in a travel mug and, even if you forget about it, there’s a good chance it’ll still be hot by the time you’ve finished changing an endless stream of dirty nappies.
17) If you’re taking your toddlers out, make sure they have your mobile number on them and they know to show it to someone if they get lost. Don’t assume you’ll be able to keep your eyes on them all the time, because sometimes they have a habit of sneaking out of sight (as you’ll know if you read this post about our trip to the 100 Acre Woods last year). You can read more tips for protecting your children when out and about in this post about child safety that I wrote last year.
18) Keep your nappy bag packed and ready by the door. You never know when you might want to pop out for some fresh air, and if it’s ready to go all you need to do is make sure the babies are ready.
19) If you’re expecting twins, draw up a wall planner for the first few weeks. As and when friends and family tell you they’re going to come and help when the babies arrive, get them to put their name down on a date. Offers of help are everywhere when you’re pregnant but very few of them filter through to actual help when the babies arrive. If you pin people down to dates and times early, you’ll be able to relax knowing that someone can help by cleaning the bathroom/cooking you a dinner/running the vacuum around. Don’t feel guilty accepting help.
20) Not a life hack, but a very important point – enjoy every second of your babies. Having twins is precious and you are a supermum for carrying two babies and taking care of them. Give yourself plenty of credit for being amazing, and don’t listen to any negative comments about how hard twins are from people who don’t have them! Seeing how much they love one another (most of the time) is one of the greatest rewards.
Do you have any other life hacks that I missed off? If so, I’d love to hear them in the comments below!
If you enjoyed this, then pop over to read some of my other posts about twins.
UPDATE: If you’re expecting twins or triplets, you need to get your hands on my new ebook: Don’t Panic! A Practical Guide to Twins, Triplets and More. It’s a book written for parents of multiples, by parents of multiples. Visit my book launch page for full details and purchase links for your country.