Being a single parent is, in itself, a big challenge for you to face, but being the single parent of newborn twins is even more challenging. There are a number of problems that you will face, such as how to care for both of them at the same time. The task may seem enormous, but it needn’t be as bad as you are expecting it to be as there are some newborn baby tips you can use to get through the hardest parts.
Breast-Feeding Or Bottle-Feeding Newborn Twins As A Single Parent
When it comes to breastfeeding twins you should have very little trouble as they should feed as well as any other child. However there is one problem that you should be on the lookout for which occurs every once in a while when it comes to twins. Because their mouths tend to be smaller you may find that your twins will not be able to take in quite as much milk as another child (Note: In practically every case there should not be a problem of supply because your body is more than capable of supplying enough milk to support two children rather than one). In this case you may want to add about 2 ounces of formula to their diet on a daily basis.
Breastfeeding twins is a great option for single mothers as it saves a substantial amount of hassle and time. You do, after all, have two breasts and two children, so you can supply sustenance to both of them at the same time. Just be sure to:
- Switch breasts each feeding time for each child so that they do not become attached to a favorite breast. This could cause problems later on.
- Remember that in many cases one breast does not provide quite as much milk as the other, so you should alternate to ensure that both babies get enough milk at all times and that neither one of them is losing out in any way.
That brings us to bottle-feeding twins. As a single parent you will often find that you need to feed the children when you are alone with no one around to help you. This is most likely to occur in the first months when they need to be fed frequently. This will require some creativity on your part. Here are some suggestions:
- Try holding one baby in each arm and using pillows to prop the bottles at the right angle to feed them both at the same time.
- Make use of baby carrying equipment. For example you could have one baby in a sling and the other in your arms. You can then use your free hand to alternate feeding between the two.
Clearly a single father will have to make use of bottle feeding as it will be the only option open to him. Remember that, although it does make things easier to feed both children at the same time, this is not a necessity. You could simply leave one twin lying in the crib while you feed the other, and then switch when feeding is concluded. In some cases twins do not require feeding at the same time in any case, so an alternating approach such as this may be more appropriate.
Single Parent Of Newborn Twins Sleeping Tips
Newborns tend to wake up frequently during the night, usually because they need another feed. With twins there is no guarantee that they will both wake up at the same time, and your night could be one continuous feeding session. There are some sleeping tips that you can keep in mind in order to make the situation a little easier for yourself.
- Get someone to help out during the night. This is not always a practical solution, but if you are bottle feeding it may help to get a family member or friend, or even to hire a night nanny to ensure that you get a little more sleep.
- Get a reclining chair. This will allow you to sleep while you are feeding the babies in their own room. It will significantly reduce your stress and if the chair is comfortable enough you could sleep there on a permanent basis until the worst has passed.
If you want to make a significant difference to your sleeping patterns, you should definitely try to regulate and synchronize feeding times for both twins. Ideally, when one twin wakes for a feed or a nappy change, you should wake the other twin as well and feed him or her or change his or her nappy as well. Do things together as much as possible so that your time will be well managed and you will not be stressed out trying to keep up with the needs of both children all the time.
When the first months are over it may be better to start staggering afternoon and morning nap times. Put one baby down 15 minutes before the other. This is will allow you to start spending some individual time with each child so that you can form a one-on-one bond with each baby. However it is only suggested that you do this once you have reached a stage in the process where you are relatively well rested yourself.
Remember that you need to take care of yourself as much as you can. You are a single parent, and perhaps you are the only parent that is available to those twins. This means that you cannot afford to sacrifice your own health as you need to be there to take care of your children. Looking after yourself includes finding ways to get enough sleep. It is not selfish to think about yourself in this way, it is merely a necessity to being a good single parent who has the resources available to properly take care of her or her children. After the first few months the worse will be over and sleep will naturally start coming more easily.
Surviving Outings With Twins
What many single parents do not realize is that, when you take your newborn twins on outings, you and they will be the centre of attention. This is part of human nature and it can be extremely overwhelming, especially at first. In addition, as you are the only parent in the home, you will be required to take them with you fairly frequently as there is no second parent who can stay behind and take care of them. There are a few things that you can do to prepare for mini celebrity-hood:
- Firstly try to never be in a hurry when you take your twins on an outing or to the store. This is easier said than done, but because you have twins you will be stopped by numerous random strangers who want to have a conversation with you about your twins, about how old they are, about whether or not twins run in your family, about whether they are identical or not, and so on. This can take a lot more time than you may think at first. In addition it can be stressful, especially when other people try to pile on their advice about how to raise your children and about whether or not it is a good idea for you to have your newborn twins with you in the supermarket at such a tender age. Be prepared and try to schedule time for these little inconveniences.
- A good way to avoid the unwanted attention mentioned above is by splitting your children so that people are less likely to notice that you have twins. You could, for example, take one of them in a sling and place the other in the baby seat in the shopping cart. People are distracted when shopping so you will find that this works every time.
Outing will be stressful, especially if both babies decide to have a meltdown at the same time. But they will be unavoidable. As a single parent of newborn twins you will often have no choice other than to take your children with when you go out, and this will not always work well. There will not always be somewhere for you to change them. Changing rooms will not necessarily always be able to accommodate, for example, a double pram. When possible you should try to get someone you trust to watch the kids when you go out (which itself is not always possible with newborns that need constant attention). You could also try to get someone to come with you when you go out so that they can help you with whatever needs to be done and thereby speed up the process.
In addition to the tips just mentioned there are a few other things that you can try as well in order to survive being a single parent of newborn twins.
Firstly you should make use of all the baby equipment that is available to you. This includes things like:
- Carrier slings: this will make it easier to transport two children at once.
- Play pens: twins benefit much more form play pens than single children as they are able to play together. This in turn keeps them happy in the play pen for longer periods of time than a single baby, giving you more time to get some other things done.
Although it is almost always better to try to get someone to help you, equipment such as the examples mentioned above can be your best friends for those times when you have handle the twins on your own.
You should try to do as many things at the same time with your babies as possible. For example you should try bathing them together to save time. However if you cannot bath them together, you should try alternating t make things easier for yourself. For example you could bath one baby in the morning and one baby in the evening in order to spread the chore out and not make bath time such a stressful time for you, the single parent.
It is extremely important that you keep records of things such as immunizations and so on. It is a good idea to get a baby diary. This can be used to record things such as when your abbacies ate and had to have their diapers changed as well. You will not be able to remember these things yourself, and if you make a record of these occurrences you will stand a better chance of identifying a pattern in the twins’ behavior that will allow you to better plan your schedule and your day. In addition these records can be useful when you maternity or paternity leave ends and you head back to work. You will probably have a family member or a nanny stay with your child during the day. If both you and they record the behavior of the twins you will both have a better idea f what to do with the children when it is your turn to care for them. For example you will know whether or not the twins have had their diapers changed or whether they are due for a feed.
Join play groups and make contact with other single parents. This will be a great source of information regarding how to raise your children as well as an excellent support structure.
It will not be easy to raise twins on your own. They are two separate people who each have their own personality and differing needs. Each of them requires the same amount of attention. As a single parent you may feel that you are equipped to handle the situation, but, with a little bit of patience and with some practice, you will be able to reach a point where caring for your newborn twins will be an easy routine. Being a single parent of newborn twins is a challenge, but it is also a wonderful experience.