The realisation that you have a baby on the way is overwhelming enough, let alone the idea of having two or more. Finding out that you’re expecting twins, triplets, or more babies is the ultimate bombshell. It’s an incredible blessing that is often followed by a big wave of shock. Your initial response of “Wow we’re not just having one baby” can quickly turn into thoughts of “How are we going to cope?”
Not to worry though, you’re certainly not alone. These confused feelings are what all expecting parents of multiples go through. Life with multiple babies requires a lot of planning. Sure, it’s hard work, but once you get into a good routine, things will start to get easier.
We’ve put together this short guide to help all expecting mums and dads of multiples prepare for a new and exciting world with their babies.
Ask for and accept offers of help
Accept that you’re not a superhero and let go a little bit. Even new parents with only one baby need help. Not only will it take some pressure off of you, but it will also make your overall experience of being new parents more enjoyable. Sure, all mama’s have superhuman powers, but it’s important to avoid feeling unsupported or overwhelmed. If someone offers their help, there is absolutely no shame in saying yes.
Reach out to family, friends, and neighbours for support. You may even be surprised at how willing people are to cuddle, feed, or play with babies. You could ask them to bring you a home cooked meal or even do a bit of shopping for you.
Recovering from a twin or triplet birth
Physically, recovering from a multiple birth (whether it was vaginal or C-section) is a lot like recovering from a single birth – only more intense. With a multiple pregnancy, the chance of needing a c-section is increased, and this isn’t an operation to be taken lightly. You might be sore in several places, and you need to take time to rest in order to recover.
Even if you don’t have a c-section, the strain of delivering multiple babies is intense on the body, and you will need time to heal. Your body has to recover from nine months of carrying around and nurturing growing babies – never mind the delivery. It’s important to look after yourself in the postpartum weeks, so you can recover more quickly and gain enough energy to care for your babies.
Remember that sleep is sacred when you have newborns to feed, so make sure you have people to help until you’re fully recovered. Get help at night, even if it’s just once in a while, from family, friends, or a night nurse.
Practical tips when preparing for a multiple birth
The more planning you do before your babies arrive, the better. Thanks to the first-hand experience we’ve had working with many parents of multiples, we’ve put together a list of tips that you will hopefully find useful when preparing for a multiple birth.
Form your own personal support group
Getting involved in and connecting with other parents of multiples is so important. There are a number of Facebook groups, such as “Mothers of Supertwins” and “Triplet Connection”, which can offer a lot of guidance and support from other mums of multiples. Not only is connecting with other mama’s going through the same challenges as you incredibly empowering, but it can also be a great way to get free or second hand baby gear and clothes, and to make new friends.
Get help and support with your newborns
Lining up help for your babies in the early days of parenting is one of the best things you can do. Many parents don’t fully realise how physically and emotionally tiring the initial weeks of parenthood can be. Mastering new skills, like changing nappies, breastfeeding, and soothing a fussy baby takes practice, and is even more challenging when you’re dealing with exhaustion and the physical recovery from birth.
It’s important to remember that you need sleep and downtime too. So, enlist whatever type of help you need, whether it’s from friends, family or hired help. It’s a good idea to put a practical plan in place. Many families find it useful to allocate different tasks or routines to different people. For instance, maybe your friend will watch the babies for a few hours each week, and your mum will do some cooking for you. Try writing a list of chores that will come up when the babies arrive so that people can be more helpful when you need them.
Routine matters with twins, triplets, and more
Compared with single-baby families, daily life in a family with multiples is often more demanding – which makes having a routine that much more important. Every family is different, so take the first few weeks to gradually get a feel for your newborns. You can slowly start to introduce regular routines, be it feeding, winding, nappy changes, or sleep.
Keeping your babies on the same sleeping and eating schedule is important because it will give you some valuable time off. The idea is to make sure your babies feed and sleep at the same time so that you can at least have a little bit of time for yourself – whether it’s to eat, take a shower, or even have a rest.
As you’ve hopefully gathered by now, the most important thing to do is get help and support from those around you. People are usually more than happy to help out, especially with new parents, so all you need to do is accept that help and ask for it when needed. Don’t forget at Urban Hatch we have supported many expectant and new parents of twins and multiples. Get in touch if you would like to know more about the tailored care and support we offer.