The Stress of Multiple Infants

"I'm TOTALLY overwhelmed by these two tiny creatures. Are you people all superhuman, or wealthy enough to afford armies of help? How, oh how, do you take care of infant twins by yourself? My mom is still here most of the time--part of the time I've gone up to her house with the babies. When she's been gone, though, I can't do it. More specifically, I can do it as long as they're both not awake and freaking out at the same time. When they are both crying at the same time, and there's no one else there to pick up one while I pick up the other one, and I am completely sleep deprived, WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO???"

Parenting multiple infants IS overwhelming

"You're sustaining three people and that is very, very difficult. Give yourself lots and lots of credit and then give yourself some more."

"be rest assured that you are not alone in this totally overwhelming feeling, particularly at the beginning--it isn't easy!!!"

"I remember feeling as though I would never get through those early weeks, months, and years with the twins..... you will!!!"

"I think that one reason that we survived this first year with twins is that we had no other ambition than to survive. Try to be selfish, it is hard for others to imagine how little time there is for anything except making it possible to eat and to wear clean clothes!"

Give yourself some time

"They are only 5 weeks old--it can take 6-10 weeks before things get into a rhythm... don't forget, you are still recupping, and that babies are also still learning about you, about nursing, about the whole 9 yards."

"I won't fool you and say that it's all roses at the beginning, but give yourself some time--and enjoy your new babies. In a few months you will look back and say "wow, I was a SUPERWOMAN to be able to handle these two"---and don't kid yourself, you are doing just super RIGHT NOW! Later on, you'll have other wonderful challenges, but each day you will see such tremendous growth the changes in your babies that you won't be able to keep up with it!"

Take care of yourself

"Whatever you need to do, don't feel guilty about it. Your number one priority right now is to take care of you and the babies (notice the order here -- you're useless to your babies if you can't do something to take care of you.) And don't give a crap about the feelings of anyone who isn't going to support you during this time."

"For emergencies or the times that you are near your breaking point, find the phone number for the local crisis center or an 800 number parenting hotline. (I have one somewhere -- I'll see if I can find it.) Keep it near the phone. Find one or two friends who would be willing to accept a phone call at all hours to help you keep going."

"However, rest assured that it does get better. The other piece of advice is to realize that some things will have to slide for a while. Your main role is to take care of those two tiny creatures. The only way you can do that is to take care of them and you. Other things can wait."

Look at a bigger picture

"My advice it to take it easy. Constantly remind yourself that this is a one-time thing. I know it will seem hard when it's 3 a.m. and you just got done with one and you start to hear the other, but try to feel the beauty and uniqueness of your babies."

"The best word of advice I can tell you is to remember that it gets better. The first few months with any baby is hard with twins it is REALLY hard.

"One other food for thought which I know seems ridiculous right now, but another way i kept things in perspective was remembering that in the course of time, this infancy stage is VERY SHORT in comparison to once they are up and off to school. It is a very precious time too, so just take one day at a time. Try to nap when they are sleeping."

"I can remember those days, and they weren't all that much fun! Some nights it seemed both babies would alternate being awake, and so I never got to go to sleep! I started bottlefeeding one while nursing the other during the night feedings, alternating who got a bottle for each feeding , because I never could get the hang of nursing both at one time. One of the mom's in my local motc told me that 11 pounds was the magic number for sleeping through the nights. For me, mine were born at 35 weeks, and weighed 4lbs 7 oz and 4 lbs 11 oz, so 11 pounds seemed like forever! Anyway, it did get easier, and by the time spring rolled around I made a concerted effort to get out of the house with them. Even though they both cried like crazy when I tried to get jackets on and buckle them into their car seats, it was worth the effort! I'm not sure I have any words of wisdom as far as getting through this time, but I do want to encourage you and let you know that it can be done!"

"There's no denying that this may be one of the toughest things you've had to go through. But the good news is that it doesn't last forever. And, in many ways, the bad news is that it doesn't last forever. Like pregnancy and birth, I think many moms of multiples have selective memories about the early days (or the memories never imprinted due to the constant foggy haze)! It might not get easier, but it gets different as they grow and develop. You learn, you find a new balance in how much you give to the babies and how much you give to yourself and the others in your life. It definitely doesn't happen overnight, but you all tend to 'grow and develop' together, fortunately!"

