After two Mama Story guest posts where Deborah Leigh-Lasarow and Racheal Cook both shared what postpartum life with twins was like, I knew I wanted to provide a little extra support for those of you expecting two (or more!) babies. Thank goodness for Multiples Experts like my friend and colleague Hannah Poles!!! She specializes in helping families with their newborn multiples, and is sharing her in-depth knowledge on today’s post. Enjoy!!
Newborns are pretty much the best thing ever.
They’re tiny and yummy and give the purest love.
When you’re a parent of multiples, you get all of that joy times two, but you’re also outnumbered by those little love bugs.
To make the most of your multiples pregnancy and early parenthood, here are a few tips:
1. Start prepping early & get organized:
Multiples often decide to make their debut early, so start checking items off of your to-do list!
It’s also likely that you won’t feel up to doing much work as the end of your pregnancy nears – the whole third trimester may be all about rest.
So, as soon as you find out that you’re carrying multiples, hop into high gear with your preparations.
Create a registry, plan an early baby shower, prep the nursery, assemble the gear, start stocking the freezer with meals, take birthing classes, tour the hospital, create a birth plan and think about what you will want and need during the first few days that you’re home with the babies.
Starting the preparations early will allow ample time for you to alter and adjust things before the babes arrive.
2. Accept and Ask for Help:
When people find out that you’re pregnant, especially with multiples, they will often casually say “let me know if you need anything” or “I’m happy to help out sometime.”
Take advantage of these offers and follow up with a request: a freezable meal, babysitting, help with laundry, a second set of hands at the pediatrician, walking the dogs, running errands, etc. If, by chance, you don’t have family and friends nearby, ask for and schedule help before the babies arrive.
I can’t emphasize enough how important this is to do before the babies arrive.
You will need time to rest, cuddle your newborns, shower and spend time with your significant other.
With multiples, it can be very challenging to carve out time to do even one of these things so definitely schedule some help!
Plan to have your mom fly in for a week, hire a Newborn Care Specialist, have your best friend come for a few days, employ a postpartum doula, schedule a dog walker and arrange meal deliveries.
Coming home with multiples can be overwhelming and it’s vital that you have the support (and the extra set of hands) to make those first few days and weeks as easy and enjoyable as possible.
3. Be yourself:
Carrying, delivering and raising multiples is a unique experience and you need to make it your own.
This means saying no, asking for what you want and being true to yourself. People love to touch hugely pregnant bellies, offer parenting advice, ask personal questions, share stories about twins they know and reach into the stroller to touch your babies.
Be polite but honest and stand up for what you want and need.
As a parent of multiples, the advice, the personal questions (Were they natural? Do twins run in your family?), the belly touches and the stories will come at you double- or triple- fold.
Twins are a magnet for passers-by and you need to be prepared to deal with these experiences.
Know what you’re okay with and how you want to answer or avoid the questions, touches and stories.
You’re a parent; it’s your right and duty to stand up for yourself and your babies.
4. Put yourself (and your partner) first:
To be the best parent possible, you need to be the happiest, healthiest, most rested and supported version of you possible.
Take time for you and your partner.
Put yourselves first.
Make sure that all of your basic needs are met.
Nap, shower, eat, laugh, hug, read and breathe.
Since you’ve already asked for and scheduled help (right?!), take full advantage of it.
Let your friend watch the babies while you shower and nap.
Have your mom make dinner and unload the dishwasher while you cuddle your babies.
Whatever you need, make that your number one priority.
As a parent of multiples, this can be especially challenging because your time is already split between two or more babies.
In the matter of a day, your family doubled and you’re outnumbered.
Though there is always a long list of things (laundry, cooking, work, bottles, cleaning) you could or should do, allow yourself to put those on the back burner or to hand them off to someone else so that you can focus on your needs and being with your partner.
This is not only important for you, but also for your babies!
5. Breathe & Enjoy:
When you bring those babies home, they will be your everything.
Your love for them will be all-consuming and you’ll be in a little bubble of joy.
You created, carried and delivered two (or more) tiny little people – GO YOU!
Soak that up.
Hannah Chelsey Poles, founder of The Baby Maven, is a Newborn Care Specialist and Multiples Expert. She provides hands-on, in-home care and consulting for families with newborn multiples. From baby gear to birthing, swaddling to soothing, diapering to daily duties and burping to bathing, The Baby Maven has you covered. For more information, check out her website: www.thebabymaven.com
Want more resources about postpartum support? Check out Chapters 7 & 8 of The Expecting Entrepreneur.