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Newborn twins

Daytime routine

Establishing a Daytime Routine for Newborn Twins

How do I establish a daytime routine for newborn twins?

Essentially your daily routine will revolve around feeding your babies, winding them, changing them, letting them sleep and attempting to get some sleep yourself. In the early days your babies will need feeding every 2-4 hours. It helps if you can get them into some kind of routine.

There are two ways of doing this.

  1. One  way is to allow them to feed when they want feeding. If one wakes up and is hungry and you know how to feed them both together it would be worth waking the other one up and feeding him/her too so that you then (theoretically at least) get more time between feeds.
  2. The other way is to feed them at set times for example 8am, 12pm, 4pm, 8pm, 12 am, 4 am, 8am and so on (or three hourly if they’re hungrier). If you have other children to take to school you might have to impose more of a routine on them than if they were your first children and you had a freer schedule.

 

Watch your babies over a few days/weeks to see if there is a pattern developing. Do they fill their nappies before a feed, during a feed or after a feed? If it’s before, change them before the feed, if it’s after the feed, wait until after they’ve had their feed. I found having a small notebook to write down their natural awake and sleep times and when they wanted feeding and worked my twins routine around them. My twins were my first children and so I didn’t have to dash out for the school or nursery run and so could do this. If you have a nursery or school run or are heading back to work you might need to insert your babies routine into your existing routine.

Once they’ve had their feed, you’ve winded them, and changed them if necessary, put them in their baby bouncers for some awake time. If you’re doing chores around the house take your babies with you if you can. Don’t leave them unattended. As they get older you can put them on a play mat for some tummy time.

 

Make sure it’s clear when it’s day time.

During the daytime make plenty of noise. Put on the washing machine, have the radio on, use the vacuum cleaner (once your stitches have healed, of course). Talk to them even if they’re too little to understand what you’re saying. If at all possible go out for some fresh air every day it really helps to keep you sane. It also motivates you to get dressed (although getting dressed seems a bit of an additional, somewhat unnecessary task, it can help you feel human again (obviously if you’re in pain with c-section stitches etc and aren’t going anywhere then don’t do this) but if you’re otherwise well, even having a 2 minute shower will make you feel so much better.

If you would like to you could dress your twins in ‘proper clothes’ during the day time, rather than sleepsuits (babygrows), although it’s by no means compulsory to do so. Whether you pick matching outfits or not is up to you. There are some twins who love being dressed like their twin and others who hate it (whilst they’re young enough not to care either way you get to pick which path to follow)

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re twins

Recovering from the birth of twins

Time is the best healer

No matter how you’ve given birth, you will need time to recover from this. The best way to heal any scars/ tears would be to rest as much as you can. I know it’s not easy to rest when you’ve got newborn twins in the house but rest whenever you possibly can.

Do as little as you can around the house. Enlist help from those around you.

Make only light quick easy meals (or get someone else to cook) If you don’t already have a slow cooker(crock pot) , they’re a great investment as you can fill it up in a morning when you’ve got a little more energy and leave it to cook so it’s ready to dish up at dinner time.

Do the bare minimum of housework (if you are very houseproud get someone else to tidy for you). If friends come round for cup of tea and a cuddle with the twins ask them to make the tea. Don’t feel you need to jump off the sofa to start making everyone a drink. You really don’t.

In times past the only thing a mother had to do for the first ten days of the babies life was to feed and change him/her. Whilst of course these days we know that long periods of inaction is not a great idea, there’s certainly a case for spending a good proportion of your time doing just that. Spend time getting to know your babies and concentrate on establishing feeding routines and resting.

Be gentle on yourself

Don’t forget that your body has been through a lot of the last 9 months and will need time to recover. Try to eat sensible meals on a regular basis (it’s easy to ‘forget’ about yourself in the chaos of looking after newborn twins) remember to drink plenty of fluids, especially if you’re breastfeeding your twins. Having plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and protein will help you feel better.

If you have stitches or scars ask your health team for advice as to how best to care for them.

If you have had an episiostomy (cut to the perenium during a vaginal birth) or a caesarean you will need time for your wound to heal. Your health team will advise you what you need to do to promote healing. Avoid lifting anything (including your children) until you’re feeling better.

If you’ve had an episiostomy you might find that it hurts when you pee. If this is the case try peeing in the shower whilst you flush that area with warm water. Sitting on a ring cushion might also help take the pressure off ‘downstairs’.

When can I drive after my caesarean?

If you have had a caesarean you will need to find out what your car insurance policy says about driving after a caesarean. You might have to get a certificate from your GP to say you are fit to drive again. Different countries and states have different policies so find out what applies to where you are.

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First night home

Coming Home with Newborn Twins

Your first night at home with newborn twins.

 

Finally you’re home with your twins. It can seem a little bit strange at first without the hustle and bustle of the hospital environment. If you have some help to hand encourage them to put dinner on and keep you well stocked with (non-alcoholic *sorry*) drinks and snacks to keep your strength up. If you’ve had a c-section or have any stitches you might find you need some help with lifting the babies. Don’t hesitate to ask your family to help you with anything that you find difficult like lifting etc.

