When blessed with multiples parents strive to push all the barriers in bringing up their kids in the best way they know how. Yet pushing through the newborn days after having twins is all overwhelming. In this depleting stage, it is common for parents to make mistakes that will affect the well-being of their infants and theirs too. Below we discuss some common mistakes made by new parents of twins and tips on avoiding them.
1. Not Resting
Once the twins are home, it is advisable to get them on a regular routine. That means sleep training them so they both nap at the same time, tandem feeding, changing them and basically giving them care at the same time. If you don’t do this, you will be on call all through, which is quite tiring.
Once you have that quiet time when they are asleep or you have some help around, it is tempting to want to get other things done. This innocent mistake may see you suffering exhaustion. The mum is still undergoing recovery and overworking undermines the process. The dad can also get overly tired. Take every moment you get to take a rest and nap if you are sleep deprived.
Also remember that being at home with your babies is not a holiday. You are starting an all new job, and you will probably be going back to work after a while. Getting enough rest allows you to be happy and also to take care of your newborns in the best way possible. It is not selfish for you to make time for yourself and neither is it an indulgence. It is a necessity
2. Entertaining Visitors too Soon
In wanting to be polite, you might be tempted to open up your home to visitors. After all, newborns raise curiosity and everyone will want a piece of them. Even more so is the case where multiples are concerned.
While the visitors may mean well for you, it is not in your place as new parents to entertain them. You should not sacrifice your peace and quiet for their comfort. If those coming are not people you can trust to get their way around your home or even give a helping hand, you have the right to say no to the visitors. Do not compromise put your need for privacy, comfort, and rest. Draw a line by limiting company immediately after birth and give yourself enough time to adjust before allowing people to come and visit. Let them know that you will inform them when it’s time.
Remain in charge and do not worry about hurting other people’s feelings if that is what it takes for you to have a peace of mind. Even when it’s time to have visitors and you can’t stay with them too long, thank them for coming and excuse yourself. This way they will likely leave soon enough without you asking them to.
3. Over-exerting Yourself
Closely related to the above mistake, failing to ask for help leads to accumulation of tasks and chores. The discomfort of knowing that some things haven’t been done is what will lead you to over-exerting yourself. Before you exhaust yourself to a point of paralyzing your body, learn to ask for help. Share the load with family and friends and allow your spouse to learn the various tasks involved in caring for twins. Have them change the diapers, bathe and feed them. With time they will master the art and you can easily work together.
Where you still need help from elsewhere, ask those around you to step in even if that means watching your twins so you can take a much needed nap. Let go the “do-it-all” attitude as it will lead to both physical and mental exhaustion and get some help. Delegate tasks such as housework, laundry, shopping, errands, meals, and yard work so you can focus on your most immediate matters regarding baby care.
4. Having Unreal Expectations
When having multiples, even when they are not a first born set, it is likely that you ask around and seek advice from parents that have been through it before. From your enquiries, you will gain different insights and this is likely to build up your anticipation for specific things. Unknowingly, you will carry unrealistic expectations with you.
To tone this down, take any advice given to you with a pinch of salt and remember that no sets of twins, or even singletons, are the same. They are all unique and to bring them up in the best way possible without pegging your actions on some expectations, you will have to study them every day.
Knowing that things might not turn out as you expected also saves you from frustration, and you can create solutions to specific parenting issues on the go.
5. Ignoring the Signs of an Overtired Baby
A baby is considered overtired if they stay awake longer than their bodies can tolerate. Just like grownups, babies find it hard to sleep well when they are worn out and exhausted. It brings them discomfort.
Some of the signs for over-tiredness in twins include yawning, rubbing eyes, pulling their ears, fussiness, fighting sleep, taking short naps and being difficult to calm down. To prevent it, do not overstimulate them before bedtime. Also, adopt a regular sleep schedule for your newborn twins and stick to it. To soothe your overtired babies to sleep, try holding, rocking, swaddling or feeding them.
6. Comparing your Two Children
This is probably one of the most common innocent mistake made by new parents of multiples. In most cases, comparison starts right from the moment the children are born. What with their differing weight, physical features, growth and maturity among others? If this goes on and the comparison continues into the different stages of their life, it has an adverse effect on their confidence.
It is essential to quit uttering statements that could crash the babies’ esteem. This has to begin by treating them as individuals and acknowledging their strengths as opposed to their weakness right from when they are infants.
When we realize that the twins are unique and treat them as so, we understand that they have their own timing in conquering different milestones in growth and development. Even when they come with differences in growth, behavior, and performance, they remain twins for life. Embrace and nurture their unique personalities as opposed to discouraging their differences.
7. Listening to Other People’s Opinions
Closely related to building expectations, listening to other people’s opinions is another common mistake made by new twin parents. When you go to the wrong people for parenting advice, you will use the information you gather as a bench mark for your parenting journey which is wrong.
People give their opinions based on what worked best for them. For example, some parents will advocate for tandem feeding, while others will suggest that you mix it up with bottle feeding. Some will swear by exclusive breastfeeding against supplementing it with formula or using disposable diapers against disposable ones among others.
Fortunately the only opinion that matters in bringing up your twins is yours. As the parents, scrutinize whatever information comes your way, pick what is appropriate, optimize it to work for you and disregard the rest. Also, be careful where you get your information. Do not trust unreliable sources. Instead, opt for reputable sources in making decisions. If it regards medical care, talk to your pediatrician.
8. Underestimating the Demand for Supplies
While it is obvious that parents should stock up on supplies, a common mistake made by new parents is underestimating how much of each item they need. The double demand of everything that comes with twins means that the items fly off their storage rapidly. To avoid getting caught unawares, keep replenishing the things they use most such as diapers, wipes and formula. Do not wait until you’ve run out to stock up.
Caring for twins is demanding and having a support system is critical. There are different levels of help you can get from those around you. However, not having a network of parents that are experiencing or have gone through what you are is quite isolating. On the other hand, having parents of multiples sharing their experiences offers an avenue for people who can relate with your experiences, which is quite reassuring. Do not isolate yourself while it is possible to share and learn from fellow parents. You don’t even have to go out and meet them as there are various online support groups meant for parents of multiples.
10. Spending Too Much
Babies change your life and will affect your finances. When shopping for twins, it is possible to spend too much on non-essentials. Clothes are one of the areas where new parents are likely to overbuy yet babies outgrow them quite fast. Go easy on shopping. To prevent piling up unnecessary items, take a parent who has the experience of raising multiples with you.
As new parents of twins, you want the best for the pair. If even after avoiding the above you still end up making some other mistakes, dust yourself up and move on.