Parenting Twins, or How I Came to Lay a Baby on a Garbage Bag


My wife and I have twins. Toddler twins, of the boy-girl variety.

Almost two years into parenting them, (and over 2 years since we found out) and it still seems kind of ridiculous and surreal. Never in my wildest baby-crazy dreams did I imagine we’d be getting our very own BOGO, but about 1.73 seconds into our very first ultrasound I saw two blobs instead of one, and our lives took an unexpected, overwhelming, intense and amazing turn into the world of parenting multiples.

Little did we know...
Little did we know…

Ang was elated. We called everyone and I acted excited: Haha, isn’t it funny? Twins! Can you believe it? The truth is, inside I was *terrified*. Ok, I said it: I was terrified! As a child therapist, I was panicked about not being able to develop a strong attachment with two babies. As a working mom-to-be, I was stumped on how we would ever afford diapers, car seats, two infant daycare costs. I couldn’t figure out how you even take care of two infants at a time–isn’t someone pretty much going to be feeding all the time?! (YES.) I actually spent the first few weeks after that ultrasound crying a lot and pretending to be overjoyed by the blessing of two babies (“So exciting! Instant family!”) while inside I felt anxious and unprepared.

Synchronized snooze.

Now that we are “out of the weeds” of the first two years with twins, I feel like we can come up for air.

We made it through some overwhelming, difficult times, largely due to the immense support we received from other parents of multiples. I’m grateful to be able to pay forward some of the tremendous advice, support, and encouragement that I clung to myself as a new mama of two. I also feel like it’s finally ok to say out loud that having twins is really, really hard, at least in the early years. And it’s hard in a way that parenting singletons really generally isn’t. Saying so isn’t a rejection of my beautiful children, or a complaint, or a lack of gratitude for the gift of two healthy babies; it’s just honest. If you know someone expecting multiples, or would like to be a great support person to a family with multiples, here are some things that might be helpful:

  • In the first 3-4 months, parenting twins requires almost constant feeding and changing, literally. Tandem nursing is a nice idea but very challenging and not realistic for many moms, which means nursing babies one after the other, or bottle feeding, and sometimes supplementing or choosing formula, and generally all kinds of other details that make feedings a truly relentless, exhausting, emotionally difficult task. A nursing or pumping mother of twins literally may not have more than 20 minutes to sleep, eat or shower a day without help. Offer real help, like folding laundry/washing bottles/watch the babies while you nap for 30 minutes/cooking a meal/ help. And not just for a week or two, for months. Until the babies can sleep longer stretches and wait longer to feed, mothers of twins are literally “on” 24-hours a day.
Synchronized meltdown.
  • Twins parents learn very early that we cannot respond to our children the way we want to. With one baby, parents can respond the moment she cries out, spits up, or wakes. With multiples, you are very often already doing something important when something else important needs to be done. Example: I’m changing a massive poop blow-out on C. when B., who is on her back under the baby gym, spits up badly and begins to choke. I have poop on my hands, C. is crying, and the only thing I can think to do is grab a trash bag and lay C. down on it, drown my hands in hand sanitizer, and race to pick up B.  Both babies are hysterical, I feel like Worst Mom for not being able to tend to and soothe both of them effectively. Twins parents experience a lot of guilt and feelings of inadequacy in the early months. It’s helpful to hear people say things like “That sounds really hard” instead of “No, you’re a great mom!” when we bend your ear for support.
  • Twins parents are tired in a way that no blog post can ever illustrate. SO. TIRED. There is almost always a baby awake. We would sometimes go a few days without B. and C. overlapping sleep by more than 15 minutes until we got them onto a sleep schedule. Support twins’ parents attempts to problem solve sleep issues without judgment. This is NOT the same as singleton sleep issues. Our babies wake each other up. If you can, do what a few of our dear friends did and offer to come stay up overnight with the babies once or twice so we can sleep through the night. You will be inner circle forever.
  • Unless they are really well off, twins parents are financially maxed out a lot of the time. It’s extremely expensive to buy 2 of everything with no re-using of things like car seats, high-chairs, cribs, etc. We pay two doctors bills, two daycare tuitions, twice as many diapers, etc. If you feel inclined to give a gift to newborn multiples families or have older multiples that you buy holiday gifts for, ask the parents what might be helpful. We have been fortunate to have a lot of hand-me-downs from friends with older kids, as well as an extremely generous crew of friends, grandparents, aunts and uncles without whom the kids might well be naked. While we love gifts of books or toys, we are especially grateful when someone says “What do you guys need?”iphone pics 045

Multiples parents, what other types of support did you find most helpful?




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Shauna Silva
Shauna is a native of Vermont's Northeast Kingdom and Middlebury College grad who relocated back to VT in 2013 after more than a decade in Seattle, WA, where she came to appreciate good Pho, Orca Whales and the magic of a long ferry ride. Shauna and her wife, Ang, are a proud 2-mom family with their toddler boy/girl twins. Shauna is a clinical social worker who worked as Child & Family Therapist, parent educator, trainer and consultant for over a decade before being dramatically humbled by her own pregnancy and parenting adventures. She currently works full-time outside the home as a mental health program administrator and full-time in the home chasing diaper escapees and reading "Goodnight Moon." She and Ang are thrilled to be raising their family back home in the Green Mountains where they expect the twins to get really, really good at hockey.


  1. Our boys are 5 and being a parent to twins is one of the hardest things I have ever experienced. It is mind blowing to think back on all that you have done as a parent of twins. I love my active boys from the bottom of my heart and what advice I would give is to find times and ways to be able to be solo with each child. Don’t be afraid to take just one child and go on an adventure and be able to focus on just him or her. Too often I felt that we tried to do things as a family and being overwhelmed by the constant needs of both. Sometimes it is ok to just be with one.

  2. Are there any support groups or resources for twin moms in the Burlington area? I recently just moved back and am expecting boy/girl twins in September and am hopeful there are resources out there….I just haven’t found any yet?!

    • There is an awesome Facebook group… vermont mutiples club. As a twin+toddler mom, they have saved me more than once. Please let me know if you need anything or just to talk!! Megan

  3. My twins are 9 months old, so I’m still in the early stages. It helps that my husband is a twin (though his parents are dead), and he is from a big family. It’s nice to know I’m not the only overwhelmed twin Mom out there.


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