I currently know four people in my circle of friends who are having twins! In thinking about what it was like to be pregnant with twins, I thought it might be a blessing for them to know how I did it. Of course, they may not care, and that's okay too, but just in case they want advice from someone who is a few steps ahead, here are some recommendations based on my experience.
1. If you're breastfeeding, get this nursing pillow. It is great. Once I had them latched on, I was hands-free! It's awesome. It is generous in size, and I have used it from the time I got home with the boys. Now, my boys were term and Felix weighed 6 lbs 12 oz, and Milo weighed 7 lbs 5 oz, so they were not teeny tiny preemies. This may not work for you until they get bigger if yours end up coming early. But I love it, and STILL use it and my boys are 9 months old.
Double Blessings Twin Nursing Pillow (stock photo from doubleblessings.com)
2. I wanted a lightweight, inexpensive double stroller. Another twin parent recommended a side by side as one twin may not like being behind the other and want to be able to see out. This sounded reasonable. You can spend as much as you want on a stroller. Evaluate what you'll use it for. I knew I would use mine either for a walk on a track, the mall, the zoo, or running errands. I would not be jogging with it, so I knew I could buy something cheaper and not as awesome. Plus, I live on a gravel road off of a state highway, so I knew I wouldn't be strolling regularly. I went with the Jeep double umbrella stroller, got it at stroller.com for $70 in May with free shipping. The sunshades are a joke, but I have been pleased with the stroller for the price.
Jeep Wrangler Twin Sport Umbrella Stroller (photo courtesy of stroller.com)
3. Nutrition is the MOST important component of managing a twin pregnancy. This book was amazing, and I attribute my healthy outcomes both to God and to following the high protein diet in this book.
When You're Expecting Twins, Triplets, or Quads: Proven Guidelines for a Healthy Multiple Pregnancy
4. Schedule help. Dave was able to be home with us for two weeks. 50% of twins are born by c-section, so having help is even more imperative. Regardless of how you birth your twins, you MUST rest for a month afterwards if at all possible. My midwife, who provided me with nutrition and breastfeeding advice, said I needed to sleep as much as possible for the first month--no housework--just sleep, eat, and nurse the babies. I have three older children under the age of 6. I did not know how this was going to work, especially after Dave went back to work. So, I made a calendar and divided the days he wouldn't be here into two sections: 8am-12pm and 1pm-5pm. People would mention in passing, "I'd love to help you when the babies come" or "Just let me know how I can help." So, I made sure that I got all their names written down along with their phone numbers, emails, and times they were available to help. Then, each week, I would contact people to fill in those time slots. Making them 4 hr time slots seemed more doable and less overwhelming for people, and praise God, I only ever had to be alone with all 5 children TWICE in that first month. I didn't have a full day alone with all of them until the beginning of February. I got plenty of rest. They watched the older children, made them lunch, fed them snacks, helped pick up around the house, made me lunch, helped me change and burp the twins. It was amazing. I would not have made it without my team of helpers that first month! Don't be afraid to ask for help. You cannot and should not try to do this alone. It will keep you from getting depressed and overwhelmed.
5. Freeze meals. I had two weeks of meals that were brought to my home by friends and church members. But, I knew that eventually, the meals would stop. So, about a month before the babies were due, my friend, Tina, came over and helped me put a bunch of meals in the freezer. For two weeks, I bought two of everything and made double of every meal and froze half. By the time the twins came, I had 17 meals in my freezer. I have a LARGE freezer, but I also have a small deep freeze. You can get a small deep freeze for about $150. It's worth it.
6. If you can afford it, hire a housekeeper. I hired Miss Emelyn about a month before the twins came. She and her sister or her niece come every other week. She does anything I need her to do--dishes, laundry, all cleaning, help with the kids or the babies. They are amazing. I would not make it without them. I recently had to clean my house (all the way) by myself while they were on vacation. I survived it, but I was super overwhelmed by all that I had to do. I knew that hiring her was cheaper than therapy! I also love having her around; she is a blessing to our family.
7. And, if you can do this, it will make everything better--keep your twins on the same feeding and napping schedule. Ours is not hard core or strict, by any means, but they ALWAYS eat at the same time, and I lay them down for naps at the same time. This has given me the time I need to rest and recharge and to homeschool my older two children. This was by far one of the best decisions I have made.
I hope you find all of this helpful, and if you have any other questions, please don't hesitate to ask. Your twins will bless you more than you even know!!!