There are so many things in life that you can’t understand until you experience them. For me, it would be parenting the twins. It is altogether a different game; scary and exciting all at once.
Family and friends were super excited when they found out that there would be two babies coming in home. I too was thrilled but at the same time anxious about how to pull it off. I wondered what super power I would need to handle two infants of the same age!
When the twins, Puhor and Niyor arrived, in July’17, at 36 weeks, they were tiny little rats, around about 2 and 1.9 kilos respectively. Now they’re healthy balls of sweetness, weighing in at almost 8.5kg, learning new things every day.
During the initial months, I had to struggle a lot, as they were premature and low birth weight babies. Most of the time I spent was on feeding. They needed to be fed every one and a half hours, and this routine continued for eight months. I turned into a milk producing machine. And when they were napping, I had to cook, clean the house, do the laundry, work on my freelance projects and what not! Caring for twins is a lot more complicated — emotionally and physically. It requires energy, dedication, smartness, planning, multitasking, and (huge) patience all at the same time.
Whenever I talk to other moms or the expecting ones about raising my boys all by myself, they often say things like, “OMG! I don’t know how you do it!” Honestly, I have no freaking clue either! But somehow I am managing well. Yesterday the kids completed ten months (wow! only two more months to hit one) and I took a moment to think about the things I’ve learned so far and what worked for me.
Set a routine: get them onto one schedule
Whether it is feeding them or putting them to sleep, changing diapers, giving bath, or anything else, the key is set up a routine from day one. This is what my mother taught me. And trust me it works like magic. I keep Puhor and Niyor on the same schedule. I make them sleep together. Even if one wakes early and makes noise, don’t panic. Let the other also wake up. Soon they will learn to sleep with each other’s sounds not disturbing them.
Same with the feeding schedule. When it’s time to feed, both eat, if not together but immediately after ten-fifteen minutes. When one wakes up hungry, I would wake up the other and feed them both. When husband is home, each of us would take one baby and bottle-feed them.
Do only what you can handle
Even before Puhor and Niyor were born, I had decided to exclusively breastfeed them for the first six months, but I couldn’t due to latching problems. There were people who judged me and made me feel miserable but I had to take a decision to keep the babies alive. Eventually, after consulting my pediatrician, I bought the advised formula milk and a breast pump and took the decision to mix-feed.
No time for guilt
I felt that I wasn’t able to cuddle my babies as much as I wanted to. With twins you don’t always get the time to bond well. The first thing Puhor and Niyor had to learn is to share my time and attention. So, when both babies want to be fed or held, one has to usually wait and ends up crying. Though it’s painful to see them cry but there’s not much you can do about it. My mother used to tell me, as long as the babies are following the regular routine (eat, sleep, play, poop) and not sobbing all the time, there’s nothing to worry about. It’s okay at times to let your baby cry a little (before you judge me, make sure you’re a mother of twins or multiples).
Realign your life
I was suffering from postpartum depression because I felt I was losing my identity. From being a career-oriented girl to a stay-at-home mother, the shift wasn’t easy. Thankfully, I had my mother’s moral support, and I overcame all the insecurities by learning to be kind to myself. I joined driving classes on weekends, read books and watched movies when the kids slept, learned a new hobby – gardening, wrote my debut book. I began enjoying the motherhood phase. And I found the old “me”.
Outings are possible if we follow the kids’ routine
If I want to go out, I plan around the boys’ routine and aim to leave the house immediately after they have been fed. This gives me a couple of hours until they need to be changed and fed again. The double stroller has been of great help all this time.
At the end of the day, we are one happy family
Before Puhor and Niyor were born, I’d never looked after a baby by myself. Neither babysat anyone nor changed a nappy. But the moment Puhor and Niyor arrived home it just felt good. There were many situations where I had no idea what to do, but ten months on we’re all still alive and the more we get to know each other the easier the days become. Puhor and Niyor have started acknowledging each other. They share toys, enjoy board books, giggle and dance together (the boys love music). Although they are hard work, I truly feel lucky to have them in my life.
Cover image: Mom Resource