Special tips from multiples' parents:
Joys of Having Twins:
It is worth every struggle to see two (or more!) little ones have a connection that is beyond words. My twins are "lost" without each other. ~Ronna, mother of twins
Multiples are truly a blessing. Enjoy every minute, thank people for their kind words, ignore those who say, "Ooh, double trouble!" and take lots and lots of pictures. It all goes by so fast. ~Joyce, mother of twins
My twin girls are 10 years old; they sleep in the same room and are the best of friends. It is a blessing to be a mother of twins. I've had two additional children since my twins were born, and they are now the best big sisters. What a joy twins are! ~Bobbi Jo, mother of twins
Just remember you are not alone and they are not double the trouble but double the hugs, kisses, and blessings. ~Cassandra, mother of twins
Have lots of fun with your twins. They grow up so fast so be sure to enjoy each step along the way. ~Diane, mother of twins
It is the most wonderful, rewarding, trying and miraculous experience you'll ever have. Enjoy every moment, take lots of pictures and remember to fill out their baby books. Time certainly does fly! ~Lynn, mother of twins
Having twins has been a huge blessing and a lot of fun. It's not really as hard as you think. I actually find that with having two, they keep each other entertained, and it's cute to watch how closely bonded to one another they are. ~Rachel, mother of twins
I wouldn't trade this experience for anything! ~Mary Ann, mother of twins
I find that I pray a lot these days. "God, get me through this hour, minute day." But I find there is so much joy in watching my children interact with each other. I never knew I could have as much patience as I have with them. They make me laugh, and I am rediscovering the simple things that make life so special. I thought I would resent having to be a stay-at-home mom. I miss adult conversation. And there are some days I get so frustrated I want to run away. But usually those moments don't last long, and they can happen with singletons too. My best advice is to find the local multiples group and get to know the members either through email or telephone or in person. You need a support group. ~Elizabeth, mother of triplets
Take a deep breath, set your mind to do it and be very determined. ENJOY their baby years as much as possible and DON'T WORRY ABOUT HOUSEWORK. Take LOTS of pictures to remember, keep at least one preemie outfit for each baby (if they used them), don't stay at home - get a stroller and get out at least twice a week or more, even if it's just a walk around the block, ignore rude people but try to embrace their questions and inquisitiveness, especially if you dealt with infertility - you never know what the person on the other end is going through. What you say may give them a little hope. Most of all ENJOY them!!!! ~Julie, mother of quadruplets
I think breastfeeding has really helped me bond with my twins much faster and deeper. We had a very rocky start and didn't actually get good at taking it from the breast for several months. Now that they have the hang of it, they are much more calm and content. I'm glad we stuck with it and didn't listen to the many people who tried to talk us out of it - mainly the babies' doctor. ~Maria, mother of twins
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Be Good to Yourself/Give Yourself a Break:
I think that it's very important for a stay-at-home mom of multiples to make sure that she sets aside time for herself and her hubby. A lot of times, other people just don't understand the situation of a multiples parent. They don't understand the stress and that makes it very difficult to feel understood. I had a lot of trouble having people help, like my mom, because I think that she thought that I should just be strong and not have weak moments, which I did have many! Don't forget that it's okay to have sad moments and moments where you don't feel like being a mom of two at a time. It's really hard at times, especially when they are one year and under. ~Becky, mother of identical twin girls
Give up on having a perfectly kept house. Clean and cluttered is okay when you have multiples. Don't knock yourself out keeping up the house when you have two or more babies who deserve your time more. Friends will REALLY understand! Put them in their cribs when you feel overwhelmed or are clenching your teeth with stress. They will probably cry for a little while, but in a shorter time than they can cry, your compassion and love for them will restore your calm. It is easy to become overstressed quickly when everyone is crying or whining for your attention. You are not a bad mother if you have to let them cry because you can't handle the stress. Rotate toys that you keep in their play areas. This buys you more time to do your own personal tasks because they will be busy exploring or rediscovering their old toys. ~wish, mother of twins
It Gets Better!:
