I remember wondering what our days with twins would really look like–how much crying will there be? How will I feed them both at once? When will I shower? Etc. Etc.
While we are far from a “routine” in the typical sense of the word, we have settled into a rhythm that feels manageable and comfortable. The How are we ever going to do this? feeling has mostly dissipated, and Mike and I typically end our days with lots of high-fives and pats on the back for surviving another round. I though it would be fun to occasionally share what a day in the life of twins looks like for us at different stages throughout this first year.
Making this current stage possible are a few critical factors:
- Mike has extended his paternity leave through the end of the school year, which means there are almost always two sets of hands available to care for the babies
- We have some experience on our side, which allows us to breathe a bit easier through the difficult moments and see the light at the end of the tunnel when a phase or day seems particularly rough
- Both of our babies are healthy, vibrant little beings who eat and sleep well
Here is the short breakdown of a recent weekday:
- 6:15 to 7am – wake up & diaper / feed / dress babies
- 7 – 8:30am – playmat time for the babies & coffee for me; another round of diapering & feeding
- 8:30 – 9:15am – get babies into car seats and run out to the grocery store
- 9:15 – 11:30am – babies nap while Mike and I do some chores, shower, etc..
- 11:30 – 1:15pm – more diapering and feeding, lots of cuddles
- 1:15 – 2:15pm – take the babies for a walk (they sleep)
- 2:15 – 3:30pm – diapering, feeding, snuggling, tummy time
- 3:30 – 4:30pm – babies nap while we scramble to make an early dinner
- 4:30 – 5pm – try to keep the babies happy with more nursing and snuggling, but they are inevitably cranky and fussy
- 5 – 6:45pm – rock the babies to sleep in the stroller at Natalie’s tee ball game
- 7 – 7:30pm – try to keep the babies happy while Natalie takes a bath and gets ready for bed
- 7:30 – 8:30pm – bedtime routine and tuck the babes in for the night
- 8:30pm – celebrate surviving the day with a glass of wine 🙂
And here is the long version of that same day 🙂
Natalie is up for school around 6am, which means we are all up at about 6am. On a typical night, the babies have slept soundly from 8:30pm to 1:30 or 2am and then slept somewhat fitfully until Natalie jumps into bed with us. Sometimes they have one feeding overnight, but most times it’s two.
The day begins with Nat giving the babies snuggles and getting herself ready for school. I am so grateful that she is at an age where she chooses her own clothes, dresses herself save for any tricky buttons, brushes her own teeth and hair, and cleans up her own breakfast dishes. While she’s alternating kissing her brother and sister and getting herself dressed, I usually manage to brush my teeth and get my hair in a ponytail before tackling morning diapers and getting the babies set up for a long nursing session.
Mike and Natalie head off down the road for kindergarten by about 6:45, and the babies and I have a couple of hours alone at the house. Nat attends school in the district where Mike teaches, which is about an hour’s drive from our house. It’s been the cost of Mike’s paternity leave to get her back and forth to school every day, but it’s definitely been worth it.
After a good feed, I get clothes on the babies and start the chore of getting all three of us downstairs for the day. While I can easily carry both babies at once, we never carry them down the stairs at the same time (visions of a simple misstep on our steep stairs are very real nightmares for me). This means at least two or three trips up and down to get both babies settled onto the playmat in the living room along with anything we need from upstairs (most importantly, my enormous nursing pillow).
Coffee is next up for me–essential! Lately I’ve gotten back into bulletproof coffee (my fave combination: 10 oz of coffee, 2 tablespoons of ghee, a quarter cup of whole coconut milk–froth it up with an immersion blender and guzzle/sip/enjoy). Mornings are pretty happy times for both babies, so they are usually content to kick, stretch, and coo on their playmat while I putter around the kitchen for a few minutes.
I usually scroll the morning’s headlines and social media while I down my coffee and talk to Viv and Lo about the day ahead. If I’m lucky, we have about 20 minutes together to ease into the day before they get fussy and are ready for a change of scenery.
On this particular morning, Vivian wasn’t satisfied unless she was in my arms, so we snuggled together for the first part of the morning.
