Advice for Angelina & Brad: How To Care For Newborn Twins

07/17/2008 at 10:00 AM ET

Angelinaljolie57014_cbb_2We can only imagine how happy and excited the Jolie-Pitt family must be with their new arrivals, Vivienne Marcheline and Knox Léon. However, we also know they must be feeling a few other things as well… like tired! To help them and their family get a little more peace and rest these first few manic weeks, we consulted some of our favorite baby care experts: Dr. Harvey Karp, author of The Happiest Baby on the Block, Cheryl Lage, author of Twinspiration: Real-Life Advice from Pregnancy through the First Year and Dr. William Sears, author of more than 30 parenting books, including The Baby Book. Here’s what they recommend for Angelina and Brad.

Click through to the next page for six great tips.

  1. Soothe them to sleep with swaddling and a white noise machine."Swaddle the twins tightly," advices Dr. Karp, whose 5 S’s of babycare– swaddling, side/stomach, sucking, shushing sounds and swinging –have been a lifesaver to many new moms. "And use a white noise machine.The best sound by far is the sound of the womb. Get that sound on a CDand have it repeat all night long." One benefit of this technique isthat it will allow Brad and Angelina to care for one twin while theother is still sleeping. It also will help them when they travel. "Thewhite noise becomes an auditory teddy bear," explains Dr. Karp. "Itwill create a sleeping tool they can use when they travel to calm thebabies to sleep where ever they may be." For Brad and Angelina, whohave other kids to care for as well, being able to soothe the twinswill be crucial.
  2. Set a schedule that works for you. "Every family needs tofind parenting practices and philosophies that work best for them whenamidst the first days, weeks and months with their twin infants," saysCheryl Lage, whose twins Darren and Sarah are 6-years-old now. Likemany twins, Knox and Vivienne arrived a little earlier than expected,and doctors often put smaller twins on a frequent feeding routine (likeevery 2.5 – 3 hours/24 hours). That’s what happened in Lage’s case."With that as the cornerstone for routine, we got into a predictablegroove that worked well for our babies, and us! For our family, tandemfeeding, followed up by diapering both, awake/play/stimulating timeafter that, and then a pre-next feed nap was the flow that worked wellin our house."
  3. If possible, feed the twins at the same time. As Lage foundfrom her own experience, "Whether by bottle or breast, feeding themtogether was a great togetherness time for us, and a means by which wecould try to get an extra 20-30 minutes extra rest each three hourrotation. For us, those occasional 10-20 minute cat naps whenever wecould finagle them were a lifesaver."
  4. Both parents can "nurse" a twin. "Nursing,"  says Dr. Sears,"doesn’t just mean feeding, but holding them, rocking them, etc." Thedifference between the roles of mom and dad is less obvious with twinsthat a single child. "Fathers get involved earlier, and the mothers letthem," he says. "It brings dads out of their parental shells."
  5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. All of our experts agree,no parent of newborn twins should feel badly about needing an extrapair of hands (or arms) during these early weeks. Or, as Dr. Karpsuggests, they could try a swing. "It will allow the twins to feel likethey’re being held while Angelina and Brad grab time with the otherkids."   
  6. Think like a baby. "Here’s the best piece of advice," says Dr.Sears. "In any situation that requires action — for instance, one ofthe babies is crying — put yourself behind the eyes of the baby andask, ‘If I were the baby, what would I want the mom/dad to do?’ Andyour answer will always be right."

Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images.

Are there twins or multiples in your family? Leave your own tips and advice for Brad and Angelina!

FILED UNDER: Multiples , News

Share this story:

Your reaction:

Add A Comment

PEOPLE.com reserves the right to remove comments at their discretion.

Showing 15 comments

Sarita on

I like the couple and wanted to read about the birth and look forward to seeing the photos.

But please, do we really need all these posts linked to the birth of two babies?

Darlene on

I have Girl/Boy twins Kayla and Alexander (they are 4 now) They arrived 6 weeks early and both weighted over 5 lbs, but still had to stay in the NICU for 5 days, they needed to learn how to suck their bottles. The best advise that I would give is to keep them on the same schedule.
I wish Brad and Angelina all the best with their new little bundles of joy! Can’t wait to see pictures of them.

Donna La Brecque on

With our now six-month old fraternal twin boys, Julian and Jonathan, we found that they liked to sleep close. After all, it’s what they know and love. Swaddled yes, and on little inclines in their basinette or crib. That said, have two cribs set up from the get go (Oeuf are fantastic), with one in the master bedroom and the other in the nursery. Keep it this way for the first four months—it will make life much easier for you, the nanny…everyone. After that, when they start squirming around, move the one crib out of the master bedroom and into the nursery where they’ll sleep each in their own.