Keep calm ~ it’s only twins

Try to have as quiet an evening as possible ~ ask any excited visitors to come a different day. Have dinner (hopefully someone else will have made this for you) and then start with the twins night time routine. They will need a calm environment so make sure you have your voice as low as possible, and keep other noise to a minimum.  But don’t tippy-toe about either or you’re likely to end up having to watch Eastenders with the sound off and subtitles on for the next 5 years. Don’t do it. Just don’t make more noise than strictly necessary. (Though that said my twins’ dad used to saw up logs with a chain saw under their window on a regular basis and they slept through it, somehow)

Things you need to do before they go to bed

In simple terms your babies will need to have a bath if they need one, a new nappy, a bedtime bottle, a burp and then bed. It’s up to you which order you do things in. You might find that your twins need a new nappy before you feed them, or they might decide to ‘go’ the minute they’ve finished their feed. Work round them and do whatever suits their/your needs best. (Sometimes you find that one twin does one thing and the other something else entirely. In this instance just follow their lead and give them what they need at the time)

Feeding time (again)

You will probably find that you’re up at least a couple of times in the night, babies need to be fed every 2-4 hours round the clock. They need this because their tummies are very small and if they get left for too long between feeds they may get too tired to feed properly. If you find that one baby wakes up and the other one stays asleep you have two options. If you know how to feed them together then wake them both up and feed them together. If you don’t know how to feed them together then feed the one that’s awake then after you’ve finished feed the other one. Otherwise you’re likely to get to bed and just as your head hits the pillow the other one is bound to wake up demanding a feed.

 

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Coping in Hospital with Newborn Twins

How long will I stay in hospital for after the birth of my twins?

This largely depends on you and your babies. If you’ve had a vaginal birth and your children are not needing any special care, you could potentially leave within 24 hours of having them. If you have a Cesarean it largely depends how it went and how you’re feeling after it.

Some mums stay in hospital for a day or two, maybe longer. Others stay in just 24 hours and then are released and monitored by their health team at home. It depends on what resources are available to you in your area and how you and your babies are doing. If you are unsure how long you are going to be in hospital for, ask your midwife for advice.

Establishing a Feeding Routine (see also article on Breastfeeding Twins )

Shortly after the birth you will give them their first feed. This could be by giving them a breast feed or offering a bottle of expressed milk or formula. If your babies need a fresh nappy, change them before you begin. Wash your hands, make bottles if you’re bottle feeding. Get comfortable and offer the feed. Your midwife should give you guidance as to how to breast or bottle feed and check that you’re correctly latched on if you’re breast feeding.  You might need help lifting the babies up if you’ve had a Cesarean. Newborn twins need feeding every 2-4 hours round the clock. It helps if you can feed them together. Your midwife will be able to advise you how to breastfeed your twins and help you to latch on.

What happens if they fall asleep at the breast/ during their feed?

Should they fall asleep during the feed gently wake them up again. Once they’ve had enough milk they should remove their mouth from your breast and turn their head away, or simply stop suckling. You might find that one twin/triplet finishes their feed first, it is handy to be able to put the one that has finished their feed into a bouncy chair for a few minutes whilst you finish feeding the other baby. After the feed, make sure you burp both babies by gently rubbing or tapping their upper back until any trapped wind comes up.

If you haven’t already done so, about 5-10 mins after a feed is a good time to change nappies.

Once they’ve been fed, burped, changed etc you can pop them back down into their cot.
This process is repeated every 3-4 hours (sooner if your babies are very hungry).

Whilst in hospital get as much help with feeding as possible from your midwife

Whilst in hospital get as much help with breastfeeding as you can from your midwife. If you find that your babies are always hungry, or it seems particularly painful to breastfeed, ask your midwife to check that you’re latching them on correctly. If possible ask your midwife to show you how to breastfeed them both together as this will save time during night feeds once you get home.

Coping with visitors in hospital.

It is up to you and your partner who visits you in hospital. Take as much time as you need. If you are happy to have lots of visitors (and the hospital is ok with you having them, some are keen for it to be ‘partners only’ for the first 24 hours if you’ve had a cesarean! If possible arrange it so you know in advance who is coming, so you can stagger visitors. It is very difficult when people all turn up at once!

Getting enough sleep(!)

When the babies are asleep try to get some sleep yourself. It can be really difficult getting enough sleep in the early days so every little helps. Some hospitals have an ‘afternoon siesta’ policy before visiting hour, where everyone has a lie down for an hour in the afternoons. This is a great idea. If you cannot sleep at all, please contact your midwife or doctor to see if there is anything they can suggest or give you to help.

Going Home

Once you’ve got to grips with caring for your babies, you’ve established either breast or bottle feeding and you and they are all in good health, you will be allowed to go home.

  • Before you go, make sure that someone has everything ready for you at home.
  • There needs to be enough staples like milk, tea, coffee ready to make yourself and visitors a hot drink.
  • There needs to be something easy to cook ready in the fridge/ freezer. Also having something nice to drink (that is non-alcoholic and caffeine free) would be a good idea as it’s important to keep your fluid intake up especially if you’re breastfeeding.
  • All the equipment needs to be organized and set up ready to use, in a suitable place.
  • There needs to be enough nappies to last you a few days at least, and if you’re bottle feeding enough milk formula too.

Your partner/ friend will need to bring in 

  • A blanket each for the babies,
  • Car seats (unless you’ve not got a car!)
  • Coats or cardigans for you all (depending on what season it is).
  • Proper clothes for you. Loose-ish leggings or tracksuit bottoms are ideal.
  • A suitcase or holdall to take all your belongings home in (unless you’ve kept one with you!)

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