Remember that it does get better; it does get easier. We've all been there, and we made it through to the light, so you can too. Develop routines but follow your babies' cues and you won't go wrong. If something doesn't feel right, it isn't right, even if it's what the experts or your parents say. GOOD LUCK!!!! ~Hunter, mother of twin boys
Try to relax and enjoy the ride. It will be worth it in the end. ~Cori, mother of twins
There will be stages in your multiples' lives when you'll feel like you "can't do it," or "I can't take any more," but hang in there. Often you'll find that once you say that, another stage or phase happens that's so much easier than the previous one. My twins are amazing little people and it still blows me away to watch the two of them together. I can't imagine life being any other way. ~Leslie, mother of twins
Five months old was a big turning point for us. The babies suddenly seemed much easier and more content. So, to new or expectant multiples parents, I would say to just hang in there for those first months. They are hard, but it gets better and it is worth it! ~Colleen, mother of twins
It's wonderful, but very difficult at times to care for two children (especially infants) at the same time. IT DOES GET EASIER!!!!!!!! You get lots of fun attention. Remember, even when annoying, the attention you get is meant as a compliment! ~Megan, mother of twins
When you first come home, make sure family and friends come over to help, not visit! Make that clear up front or they cannot come. My family came over to cook us dinner for a few nights and we ended up cleaning up afterwards. ~Coleen, mother of twins
In the beginning you literally have to take it one hour at a time. Don't try to do too much. Take people up on their offers to help. Let them make a meal, do the dishes or laundry and look after the little ones while you sleep. I just can't say enough that you have to have the help. You can do it without the help, but you will be a better mommy with rest, someone to talk to and your sanity!! ~Liz, mother of twins
It really isn't as overwhelming as I thought it was going to be. It is really quite fun to have two babies. Babies are wonderful and I wouldn't trade mine for all the money in the world. I also wouldn't run out and buy two of everything. When my babies were born, I didn't have any money and I didn't lack for anything. When people find out that you are expecting two, you get offered more hand-me-downs than you can handle. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF IT. I also found that baby food was very expensive for two, so I have been taking, for example, applesauce and just putting it in the blender. It comes out to be the same consistency as the baby applesauce. I would first check with you doctor to make sure there isn't anything he absolutely doesn't want them to have, but I have done this with pears, peaches, and applesauce and it sure makes it go a long way. ~Katina, mother of twins
You need a lot of help. Don't try to be a hero and do it all yourself. You will end up nuts. Keep the kitchen and the bathroom clean, and let the dust build up on the TV (unless one of your children is asthmatic, in that case dust!) I used to be very picky about my house. I thought it was filthy if there was a spot on my faucet. Now I look at the toys all over the floor, blankets piled on chairs and say, "oh well." I judge everything by the five year rule. Is it going to matter in five years if, blah, blah, blah? If the answer is yes, take care of it. If the answer is no, let it go. You are only human and can only do so much. ~Elizabeth, mother of triplets
It is important to prepare early. If you have your heart set on doing the nursery a certain way, do it long before anyone else thinks it is time. If you want to attend a childbirth class, do it early. If you have to travel to do any major comparative shopping for strollers, cribs, etc. do it early. When all of your singleton pregnant friends are decorating their nursery, attending childbirth classes and finishing their shopping, you will either be on bedrest or so big and exhausted that it won't be nearly the fun. I found it helpful to have stocked up on diapers, wipes, etc. as well as household staples. Realize that running to the store will become an exhausting, all-day event for several weeks after they come home! I would say sleep when the babies sleep but I know a lot of others will say that and I have never actually done it myself. Having frozen meals stocked in the freezer is really helpful, as is the fresh meals people bring you. My latest motto (since the twins were born) is 'Never look a gift meal in the mouth'. ~Lutey, mother of twins
Be prepared for the unexpected. If one child can't do it, remember two can. Always add time on to your schedule if you go out. Everyone loves to visit with parents of multiples. I thank every person who did NOT stop me when I ran to the store for milk. ~Lisa, mother of twins
We have one night (few hours) for couple time every week. Hubby's parents have their special time with the kids and we can look forward to a few hours alone . . . mostly running errands or going to dinner without having to order from the children's menu! The kids look forward to their weekly visits and so do their grandparents! ~TracyE, mother of boy/girl twins
