after I found out I was pregnant with twins, I started reading up on how to
prepare, and honestly, how to survive
those early months. Having two babies to love was a beautiful thought. But
actually caring for them? That was a completely different story.
Almost two and a half years later, here I am, still standing. I’m proof that you can do more than survive those early months—you can also thrive in the months (and years) that follow.
I know everyone’s experiences are different. With that said, I think that as a whole, there are certain pieces of advice that can be beneficial to anyone facing a future with multiples. I hope what I have to say benefits you in some way.
a little lengthy, but here we go…
1.Get your head and heart in order. We were overjoyed with the news but not everybody is. Don’t get me wrong, we were nervous, but the joy and excitement far exceeded any uncertainties we had. Come to terms with how you feel and then shake off as much negativity as you can.
2.Take care of your body. With any pregnancy, you should take care of your body, but when you’re growing more than one in that belly, you’re considered “high risk.” Eat well, exercise when you can, and get plenty of rest. I was fortunate enough to have a smooth pregnancy that lasted 38 weeks to the day, but that’s not the case for everyone.
3.Get prepared as much as you can early enough in the pregnancy. Multiples are known to come prematurely, and often, without any warning. Have the basics ready for the babies’ room and pack your hospital bag. It would be wise to have those things in order no later than your 28th week.
4.Remember that your birth plan can unravel quickly. I’m not saying that birth plans are a waste of time. In fact, they are a great way for you and your partner to communicate and finalize how you want things done. It’s just important to remember that not everything may come into play (i.e. a c-section vs. a v-birth) and that’s okay.
5.If you deliver early, be prepared to spend some time in the hospital. Even at 38 weeks we had to spend a few extra days in the hospital to combat a mild case of jaundice and weight issues. It wouldn’t hurt to pack extra clothes or keep a couple of pillows in the car, especially if the hospital isn’t close to the house.
6.Take home leftover supplies from the hospital. Each day nurses will stock the cabinets and drawers with things like ointment and diapers. Empty what’s leftover from the day, stick it in a bag, and haul it home when you’re discharged. You can never have enough supplies.
7.Don’t stress about breastfeeding. The thought of breastfeeding two babies at once blew my mind and I honestly didn’t know if I had it in me. When I wasn’t nursing, I was pumping. It was hard and it was time consuming but I so badly wanted it to happen. To my dismay, I only made it to about the four month mark. Feeling like a failure, I cried and agonized over it. Thankfully my loving husband brought me to my senses. Although I’d miss those sweet bonding moments, I realized that I did the best I could and our babies still benefited from it. If you do decide to nurse your babies I have two words for you: tandem feed.
8.Take notes. Seriously, write down who ate what and when. It doesn’t hurt to jot down what diapers looked like either. You will be extremely exhausted and it can be very easy for things to run together.
9.Have preemie clothes on hand. Multiples often run smaller, which means they’ll need smaller clothes. At our baby shower, we received so many beautiful items, but no one thought to buy for preemies. The newborn and 0-3 month sizes swam on our kids and they were both around five pounds! Your babies will grow quickly that first month, so you don’t need a lot. A few onsies and sleepers should do.
10. Join a club. If you have a multiples group nearby, try to join it. Start with this website NOMOTC to see what’s available in your area. I didn’t have a multiples club close to home, so I joined MOPS instead once the kids were a little older. It’s not geared toward multiples, but it’s a still a wonderful outlet for me and the kids. When I do have questions specifically about twins, I ask other twin-mom friends or find Facebook groups online that focus on multiples.
11. Don’t rush to buy two of everything or to buy everything new. Seriously, other than cribs, car seats and high chairs, you really don’t need two of everything. If there are additional items you’d like two of, seek out used items online or frequent the thrift and consignment shops in your area.
12. Accept, and even ask, for help. One baby is hard enough, but two, three or more? You need extra hands and there are many that will chip in if you speak up. But be sure to delegate. Have someone in charge of making meals. Instruct someone else to be in charge of washing bottles or a load of laundry. You get the idea.
13. If possible, let your little ones set the “schedule.” A schedule with multiples that first year is important (especially if you’re breastfeeding and want to sleep) but don’t force it. Simply by setting a routine in motion, your little ones will naturally start to fall in sync. You’ll begin to see what works best for them, rather than what works best for you. As time goes on, you’ll be able to tweak it as needed and the older they get, the more flexibility you can have.
14. Stay connected to your partner. Yes, these bundles of joy will need your attention, but it’s important that you don’t lose focus of your partner. Ask a family member or friend to watch the babies for a few hours so you two can go to dinner or a movie every now and then. For the times you two just can’t break away, make them feel included in the babies’ routine.
15. Get one-on-one time. When you have more than one baby vying for your attention, it can be hard to single one out. It’s important that you make the effort to make it happen.
16. Get informed but trust your gut. If it doesn’t feel right or seem right, don’t do it. Things you read and people you talk to will no doubt try to sway you one way or the other about something. But that doesn’t mean that it’s right. More specifically, it doesn’t mean that it’s right for you.
17. Don’t be hard on yourself. Don’t get discouraged if you see moms of singletons going more places or getting more done than you are. Life with two or more babies just isn’t the same. Be patient and remember that as they get bigger, it’ll be easier to do more.
18. Keep a good sense of humor. Chaos is stressful (and believe me, there will be chaos)! If you don’t learn to laugh it off, you will only make things harder. A good sense of humor can also apply to those times you’re approached in public. Among the thoughtful words and compliments, there will be some whose innocent (yet thoughtless) words can get under your skin. Try not to let it. Those clichés of “double trouble” and “better you than me” have been around for ages. I honestly don’t think those people mean any disrespect. Instead of getting bent out of shape, I let it roll right off.
19. Take a deep breath and remember that they’re just little people. I’ll admit that I’m not the most patient person in the world. I love my children fiercely, but if you were to ask if who was more patient with the kids, I’d tell you that it’s my husband. I’m getting better, but there are often times I let the little things get to me. This could be because I’m home with the kids all day every day, but that’s no excuse. It’s only natural that we get stressed and worn out, but we have to remember that these little ones depend on us. We aren't perfect, so we certainly can’t expect them to be. When I’m feeling the pressure, I’ve found that simply walking away to the next room to close my eyes and take a deep breath can do wonders.
20. Enjoy the ride. You have been given a huge blessing so enjoy it! Believe me—I understand how brutal those first few months can be. I thought I’d never make it through but in hindsight, I see that they weren’t so bad after all. Now that I have toddlers, it’s a new and exciting experience. Every now and then however, I find myself missing those baby days. They really do go by so fast.
I hope that my list provided you with some helpful answers. Above all else, remember that having multiples is an experience like no other. It won't always be perfect but it can still be the most wonderful and amazing thing that's happened to you. Always give yourself a learning curve and do what works best for you and your babies.