In general, infant twins are most often in side by side arrangements in car seats and strollers. Let them see each other face to face, and let them spend as much time together on a mat on the floor. What discoveries they will make and connections fostered.

And finally, check out the RIE method (RIE.org).

Happy twinning,

Donna La Brecque

leelee on

I doubt brad and angelina are reading this right now LOL

They’ve probably prepared themselves, I don’t doubt that they know what they’re doing.

~ Beth ~ on

While all of this advice is great (especially the schedule & feeding at the same time) I think that it is geared more towards 1st time parents than a couple like Brad & Angelina. I am a mom of 11 month old twin girls, but they are #’s 4 & 5 for us so I’ve never been short on extra help. There has always been a few extra pairs of hands willing to do just about anything that I’ve asked. Brad & Angie have that same thing with the big kids around.

I wish them nothing but luck. I hope that the babies get to come home soon. I had mine @ 38 weeks & they both weighed 6 lbs 7 ozs each so no NICU stay for them (thank goodness). We were all home after 3 days (with a c-section). Recovering at home is so much more comfortable than in the hospital anyway.

Andi on

I was a bit confused by this part “doctors often put smaller twins on a frequent feeding routine (like every 2.5 – 3 hours/24 hours).”

ALL newborns need to eat 10-12 times in a 24 hour period which = AT LEAST every 2.5-3 hours.

joy on

The “frequent feeding schedule” of every 2.5-3 hours comment really concerns me. Babies–especially early ones–should be fed more frequently, and by the baby’s request, if possible. Breastmilk digests really quickly, so unless someone is formula feeding, this is not often enough.

Cheryl Lage on

Hi Andi and Joy (and others who may not be chiming in!)–

Absolutely understand — and thank you for voicing — your concern!

To respond; in our instance, we were breastfeeding our twins tandem every feed — which worked very well for all three of us!

At the advice of both our twins’ pediatrician (also a twin mom) AND a lactation consultant, we were advised (more like mandated!) to stick to a 2.5 – 3 hour nursing routine. Not only to keep my supply up (which had dipped severely to due to exhaustion and over-stimulation spurred mastitis) as well as to prevent our lower birth weight twosome from losing too many calories from “suck exercise” during lengthy and “too frequent” (their words, not mine) nursings.

Each family is different; and I do genuinely appreciate your concern (without judgment!). Thank you for allowing me to clarify what worked for us.

Wishing the Jolie-Pitts, and all new parents the very best as they discover what parenting practices work best for their unique situations!

GroundRules on

What is the point of giving advice to Brad and Angie… do u really think they are reading this blog to get it. Just give general advise about twins instead of dragging B&A into it.

joy on

Cheryl, thank you for that information–that sounds like a great strategy. Congratulations on breastfeeding twins!

PSB on

Wow Cheryl, you’re a rock star. Breastfeeding one baby was tough enough for me, I can’t imagine two at the same time. I always assumed if I had twins I would nurse one and have the husband bottle feed the other, then switch them at the next feeding. I guess nursing both could be easier (though not on your body) in some ways, because you don’t have to prepare or clean bottles. You must’ve been drinking water non-stop! And not sleeping!

C Butler on

We have 14 month fraternal twins Kayla & Khalil. The key to multiples is a schedule, they were born at 38 weeks, both weighing 6 lbs 10ozs, so they were pretty big. No problems we all went home together after 2 days in hospital. The key to multiples is a schedule feedings, sleeping everything. If on wakes up to feed wake the other, eventually they will be on the same page. Our twins were sleeping through the night at 3 months, as they grow older you have a different set of challenges, and dont be afraid to ask for help

TwinMamma on

Yep, schedules are KEY! Our twins are still on a strict sleep schedule (they’re almost 3 now). It amazes singleton parents (not to say singleton parents don’t schedule their babies). Most of my friends (who have generally have one child) don’t understand the need for strict schedules. Tell ya what, life was miserable until we got our schedule down.

Courtney on

Yes, PSB, tandem-nursing twins is not only easy (most of the time), it’s time-saving and cost-efficient! I have nursed my boys (3 years old) at the same time since they were born, allowing me more sleep and more time. At first it takes practice to find the positioning that works for you, but with all things, it’ll work itself out in time.

I highly recommend this to all twin moms.

Alexis : ) on

I have 14 month old boy/ girl twins and they were born at 33 weeks. At 3 pounds 15 ounces a piece they were little. They were in the nicu about twenty days and when they came home from the hospital they were on a PERFECT schedule. I fed and changed them every three hours and when one was done feeding the other would just be waking. I had to bottle feed (breast milk)because I had to measure how much they ate. Even with all of the extra things I had to do with my premies I did not find it difficult at all. Now they are still a little small but walking, talking and enjoying life!