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When my husband and I first brought our daughter home from the hospital, we were filled with so many different emotions. I have vague memories of calling a couple of my friends crying in my early days as a mother, but none of them were particularly comforting to me.
I eventually found solace from various online support groups, and when my little girl finally started sleeping through the night and I started to pull myself out of the postpartum hole I had fallen into, I made a promise to myself that I would be a much better friend. I would simply open my arms wide and give my poor friend a hug, and when her sobs slowed and eventually turned into hiccups, I would offer her a glass of my chardonnay and share my best tips for sleep deprived parents before tucking her into my bed and taking her little one out for a walk so she could get some rest. Take stock of which tasks are essential, which are nice-to-haves, and which are a total waste of your time, and tackle them accordingly. In the first few weeks after we brought our daughter home from the hospital, everyone wanted to come and visit us, and we were so pumped and full of adrenaline that we welcomed them all with open arms. But then my husband went back to work, my mother flew home, and the visitors stopped coming, and I was all alone with my sleep-deprived, postpartum hormones.
It was a lonely time in my life, and I have since learned that accepting the help of others so I can be a better mom and wife does NOT make me weak.
About 9 months into my career as a stay-at-home mom, I had a moment of clarity while my daughter was napping one afternoon.
So I put on a pot of coffee, sat myself down on the couch, watched a little daytime TV, and when my daughter woke up from her nap, the 2 of us drove my husband’s work clothes over to our local dry-cleaner. I’ve since became the queen outsourcing tasks, and my life is much more enjoyable as a result. I was so caught up in the belief that co-sleeping would lead to a lifetime of sleep issues with my daughter that I absolutely refused to let her sleep anywhere but in her crib when she was a baby. When I was in the throes of the first few months of motherhood and the sleep deprivation it brings with it, there really wasn’t a whole lot I could do to make myself feel better. But I needed to do something for myself or I was going to completely lose my mind, so in the wee hours of the night when it felt as though I was the only person in the entire world who was awake, I read every single blog post from Kelly Oxford’s blog, Eject, made it through her entire Twitter feed, and eventually found a bunch of other humor bloggers I still follow to this day. Before I found Kelly Oxford, I spent many nights reading stories from new moms like myself who were struggling in one way or another.
Of course, support groups are typically more effective when they involve in-person get-togethers, and if I could have a do-over, I would have swallowed my fear and approached all of the moms I encountered at the grocery store, park, and mall each day instead of ducking my head and avoiding eye contact. I strongly urge you to find a group of people you can connect with in some way or another so you feel less alone as you navigate your way through the first year of parenthood.
So on a complete whim one afternoon when the weather was unseasonably warm, my daughter was refusing to nap, and I was desperate from some Vitamin D, I strapped her into her stroller and took her for a long walk outside. It took her a while to fall asleep and I initially worried I had made a huge mistake, but she eventually nodded off and the fresh air and movement made such a difference in my mood that I started making stroller naps part of our weekly routine.
Getting out does wonders for the soul, and while it sometimes seems like more trouble than it’s worth when you factor in the time needed to pack a diaper bag and figure out a place to go, I guarantee it will make you feel better. But after an(other) tearful night of rocking and bouncing and walking my daughter for 3+ hours, only to have her wake up 45 minutes later so I could start the routine all over again, I cracked and decided to ask for some help. I found a wonderful woman named Nicole Johnson, who is the founder of The Baby Sleep Site™, and from the first email I received from her, I knew I was in good hands.
She gave me a personalized sleep plan that DID NOT include letting my daughter cry-it-out in her room for hours on end, and emailed me repeatedly over the course of the week as I implemented her strategies.
Being a parent is difficult on a good day, but when you’re caring for a demanding, colicky newborn on zero sleep, it can feel downright impossible. Parenthood is the hardest job you will ever have, and while things won’t necessarily get easier as your little one grows older, you will become more experienced and learn to take things in stride. If you found these sleep deprivation tips for new parents helpful, please share them on Pinterest!
