Practical Tips for Multiple Pregnancy and Raising Twins
Regardless of how many kids a couple has had in the past, raising twins is a different experience altogether. For those who have never had children before, the reality of raising twins is likely to either be worse than what one might have expected or better in comparison to the horrible nightmares that one might have been entertaining throughout pregnancy. With that figure in mind, let’s move on to some helpful tips
Getting Through a “Multiple” Pregnancy
While carrying twins (or more) is one of the most physically trying experiences the human body will naturally experience, it’s certainly do-able–if it wasn’t then we wouldn’t be seeing a statistical rise in the amount of “multiple” births. In fact, the amount of multiple births has risen more than 75 percent since 1980. It is estimated that roughly 32 pregnancies out of 1000 will produce twins. That being said, statistics can mean little when mom-to-be is struggling to get in and out of the bath, nursing constant aches in the hips and back, can hardly recognize her ankles anymore, and finds it difficult to sleep through the “party” going on in her uterus.
First of all, the initial shock of learning that there is more than one baby growing inside mom’s tum-tum can be overwhelming at first. It is important to remember that it’s okay not to feel immediately ecstatic about the news. In fact, feelings of fear and worry are very common among women carrying multiple children. Suddenly, the prospect of having just one child seems much more manageable than before. Now, however, mom-to-be has been dealt the overwhelming responsibility of completing what feels like an impossible task: raising two children at the same time. Try to take each day in stride and prepare as best as possible before the babies are due.
Morning sickness can be more intense for women carrying more than one child, so it’s important to try to eat several small meals or snacks throughout the day. Apply a thick moisturizer cream to the stomach once or twice each day. This will cut back on the terrible skin itchiness that often plagues women with multiple pregnancies. It might be worthwhile to invest in a few “luxuries” to make mom comfortable, such as “proper” maternity clothes, a wedge or body pillow, and a belly/maternity support band.
Create a Schedule or Routine
Once the babies are born each day may seem like a delirious haze of feedings, crying, burping, and diaper-changing. At the time, it may seem easier to simply tend to the children separately but this can end up having a negative effect on the parents at a later time. Attempt to schedule daily tasks so that the babies are tended to at the same time. For instance, try feeding each child at the same time, simultaneously checking diapers, and bathing the children together. This will prevent a dreadful cycle resulting in Child 1 being fed followed by Child 2 wanting a feeding 20 minutes later. Child 1 taking a nap only to awaken when Child 2 is being put to bed. When raising twins, this type of daily cycle will exhaust even the most enthusiastic parents because the tasks are alternated between children, leaving no down-time for mom and dad to sneak a nap or enjoy a cooked meal together.
Try to coax the children into a routine as soon as they have been brought home from the hospital. By feeding the children together at certain intervals, having a set bath time, going out for a daily walk, etc., the children will learn to expect these tasks at certain times during the day which will make it easier for them and the parents to adjust to their new life. Although babies aren’t always mindful of schedules and routine, and by all means parents should expect hiccups in the plan once in a while, a solid routine will serve as a strong foundation for the children and parents.
Ask for Help
Raising twins will be a mental and physical trial for the parents, but that doesn’t mean that a couple should stumble on with no relief in sight. Needing to tidy the house, prepare meals, shower, take the dog out for a walk, and all other everyday tasks suddenly get put on the backburner and these untended chores can feel like a nagging buzz in the back of one’s mind. Parents are encouraged to set up a support network of friends and family that can be called upon to help out. Parents shouldn’t feel as though they have to give anything back in return (and any member of this support network shouldn’t expect any payback). Parents shouldn’t brush off offers from a parent or friend to come over and clean the house or watch the baby for a few hours so that the parents can steal some restful sleep. These offers are truly golden and should be accepted with gratefulness. Parents also shouldn’t be afraid to reach out to the people in their support network. When the pressures of new parenthood arise (and they surely will, especially when twins are involved), don’t be afraid to call a friend and say, “I haven’t had a chance to get out of the house in days. I know you’re busy, but would you mind watching the babies for an hour or two while I run errands and have a cup of coffee by myself?” Chances are likely that the friend will jump at the opportunity to spoil the babies.
Treat the Children as Individuals
One of the greatest indulgences that comes with raising twins the ability to dress the children alike, thrust them into the same hobbies and activities, and document all of their shared experiences. This might be okay when the children are young enough not to care, but in most cases twins will crave a certain amount of independence from each other starting at a young age. The children should be given daily “special time” with each parent so that the kids understand that mom and dad see them as individuals and want to spend time on a one-on-one basis. The children should be encouraged to develop their own interests and hobbies and should be shown that mom and dad appreciate their inner uniqueness. This isn’t always easy, especially when the children are young and it’s simply easier to let them play together, but it is very important that the children are allowed to branch out which includes developing friendships with other children.