Be Kind to Dad:
Don't criticize the father for doing things wrong because he needs to be allowed his space with the babies. Remember, Dad's way works too. ~Michelle, mother of twins
Definitely try taking shifts with the babies at night, with one parent sleeping for six hours, and then the other parent sleeping for six hours. With newborn multiples, it's the only way you'll get enough sleep! ~Marina, mother of twins
I raised four singletons without ever looking at the clock, but without a schedule with the twins, I surely would have never even gotten a shower. People are always saying, "I don't know how you do it (take care of twins)," but they are your babies, and you just do. Keep a calendar handy to write down milestones, as you won't always have time to get out the baby books. ~Starr, mother of twins
Be firm - if you keep them in a routine it will make your life easier in the long run. ~Julie, mother of triplets
I have found it a great support to be involved in my local mothers of twins club. It is so nice to be with people and have support from those that are going through or have gone through the same things. The National Organization of Mothers of Twins is a great resource to find out if there are any local clubs in your area. Also many doctor's offices and hospitals can give you information on a local club. ~Tami, mother of twins
Connect with other parents of multiples early on. ~Lisa, mother of twins
Join your local twin or triplets club; it is so great to talk with other mothers who have gone or are going through the same thing as you. You need as much support as you can get. It does get easier as they get older, but I find it is so much more emotionally demanding now. It is a lot of work and stress but they are so worth it; we are all truly blessed to have our children!!! ~Sheryl, mother of triplets
And from Noelle:
Noelle is the mother of twin daughters and three older boys. When her twins were born, she was the mother of five children, five years old and under! Noelle kept a journal with us during her twin pregnancy. Her twins were born vaginally at full term and were very healthy. These are her sanity tips:
Before the babies are born:
- Be persistent if you think something is up
- Be prepared to hear words like breech and c-section (but just because you hear them doesn't mean they'll become a reality). You'll need to discuss your position on these issues with your caregiver and your partner.
- Don't be afraid if your OB gives you an overview of all the things that could go wrong. Ask questions until you're satisfied (it helps to make a list beforehand).
- Get information and make sound decisions (eg. the babies are fine; I don't want to be induced at 35 weeks). Ultrasounds, etc. are not just for the doctor's information.
- Be honest with yourself. Talk to someone you trust about your fears/feelings.
After the babies are born:
- I don't recommend bathing babies together until they can sit up.
- You decide if/how long your babies should share a bed. You know your babies and what works best.
- Identity crisis? You could paint a toenail on one baby.
- Learn to ask for help. It helps to have a list of what you need done for volunteers to choose from and to keep from wasting time.
- Always remember that time will pass, especially when up in the middle of the night for long periods of time.
- Get organized. A little preplanning saves a lot of headache in the long run. Have a place for everything (especially clothes coming in and outgrown).
- Don't slack on safety. It's so easy to get careless when you're running on empty.
- Eat and drink ~ good stuff whenever you feel you need it.
- Stock up. If there's a sale, get a lot of what you use most. You'll be glad you did.
- Don't worry about playing with one child at a time. You know you love them the same.
- My babies share bottles and spoons. Do what you're comfortable with.
- Keep a journal once in awhile to help remember the cute everyday things that happen and take pictures.
- When you clean, attack the mess and get it over with. It seems like the only way to get through it sometimes. I pick a corner and move systematically so, if . . . no . . . . when, I get interrupted I can go back to where I left off.
- Don't buy two of everything. See what you can borrow (and return). They don't stay little for long.
- Don't let anyone tell you that you can't nurse twins. It can be done (I found it got difficult when the babies got around six months old).
- Try and take a night out once in while to regroup.
- If you decide to try something (like using cloth diapers or making your own baby food) and fail, don't hate yourself. Do what you can and know your limits.
Thanks Noelle! Please visit Noelle's Twin Pregnancy Journal.
Our Multiples' FAQ:
Section I - Suspecting and Diagnosing Multiples
Section II - Preparing for Multiples
Section III - Pregnancy & Childbirth
Section IV - NICU
Section V - Going Home/Postpartum
Section VI - As They Grow
Section VII - Resources
Section VIII - Miscellaneous/Special Tips & Inspiration