Congratulations! You're entering the wonderful, wonder-filled world of multiples! Every family makes adjustments for a new baby but, for those who welcome more than one, the transition holds additional challenges. Your babies may be premature and require extra care, even hospitalization. The demands of caring for twins or more puts a strain on even the strongest marriage. With a little preparation, these tips will help make the first few months with multiples a bit more manageable. Try these survival tips for parenting infant twins.
Meeting other parents of twins, triplets or more can be extremely reassuring and rewarding. Not only will they show you that life with multiples is do-able, they can give you solid advice on just how to do it. Its crucial to establish a network of been-there, done-that veterans to call on in times of crisis. You can also meet fellow parents online; stop by our message forum
to say hi.
2. Stock Up on Supplies
With double the demand, baby supplies are consumed at a rapid rate. Stock up on the things you will use most: diapers
, wipes, bottles and formula. An ample supply of onsies and light sleepers is invaluable. Keep items in their original packaging and hold onto receipts so that you can easily return the things that are not used. The clubs mentioned above hold annual sales; they are a fantastic opportunity to stock up on gently used clothes and equipment.
It may sound silly, but this advice is echoed repeatedly by nearly all parents of twins or more. It is tempting to use the precious quiet time to get other things accomplished, but you have to remember your own rest requirements. It is easy to become overwhelmed when you are exhausted. Sleep is a precious commodity, so take advantage of every opportunity
One of the trickiest aspects of managing multiples is logistics: getting anywhere becomes a nightmare when you've got more babies than hands. A good stroller makes it much easier. Some parents prefer a tandem (front/back) style for maneuverability in tight spaces, while others find that a side-by-side model is more comfortable for their babies. Specialized strollers for triplets and quads are also available. Although pricey, they are worth the investment.
5. Keep Things StraightHow much did she eat? When iss the last time he had a wet diaper? Which baby are you anyway? Setting up an organized system for keepings things straight will ensure that everyone's needs are met. Make a chart to track feeding times and amounts, diaper changes, medications and other important information. (Hint: if you are having trouble telling your multiples apart -- even if they're not identical -- a small dab of nail polish on one toe will help distinguish them.)
6. Focus on PrioritiesKeep it simple. Let things go. Your focus during the first few months with multiple should be on your newly expanded family. Its not the time to cook gourmet meals, do spring cleaning or learn a new hobby. Focus on caring for your new bundles of joy, and let the little things slide. Youll have time to catch up on those other things a few months down the road, when your multiples have established a schedule.
7. Organize HelpPeople love multiples, and they genuinely want to help. Take advantage of every offer. Delegate. Be specific. Let your eager helpers take care of meals, errands, care of other siblings, housework, yard work, laundry, shopping and all the details of life so that you can focus on priorities. (See Tip #6!)
Even though your identity has changed to encompass your new role as parent of multiples, you cant afford to neglect your old self. Its important to take time off every once in a while to focus on yourself and your spouse. Put a helpful relative, neighbor or even a teenage mothers helper in charge of the babies for a few moments so that you can take a break. Soak in the tub, take a walk, or simply take a nap. Youll be amazed at how refreshed youll feel after even a short break.
9. Be FlexibleA textbook approach doesnt work with twins or multiples. Every family has different habits and needs and the right way is really whatever works best for you. As you establish a routine that includes your newest additions, be willing to try a variety of schedules, techniques and products. Remember that your multiples are individuals, and not a perfectly matched set. What works for one may not be appropriate for the other.
10. Recognize That This Two Shall PassKeep things in perspective. No matter how bad things get, they are temporary. Babies grow up. They will start to sleep more and eat less often. It will become easier to take them out in public. With each passing day, you are one step closer to getting things under control. Savor the special moments of infancy: the sleepy snuggles, shy smiles and sweet smells of your babies. They will soon be only a treasured memory.