How to Survive the First Six Weeks at Home With Twins

Sticking to the same schedule for both twins means you may have some down time.

You've survived carrying around two babies for months on end, and possibly even endured a stint in the neonatal intensive care unit. Now it's time to take your twins home and care for them -- on your own. But that doesn't have to mean you're all alone -- don't be afraid to get as much help as you can during this challenging time, so that you can bond with your precious bundles of joy.

Do as many advance preparations as you can. Those preparations could include grocery shopping in bulk, freezing meals or finishing any projects that will lead to your general comfort, such as refurbishing your bedroom to make room for two cribs, for example. Get these projects done as early as possible, keeping in mind that many sets of twins are born before their due dates.

Enlist the help of family and friends to cook meals and help with housework. Have a friend pass around a sign-up sheet for meals to be delivered to your home every day or every other day for the first month or two. You may be surprised at how many people are willing to lend a hand if you ask.

Find a lactation consultant, if you're breastfeeding. Feeding one newborn is a challenge, but feeding two can be a serious assault on your confidence and mental health. Lactation consultants will often come to your home if you ask. With that in mind, also find out whether your health care provider offers home visits for postpartum care, since lugging newborn twins around can be quite challenging. Hiring a mother's helper is also ideal if you can afford it, so you can have help around the house and with your recovery.

Sleep when your babies sleep. Focus on getting both babies on the same schedule so that they're feeding and eating around the same time; that way they'll be more likely to sleep at the same time, which can allow you to get some much-needed rest. Of all the challenges you're likely to face, lack of sleep may feel like the most difficult to manage.

Avoid strenuous exercise until your health care provider allows it. You might be able to get out for a short walk around the neighborhood, but don't overdo it in the hopes of quickly shedding the baby weight.

Be open and forthcoming if you feel you may be experiencing postpartum depression. According to a study published in the journal "Pediatrics," mothers of multiples are about 43 percent more likely to experience postpartum depression. Talk to your doctor, your spouse and any supportive friends about solutions for coping.

Tip

The first six weeks at home with your twins are likely to be some of the most difficult you're going to experience, but hang in there and you'll get through it.