My Advice for Parents of Multiples
- Many baby stores offer twin discounts if you buy two of the same thing. Check out BabiesRus and Buy Buy Baby etc. Also contact diaper companies and formula companies, many of them donate diapers and formula, or at least give you coupons or a significant discount and they’ll send them to you.
- If your home is on two levels, make sure to set up a changing station on each level so that you don’t have to run up and down stairs all day, and night. Keep these well stocked with diapers, wipes, desitan, baby Tylenol, Baby nail clipper, burp cloths, and a couple extra changes of clothes. It’s only when you don’t plan ahead that you get launched into panic mode which can set you up for feeling overwhelmed the rest of the day. Try to avoid this.
- Once you know you are having twins you need to do your homework, and be ready with the right products and a good organizational plan. You can get lots of ideas, shortcuts, and organizational advice from multiple support groups like, The National Organization of Mothers of Twins Clubs (nomotc.org), or Twinslist.org. There are some great websites like twinshelp.com and morethanone.com that offer tips and resources & products like strollers for 4, Milk Maid Bottle holder that keeps a bottle at a 60 degree angle for feeding and doesn’t let it fall off baby, for those times when you just don’t have enough hands to go around. Search through Google under twins and you’ll be surprised at what you’ll find.
- Tell your friends the preferred baby gift is “home cooked meals” delivered to you or better yet, a gift of their time—a few hours so you can sleep, shower, or open your mail. Or how about “an evening out” so you and your husband can catch a breath & reconnect (and try not to talk baby talk for the night). Experts would tell you to get a hotel room, make it romantic and have sex. Truth be told, you’ll probably be catching up on sleep. The #1 problem for parents of multiples is an exhaustion and sleep-deprivation, and you do have to acknowledge that and attend to it occasionally, or it can take you down.
- Your new Mantra for year one, ok maybe the first two years is “this too shall pass”. During the first few months, it will seem like you just nicely get through feeding burping and changing the last baby & the first one will be crying again. Get as many hands on deck as possible, friends, relatives, local babysitters that can give you a few hours here and there on a regular basis so you still have a life, or of course if it’s in your budget, a baby nurse. There are baby nurses who specialize in multiple births & they can really be extremely helpful in training you to hold two (or more) and feed several at one time safely. They will also get you comfortable with “assembly line tushy changing” and “group bathing”. We regularly put both of our sets of twins in the tub together; they really get a kick out of it, although we admittedly get really wet!
- If you’re breastfeeding, you can feed 2 at a time. There are several positions that can accommodate this. If you don’t have a professional nurse to teach you, search this on the twins’ websites like twinshelp.com or Americanbaby.com. Often mothers of multiples choose to use a combination of breast and bottle, so that others can help with bottle feedings and you aren’t completely overwhelmed with the entire task day in and day out.
- When it comes to sleep; and I mean theirs, not yours, twins can easily stay in the same crib for about 5 or 6 months (they sleep crosswise in the crib for sometimes 10 or 11 months). And if you have 3 or 4, you can even put all of them in one crib for awhile, but no guarantees that it won’t create mayhem. Multiples are so used to sleeping close, real close in the uterus, that they actually find it comforting to be near each other after birth.
- Amazingly multiples don’t always wake each other up! However I do strongly recommend getting them on the same schedule. This was probably the best piece of advice that I got from another mother of twins. Once baby #1wakes up, get her started and get #2, #3 and #4 right in line, get them all changed first—have your assembly line all ready to go, diapers, desitan, wipes, and an extra nightgown just in case. You don’t want to have to start getting things out in the middle of the night. One of the best baby gifts I received was something called “Warm wipes”. It keeps the wipes warm so that baby isn’t startled and uncomfortably cold. I think it’s the cold wet wipes on the kid’s tush that wakes them and can start the crying jag, which will amplify, so try to avert that. Try to always change your babies first, and then feed them, for they’ll likely fall asleep while feeding and then you don’t want to jostle and wake them at that point.
- If you don’t already shop online for your groceries, you better start; you won’t be able to leave your house so easy whenever you run out of something. Online groceries are brought to your door and are a lifesaver. Planning ahead and keeping stocked up in diapers, wipes, formula and staples is crucial. Once again, panic and feeling overwhelmed usually begins with running out of things and not being prepared to handle necessary daily tasks. There are actually many things you can do online, banking, buying stamps, movie tickets (not that you’ll be going) etc. This will become an important tool to you.
- When you cook, always cook doubles, 2 lasagnas, 2 casseroles, you will cut your work in half & be so thankful when you don’t have to cook on another tired night.
- Get some classical or soothing music and position the tape player near your belly and play the music for your babies in utero. After your babies are born you will find that when you put that music on in their room, it will sooth them helping them get to sleep and stay asleep. Once they are down (hopefully you’ve gotten them on the same schedule so they are all down at once for a stretch of time) then you need to lay down, turn off the phone and TV and catch up on some sleep. You NEED to take these naps.
- Start saving now for the big ticket items, college, cars, weddings and the lot, for it will cost a lot! But if you and your husband can get yourself in the habit of putting even a small amount into a savings account each week, you will be surprised how it can add up over 18 years. My husband and I began a college account the day the babies were born, and we are faithfully contributing to it.