Tips on Preparing for Twins
Preparing for a baby can be overwhelming. Preparing for twins or multiple babies can be even more overwhelming! Multiple births may include twin pregnancy, triplet pregnancy, or more. Let’s get started on what you really need to know.
Tips to manage caring for multiples babies
Start scheduling early
Schedule your hospital tour, child birthing class, and pediatrician selection interviews midway through the second trimester. Mommies of multiples generally give birth earlier than singleton mommies.
Discuss NICU policies on your hospital tour. Ask specific questions about how multiples are cared for at each facility. Determine the level of NICU (level 1, 2, 3); the higher the level, the smaller/more premature they are equipped to handle. Do they offer parent accommodations after the mother’s discharge? What are the visiting hours/policies?
Look at Insurance
Look at your insurance coverage and identify your costs. Call the provider if you have any questions about how having a multiple birth with impact what they pay and what you will have to pay. Every policy is different so don’t depend on what you have heard from others.
Over the past several years there has been a great increase in the number of multiple births in the United States. Multiple births may be twins, triplets, or more.
Take care of yourself
Allow yourself to rest when needed. Schedule beauty appointments, such as haircut, manicure, pedicure, waxing. Do not feel guilty for leaving events and parties early. Take the time to look back over pictures from your childhood to think about what made it special.
Prepare all the equipment you will need
Unpack your breast pump and clean the accessories as directed. Make sure you read the manual and know how to use it and bring it with you to the hospital so that the lactation consultant can demonstrate how to use it properly.
Update your contact lists now to be sure you have current contact information for friends and family.
If you enjoy reading or writing, crafting (or other activities) find time to enjoy them now as it could be a long time before you have the time and energy again to do so.
If you are mailing birth announcements, start by addressing your envelopes, and affixing stamps and return address labels. Some printers will allow you to pre-order and call them with the delivery details.
Research about your rights at work
If you are taking a leave from work, you want to leave each day with your work progress detailed and all files organized to ease the transition for your co-workers. Know where lactation rooms are and any procedures for using them if you are planning to return to work after the babies arrive.
Hire a Baby Planer
Hire a Baby Planner or postpartum doula! If this is not an option, consider having a close friend or family member stay with you for the first week as you adjust to the demands of 2 newborn babies.
Have a coding system to tell babies apart
Develop a coding system for the babies and stick to it. This will help you tell the babies apart and help you remember which items belong to each child. This also gives babies some identity and ability to have their own items, instead of everything being shared.
Choose a color for each of the children and then purchase items for them in primarily those colors, ie. pacifiers, bottles, clothing. Or use a number, letter or dot coding and mark everything with the code as soon as you start using it.
Accept help from loved ones; this will allow you time to bond with your babies. Have helpers do the laundry, make a meal, sterilize parts of your breast pump or bottles, load the dishwasher, address and/or write your thank you notes.
Keep an updated calendar handy (either by the phone or on the computer) and schedule people to help right when they offer.
Create a daily to-do list and make this list readily available so that visitors know how to lend a hand. Try to go for a walk outside everyday. Sunlight and fresh air are good for both you and the babies. Take a shower everyday. This might sound strange now, but when you have newborn babies demanding your attention, you will need to remember to plan for this important self-care task.
Take pictures and create routines
Take lots of pictures-especially of milestones. Make sure your camera has a date stamp, that way you don’t have to write everything down right away, you can just refer to the dates on the pictures.
Create routines. Your partner can do everything you can do, except breastfeed, so discuss responsibilities and share the load. If you don’t have one already, consider investing in a housekeeper, You deserve it! You will want to focus on the babies, not the housekeeping, when possible.
Try to do one load of laundry a day. Everyone tells you to sleep when the baby sleeps and the key is getting in right away. Rest first, even if it’s only for twenty minutes.
Always have your diaper bag packed and ready to go. When you get back home from being out or before you go to bed each night, replenish the supplies you have used. This will help to ease the stress of making sure you are leaving the house with everything you need.
Waking up to milk leaking may be the norm for a while; use pads and sleep on towels to protect your sheets. Communicate your feelings; crying and feelings of being overwhelmed are common in the beginning. Talk with your partner, doctor and friends.
Plan for baby gear
In general, your gear needs won’t be dramatically different than those having only one baby. Yes, you will certainly have more of some items but you don’t need to get as many items per child as you may think! Unless specifically outlined below, you will only need what it is recommended for a family expecting a singleton.
- Items you will need for each baby
- Car seat
- Crib (a place to sleep)
- Baby book
- Logs (for recording diapering, feeding, medications, etc)
- Infant seating
- Items you may want for each baby (but don’t necessarily need):
- Glider/rocker (if space permits)
- Clothes hamper
- Items you will need only one of
- Double nursing pillow
- Single nursing pillow
- Changing table
- Diaper bag
- Stroller (that accommodates all)
- Activity mat
- Swingers you will need only one of
- Items you will need several of
- Burp cloths
- Swaddle blankets
- Sleep sacks
- Local Mothers of Multiples groups
- Sample Gear Guide for Multiples (can be customized for you)
- The Multiples Manual By Lynn Lorenz
- When You’re Expecting Twins, Triplets, or Quads by Barbara Luke and Tamara Eberlei
Hi, I’m Susan Finazzo! I’m a certified Birth Doula, Birth coach, and Childbirth Educator from Port St Lucie, Florida. In addition to that, I am also a Faith-Based Counselor. I have over 10 years experience helping women having a positive birthing experience and would love to make a difference on yours too!
Prepare for twins and more
Preparing for twins or more than one baby is a challenge to any family. Having the help and guidance in how to handle the new demands and reponsibilities will help you manage the stress and enjoy your motherhood.