What kind of help will you need with your twin babies? If you are having twins or more, you may find that helping hands will come in handy once your babies arrive. For some families, help is a necessity. For others, it's a luxury. Help can come in many forms, from full-time hired childcare to volunteer assistance with chores and meals. It's never too early to consider what kind of help will be most beneficial to your family and begin the process of making arrangements.
First, think about what you'll need help with most. Is it a set of helping hands to hold babies during feedings or when they're fussy? Is it help around the house, someone to fix meals and keep up with housework? If you already have children, perhaps you'll need someone to care for them, entertaining them and driving them to activities while you recover from childbirth. Or maybe you just need the reassuring presence of an experienced parent.
Make a list of some of the issues that you anticipate will require extra assistance, and then prioritize your needs. It may be helpful to talk to other parents of twins and multiples. Discussing their experience can help you focus your priorities.
Once you've established your list, you'll be ready when family, friends and neighbors offer their help. The outpouring of support can be amazing; many people genuinely want to be of assistance to a family with multiple newborns. Others sincerely want to help, but aren't sure what to do.
You may even consider designating someone to help coordinate your helpers. Even though you will appreciate offers of help from others, it can be overwhelming when you are trying to focus on caring for your babies. A help coordinator will keep you organized and can efficiently delegate so that your helpers are most productive. Your helpers will appreciate having a specific answer when they ask, "What can I do?" It also ensures that your help remains helpful. The last thing that new parents want to deal with is entertaining visitors instead of catching a few precious moments of sleep. You'll avoid much frustration if you are open and honest in communicating your needs during this busy time.
If your budget permits, there are several services that can make life easier when your multiples are young. Hiring help with chores allows you to concentrate your time and attention on caring for your babies. A cleaning service can tackle the housework; a landscaping service can work on the yard. if you can't afford ongoing service, a one-time touch up will help keep things in order until you can resume your regular routine.
A postpartum doula can be especially helpful for families with multiples. Doulas are professional caregivers. While they commonly serve during childbirth and labor, many are qualified to offer postpartum care, assisting with breastfeeding, newborn care and family adjustment while helping mothers recover from childbirth. Be sure to inquire about your doula's previous experience with multiple birth. Because the lack of sleep is such a strain for new parents, a night nurse is another option to consider. These medical professionals are trained newborn caregivers who can provide parents with a bit of respite in the overnight hours. This type of service can be pricey; even if you can't afford extended care, it can still be an option for an occasional overnight, a one-time consultation or during a time of transition, for example, before returning to work.
Help for families with new multiples comes in many forms and serves a variety of functions. But not every family needs or wants help. Some parents prefer to handle things on their own, and given the right circumstances, they won't require any outside assistance. But most families find that a helping hand -- or two -- makes for an easier adjustment to life with multiples.