Preparing for multiples? Don’t let the stress of just making it through the pregnancy deter you from beginning to plan today. It’s understandable to be shocked or surprised for the first trimester as you try to wrap your head around multiples. However, if you are past this stage, today is the perfect day to begin planning. Once your little ones are here, there is no going back and having a game plan will help on those days when it feels like two (or more) versus one.
Being pregnant with more than one can be stressful. You have to worry about getting the right nutrition, what clothes will even fit you next month, keeping your blood pressure down and having to answer the millions of questions about if multiples run in your family. While eating the right foods and taking care of your self are very important, don’t forget, some day you will not be pregnant and the life which follows will be 100% different than the one you are currently living.
Whether you are blessed with twins, triplets, quadruplets or more, these 7 ways will help you be better prepared in the long run to handle this huge change. Yes, your life will be different, in so many wonderful ways and yet, without the proper preparation, having multiples can be overwhelming. Let us help you ease into this new situation so you can just snuggle those babies once they arrive!
7 Stock up on the Basics
Every baby will need to eat, have a place to sleep, clothes, a car seat, diapers and … well, that’s really all they need. Sure, you have gone out and bought the high end baby monitor, jogging stroller, umpteen amounts of baby bibs and the cute hoodie towels are already hanging on the towel rack in their bathroom. Although those hoodies are, well, adorable, they probably won’t be once you when you run out of diapers in the middle of the night and are panicking to find something, anything, which can be used in this dire situation.
If you haven’t had a baby shower yet, good. Ask your hostess to please have a diaper door prize and everyone who brings you a pack of diapers can be entered into a drawing. Stock up on diapers, diapers and more diapers. For twins, you can expect to go through about 200 diapers every three weeks- that is, after the first month or so, before then you go through more.
It’s like 20 diapers a day; and if you have triplets, expect 30 diapers a day and so forth. So, you really can not go wrong with having an obscene stock pile of diapers. And if you don’t like the brand or they grow out of a size before you use them, that’s okay. Most stores that carry diapers will let you exchange them later on for the next size up or in store credit for another brand.
If you already decided nursing more than one baby is going to be crazy then you’d better stock up on formula. Nursing is possible and I will go over how to prepare for this shortly. But back to formula; much like diapers, babies will need this on a daily, hourly, basis. You do not want to run out. Having a newborn is hard enough while prepared, when you run out of something that they desperately need, well, it’s going to be stressful on you and the baby. Avoid this ahead of time by budgeting monthly for this expense, always having an extra two to four weeks stock piled somewhere, applying for assistance through local government agencies aimed at helping new mom’s with formula and other items or by purchasing a can of formula or a box of diapers each pay period until your little lovies arrive! If you fail to plan then you plan to fail- and that’s just not an option!
6 Preparing to Nurse Multiples
Nursing is well, one of the most natural, healthy, insanely amazing things we as human females get to experience. However, that being said, nursing more than one child at a time is to say the least, challenging. For example, as one baby falls off and you try to get them to latch back on, the other is slipping down the nursing pillow and your milk is now shooting everywhere.
If you are preparing to nurse multiples, you’ve come to the right place. I have been in your exact shoes at one time. I scoured the internet for the best way to nurse two babies, what it would be like, etc. and now I can say I successfully nursed my boy/girl twins for over 14 months. It was not easy. I felt like a cow the first few weeks. More than that, I was in pain, frustrated and overwhelmed. Yet I was determined. Therefore, if you plan on nursing multiples your mind set is of the utmost importance. It’s going to be difficult and giving up will seem like a way out. You really must take some time to prepare for what I am about to describe.
The nurses were amazed that I was nursing my newborn twins, post c-section at the same time and they latched right away. They immediately asked if they could send other mom’s in that had just one to show them if I could nurse two, it’s possible for them. I was still on lots of pain killers and that’s why it looked easy, is what I would tell them now. After getting home a week later and weening myself off the medication which hid the pain, I was in tears. Every 45 minutes I was called upon to nurse another baby for twenty minutes or longer and be in excruciating pain while they latched on. Looking back, I had a latch problem. But, still, nursing babies takes a bit of teeth clenching for a week or so. Anyways, it was the constant need for me that became overwhelming. I couldn’t leave the house without them, I would get called back that they needed me. It was hard to even take a much needed nap or a shower. My husband got hickies on his arm holding off one twin while I nursed the other. I was against nursing them at the same time as I didn’t get to bond with each individually.
