My twins were born in the midst of RSV season and because they were little and a bit premature, our pediatrician strongly suggested that we lay low until our two month vaccines. Added on to my three months of bedrest, this amounted to five months stuck in the house. When we finally got the ok to head out, I was thrilled. My mind raced with all the possibilities, but I quickly realized that the logistics of heading out with two babies are a bit overwhelming. In addition, every program for moms and babies that I read about, seemed specifically suited to having one baby.
If these are your first babies, you, too, may have fanticized about all the fun things that you would one day do with baby. Don’t fear, there are still many programs that can be adapted to twins and as twins are becoming more and more common, chances are these programs have accommodated twins before. Your best bet is to do some research, talk to other twin moms, talk to the people that put on the programs and try to arrange a free trial session (many programs offer a free first visit) so you can ensure that the logistics of participating with twins are manageable. Also watch that you are not being short changed because you have twins. For example, my local community centre had a music class for moms & babies. When I called about enrolling my twins, they told me that I would have to pay for two babies. After looking through the program calendar, I realized that there was a similar program for mom, baby and an older sibling. This program was cheaper than paying full price twice for the mom & baby music group I had inquired about. I called back and pointed out that they offered a discounted sibling rate for an older sibling and so it was only fair that my twins also receive this same group price. They agreed.
Here are some ideas for getting out with your twins. Most of these programs (unless otherwise noted) can be participated in (with a little juggling and a sense of humour) by yourself with two babies:
- Mom & Baby Group – many communities have a free local mom & baby group where you can meet with other new mothers in an informal setting. Other moms are often more than willing to give you an extra hand if both babies need tended to at the same time.
- Gymboree – Our local Gymboree class had accommodated twins before and the nice part was that we only had to pay for one baby. An exersaucer was set up for the other baby to sit behind my shoulder during circle time. Our Gymboree suggests participating with one baby for two weeks in a row and then switching and participating with the other baby for the next two weeks. This allows each baby to experience repetition of the program – an important part of the Gymboree curriculum. Call ahead to book a trial visit and let them know that you are bringing twins.
- Salsa Dancing – This class worked well when the babies were about three months old and would still sit fairly contently in their infant carriers. I would feed the drowsier baby and put her facing the class in her infant carrier. Something about the salsa music seemed to lull them to sleep. I would then participate with the other baby in the baby bjorn. Instructors who don’t have a baby of their own, will probably offer to dance with one of yours.
- Stroller Walking Clubs – These are often put on by professional baby program companies or local community centres – ours grew out of our Mom & Baby Group. A nice chance to walk and chat with other local moms.
- Go to the Movies– Many theatres now have baby friendly movies. These movies are shown during the day, with reduced volume and are specifically meant for families with babies. They provide change tables and places to park your stroller. It is probably easiest if you can bring along another set of hands the first time.
- Your local library – Most libraries have free baby programs where you can listen to stories, sing songs and meet with other moms and babies in an informal setting. These are fairly easy to participate in by yourself with two babies.
- Community Centres – Programs at the Community Centre are meant to serve the community. They should be happy to accommodate a local mother with twins. If the program requires parent participation, often the program leader will happily use one of your children for demonstration purposes, thereby allowing both babies to get the full benefit of the program.
- Mom & Baby Yoga – These programs are often offered by your local community centre or by professional yoga studios. This is another program where the class leader will usually be willing to take one of your babies for demonstration purposes. This program is easier to participate in with younger babies that aren’t yet mobile.
- Baby Sign Language Courses -Our local classes are offered on a “per family” basis so no need to pay extra for twins.
- Swimming – OK, there are some programs where you just can’t avoid the need for two sets of hands. Swimming is one of them. Luckily our local pool offered baby classes in the evening and on weekends so we were able to bring Dad or Grandma along.