For Expectant Parents
- Seek very good prenatal care. Multiples pregnancies are classified as ‘High Risk’ due to the many complications that can arise, so it can be especially beneficial to seek the care of a Perinatologist (a sub-specialty of obstetrics & gynecology also referred to as Maternal-Fetal Medicine)
- Attend a birthing class – especially a multiple births class, if available in your area. Many hospitals that offer such a class do not require that you plan to deliver there. If you have other children, you may also want to consider attending a sibling class together.
- Meet with your prospective pediatrician to discuss potential problems and concerns.
- If possible, arrange in advance to take advantage of any and all offers for regular help after the babies come home. Planning for about two months of help is a good starting place. However, it is possible to get through the early months of twins without help. Many mothers of multiples (M.O.M.s) have done so.
- Organize as much as you can beforehand: diaper bag packed, changing area stocked, meals frozen, clothing sorted for quick & easy access, etc.
- Contact your local area Parents of Multiples Club; they are a great source of support & information.
For Fathers of Multiples
- Having both parents share the responsibilities of the babies will keep them from becoming too dependent on one parent.
- Take one day at a time and learn to overlook the little things.
- Be extra patient and supportive — two babies are a lot to handle for anyone.
- Set aside time to spend alone with other children and your partner.
- Help with the household chores or arrange for someone else to come in and help.
- At night, the more hands that help the sooner everyone will be back asleep. (Some husbands get up to change the babies, then hand them over to the mom to feed.)
- Most of all, enjoy your new babies!
Once the Babies Come Home
- Ask friends and family to help.
- Rest when your babies do; you’ll need your energy.
- Eat well-balanced meals.
- Compile a list of babysitters and have them spend time with your family
- Set a routine and stick to it (babies adapt nicely to schedules, so stick with one!).
- Set priorities. Nobody’s going to notice your house with such cute babies holding the spotlight.
- For the first few weeks keep a chart on their feedings, bowel movements, medications, etc., to avoid confusion.
- When cooking, double your recipes and freeze the extras; it may also help to institute a rule that says if you want to come visit the babies, you must bring dinner with you.
- Babies don’t need to be bathed every day; You can bath one on one day and one on the next. Never bathe them both at the same time if you are alone.
- You are not neglecting a baby if s/he is allowed to cry for a short time. Soon you will be able to distinguish between your baby’s different cries and you will know who needs the attention first.
- When doing for one; do for the other (i.e. diaper changing)
- Try not carry both babies at the same time until they are old enough to sit up on their own.
- When they are in high chairs, bouncy seats, shopping carts, etc. ALWAYS use the safety straps.
For diapers we recommend choosing a diaper service, disposable diapers or a combination of the two. The time you save with this will be more time spent with your babies. Most diaper services offer a discount for twins! You’ll need two infant car seats. Be sure to check the size rating as your babies may be at or below 5 pounds when they come home.
- Bottles: we recommend 16 of the 8 oz. bottles if bottle feeding, or 4 4oz. bottles if the babies are breast-fed
- 10 all purpose sleepers
- 10 onesies or more (the more the better); you may go through several clothing changes per day
- 8 receiving blankets
- 4 heavy crib blankets
- 4 waterproof mattress covers
- 6 fitted crib sheets (tip: put a fitted sheet under the waterproof mattress cover in addition to the one over it. In the middle of the night, instead of remaking the entire crib, you can just strip off the wet sheet and mattress cover.)
Note: For twins you will probably use 2 ½ times the amount of clothes required for one child; for triplets 4 times, for quads, 5 times. It is also nice to have:
- Two swings
- Double stroller – Make sure it fits in your car.
- One large play-pen or two portable cribs
- Two high chairs.
- Two bouncy seats and/or exersaucers.
Used equipment is great when buying for two. Some good places to find used equipment are Mothers of Twins Clubs clothing sales, consignment stores, newspaper ads and diaper service advertisements. Make sure before you buy that everything meets current safety standards. Some things like car seats and cribs do not. If you are purchasing new equipment make sure to ask about twin discounts. Many stores offer a discount on the second or third item if you are purchasing identical items.
Feeding Time Tips
- When one baby wakes, feed both babies (even if you have to wake the other one up. This will save time and help you get more rest.
- Change diapers before the feeding; this helps wake the baby and avoids waking the baby after they have finished eating.
- Using bouncy seats to feed the babies is a great idea.
- If the babies are on different formula, color-coding helps prevent mix-ups (especially at two in the morning!).
- When the babies start to eat food, you will need two high chairs. Feeding them from one bowl with one spoon works just fine.