Insider tips to help making raising twins and multiples easier
There are no words to describe that feeling when you first see two (or more!) ‘blobs’ on the ultrasound screen. The feelings of shock and panic usually occur before the feelings of amazement and happiness. But don’t worry – that’s perfectly normal! For some people it may take several weeks for the initial shock to morph into excitement.
Yes, your life is going to change drastically (predominantly in a good way!) but it will be OK.
Here are our top five smart ideas that will help make raising twins and multiples easier.
1. Ignore the negative people who offer advice.
No one, and I repeat no one, (unless it’s another multiple birth parent!) will be positive when you tell them you are having twins or triplets. Instead of simply saying “congratulations, like they would if someone was having a singleton baby, they will tell you ‘Oh, I bet they will be premature”, “Oh, you will have to have a c-section”, “Oh, you won’t be able to breastfeed”, “Glad it’s you and not me”, “You are going to have your hands full”, “Gee, you are going to be huge” etc etc. I genuinely don’t think that people mean to be so negative. But for some reason they are.
2. Accept all offers of help
Most parents won’t admit to needing help, but when your babies outnumber you it is important to be able to learn to ask for help. Most people are more than willing to help. So if you have two screaming babies, and a trolley full of groceries, don’t be afraid to ask the next person who walks by to help you load the car. If you need to take one baby to the doctor, don’t be scared to ask someone to come and help by looking after the other baby/babies.
When you first bring the babies home from hospital, everyone will want to come and visit them. As let’s face it, all new babies are adorable, and this multiplies exponentially with twins or triplets. So when they call you to tell you they are on their way, don’t feel bad if you ask them to stop and pick up some bread and milk for you on the way. And when they are there visiting, don’t forget to ask them to help you by hanging out a load of laundry, or to watch the babies while you get dinner prepared etc.
Caring for multiple babies is hard work! There are multiple mouths to feed, multiple nappies to change and multiple babies to soothe. So don’t be afraid to ask for help from friends and family. And if necessary – pay for that help. This could range from a nanny, to casual babysitters to lactation consultants to sleep consultants. Don’t suffer in silence. If you need help then get it.
3. Get out of the house daily
As much as it may seem like a mammoth task to get everyone out of the house, for your own sanity you need to ensure you do so regularly. You don’t have to go far; even a walk around the block in the sunshine while the babies are sleeping will make a huge difference. One suggestion is to have a second pram that lives under your house, or by your door or whatever suits your personal living arrangements. That way you have no excuse, you can just bundle the babies on and off you go. It’s easy to be deterred from going for a walk if you need to unpack the pram from the car. Likewise it is then much easier to leave the house by car if your pram and nappy bag are stocked and in the car ready to go.
Make sure you connect with other multi parents. They will be your lifeline. You can set up playdates, have parents nights out and just generally support each other.
4. Don’t buy matching rockers/swings/bouncers/jumperoos
Yes ‘matchy matchy’ is cute when you have multiples, but it isn’t very practical. By having different rockers/swings etc you can rotate the babies between them when they get bored. This allows you to either have 5 minutes peace to yourself or to quickly have a shower or to spend some precious one-on-one time with one of the babies. You can later use them to extend their “play” time, by swapping the babies between the rocker and the swing and the jumperoo.
5. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
Raising multiples is tough. Really tough. But I promise you it does get easier. Don’t stress if your floors haven’t been cleaned in ages, or the dishwasher isn’t unpacked immediately. You are going to have to just take a step back and concentrate on your babies. Give your permission to let go of some of your pre-conceived notions and just do what you need to do to get though the day. If you need to order take out as you haven’t been grocery shopping, then that’s totally fine! Ignore the ironing pile. It will get done eventually (better still – ask one of your visitors to help out by ironing a few things for you when they call in to visit!). If you haven’t washed you hair in a week, then so be it.
Having multiples is an amazing, life changing event. Try to enjoy every moment. As hard as it may be on occasions, just remember, “this too shall pass” and before you know it, you will be waving them off on their first day of school. Enjoy watching their close bond develop, and make sure you take some time each day to give yourself credit for doing an amazing job!!!