It seems like everyone was pregnant when I was pregnant, and so naturally everyone now has young babies. I hear people say a lot, "I don't know how you do it with two." Or just ask how we made it. So this is what I am going to say about that.
First off, Matt and I are far from perfect parents, and I am sure many books would criticize what we did/do. But we do our best. There are many people out there who have more than twins, and I do not know how they do it! I am thinking, "At least I have two hands and could feed them together!"
So with that being said this is how we survived. And I use the word survive because I feel that with newborns, no matter how many, that is what you have to do. Forget about being perfect parents and establishing the perfect routine. Do what you have to do to survive while caring for the needs of the baby. Between feedings and changings and trying to get some sleep and feed ourselves those early weeks are tough for anyone. I mean, I was never told how much moms worry about baby's weight and how much they are eating, or how hard breastfeeding can be. All these things just add to the stress. I remember those first few weeks being especially hard because of the postpartum things. I cried a lot, for reasons I did not even know. I loved those girls more than I ever thought possible and just looking at them made me cry. But they took every ounce of energy I had.
6 months later I can look back and realize that we made it. There were times I just did not think I would ever get to the point where they would sleep through the night. I did not think that there would be a time where I would even have a moment to myself.
(Even if it is from 9-11 at night). But we probably did not do anything "right". I got to the end of my pregnancy and realized that I had read all kinds of books about the actual pregnancy but did not have a clue what to do when the girls actually got here! Scary thought! But we figured it out. And we did a lot of things that are considered "bad" by many.
Pretty much every night I ended up with at least one baby in the bed with me, even for a few hours. Even if it was not my original intention, sometimes you just have to sleep. I would nurse them to sleep many times too. I heard that was bad, but I did not care. I was trying to survive. And now they go to bed at 8:30 and Leah wakes at 6:30 and Hannah sleeps until 8:30 many mornings. So I do not think it was detrimental.
When they cried I picked them up. I heard I was spoiling them but I had a really hard time listening to my children cry. I mean, I was emotional anyway and I couldnt bear to hear it. I wanted to try the "tough love" thing but never really did. Even now I still go in and pat them if they have a hard time falling asleep. But they sleep. So again I dont think I caused them any damage. (I do sometimes have to let them cry themselves to sleep but it is normally when they are so tired they are just fussy from it.)
We should have read some more books, but normally I just looked up things on the internet as the questions arose. Honestly, we did not have a clue but we did a pretty good job I think. We have been lucky so far. The girls grew well, they started sleeping 6 hours at a time around 3 months old, and we have not had any major sicknesses. We have not hit the teething age yet so I am sure we will be in for an interesting time, but so far so good.
So in short, how did we do it with two? We had a lot of help that was greatly appreciated (after I got over my postpartum 'I dont want help' phase) and we did what we had to do. I dont care if people think we were wrong. We did the best we could. And thats my advice for all you new moms out there. Do the best you can do and do what you have to do. There is plenty of time to teach your child to nap. We just started working on a nap routine at 5 months and now they are doing pretty well. There is plenty of time to teach them to sleep on their own. I really dont think you can spoil a little baby and I dont think they can be manipulative until 4-6 months. Just do not worry so much about whether what you are doing may cause the adverse in the future such as "If I nurse her to sleep, she will always have to be nursed". Not true, as I have found. God bless those who have more than 2 because that would be so much harder. But as I remember the days after they were born, I am glad I do not have to go back. Each stage is more fun with its own challenges. It's never easy and but it gets to the point where it is not just one sided, and that was a wonderful change.
Congrats to all the new mommy's out there! Whenever you have a hard day, just remember it gets easier! And it is just amazing how much joy those little babies bring!