After a good night’s sleep (and only eating once or twice overnight), the babies usually nurse a lot in the morning. When I’m home alone, getting them both set up to eat is a bit of a chore, but I have managed to get a system down that works because neither baby is rolling yet. I am able to put both babies on the couch, side by side, while I strap on the enormous nursing pillow and settle in on the couch next to them. A bit of a reach is needed to get each baby set up in a football hold before they latch on and begin to nurse. This is my quality Gilmore Girls viewing time. 🙂
On this day, I fed the babies at 6:15ish and again at 7:30. After feeding them, we often go for a walk or run a quick errand to fill the time before Mike is back home and we can each take a baby. This morning, it was a trip to the grocery store for a few essentials.
To get both babies changed, in car seats, and out to the car alone is no small feat. One or both is crying, and one inevitably spits up or needs another diaper change before we make it out the door. The car is an almost-instant soother, though, so no matter their level of distress I know they’ll be conked out within a minute or two of our drive.
Wheeling both babies through the grocery store at this age means no cart, but instead using our double stroller. Heavy duty stroller hooks make it possible to hang a bag from the back and pretty easily navigate through the store.
When we made it back home, both babies were still fast asleep, which meant I could finally get myself some breakfast. Some mornings, the only way to have some breakfast is to make it while listening to both babies cry in the other room or just wait until Mike is home so I can steal a few minutes alone at the table to eat. Breakfast is usually something with protein, often eggs, but this morning it was: a banana and an apple sliced up with some berries and topped with almond butter and raw coconut flakes. Delish.
When Mike got back home we tackled our chore for the day. We are planning to list our house at the end of the month, so we have a list of projects to work on each day to attempt to get the house ready to sell.
Lucky for us, the babies were still conked out from our grocery store trip so we each got to tackle a project (I painted trim, Mike cleaned radiators) and I even got a shower in before they started to stir.
When the babies are up, our schedule is pretty consistent: change diapers, feed and burp, have some playtime, nurse again and they fall asleep. While they are happy or nursing we steal some time to get in food ourselves or watch a TV show before Mike heads down the road to pick up Natalie. The babies and I often accompany him on the afternoon leg of the trip, depending on when they last ate and slept.
On this particular day, we stayed behind and Mike picked Nat up solo. He was on the road around 1:15, and I packed the babies up for a walk while he was gone. This is another guarantee of a nap, and is always a welcome outing for me.
Our walking route is about 2 miles, and takes us down by the water. Now that the weather is warming up, the harbor is starting to fill up again and I am reminded of how lucky we are to live in this seaside town. I know that spring is a beautiful time most everywhere, but there is something magical about watching both land and ocean come to life at once. Boats are lowered into the water, the docks are pressure-washed, and gulls squawk overhead; it is such a welcome feast for the senses to walk through the salty air after a long winter.
When Mike and Natalie get home, we head into the toughest stretch of the day. The babies are fussy and start to nurse almost every hour from around 4pm until bedtime, and we feel stretched pretty thin between keeping the babies happy and getting in some quality time with Nat. She is a huge help with the babies, though, and doesn’t seem to resent the loss of both parents’ full attention now that she has siblings.
We squeezed in an early dinner and Nat watched a little Hook while the babies alternately fussed, nursed, and napped. Around 5 o’clock, we got Natalie into her tee ball uniform and bundled the babies into car seats to get to her game. Mike walked them around beyond the outfield until they fell asleep, and then we got to enjoy watching the mayhem of the game.
When the game ended, it was time to get Natalie into the tub and ready for bed, and time to nurse the babies again. It’s always a little hectic trying to keep the babies calm while we deal with Natalie’s bedtime needs. Hair combing, tooth brushing, story reading, and hopefully a little bedtime chat while we snuggle are all done by one parent while the other soothes Vivian and Logan. Nat gets tucked in around 7:30, which is when we start to get the babies settled for bedtime. Natalie is allowed some quiet play time in bed to read, write, or play with toys while we get the Viv and Lo ready for bed. Usually this play time is interrupted by coming in to our room to give the babies extra snuggles.
Our bedtime routine is pretty simple, but we stick to it strictly at this point. It was a bath night, so we took turns giving each baby a little tub time before lubing them up with some lavender scented lotion and snuggling them into fresh onesies and swaddle sacks. They are so cute all bundled up, it kills me every night when I see their little heads poking out of their burrito shaped swaddles. I nurse them while Mike reads a bedtime story, and then it’s lights out with the noise machine on. We put them into the pack’n’play around 8 o’clock, and hope they will drift off to sleep on their own. More often than not, by the time we’ve folded laundry or done some other chore, they need another quick nursing session before ultimately falling asleep between 8:30 and 9.
This is the point in the night when we crash on the couch (usually with a glass of wine!) and congratulate each other on another day down.