By Krystal Workman, Inventor of the TwinGo Carrier
Congratulations! Graduation day is just around the corner and leaving the NICU is truly a cause for celebration. For the parents of twins out there, I’d like to share these five things I learned to help you prepare for life after the NICU with twins.
Twins aren’t always released at the same time
When I first learned Twin B would come home before Twin A, my heart sank. Almost immediately guilt set in that one baby would get more of my attention than the other. If you find guilt creeping up too, here’s a perspective change: One-on-one time is a great way to get to know each baby individually. Now that my twins are older–trust me–individual time is truly a gift to twins!
Sleep as much as you can before they graduate!
I received this tip repeatedly from other twin parents but sort of questioned the validity. When I showed up for “my shifts” at the NICU, the nurses seemed to effortlessly move the twin’s schedule right along. I honestly remember thinking “How can this be exhausting?” Rookie mistake! Caring for preemie twins at home is intense, especially if you are doing it alone. So, charge your batteries before it’s GO time!
Set up a Meal Train and stock up your freezer
When your friends and family find out your babies were born early, they likely want to help but won’t know how if they’ve never experienced NICU life. For your eager support network, ask them to do two things: Make one freezer meal and sign up for a Meal Train after the twins come home. If you have 30 people in your network, that is 2 months of meals! Your sleep deprived self will be immensely grateful, so, yes, buy a freezer chest before the twins get home!
Observe the NICU schedule and ask a ton of questions
Most twin parents quickly realize one of the hidden benefits of the NICU is that the babies come home on a sleep/feed schedule–either staggered or synchronized. However, maintaining the schedule takes deliberate thought and preparation. This is where asking tons of questions before leaving the NICU comes into play. The NICU nurses taught me what feeding and sleep cues looked like for each of my babies (and they were surprisingly different!), how to feed and burp efficiently to keep the schedule going, when to swaddle, bathe, and snuggle…I felt like a parent on training wheels!
Get the gear ready!
You might think you’ll have free time when your twins are home to do last minute shopping or assemble a crib, but in the world of twins, you’ll be operating on negative time–if that’s a thing. You’ll enter survival mode where your time will be used only on things that help you and your family make it to the next day. So not only should you get the gear ready before your twins get home, you want to invest in quality gear that empowers you as a parent. In my world, I focused on gear that helped me feed my twins efficiently, helped them sleep safely and helped me bond with my babies.
About the Author
Krystal Workman is the inventor of the TwinGo Carrier, the first ergonomic twin baby carrier. Her invention was born out of personal necessity to care for her own twins, and as a way to emotionally heal from the touchless first few days in the NICU. Today, TwinGo has helped more than 10,000 families around the world keep their babies close!