Now that I’ve survived the first year of Irish Twin Mama Life, it’s time to share what I’ve learned with others. These tips apply to both Irish Twins (children born within 12 months of each other), and also to kids close in age, such as 2 under 2 years old.
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Irish Twin Tips
Never forget that you and your husband are a team. When you need help, ask for it. My husband had to step up and take on a bigger parenting role for our 11-month old son, while I was busy with our newborn daughter.
For the first few months, my husband and I slept in separate rooms. This allowed maximum sleep for both of us. I did not disturb him while I was up half the night with our newborn daughter. In addition, my husband slept in our son’s room, so that when our son woke in the middle of the night, I did not have to wake up and get our 11-month old back to sleep.
As a general rule, when we go out in public, my husband handles our son, while I take care of our daughter. With two one-year-olds, each child requires special attention: whether it be carrying a child across the parking lot, or pushing a stroller, or helping to feed a child at a restaurant. Each adult taking care of one child makes sense and works for our family.
Accept the fact that with 2 in diapers for at least a year, you are going to go through a massive amount of diapers.
My life became much easier when my two started wearing the same size diapers. When my daughter was 6 months old, I moved her up to size 4’s to match her big brother’s size. For the past 6 months, they have continued in size 4’s. Because they are the same diaper size, I’m not frantically searching for two different sizes when diaper change time rolls around. Packing the diaper bag is much easier too.
I highly recommend becoming an Amazon Prime member and buying diapers in bulk. You can typically save 20% on diapers and wipes this way. I’m not going to recommend one diaper brand over the others, but I will say that my family typically purchases Luvs brand diapers. Luvs work for us and are more affordable than some of the other diaper brands.
My final bit of diaper change advice is to do diaper changes assembly-line style. By doing one child after the other, it keeps you from feeling like you are changing diapers all day long.
Obviously, your child with the poopy diaper is the priority, but once you are in the diaper-changing groove, it makes sense to go ahead and change your other child’s wet diaper in the same sitting.
- Give Yourself a Break:
Several people have told me that having Irish Twins is harder than having regular twins, and I would have to agree with them. As an Irish Twin mother, you have the double whammy of having two children that need constant supervision and attention, while also being at different developmental stages.
As I breastfed my newborn daughter, my 12-month-old son was toddling all over the house, intent on doing and getting into anything and everything that he shouldn’t. I quickly found out that toddlers are more work than newborns.
Those early days were more about survival than anything else. My husband would come home from work to a messy house and frozen pizza for dinner, and that was ok.
It was ok because I had given my all taking care of my babies, and that was what mattered.
- Be Prepared for Twin Comments or Inappropriate Comments:
The first time someone asked me if my two were twins, my daughter was only a few months old. Since then, I could not tell you how many times I’ve been asked, “Are they twins?”
Typically, when I explain that they are 11 months apart, the follow up question is, “Were they planned?” In essence, the question-asker is waiting for me to explain that my daughter was an accident.
But the truth is, I don’t consider her an accident or mistake at all.
I don’t think anyone plans on getting pregnant 2 or 3 months postpartum, but if it happens, it isn’t the end of the world.
- Don’t Drive Yourself Crazy with Worry:
I remember when I first found out I was pregnant with my daughter, when my son was only 3 months old. I was terrified, not because I didn’t want another child, but because I was afraid that it would be a high-risk pregnancy, and that my baby would not survive. My son was a C-section, and everything I had read recommended waiting 18 months after a C-section before even attempting to get pregnant again.
Some of the insane thoughts that ran through my mind were, “What if my body can’t handle another pregnancy so soon? What if my C-section scar pops open and the new baby falls out?”
But my daughter’s pregnancy progressed much the same as my son’s, even if both pregnancies were anything but enjoyable.
I carried my daughter full-term with no complications, and at 39 weeks and 1 day, I underwent a scheduled C-section. Since birth, she has been just as healthy, if not healthier, than her big brother. Which just goes to show that though it may not be ideal, a mother’s body is more than capable of carrying two healthy babies back-to-back.
- Think of the Positives of Irish Twins:
Your two will grow up together and most likely be best friends.
You get the hardest, baby-phases out of the way all at once. If you are already used to diaper changes and sleep deprivation, then it’s not so difficult to extend that stage another year.
If you are an older mom like I was, (31 and 32 when my Irish Twins were born), you may want to have your kids back-to-back to ensure your fertility and new mom energy.
Enjoy the ride of Irish Twin motherhood. It is a blessing like no other. Never confuse “unplanned” with “unwanted.”
It’s crazy to think that for 23 days each year, my kids are the same age. Right now, I am the biological mother of two 1-year olds who aren’t twins. Who else but Irish Twin moms can say that?
Readers: What do you think of these tips? Is there anything you would add?