If there are twins in your family or you’ve discussed the possibility of multiples due to IVF, you may feel a little prepared for the possibility of a twin pregnancy. However, for many of us the words “It’s twins,” come as a complete surprise and we are very unprepared for what is to come. Once the shock has faded, then the questions come. There are so many questions I asked when pregnant with twins and I did a lot of Googling. Having been through it, I now get to pass on the answers to these very questions.
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When I first found out I was carrying twins at the 8wk ultrasound, the first three questions that popped into my mind were:
How big is the bump going to get?
How are we going to afford two babies?
How do you hold/feed/carry two babies at once?
Let me start by answering these questions I asked when pregnant with twins as best I can, after all, if you’ve just found out you’re probably wondering:
The Size of a Twin Bump
Every mom is different and so is every twin bump. Similarly to regular baby bumps, some moms pop out more than others. There is a general rule that twin bumps measure around 4-6 weeks ahead of a singleton bump, so if you’ve been pregnant before you can add another month to your bump size. For lots of pictures of jumbo twin bumps check out this photo gallery.
The Cost of Twins
Budgeting is a huge topic and is something I need to tackle more here on the blog. First and foremost will be the medical costs. If you have decent health insurance, then much of the cost shouldn’t be an issue for you. Check out Consumers Advocate for reviews of good insurance plans and providers. Aside from that, you’re going to need a lot of baby stuff. Don’t panic too much because you don’t need two of everything. Many things like toys, play mat, bouncer, they can share. Your stroller will be more expensive and you will need two car seats… we also bought two swing chairs which the twins napped in a lot at the start.
Many stores such as Babies R Us and Pottery Barn Kids offer a multiples discounts, although they may ask to see birth certificates so go prepared. There are also lots of multiples programs you can join to get coupons and free stuff (gotta love free stuff). The Pennywise Mama has a good list of programs and phone numbers to call here.
I found the cost of formula extremely high for the first year. If you manage to breastfeed you won’t have this cost but be as prepared as you can for breastfeeding twins because it’s not for the faint-hearted. You can find more on my personal feeding choices here. Diapers too are a major cost. Buying disposable diapers by subscription through Amazon was the cheapest option although I compare in detail the costs of cloth diapering here.
In summary, twins are expensive. But, if you’re prepared there are loads of options to keep costs down. My boys only have a small wardrobe of clothes and I wash frequently. I often buy used clothes and baby gear. I made my own baby food when I had the time and we didn’t buy bassinets (they went straight to the full crib) which also saved considerable money.
Holding & Carrying Two Babies at Once
How are your juggling skills? Some twin moms master the double hold much better than others. I was one of the less coordinated moms that couldn’t. I barely ever held my twins at the same time when they were babies, and if I did someone usually handed them to me. My boys took it in turns to feed and cuddle, and never seemed upset by it. Yes, it’s twice the work but I personally found the stress of trying not to drop one much worse.
If you can get the hang of the double football hold (one baby tucked under each arm) for breastfeeding you are a super mama and it’ll be worth the work. Speeding up feeding time is everything in those newborn days.
I have worn the boys together a few times and did manage to maneuver them into the carrier on my own once they were over six months and a little more robust. There are a few twin baby carriers on the market such as the Twingo. Alternatively, you can wear two standard carriers, one on the front and one on the back. We bought two very affordable Bitty Bean carriers which are great for hot weather.
7 Other questions I asked when pregnant with twins
As time went on and I started to understand the complications associated with a twin pregnancy, more questions started to flood my mind. It’s a nerve-wracking time and there’s so much general folk just don’t realize about carrying twins.
When Will I Give Birth to Twins?
It is very likely you will give birth earlier than a singleton pregnancy. As I left my first appointment, my doctor leisurely said “oh and you’ll probably not go beyond 37wks.” I felt a wash of panic… I thought I was having December babies, I just lost a month! Twins are often born between 34-38weeks (ours came at 36wks), and many doctors recommend an elective birth at 37wks if you make it that far.
Are Twins on the Same Schedule?
Having your twins on the same schedule is the ideal way to make mom life manageable. Having said that it’s not always as simple as it sounds. We were lucky… our boys were born the same weight and therefore were happy to feed at the same interval. It is also said that identical twins are more likely to remain on the same schedule compared with fraternal twins.
If your twins are born with quite different birth weight, the smaller may need less time between feeds than the larger one. This can throw things off a little but stick with it. When my twins were newborns, one would wake up naturally and after feeding them I would wake the other up. ‘Never wake a sleeping baby‘ just doesn’t apply when you have twins.
Will My Twins Go to the NICU?
Because twins are often premature, sometimes they need a little extra help in the NICU when born. We managed to avoid it, but I would recommend asking for a tour of your hospital’s NICU just in case. You can ask questions and understand what it’s like, so if your babes do have to stay a while you feel more comfortable with what is happening.
Unfortunately, sometimes one baby needs extra help and the other doesn’t. This can mean leaving the hospital with one baby and not the other… so tough! It is also unlikely you will be able to breastfeed immediately if your baby is in the NICU so you may want to pump and deliver the good stuff to the NICU when visiting. More on pumping in the NICU here.
Will I Need a C-Section with Twins?
Around half of twins are delivered vaginally (compared with 70% for singleton births), so do not presume you will be forced into a C-Section. I opted for a scheduled C-Section (read my slightly comedic birth story here) mainly due to requiring an emergency C-Section previously with my daughter.
Often twins position themselves top-to-toe, so one baby is head down and the other breach. Vaginal delivery can go ahead but if the second baby does not turn naturally, doctors will try to manually turn them. This is very uncomfortable but the alternative is a feet-first birth or a C-Section. Around 4% of twin moms give birth to Baby A vaginally and Baby B by C-Section.
Can Twins Share a Crib?
Yes, as long as safety is considered. Your babies have been snuggling in the womb together for some time and keeping them close together after birth can bring great comfort. I had my boys sleeping together in the same crib for the first three months and then they became too long for the orientation we had them in. At this point, they moved to their own cribs. See options for crib sharing arrangements here.
Which Type of Double Stroller is Best?
Strollers are expensive so its one of the really common questions I asked when pregnant with twins! There are moms who will argue one-in-front-of-the-other double strollers are better. This prevents fighting when strapped in side by side (yes that really happens) and makes fitting through doors a breeze. However, these strollers do not turn corners very well and there is always a superior seat… who wants to sit in the back?
We opted for the side-by-side tandem stroller style. It’s rare to have trouble with doors and the public are quick to step in and hold two doors when you need it. I like that both boys get a good view out and turning corners is easy.
The most popular twin stroller all-in-one system seems to be the Baby Jogger City Select (High Budget) although if you’re on a tight budget I would recommend the Baby Trend Double Snap-N-Go Stroller for the early car seat months and then going straight into a simple umbrella style double stroller. We have the Joovy Twin Groove Double Stroller and its fab. And warning… those all-in-one systems are heavy!
How Much More Work Are Twins than One Baby?
If you’ve already had a baby you know being a mom is tough… So the idea of doubling up may be freaking you out. The prominent difficulty with twins is time. Twice the feeding, diaper changes, and cuddling mean less time for mom. Get help where you can because you’re going to want to escape every now and again… having two babies at once is intense.
I am the worst for this but try not to be hard on yourself. You will spend less time with each of them than you can with a single child but they will be OK. They may have some developmental delays due to their twin status and their preemie birth but they will be OK. You probably won’t get out and about as much as you think you should but they’ll be OK.
If you have recently found out you are pregnant with twins, congratulations! I hope these questions I asked when pregnant with twins have been helpful and do let me know in the comments if you have any to add.