There you are, lying on a table, tummy covered in goo. Happily anticipating a heartbeat or the movement of one sweet babe. Maybe your partner is with you, and you smile happily at one another, excitement for this new little one the only thought in your mind.
The ultrasound tech gets ready, starts their work, and then pauses… and looks again at the screen. For a moment you panic, hoping everything is all right. The tech meets your eyes and asks, “Did you know you’re expecting twins?”
And just like that, you’re a twin parent! Congratulations! Everything you thought you knew about pregnancy, birth, and parenting is out the window.
Maybe this is your first pregnancy, so all you’ve known of pregnancy is the feeling of growing two people at once. Maybe twins run in your family, or maybe you suspected you might be carrying multiples. Or maybe, like me, you hopped off an ultrasound table in complete shock after yelling some choice phrases at the poor ultrasound tech who was just doing their job.
Whatever you felt the moment you discovered there was more than one baby in there, chances are it didn’t take you long to start searching the internet for the answer to the question on every twin parent’s mind… “What in the WORLD am I supposed to do now?”
First of all, don’t panic! (There will be plenty of time for that later on when your twins are suddenly both about to fall off different pieces of furniture simultaneously and you have to decide in which direction to lunge first.)
For now, here are a few things to consider if you just discovered you are expecting multiples.
Having Twins Changes Pregnancy
Having twins makes for an entirely different pregnancy experience than you might have been expecting. You’ll likely have a lot more appointments, testing, and potentially scary decisions.
Focus on taking each concern and appointment as it comes, and try not to worry too much about potential problems before they arrive. Because chances are, many of them won’t.
You may also have more unpleasant pregnancy symptoms when expecting twins. My advice? Line up all the help you can get, early and often. Even if you are normally the type of person who prefers to do things yourself, try to get as much rest as possible and accept help that’s offered.
Expect more nausea, a greater need to stay hydrated, and a LOT of surprised comments when you share your due date with curious strangers. You can also look forward to a lot of offers to help and words of encouragement from more experienced twin parents! The sense of community among parents of multiples is one of the most pleasant aspects of finding yourself suddenly thrust into a circumstance that may or may not have been one you were hoping for.
Having Twins Means More Baby Gear
Compared to the more complicated and high-maintenance aspects of a twin pregnancy, preparing for twins with baby gear is actually simpler than it might seem at first. What were you planning to have for one baby? Just double it! (Except for diapers… somehow twins seem to go through about four times as many diapers as a single baby. This doesn’t make logical sense, but it’s true.)
In reality, there are only a few twin-specific items that are really helpful and necessary, and they will depend on your lifestyle and needs. Most people having multiples will want to focus on the big-ticket items like cribs (mini cribs are a great choice for smaller bedrooms), car seats and strollers (double strollers have come a long way), and a good rocking chair where you can comfortably sit with your babes.
If you plan to baby-wear, there are several double carrier options on the market now, and lots of how-to videos for wraps and other carrier options. You can also check local twin parent groups online to search for gently-used baby items made for twins!
Focusing on Practical Considerations
When you first discover you’re having twins, you might have plans for matching outfits, coordinated color palettes, and individually labeled accessories. These are all really fun options for photo shoots and social events! However, most twin parents discover quickly that in the chaos of newborn days, keeping two babies clean and fed and dressed is enough work without adding the worry of matching all the time.
Bulk order some onesies in a color you love and you’re good to go!
Two big practical things you may need to consider when having unexpected twins are your home and your vehicle. If you live in a small apartment or were planning to make your home stretch to fit only one baby, it might be time to talk about how many bedrooms you actually need.
When assessing your vehicle needs, remember to take into consideration the fact that you can’t always fit two car seats side by side safely. Check your vehicle details to see how many car seats can safely be installed.
Early Days of Having Twins
The early days of caring for twins can be summed up into two words: adorable chaos.
It’s true, two newborns are even more adorable than one. Two little squishy noses, 20 little fingers, and four beautiful eyes. It’s wonderful! It’s miraculous! It’s… loud! (Did I forget to mention two hungry mouths and double the diapers?)
Nothing can truly prepare you for the pure, adorable, wonderful, loud, exhausting chaos of infant twins. The first few months can feel like you are in pure survival mode. Don’t hesitate to call in reinforcements. No one will fault new parents of twins for asking for help. And you might be surprised at how willing people are to lend a hand!
Make a list before the twins arrive of things you think might be helpful to have done around the house. Meals, light chores, grocery runs, etc. That way, when people ask, “Is there anything I can do?” you can be ready with a response based on who is asking.
Just Remember, You CAN Do This
It wouldn’t be truthful to say that having twins is always a walk in the park. The first year will be hard. It might go by in a blur, and you might wonder if you did any of it right.
But one day, you’ll look up and suddenly be watching your twin toddlers play together on their own. In that moment, you’ll realize something that makes all the extra work worth it.
No matter what, your twins will have something that most people never get to experience. They will have each other.