Multiple births are an amazing blessing, but they bring their own challenges.
Here’s some tips and advice to help make life run more smoothly.
At a glance
- Never turn down help
- Seek out other multiple mums for support
- Learn the 'Double Football Hold'
Never turn down help with your babies
If people ask vaguely, "Is there anything I can do?’ always pounce on them and say, "Yes," Don’t let pride get in the way: if you’d really like a visiting friend to vacuum the floor, say so – she won’t mind. If you’re breastfeeding you’ll need to eat an unfeasible amount (up to 4,000 calories a day), so let no-one over your threshold in the early days if they’re not carrying a hot meal in a foil tray!
Make friends with your pyjamas
You will be wearing them a lot in the early months: see it as a minor victory if you’re dressed by lunchtime. Be kind to yourself and don’t expect to be able to do much other than feed, eat and rest in the first few months.
Seek out other parents
They’ll be a great source of advice and a valuable support network. A survey by the Twins and Multiple Births Association found women with multiple births are nearly twice as likely to suffer from postnatal depression as other mums, so it helps not to feel alone. It’s also expensive being a multiple birth parent, and they’ll be a great source of second hand equipment. Top of the list is a bouncy chair for each baby, so one has a safe place to wait if you’re busy with the other/s.
Feeding and bathtime
Mums usually start off breastfeeding twins one at a time, but once they get the hang of it the ‘Double Football Hold’ or 'Rugby Ball Hold' is a good way of feeding both (you hold their heads at your breasts and their bodies lie either side of yours). Bathing both requires the skills of an octopus; experienced multiple birth mums advise top and tailing for as long as possible. If you haven’t got any help, don’t try to bathe both/all at the same time; let one wait in their bouncy chair.
Sync their body clocks
This won’t happen overnight, but you’ll get more sleep if you can encourage them to need food and sleep at roughly the same time. That might mean waking one baby up (or two in the case of triplets) for a night feed when the first one wakes. Getting out for a walk each day with the pram will help them nap at the same time. The same bathtime and bedtime routine is also useful.
Get Supermum to hang up her cape
Life in the first few months is going to be incredibly busy so jobs like ironing, vacuuming and dusting will have to take second place. Mums of twins say if you get just one other job done in a day you will have done incredibly well.
Enjoy your beautiful babies
Life can be such a whirlwind it can seem like there’s no time leftover simply to gaze at your precious babies and get to know them individually. Try to carve out at least some time each day. The ironing can wait.