Expert Advice

How to raise twins: Practical parenting hacks to help you survive double trouble

A busy mama of twins? Must-read practical advice for bringing up two bubs...

By Fiona Wright
Whether you're expecting twins or you've recently had two little ones, it's likely you will need as much support as possible from family and friends.
Chatting to other people who have had twins and can offer you advice will also help.
From sorting out a sleep routine to managing outings, read on for practical tips on raising twins...
Sleep
The key to a good sleep routine with twins is to get your little ones on a feeding schedule. Babies who feed at the same time, will likely (fingers crossed!) sleep at the same time, so after feeding, swaddle and lay them down on their backs to sleep. Always follow safe sleeping guidelines to lower the risk of SIDS.
Keep in mind, all babies are different so it may be tricky to get them both sleeping at the same time but if you can manage it, you can hopefully catch up on sleep too.
Outings
Likewise for parents of single babies, getting out of the house requires organisation.
Make sure you have all the essentials, including nappies, wipes, snacks and toys. Particularly, in the early days with twins try to head out the door with your partner or meet up with friends and family who can give you a hand if you need it.
Ask any mum of twins and she will tell you, a double pram is a must-have. There are loads of models available so do your research and choose one which best suits your lifestyle and budget.
Finally, remember planning is everything. Head out the door once your babies have napped and fed and don't try to accomplish too much or run too many errands while you're out.
Babies who feed at the same time will hopefully sleep at the same time. (Image: Getty Images)
Toddler time
Toddlerhood is a difficult stage to navigate when you're only parenting one child, but when you're looking after twins, it brings some new challenges...
Sharing: Regardless of whether they both have the exact same toy car, it's likely your twins will fight over the same one. Consider sharing but with the use of a timer. This way, each child can have a five minute turn of the toy.
Time apart: While twins love playing with each other, remember they also each need one-on-one time to develop a sense of individuality. Encourage your twins to play separately and be sure to make time to spend with each of them on their own too.
Tantrums: Toddlers are more prone to tantrums when they are tired, they are out of their normal routine, they're hungry, or... just because.
Sometimes twins can spark each other off and you're left with a pair of screaming tots. Firstly, take a deep breath and try to work out what your kids are trying to communicate - essentially this is what a toddler tantrum is at the core. Secondly, remember these mini meltdowns are only temporary. They will soon get over this tantrum-throwing stage.
Ask your partner, friends and family for help. (Image: Getty Images.)
Looking after you
While you're busy tending to the needs of your twins, it's essential to try and find some time to focus on your own physical and mental welfare. Even if it's relaxing for only half an hour while your little ones sleep, it's important to remember to look after yourself, too.
Ask your partner to help more with the household chores and accept all offers of help from family and friends. Gradually, your babies will accept a more structured routine and you will be able to manage your day accordingly.
Looking after twins can be tough, particularly when they are in the newborn stage and it's natural to have a few negative moments. A lack of sleep can make you feel down and you may experience the 'baby blues'. If you feel really down, it's important to talk to your doctor as you may have postnatal depression (PND). If you think you may have PND, speak to your GP. By reaching out for support, you're doing the right thing for yourself and your babies.
Support
The Australian Multiple Birth Association (AMBA) is a non-profit volunteer organisation that provides information, practical assistance and support for families with twins, triplets and higher multiples.
AMBA also aims to increase awareness of the special needs of multiple-birth families and to improve the resources available to them. Services can include regular newsletters, home and hospital visits, education programs, phone contact, discussion groups, social activities, pram and stroller hire, equipment exchange and clothing pools. Members may also be able to claim discounts on a range of products and services.
Finally, remember you are doing a great job. Looking after two tiny humans is exhausting. And really hard. Go mama!

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