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DaniDani is a 30-something freelance writer and social media consultant who has an unhealthy love for makeup, hair, and fashion.
When I was pregnant I read a few books, went to a few classes and spoke to a few friends about what I would need to know when my twins were born. One of my sisters-in-law is pregnant with twins right now and, although she is much more knowledgeable about babies in general than I was, I thought it would be helpful for her to get some of the sage advice from those who have gone before her. Remember, this list isn't made up of my own personal advice, it is a list from numerous mothers of twins and triplets who have been in the trenches and who offered to pass on their wisdom. Hire a night nurse, especially in the beginning and especially if you are on bed rest or are having a c-section.
I do want to add very quickly, which I have shared to numerous parents in our club, is get out of the house with the babies and join a playgroup no matter what in those first few moths.
My first piece of advice and something I wish I had done sooner, is to join a multiples group.
Hell: we've heard from other parents of twins (and are living it right now) that the first 6 months are hell. At the two week mark they definitely "woke up" and oh my goodness were we unprepared for that!
Unsolicited Advice (which is what I am also giving): I think every new mother gets this but what people don't understand is that advice from a singleton mother doesn't always mean much to a mother of multiples. Research a company that will help deal with all the hospital bills and insurance forms - I had 3 feet of insurance forms that would come in the mail constantly and it took me a year to finally get every bill paid (due to inevitable problems when there are some many bills going back and forth).
Bed rest: it's so common in mothers carrying multiples so just keep it in the back of your mind. One thing I did that I feel SAVED me was getting everything ready for babies room, packing my hospital bag, and getting all necessary supplies for early days by my 28th week. Research NICU's in terms of what is most family friendly if you have to be there for weeks or months. Give pumped breastmilk fresh whenever possible rather than freezing – it lasts a week in the fridge and if you freeze it, it KILLS the immunity of the milk (the nutritional aspects are still great).
TRY to enjoy night feedings when you are with the little ones - I miss those days despite the exhaustion - there is something very special about the bonding that happens at night if you can focus in on the moment and really bask in it.
Get breastfeeding help early and often if you need it, so very key, I thought breastfeeding just happened! Feedings, etc: keep a chart of when you feed each, how much they ate, what their diaper looked like, etc. For food-related questions, check out the Wholesome Baby Food website (a great resource).

Follow a strict schedule at all times for feeding and naps - don't let social engagements interfere with the schedule. One of the best pieces of advice that I was given is "learn how to use your car seats before you have the babies". Decide in advance what remedies you'd like to use for colic, fevers, gas or other ailments and have it on hand.
Humidifier Air-O-Swiss AOS 7144 Ultrasonic is a nice one, but any humidifier in colder weather during cold season, will help. Make sure to get mattress pads that go over the mattress and also the one over the fitted sheet. Get the summer infant piddle pad for the car seat so you don't have to clean the entire car seat when there is an overflow of poopy.
Gina,Thank you so much for taking the time (which seems like it must have been a LOT) to make such a comprehensive list.
I appreciate those of you who commented about attachment parenting & co-sleeping being possible with twins. Had my preemie twins and two year old at the MD's once, they were running so late it got to be feeding time.
I would encourage parents to try to sleep train their babies and not instantly refuse the idea. Pregnancy did not come as easily to us as it did to many of our friends, and while we were beyond excited to (finally!) become parents, we were more than a little overwhelmed.
Sure, they listened to me and provided a couple of words of encouragement here and there, but they never offered me any help, and I always got the sense they kind of enjoyed hearing me sob uncontrollably on the other end of the phone. I had taken our food processor into our bathroom, closed the door as quietly as I could, shoved 3 towels around the door frame, and pureed a week’s worth of baby food on our bathroom counter, and when I started to make my way back to the kitchen while simultaneously balancing 6 containers of nutritious meals for my little one in one hand and our food processor in the other, I realized I was holding my breath. Not only did she listen to everything I had to say, but she also reassured me that what I was experiencing was normal, and that I was not alone.