Nursing became like a job. It certainly got easier. I was able to pump and leave for work and take showers, in time. Then, when we were at weddings, camping, the lake, etc, I didn’t have to warm up a bottle, or if they got hurt or scared, I could soothe them quickly. However, if I wouldn’t have had this mind set that I was going to nurse no matter what, this would have driven me to give up. Therefore, if you plan on nursing multiples be ready for a difficult first few weeks. Buy a good pump and pump after each feeding to get a supply for those days when you need a break and if you go back to work. You body can do it. It’s all about supply and demand, if they demand it and you drink lots of water and eat an extra 500 calories a day per baby, you will supply it. It’s the healthiest, least expensive way to feed your multiples the first year. Be mentally prepared and you will succeed!
5 Get Connected!
Right now while you have time and are on the internet, find a multiple mom’s group to join. The most common are groups for twins; however, they will accept anyone who has multiples. These groups are a great resource for those moments when you just don’t know what to do or need to vent. Also, these moms’s have been in your shoes and can help you understand what to expect in the coming months.
If you’d rather meet in person, you can find local multiple moms’ groups in most cities. If you are unsure of where to find these groups, ask your OBGYN office, friend’s with multiples or your local baby boutique store. These groups let you bring your multiples for an hour or two while you discuss the challenges of having more than one. Although once your little ones start walking, sitting down can be a challenge. Therefore, the earlier you can start meeting with other mom’s, the better.
Whether you need to know how long other moms of multiples kept their little ones in the same room or that its normal to feel overwhelmed, staying connected is one way to prepare today. Lots of groups will welcome those expecting, so don’t hesitate in your search! Moms of multiples know how hard it can be and have all sorts of tricks up their sleeves. Get to know them, make them cupcakes as they probably are only eating their little one’s leftovers and in turn, you’ll have friends for life.
4 Ask and You Shall Receive
Let’s face it. You will be outnumbered. The best way to prepare for having multiples is to learn how to ask for help. Asking others for help now will prepare you for asking in the future when they arrive. If you are one who likes to ‘do it all’ I hate to break it to you, but you will need help. With so many women who have multiples delivering via c-section, asking for help is something you will need from day one.
Some tips for asking for help are to be sincere, thoughtful and understanding if you are denied. It does take a village. If you do not have a so-called ‘village’ where you live in family and friends, try to start meeting with a multiple moms group as mentioned. These women will be happy to help you at some point as they have been there. Secondly, if you don’t have a support group, start looking for a nanny or babysitter to introduce to your babies early on so they can have another person with whom they feel comfortable. Looking on Craigslist is definitely a no, but places like Care.com have reputable resources.
Each time you ask for help, it will get easier. You’ll need help in the first week home for sure as you recover from delivery. Next, as you need to run to the store, or even going to the babies’ first couple doctor appointments, you will need help as taking in multiple car seats is quite cumbersome. Or if you want a date night with your hubby, you’ll have to ask someone you trust to watch your little ones. Therefore, ask, and you shall receive. Start now, ask your mom, your best friend or close co-worker to help in setting up your cribs, shopping for necessities, etc. Making and keeping connections is a great way to plan for the future as they will be lifesavers. Trust me!
3 Start Doing Everything Twice
Redundancy will soon become your middle name. When I was asked what it was like having twins I often replied, “It’s the same as having one. You just do everything twice. Change two diapers, instead of one, nurse two babies instead of one.” Start preparing to have multiples today by doing everything twice, at least for one day… or perhaps two…
I know you are still pregnant and super uncomfortable, so if not literally, figuratively try to imagine doing everything in your normal day more than once. Believe me; it will help mentally prepare you for the future. During the first days and months you will soon learn that because you have to do everything more than once, you have to move quickly. In fact, it’s a fabulous way to lose your pregnancy weight. For instance, if you keep the diapers upstairs, all the extra trips up and down for diaper changes means soon you will be shedding pounds in no time!
