You found out that you’re expecting a second baby, even though you just gave birth to your first one just a few months ago? Well, you can start thinking about baby names for your second baby, and of course, congrats – you’re about to become a proud mom of Irish twins.
Yes, it’s possible and it happens more often than you think actually. It’s almost never planned and it usually occurs because most women believe that breastfeeding is the best birth control. Well, I’m sorry to break it out to you, but it’s not.
Raising two or more children close in age is one heck of a journey for sure and it may be challenging at times, especially during the first year, but of course, it’s all worth it.
Having Irish twins comes with many sleepless nights, cleaning, and feeding – a lot of difficult moments that you have to be prepared for. Still, having children with such a small age gap is a blessing with many advantages and benefits.
Focusing on all the good aspects will give you the strength to endure it all and enjoy parenting your precious little angels.
What Are Irish Twins?
The term Irish twins (also known as Catholic twins) refers to any siblings that are born in the same calendar year or up to 12 months apart. So, the age gap between them is only one year.
If you feel some pregnancy symptoms after having recently given birth to your little one but think it’s impossible to be pregnant because you’re still breastfeeding your newborn, I advise you to immediately take a pregnancy test because it’s very possible and more common than many realize.
Even famous people like Britney Spears, Heidi Klum, Peaches Geldof, Kim Zolciak, Tori Spelling, and Liv Tyler are just some celebrities that had their second babies before healing from giving birth to their firsts.
I’m sure you’ve read already that the ideal spacing between children is 18 to 24 months and anything less than that is a real challenge, but don’t you worry about that.
Whatever the age gap between your kids, it’s perfect. It’s just important to be well organized, educate yourself more about it, and learn some tricks and tips that can help you deal with your two babies.
Why Is It Called Irish Twins?
Actually, most people used to consider the term offensive. It was used as a derogatory twin nickname that represented a stereotype, mocking the Irish Catholic culture.
Historically speaking, this phrase originated in the late 19th century with the first Irish immigration in the United States.
At the end of the nineteenth century, so many people were pushed out of Ireland because of religious conflict and riots, and they set out to the US because they wanted to reunite with their relatives or simply continue with their lives there.
Those Irish immigrants were mostly Roman Catholics and Protestants, and all of them strictly followed the Church and its laws, especially those related to the institution of holy matrimony and contraception.
They avoided birth control measures because it was against their religious beliefs. As a result, families would have many children – much more they were actually able to provide for.
Fortunately, the term is definitely not used today to insult Irish Catholic families, it’s now simply known as a description for children with a small age gap.
There is also the lesser known term Irish triplets, which indicates three babies that were born right after one another within a span of three years.
8 Things You’ll Need With Irish Twins
If you’re pregnant with your second baby and soon to become a mother of Irish twins, here are some things that you have to prepare before your due date and have in your house before baby number two comes.
1. Double stroller
You’re bound to go out grocery shopping with your babies or take the kids out for a walk, and it’ll definitely be much easier if you get yourself a double stroller, especially if your partner works and you’re alone with the kids.
2. Two high chairs
Even once your second baby starts eating solid food, the older sibling won’t yet be able to sit at a regular chair. Getting yourself two high chairs for feeding is really the only way to eat in peace (well, as much as is possible, given the circumstances!)
3. Two car seats
If you want to travel somewhere with your Irish twins, even to some close destinations, you must by law have two car seats. Your older baby isn’t and won’t be for a very long while ready to travel without it.
4. Enough bottles for feeding
Even if you are currently breastfeeding your older baby, on one would blame you if you’ve decided to transition to bottles to avoid the challenges of tandem nursing. Do yourself (and your sanity) a favor and arm yourself with a stockpile of bottles for either both children or at least your older one.
5. Pacifiers for each baby
I think all mothers are forever thankful for pacifiers! It has such power to soothe a little one in mere seconds.
That’s why you’ll do good to buy a few pacifiers for each of your precious babies. The first time you lose one, you’ll be so grateful for having backup.
6. You can never have too many bibs
While you’ll need bibs for feeding your older baby, it’s a good idea to also stock up on some for your new addition’s spit-ups. Check out the plenty of baby bibs available in various sizes and designs on Amazon, because trust me, there’s no such thing as too many bibs.
7. Diapers, diapers, diapers
Potty training your older one is still a long way off, so you’re going to be buying diapers for two. It would’ve been great if you could save some bucks with jumbo diaper packs, right? Too bad they’ll be wearing different sizes.
8. Tandem baby carrier
If your older baby hasn’t started walking yet, you’ll have your hands full carrying both babies – often at the same time. A tandem (or twin) baby carrier or wrap will free you up and also ensure neither baby will feel excluded from mommy’s arms.
6 Tips For Raising Irish Twins
Having two kids with such a small age gap will be adventurous, to say at least. Here are some tips that might help you with raising Irish twins.
