How to prepare for twins
By Sabrina Rogers-Anderson
Expecting twins? Get ready for a wild and wonderful ride! My fraternal twin girls were born when my eldest daughter was two and a half. Nothing could have truly prepared me for the reality of juggling three young children, but reading advice from other twin mums helped me wrap my mind around everything I needed to get done before their arrival.
Here are my top six tips to help you get ready for twins.
1. Start preparing financially
Twins are expensive, so start setting money aside as soon as possible. If you have private health insurance, call your health fund to find out which pregnancy and childbirth costs they cover. This might help you decide whether to give birth in a public or private hospital. Keep in mind that most insurance policies have a 12-month waiting period for obstetric expenses.
2. Find the right healthcare professional
It’s commonly assumed that twins need to be born via caesarean, but a recent large-scale study found that twins who are born vaginally have fewer complications and are less likely to die. I was lucky enough to find an obstetrician who helped me have the natural twin birth I wanted.
Other twin mums prefer the predictability of a planned C-section. There’s no right or wrong way to birth twins (or any baby, for that matter!) – the important thing is that you feel comfortable with your choice and find a healthcare professional who supports your wishes. But twin pregnancies do come with a higher risk of complications, so be prepared to alter your birth plan to ensure the safe delivery of your babies.
3. Buy only the baby gear you need
Many expecting twin parents rush out and buy two of everything only to realise they broke the bank and didn’t need it all in the end. The essential items you’ll need include:
- baby capsules x 2
- car seats x 2
- cots x 2
- high chairs x 2
- a high-quality double pram
- a double electric breast pump (if breastfeeding)
- a tandem breastfeeding pillow (if breastfeeding)
- a large nappy bag
- a stockpile of necessities, including nappies, wipes, simple onesies, baby bottles and dummies
To save money, you can hire some items (such as baby capsules you won’t use for long) and buy others second-hand (such as high chairs). Car seats should be purchased new for maximum safety.
I’d also recommend getting two of the following items to save your sanity:
I bought all these items second-hand and sold them or gave them away when I was done. Being able to put your twins in a safe and soothing space so you can have a shower or do a few chores is invaluable. I also recommend two separate baby carriers over the twin style so you and your partner can each carry a baby.
4. Join your local multiples group
The Australian Multiple Birth Association (AMBA) has chapters around the country where you can meet other parents of multiples. I found my local group to be an invaluable source of support and advice both in person and on their Facebook page. Membership is $40 a year and includes plenty of special offers and discounts, including a free box of Huggies nappies delivered to your door.
5. Be ready to go by 34 weeks
With 60 percent of twins born prematurely (before 37 weeks), it pays to be ready well before your due date. Try to tick all the essential items off your to-do list and have your hospital bag packed by 34 weeks. If you have time, cook meals in batches and freeze them.
You should also be prepared for your babies to spend some time in the special care unit or the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) if they’re born preterm.
6. Create a postpartum plan
When you take your babies home, life will become busy very quickly – especially if you have other children. It’s a good idea to write down a plan outlining all the daily household tasks and which family member is responsible for each one. If you have extended family living nearby, enlist their help with some tasks (such as cooking, cleaning and school drop-offs for older kids) and write it all in your plan. If your budget allows, don’t hesitate to hire help (a cleaner, a nanny or an au pair). You may also want to include details about your twins’ schedules or routines in your plan so everyone can easily refer to them.
While it might feel hard to tell family and friends exactly what you need from them, they’ll be relieved that you did. I wish I’d asked for more help! It truly takes a village to raise twins, so accept all the support that’s offered to you.
Enjoy this wild journey!