by Della H. Harris
In 1980, one in every 53 babies born in the United States was a twin. In 2009, that number had increased to one in 30.
Actress Marcia Cross is credited with saying that, "raising twins is like playing ping-pong on the interstate."
Yikes! Don't panic. You can survive and thrive as parents of twins. It's just takes a bit more planning -- about twice a much!
We've asked our moms and dads about parenting multiples and used their suggestion to together a guide. Who would be better equipped to help you through the bumps and roadblocks of raising twins?
As Shanna, mom to boy/girl twins says, "The first few weeks can be a nightmare, but you just truck on through. It does get better, even though you can't usually see the light at the end of the tunnel until you're there!"
Use these tips and pearls of wisdom to help you survive the first few weeks with two (or more) tiny babies.
Just for new moms: For most new parents those first 24 to 48 hours after childbirth are mostly a blur. Sift through our favorite mom-to-mom tips for helping you through this initial honeymoon period to keep your sanity intact.
Look for other mothers of twins. These moms will be able to share tricks of the trade, including baby gear. They'll understand your worries -- both now and about the future juggling acts. You can even meet up online.
Ask for and accept help. Accept your friends' gracious offers. If someone asks how they can help, be specific. Do you need someone to stay with the babies while you go to your six-week appointment? Would you like the flower beds weeded? Is the diaper stash getting low? Let your gracious volunteer know what you need.
Hire a helper. Tweens and teens might be too young to babysit, but they can entertain a baby while you start dinner or do the laundry. Later on they can chase one toddler while you track the other at the park.
Set up a schedule: Juggling sleep, eat and play routines for two new babies can be chaotic and exhausting. You can be flexible, but having your routine outlined makes your work easier, especially on days you're sleep deprived.
Dress the babies differently: All new babies, not just identical twins can look a lot alike. Dressing twins differently helps you tell them apart at a glance. One mom of triplets dabbed different colored nail polish on each baby's toe nail.
Be patient with yourself. Dishes and laundry will pile up. Dinners might be simple. The baby fat could linger longer than you'd hoped. Cut yourself some slack; you're working a double shift and doing the best you can.
Take time for you. Being a parent doesn't mean your needs have disappear. Every once in a while, put a reliable helper in charge of the babies. Take a few minutes for a nap, a long soak in the tub or a walk. Take an entire evening and reconnect with your partner.
Pregnancy.org's moms of multiples put together a list of baby gear they say is indispensable for day-to-day life. On almost every must-have list, these items appeared over and over.
Shanna gives us another pearl to pick up to round out the guide. She says, "The first few weeks are very hard, especially if you're trying to do it alone while your husband is at work. Don't be afraid to ask people for help. It doesn't mean you're not a good mom if you can't handle it. Twins are much more enjoyable if you have an extra set of hands. The first eight weeks were a blur, but it's so worth it to see their little faces smiling up at you."