In all seriousness though, as they grow you will never stop doing everything more than once. Getting a glass of water- twice, grabbing a snack- twice, potty-training- twice. That is if you have twins; obviously it multiples with your amount of multiples. It’s the same for mom’s who eventually have more than one child, so don’t feel sorry for yourself. Its just you are blessed with an instant family, one which will keep you hopping! Enjoy it as you will never be bored, always be moving and doing everything more than once will make you efficient. For example, watch a mom of multiples long enough and you will see she can handle an in-depth conversation, while pouring a sippy cup of milk and stirring a pot of spaghetti noodles all at the same time. Start practicing today and you will be prepared for those beautiful babies before long!
2 Be prepared for the ‘Look’
You are already preparing for having multiples and the ‘look’ you’ll get when you have more than one newborn in tow. You know, the ‘look’ you get when you tell people you are pregnant with multiples? It’s the same one, only you get it the moment you step out of the car with extra car seats and an oversized stroller. It’s the look you’ll get when you turn an aisle in the grocery store and the older woman looking for Dijon mustard raises her eyebrows under her 1960’s glasses at you and your entourage as you run past.
Preparing for the ‘look’ is simple. Eventually, after a few weeks of being homebound, you will want to explore the world you once knew. It will be different. The sun will be brighter; you will be lighter and just running into the store for milk will take longer. Just getting out the door will be a victory. There is always a diaper that needs changed; someone who spits up and needs a new outfit or someone gets hungry. Then, if one of the multiples does not like the car, driving to the store can be, well, stressful.
However, let’s skip to the part where you finally make it to the store. The parking lot is full, and you suddenly look back at the sleeping babies and think, ‘Should I even go in?’ Finally, you muster up the guts to ‘do it’ and then figure out a game plan. There is just no physical way you can carry all sleeping infants in their car seats inside. So you drive over to the nearest shopping cart aisle and snag one. Upon getting the two (if you are having triplets or more, this shouldn’t even be attempted by oneself without a trial run and close reinforcements), into one shopping cart (one in the front and one in the back) you can finally run into the store.
That’s when the ‘looks’ start. Be prepared; you’ve been warned. People will stop in their tracks and half smile, raise their eyebrows and those who are closest to you will say soon after, “Oh, do you have twins?” Their worried face says it all. They are concerned for you, but not sure how to help. The looked more scared than you. You can handle it. Don’t let these looks slow you down. Now, when you see a look of confidence in a woman staring back at you, you can bet she has raised a set of multiples herself. An imaginary high-five is appropriate as you both assuredly nod to each other, very much like comrades on a battle field.
1 Extra Expenditures
While having multiples will make you a stronger person, fearless, braver, confident, efficient and beyond blessed, one thing it will not make you is richer. Yes, having more than one of something in the case of babies is not always a sign of monetary affluence, but rather priceless. And that’s what you’ll wish on most non-essential items cost in the future as well, priceless.
Having multiples is going to be, well, I’ll say it, expensive. In some ways you will save; for instance if this is all the kids you and your hubby plan on having, then you will take a big hit on the pocketbook, but it will all be at the same time. Unlike parent’s who have two or three children spaced out over a few years who end up paying for diapers over a period of 5 or 6 years, you will get it all paid for in 2 or 3. Sure, you’ll pay twice as much during that time so it will even out, but this can be considered a small positive financial picture in the scheme of raising multiples.
For one, you will have to buy a decent stroller. Getting around will be much easier with a dependable, quality stroller- and these don’t come cheap. So, be ready to spend some real cash here. Next, you will need two of everything. Two cribs, two car seats, two Bumpos, two highchairs, two swings, you get the idea. Then comes preschool or childcare; this is where it really hurts. You will have to pay twice or triple what your friends with singleton’s do. I’ve heard that after you do have three at some preschools, the rest of your children are free. So perhaps this is an incentive to have more children so you at least get your bang for your buck.
In any case, to prepare for extra expenditures the only thing one can say is to start saving now. Whether its just $25 a month per kid in a savings account or taking aside some of the tax return money you may get (depending on your tax situation), save, save and save. Then, when those expensive times come up like three or more plane tickets to your brother’s wedding back home, it won’t feel like a punch to your stomach.
The bonds your multiples create will be unmatched to other sibling relationships. All the difficulties will seem like drops in a bucket compared to the good times ahead. Enjoy, but be prepared!!