All babies have 3 basic needs: sleep, eat and touch. When babies don’t get those essential needs, they cry. If you have twins—like me—the crying is in surround sound and can be quite overwhelming! As a result all the efforts of a twin parent are usually focused on reacting to the crying as a means of survival. However, you can turn the tables from being reactive to being proactive by meeting your twin’s three basic needs before they have to demand it. Operating from a proactive state will help you feel more confident as a parent and enable you to thrive during the hardest stages of twinfancy!
Establishing an eat/sleep routine early on will help everyone in your household work as a team when caring for your babies. The Baby Sleep Site® can help your twin team get on the right track by suggesting age-appropriate routines. Also, know your sleep “tools” and have them ready when establishing and executing routines for healthy sleep habits. Once you establish your routine, protect it like the Holy Grail it is!
Getting a solid feeding plan for your little ones will have a positive impact on sleep and give momentum to a predictable daily routine. Learning how to feed two babies at once is a true sanity saver. Whether you breastfeed or bottle-feed—or do a combination of both within the same session—having a clear feeding plan and all the gear prepared before each feeding will reduce stress, minimize distractions and simply help your twins focus on getting an adequate intake of milk.
All babies have an innate need to be touched for healthy development and bonding, and adequate touch has a positive impact on eating, sleeping and learning. In fact, one study showed that carrying a baby reduced overall daily crying between 43-51%! The challenge for a parent of twins is being outnumbered. Physical limitations (e.g. number of arms and the strength of those arms!) prevent a parent from holding their twins as much as a singleton. Further, a parent of twins is unable to multitask when their arms are full of babies, making it difficult to stay on top of the constantly moving schedule. Lucky for parents of multiples today, you can overcome these limitations by holding your twins in a baby carrier designed for two. Here are several situations when you might consider adding tandem babywearing into your twin’s routine to empower you as a parent:
- During Periods of Increased Need For Touch: Babies often require added soothing and touch when teething, sick, overly stimulated, and/or when going through a period of separation anxiety. Sometimes these periods of “clinginess” are just a few days or can last a few weeks. I found that when I was prepared for these times with my baby carrier, I had a more positive attitude to mentally push through these moments.
- During the Witching Hours: The late afternoon hours are commonly difficult for most babies, and, in many cases, the exact time is predictable. Coincidentally, during the afternoon hours you are usually required to execute various tasks in order to maintain the schedule up to bedtime (dinner, clean up, bath time, etc.). To keep the calm in my house and be able to multitask, I wore both my twins around 4-5pm daily while I prepared their baby food and my dinner.
- When your baby suffers from reflux: If your baby suffers from baby reflux like one of my twins, one of the most effective natural remedies is to provide 20-30 minutes sitting upright after a feeding. When you have 5-8 feedings per day, babywearing can prove invaluable to execute this soothing technique until your baby grows out of baby reflux.
- When One Twin is Jealous of the Other: If one of your twins has a heightened need for being held, your other baby may also request the same treatment just because the sibling is getting the added affection! In my own personal situation I found that giving the second twin the opportunity for touch often resulted in a short holding session (i.e. he happily wanted down after only a moment or two) but if I denied the second twin touch, it usually resulted in lots of crying and a sour mood!
- When you need to multitask: There are many times throughout your day when your twins require touch but you also have to get stuff done in order to maintain your home and stay on top of the routine. For me, I became more confident and happier as a parent when I was able to carry both my twins and still have hands free to tackle daily tasks, like emptying the dishwasher or grabbing mail from my mailbox.
- When you need your children to comply: Sometimes you need your twins to quickly move or accompany you in accomplishing a task (e.g. grocery shopping, getting to an appointment, accommodating an older child etc.). Strapping babies to me proved the most flexible way for me to navigate most situations without limitation.
- When one or both refuse naps: The benefit of regularly using a baby carrier is that it can become a comfort tool in emergency nap situations. On occasions when one or both of my twins refused to sleep in their crib, I could usually get them to take a lengthy snooze in my baby carrier. When it comes down to it, some sleep is better than no sleep!
- When snuggling is needed at bedtime: Sometimes babies just want to be held before bedtime to help them relax and in some families, parents want to hold their babies until they are drowsy. In our family, snuggle time is important because our perspective is “they aren’t little forever.” During the weekdays when I put my twins to bed alone, I used my baby carrier as a tool after bath and up to bedtime (usually 6-7pm) as a way to keep the twins calm and get extra snuggles in at the end of the day.
- When you have an older child: If you have an older child and baby twins (bless you!), you will need your twins to adapt to the older child’s schedule needs. Tandem babywearing allows you to traverse a variety of landscapes with twins while having hands free to help your older child with his needs too. Perhaps that’s navigating preschool pick-up/drop-off, holding your older child’s hand while walking across the street or taking all your kiddos to a park.
- When you are traveling: There is a variety of ways babywearing can be essential when traveling; from navigating airport security to sightseeing. If you make babywearing part of your regular lifestyle, you can use it while traveling as the glue to maintain your schedule. For example, on our family vacations my husband and I each wore a baby in our baby carrier to maintain regular naps.
Here’s a video of a twin mom putting her twins down for a nap after snuggling in her TwinGo Carrier that you might find helpful.
About the Author
Out-of-the-box thinker, Krystal Workman, gets creative under stress…and life with twins happens to be full of it! In order to soothe her crying babies while alone, Krystal invented the first ergonomic twin baby carrier—TwinGo Carrier (www.TwinGoCarrier.com)—to cuddle both her babies at the same time. TwinGo now empowers thousands of parents worldwide to keep their babies close. As former President of one of the largest twins clubs in the USA, Krystal assists new parents with babywearing, breastfeeding, sleep coaching, healthy routines, positive discipline, and couple’s therapy. You can get more twin-related information on the TwinGo Blog.