She offered encouragement and support throughout the whole process, and within the first 24 hours we were getting more sleep than we had in months.
So rather than berating yourself for not finding the time to shower, put on makeup, throw in a load of laundry, make it to the grocery store, or cook dinner, give yourself credit for all the things you DID do today. She lives with her husband and 4-year-old daughter in Toronto, Canada and hopes to move to a warmer climate someday. I didn't know anyone with twins, I didn't know anything about multiples clubs and I certainly didn't know about blogs where I could find information!
I asked the terrific parents in my multiples club (West LA Parents of Multiples) to send me their best tips and advice, the things they wished they had known and the things that they found the most helpful on their journey as new parents.
I believe that their advice is just as applicable to parents of singletons as to parents of multiples. We had post-partum doulas during the day and night for the first six weeks and now have a live-in nanny and some help at night. I had a plan for when I was going to do certain things which was way earlier than most people. It is hard enough to breathe with all of your organs squashed up to make room for two babies in your uterus. They are specialists in fetal development, and her OB may not have the latest ultrasound equipment. A nutritionist might be covered by insurance, so a visit or two would probably be just a copay. We did not get a chance because of the bed rest and now I’m paranoid about what will happen if the babies stop breathing. I had to start pumping because my babies were preemies and I was very sick (due to pre-eclampsia).
Then when they are physically ready to sleep through the night, the routine will already be in place.
I know many don't believe in the "cry it out" method, but we did that and it took about 5 days with every night getting shorter and shorter. It's so hard to do when you're used to being a productive member of society, but the more rested you are the better your milk production, the better your mood, the better your relationship with your family.
Well, the main thing I can think of is that I wish I had not insisted on all of my equipment (i.e. There is nothing worse than your child being feverish or in pain from gas and having to take the time to run to the store to get anything that will help. This diaper pail is very good at reducing odors; my husband has said to me about 100 times: "Who gave us this? As I said, other than the comment about not traveling to high elevations, none of the above tips are my own.
I learned that if you sit on the floor, keeping both girls in the carseat carrier you can feed them both with bottles while your two year old sits on you lap and plays with your iphone. Neither of us had ever held a newborn, let alone changed a dirty diaper, and once the wonderful world of sleep deprivation took its hold on us, the most basic tasks started to feel impossible. She was living halfway around the world in Singapore at the time, and because I knew my time with her was so limited, I decided I didn’t want to miss any of it.
I never had the courage to reach out to any of them personally, but their stories always made me feel less alone, and often made me take stock of how luck I was (and still am). I also posted a list on my fridge with directions for some things so that if someone visits and asks how they can help I can direct them to the list (i.e. Ours has meetings once a month, but also had meetings once a month specifically for expectant parents of multiples. So take it with a grain of salt, but your best advice is going to come from other moms who've walked in your shoes!
This is especially important if they are identical twins, as there are more issues (twin-twin transfusion, for example).
I did this only because I am crazy early for everything in my life and like to be prepared. My wife was not hell-bent on a v-birth, but was open to it if the babies were properly positioned, but then she went on bed rest, so never went to any birthing classes; it worked out anyway that our son was in such an odd position that it would have been a very difficult push.
I didn't have to buy diapers for a whole month for my babies when they came home from the hospital as the nurses gave us so many. It was really hard and I didn't know about hands free for a week or so and it made a huge difference.

We had quite a miserable time trying to figure out how to adjust the straps (had to call a friend). Maybe it's just me (or my car seats), but it was a lot harder than I thought it would be! Better to have it on hand and use the product that you want rather than the only thing the all night drugstore has on the shelf.
I should have taken more photos of the pregnancy and birth but I was so busy in the moment I forgot!
They are gathered from the mothers who belong to my multiples club (almost 500 families) and NOT ONE person shared that co-sleeping was the way to go.