1. Ask for help from close ones
You don’t need to be alone in all this. In fact, you don’t deserve to be. Feel free to ask those you trust for help.
Open up to your partner and tell him how you really feel if you’re not coping or need a bit of a breather. Make a schedule together and figure out who does what – after all, you’re in this parenting thing together.
Family, friends, and even hired babysitters are also good backup help should you need it.
2. Be organized
As mentioned above, being organized will help you manage the challenge of caring for two babies. Sit together with your partner and draw up a schedule that both you and your partner can realistically stick to. Also prepare an action plan for unforeseen events, especially for those days when one or both kids are sick, for instance.
Keep track of how many groceries and baby care products you have and never allow yourself to run out. Mothers of multiple kids can attest to the nightmare that is shopping at the last moment.
3. Recognize each child’s needs
Both children need you equally. But while it’s perfectly natural for you to be more dedicated to the immediate needs of your newborn baby, remember to give as much attention as you can to your older kid, too.
4. Develop everyday routines
If you stick to your schedule every day, you’ll develop some routines that will greatly help you in parenting your two youngins.
This is especially important for moms who are alone with the kids for the most part of the day. Consistent routines lead to a healthier lifestyle.
Your kids will get used to taking naps and going to bed at the same time each day, which will also make everything much easier for you.
5. Encourage their close bond
Siblings that have such a close age gap will always have a special bond. They’ll be each other’s best friends forever. That’s one of the most beautiful parts of having Irish twins.
Encourage bonding opportunities through shared activities. Let them play together and when they have small disagreements about something, try to not stand between them, but let them solve it out by themselves.
6. Never compare yourself with other mothers
Probably one of the most important realizations for you as a parent is that no two kids are the same and you can’t parent them all the same.
That’s why it’s pointless to compare yourself with other parents out there. Take heart that you’re already doing the best you can for your children and that’s absolutely enough.
What To Expect From Life With Irish Twins?
Let’s be honest. Everyone’s life changes fundamentally when a baby arrives, So you can just imagine how having a one-year-old and a newborn can turn your life completely around.
1. Many sleepless nights
Well, you can say goodbye to sleeping the whole night through, because if that was unlikely with the first one, it’ll be impossible now. Between nighttime feeds, diaper changes, and your older child teething, you’ll want to cash in on your kids’ nap times with some shut-eye yourself.
2. But also, a lot of beautiful mornings
You’ll be woken up every morning with two most beautiful voices ever – those of your little angels. No matter how hard it is in some moments, you’ll thank God every morning for your blessings.
3. Many postpartum body changes
Hey, this is your second pregnancy in almost two years. Of course your body will change and it has to. It’s all natural.
You might not have even recovered from your first pregnancy and birth when you got pregnant with your second baby, so don’t pay too much attention to your stretch marks or the weight gain. You’ll have time to take care of that when you fully recover.
4. Your love life will change a bit
First of all, you’ll forget totally about date nights. And even when you do find a little time to go out, just thinking about organizing someone to watch for the kids renders you too tired to actually go anywhere.
You’ll want to get as much sleep as possible, so you’ll probably go to bed when kids go, too. In the end, you may end up just watching a movie together and falling asleep on the couch (until one kid wakes you up, of course).
Just be patient and understanding. It’ll all pass sooner than you think. Before you know it, you’ll be able to dedicate a bit more time to yourselves.
5. You’ll go shopping mostly for diapers
Sad, I know, but your shopping will change, too. No more casual strolling through stores for hours – you’ll now either have your Irish twins in tow or they’ll be waiting for you at home. For that matter, you probably won’t even buy anything for yourself in the beginning, and even if you do, it’ll probably be online.
Expect your shopping list to consist of groceries, diapers, and copious amounts of other baby care products. (Oh, and did I mention diapers?)
6. Your social life will be on hold for a while
I’m not saying that you should forget about your friends, but the fact is you won’t be able to hang out with them as much as you did before. However, if they’re truly your friends, they’ll understand because they’re aware of the many obligations and heavy workload you have with your two young ones.
Raising Irish twins is such a crazy and wonderful adventure. You definitely have to be ready for all the challenges it brings, and trust me, there will be many.
However, one day you’ll thank God for blessing you with this kind of experience because you’ll realize how special the bond is between these close-in-age siblings.
You’ll be met with many annoying questions from people around you, like Did you plan it? or How could you let that happen? but don’t let them get to you. You’ll learn to filter them all out.
Also, some people may warn you about possible risks of having a second baby so early, like autism, preterm labor, or low birth weight. Just be sure to see your healthcare provider regularly and, with the help of God, everything will be just fine.
Yes, after having Irish twins, your life will change completely, but it’ll be for the better, I promise. Having two precious little angels will enrich and fill your life with joy unspeakable.
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