"There's a great little book that a friend bought for me when the twins first arrived. It's called "Meditations for New Mothers" by Beth Wilson Saavedra. I still like to pull it out and read...

When I'm dead serious about my mothering, I feel dead tired. Commitment.

"The thing about having a baby is that thereafter you have it." --Quentin Crisp

Everyone of us knew this when we decided to become parents. Then why are we so taken aback when the magnitude of our commitment begins to sink in?

All the serene and heavenly images of motherhood depicted in paintings and advertisements shatter. Our infant is not beatific and is rarely still. He has three expressions: starting to cry, crying, and just finished crying. We have only three experssions: blank stare, terror, and blank stare. We're not even sure we will survive the first few months of basic training.

Just when we think we're doomed, things improve. We can detect mood changes before they occur; we learn how to meet our little one's needs; we detect a pattern to his behavior. Holding him tight, we decide to keep him, and the minute we do that, something changes. We begin to worry about his teen years!

From another mom of twins...

"Everyday seems like forever, but soon enough they turn one."

When Will It Get Better?

I have twin boys that are now two months old. I have a 5 yr old daughter who is not real sure how to handle all the chaos. Things are pretty stressful and I'm not real sure how to deal with it. They seem to fuss constantly. Granted, they are pretty spoiled but how long will the crying last and the laughter begin? It is a great joy to have my boys but things are so stressed in my household that my husband and I can barely hold a 5 minute conversation without it turning into an argument.

"I know we are truly blessed but when does it get better?"

-- twins-l member

At 3 months...

"3 months is usually when they begin to settle into a routine, and at 4 months they begin to notice each other and interact a bit."

"[T]he first three months were just so unbelievably hard for me. My 44th birthday was exactly seven weeks after my twins were born. It was the worst birthday of my life - I cried and cried. And this was a after years and years of infertility - I thought it would have been the happiest birthday of my life! I think for me the sleep deprivation and the unimaginable neediness of these infants was what put me over the edge."

Around 6 months

"Hang in there all you brand new [mothers of twins]. And to all you yet to be [mothers of twins], you have no idea how quickly those days go by. Now, just 7 months later, as much as I enjoy sleeping a full 7 hours straight, I miss that they don't need me thru the night. (Sounds rediculous, I know)."

All of a sudden

"To all the Moms of the 'new' little ones. Hang in there. For me the first three months were the hardest, then when it got easier it seemed to happen overnight."

"Overnight is right. As soon as they start sleeping through the night, and you're not as sleep-deprived, it's a lot better."

Around one year...

"I will repeat what others have said: It DOES get better! However, I thought the entire first YEAR was hard. Now that mine are 2 it's much better. But still, you'll hit milestones in those early months where all of a sudden, you'll notice it's a lot easier than it was."

"[To] any ... new moms feeling overwhelmed -- Please please listen to the broken record that all of us who've been there keep playing: 'This is the hardest time, and IT WILL GET BETTER.' I can barely believe I'm writing as one of the more experienced moms now, and my babies are not quite 11 months. I clearly remember those early months, and especially the second and third months. It was really hard, and I was one of the lucky ones -- a very supportive husband and two babies with no colic. At about six months, it started to get really fun, and now it just gets better every day. I am constantly wanting them to stop growing because they're so fun the age they are, but so far, the next week brings even more joy. Hang in there, ... because the good times are only a matter of weeks away."

"It sure does get better! The first 3 months for us were basically, well, .... errrr.... Hell, really. It's a huge effort to handle *one* newborn baby, never mind 2 (or more!). I can't comprehend how the parents of higher-order mults make it through those first few months. However....after about 3, 3-1/2 months, things changed dramatically for us; not all at once but the kind of thing you could see the difference from one day to the next. By the time they were 6 months it was almost easy; now that they're 10 months it's just normal routine - it's funny to watch the expressions on my sisters' faces when they come visit...they're just amazed at the non-stop frenzy of activity each day is for us."

Twins List FAQs:   Copyright © Mary Foley
All Rights Reserved
Permission to reprint all FAQ information is granted to individuals for private use.
Please contact regarding any other reprint permissions.