There are so many things to think about when you are expecting twins, I hope I am able to assist in easing some of your worries and questions here.
With most singleton pregnancies, women are able to wear normal maternity clothes without a problem for the duration of their pregnancy. Indeed I know many people who even just wore normal clothes, but a size bigger. Unfortunately, for a twin pregnancy this is highly unlikely to happen. Be prepared to get very large. I ended up buying so many clothes, because I was just growing out of them, even though they seemed huge when I bought them! Buy bigger than you think!
Prepare older children
It can be very difficult to prepare older children for the arrival of twins, no matter what age, but it is vital that they are involved. Here are some suggestions for helping to prepare your child for the arrival of twins:
- Use toys or dolls to introduce the idea of twins
- Read stories about twins
- Introduce the idea of the change early
- Visit other babies
Suggestions for involving your older child/children:
- Make naming the babies a game
- make something or draw a picture for the new babies bedroom together
- create a book of family stories to share with the new babies
Suggestions for helping to make your older child/children feel special:
- When you first arrive home from the hospital, greet your older child first
- Bring your older child a present from the babies
- Create a photo album/storybook
- Make a ‘date’ with your older child
- esure you create time alone with your older child, preferably daily
- You may need to adjust your expectations, don’t force being ‘big brother’ or ‘big sister’ role
- Expect jealousy that may continue (this is normal)
- Expect some copying behaviour (this is normal)
- Expect some regression (this is normal and will usually pass)
Your midwife should be able to tell you about local antenatal classes. These are free and I believe well worth doing. Even if you think you have read everything you need to and have all the knowledge, it is still worth going to meet other mums to be, this can provide a great network of support for after you have had your babies.
Or you could opt for NCT (National Childbirth Trust) antenatal classes. These are also great (though you would need to pay for them). I found the NCT classes went into much greater depth and was a fantastic source of meeting new mums to be.
TAMBA (Twins and multiple birth association) also do twin antenatal classes, these are also very good, especially with all the extra potential complications that could arrise with twins.
Personally, I attended NHS antenatal classes and NCT classes when I was expecting my first son. Both were very good and I gained a lot of knowledge and eased a few worries, but I have also gained some very close friends through my NCT classes, who are invaluable to me. We still meet on a weekly basis, even now nearly 4 years later. I highly recommend attending some classes. With my twin pregnancy, although I didn’t need antenatal classes, I did attend TAMBA classes as I wanted to find out some information about a twin birth and what to expect after. These were also excellent, though there is never enough time to cover everything, but did help ease some worries.
As a new parent of twins, help is not just a luxury, but almost essential. Do you have family or good friends that may be able to help you out sometimes?
If not you are not alone, I did not have family living close by. I had good friends but they all had children of their own. You may be able to find help through your local college, I had a girl who was training to be a nanny come and help 2 days a week for a while. All I did was phone the local college to enquire if they needed placements. It was good to have an extra pair of hands for a bit and she also did a lot of cooking whilst the babies were weaning.
The other thing you can do to get help is to ask your health visitor about Homestart, they are volunteers who give support to families that need it.
There are also lots of organisations that can give you advice and support on the phone, for example through TAMBA, there is Twinline which is a phone line you can call for support.
Equipment needed at home
Here is a guide to what equipment you might need ready for when your 2 new babies first arrive home:
- 2 cots (but 1 would work for a while if you prefer)
- Cot sheets and blankets, sleeping bags
- Something for the babies to sleep in downstairs during the day eg. a travel cot or 2 moses baskets
- Baby bath towels
- Baby gym
- Small selection of toys
- 2 bouncy chairs
- 1 or 2 changing mats
- 1 baby monitor
- 2 infant car seats
- Changing bag
- Cotton wool
- Nappy sacks
- Baby nail clippers
- Baby wipes
- bowl for washing them
- Nursing pillow
- Breast pump (if you decide to breastfeed)
- Bottles and steriliser
- Scratch mittens
This is a guide to what you may need when bringing home 2 new babies, however, most people tend to have a lot more stuff than they really need. But remember, you are often given a lot of stuff when your babies are born and don’t panic if you have forgotten something, shops are even open 24 hours now! For more information go to equipment for newborn twins
Pack your hospital bag ready for labour
Here is an idea of some of the things you may want to pack in you bag for your labour:
- Camera with batteries
- Loose change for car park, phone,cafe etc
- Music eg ipod
- Books, magazines (and some for dad to be too)
- Sweets, biscuits (you need energy during labour)
- Clothes to wear during labour (eg old nightie)
- First clothes for the babies eg 2 vests and 2 sleepsuits and 2 hats (may be a good idea to have 2 different colour outfits while you are getting to know your babies)
- Lip salve
Bag for your hospital stay
- Dressing gown
- 2 Nightdresses (need to to be breastfeeding friendly ie front opening)
- 2 nursing bras
- 2 stretchy pairs of trousers
- 2 loose tops
- Toiletries bag
- Disposable pants (or I bought really cheap very large pants that I could throw away)
- 24 maternity pads
- Breast pads
- Pack of newborn nappies
- Nappy sacks
- Cotton wool
- 6 vests
- 6 sleepsuits
- 2 jackets or cardigans
- 2 pairs of scratch mittens
Remember, your partner can always bring more in if needed.