3 strategies to help you care for newborn multiples
The care and feeding of infant twins and multiples can challenge even the most stalwart of new moms. According to KidsHealth.org, “The arrival of multiple newborns presents certain medical, logistical, financial and emotional challenges for a family.” Here are three strategies meant to lighten the load.
Challenge #1: Early birds
Multiples often arrive early and as a result of a high-risk pregnancy. Premature babies need a great deal of extra attention during a time when mom needs to rest up herself.
Solution: Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Family and friends are a natural source, but they can’t always arrange their own schedules to be there when you need them. Given this, it’s smart to look into having a doula, nanny or baby nurse available.
Mom advice: “After the kids were born, we had a young woman come to the house for about a year to help with feeding, especially when the kids were getting bottles every three to four hours. After that, we had an au pair from France live with us for 11 months; she helped with laundry and feeding when the kids were toddlers.” —Nancy Katz, a Glenmoore, PA mother of triplets
Challenge #2: Juggling the joy
Feeding multiples can seem like an Olympic event. And in between snacks and naptime, you’ll be bathing, dressing and changing the babies in what can seem like a never-ending cycle.
Solution: Organization is key. Set a schedule and task list, then map it out in a daily planner or on a bulletin board in the nursery, making meticulous note of when you fed, changed and bathed each baby. Not only will this approach allow you to keep track of which baby you need to tend to at a given time, it will also let those helping you know what needs to be done during their watch.
Expert advice: “Bottle-feeding may take some of the pressure off exhausted mothers (of multiples). Some mothers use a combination of breast- and bottlefeeding to keep some of the benefits of nursing while still getting help with feedings.” —KidsHealth.org
Challenge #3: Maintaining me time
While you’re figuring out how to nurture your multiples as individuals with their own identities, don’t forget your own. It’s important not to forsake your bond with your partner — and with yourself — after the babies are born.
Solution: The demands of raising multiples can strain the strongest relationships. Experts advise that after the first wave of bringing babies home, you and your partner should schedule shared daily breaks or date nights, work out at the gym together or go together to meetings of multiples support groups.
Mom advice: “I would highly recommend finding a support group in your area. Managing my life with multiples and singletons was a lot easier with all the advice and help. No matter what the questions, there were plenty of answers from the club, from eating to changing to medical advice.” —Denise Grovatt, a Gibbstown, NJ mother of twins
Morgan Pendleton is a MetroKids intern and journalism student at Temple University.