There are few things more exciting — and more overwhelming — than learning that you’re going to have a multiple birth. Your mind starts swimming with questions. How will this affect my pregnancy? Do I have to register for two or three or four of everything? Am I ever going to sleep again? Fortunately, we live in an age of connection and information, so there are a lot of resources out there to help answer your questions. But of course, there’s no teacher like experience. That’s why we’ve collected some tips from a mom of identical twins. Check out her advice below
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What are some of the things you did to prepare for having multiples?
I talked to other parents who had multiples to get their tips and advice. I looked online for Moms of Multiples groups and joined them. I also did a lot of research to understand the different needs of twins and how my husband and I would want to address their similarities and differences.
Am I ever going to sleep again?
Know that the first year, you are going to be completely exhausted; but every 6 months gets easier and easier. The kids get a little more independent, and you get a little more confident. It will definitely help to cook and freeze meals in advance, though, so you can put food on the table quickly with less energy and stress.
How will I fit two/three/four+ of everything in my home?
You don’t need to register for two (or more!) of everything. Things like swings and bouncing chairs can take up a lot of room in your house, especially if you multiply it by two or three. Plus, they are very expensive. I recommend starting with one of some of the larger items. That way you can move the babies around between the chair and the swing so they get variety. I also learned that not every baby likes to be in the chair or swing. Get one of each and see what your babies like. If they like the same thing and it becomes a problem, get two at that point.
On the other hand, some products are specifically made for twins, which can save you a lot of headache in certain cases. I’d recommend putting “twins or triplets” in your search when you look for baby products (e.g. carriers for twins, breastfeeding pillow for twins, etc.) and see if what you find looks like it might make your life easier.
I can do this by myself... right?
Let people help.
Multiple babies can often come prematurely. For us, that was the case. And we needed extra help. For the first month, I had a friend or family member with me at all times. If you have this luxury, get a calendar of help put together.
It is hard to ask for help, but you must. Your friends and family want to help … but they are often unsure how. The best thing is for you to tell them what you need, whether that’s “I need someone to bring over dinner for us tonight,” or “Please feed this one while I burp the other one,” or “I need some space — please go away and come back later.” It’s all okay.
I'm worried that people will treat my multiples too similarly, or too differently.
Not into matching outfits or color-coding? Worried about sibling rivalries or other issues? If there are certain ways you want to raise your twins, make sure your family knows. For example, we didn’t want the boys to be compared and labeled, especially at an early age. They change so much every day, and we felt that if people started to compare them to each other early (which is a strong temptation), they would grow up always being compared. That could make them competitive with one another. We asked that our family not try to compare them.
How can I make sure that I give each of my babies equal attention?
You are not going to give equal amounts of time to each child. And that’s okay. Don’t worry about being even or fair. Worry about giving each baby what they need in that moment. For example, if one baby is sick, they may need a little more attention and one-on-one time.
What surprised you most about having multiples?
How similar and uniquely different they are. Love them for their individuality, but celebrate the uniqueness of twins too.