I really like the idea of sleep training them, as I know I'm going to need all the sleep I can get. These are merely suggestions and you should feel free to check with your doctor if you have questions. It would have no doubt been hard to do, but it would have been so good for my sanity and good for them. We love these babies like you wouldn't believe (never knew this kind of love existed) but I am exhausted, have shed lots of tears and sometimes just look like a crazy person (and feel like one too)! Generally, when I take each out separately no one will even notice us, which can be a nice change of pace.
Also, if in this situation, buy a lot of extra pump pieces so you don't have to wash the pump parts in the middle of the night and just use the steam sterilizer bag once a day.
It especially helps to hold it between you and baby when you hold them, so it has your scent. That's what I've loved about this club is getting hand me downs a lot cheaper than buying them brand new, especially since you use a lot of this stuff for such short time period. Make no mistake, most of the time you will need some remedy at 11pm not the convenient 3pm. If they get a little scratch or pimple or something you can put it on and the boo-boo heals up pretty quickly.
But honestly, I found that there was so much more to having my twins than I ever would have expected.
I was so concerned with trying to do it all while simultaneously sporting freshly washed hair and perfectly applied makeup, that I failed to realize no one (least of all my husband) expected any of that stuff from me.
After reading it, if you've got advice to add or questions to ask, please post in the comment section at the end!
Also, I was 10 weeks early, but I hear of so many people who make it a lot closer to 40 weeks.
I don't mean to be negative, but with twins I think it is best to be prepared early as you never know. I took them both out together on Sunday and I couldn't tell you the number of people that spoke to me or asked if they were twins. I wasn't one of those people who had a ton of baby experience or a bunch of friends with children before I gave birth to my own.
With patience and time (and family who can help you do the laundry!) I think I would have made myself insane and scared myself into hiding in the closet and never coming out if I paid any attention to the books. Also used a backpack instead of a diaper bag so I could be more hands free, no bag sliding off my shoulder every time I set a carrier down.
It's hard to just get out of the house to go for a simple walk, at least alone, but sometimes I manage. One thing I was kind of sad about, which is weird to some, is that I gave birth before my shower. The one nice thing is that other parents of twins will also stop you and offer encouragement. I hope that for those of you who are in the same shoes, this list serves as a place to check in and find some real answers. When my twins were born, my oldest had just turned 2 so I felt relatively comfortable with babies but I don't think the details of raising twins are that different than having one, just the workload.
For those of you reading whose children are past the newborn stage, I'd love if you would add your own best tips and advice in the comment section. Often people who don't sleep train have a very negative view of what it is but have never actually experienced it.
It is typically a small (size of a cloth diaper) blanket or cloth, unstuffed animal, etc. I am sure there are a lot of people reading this that would be so grateful for anything you have to share! We moved to a new city and state, left my precious network of neighbors and friends behind, when our twins were just five weeks old. This is going to be chaos, madness and absolutely far more than I know I am going to be able to handle. But I have always said that no amount of shaming or blaming will ever get anyone to change their minds about their parenting methods. To the person reading this who thinks they need to hire an army to help them, if you can do that, DO IT!, you'll love the help. Instead, reach out and share WHY co-sleeping works with multiples, give tips, give support to those who don't think it will work or are afraid to try. We have limited money because we are on one income, and we have zero family and all of our friends are busy with their own families and jobs and can't offer any help. Life will get easier when all of the children get older, and I graduate from school and get back to work. And my children most definitely do not have attachment issues or any sense of not being attuned to.
The good sleep actually made for much less cranky babes.I have had clients whose children would cry for over an hour and vomit etc. To me, if your child has a temperament where they scream & cry for extended periods even though you are absolutely being consistent with your method so as not to confuse them, then you have to approach sleep learning a different way.
Also, I varied SP's plan slightly in that when the children would cry for us I would go in right away and let them know that I hear them (as opposed to waiting 5 minutes to return right from the get go).

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