I have only been a Multi Mum for 14 months, so I still have a lot to learn!
Mothers go through a lot of tough stuff from pregnancy to birth to parenting. How much more when you have to pay attention to two babies at once! I asked other multi-mums for some advice and I am thrilled to be able to share a couple of tricks from our trade!
Here you go… 6 important tips for parents of twins, triplets – or more!
1. When feeding two at once
For those multi mums who mastered the art of twin breastfeeding – I say more power to you. This is a skill that I never was able to learn, though I did learn a couple of tricks with regards to bottle feeding. When bottle feeding two at once, place each baby in the fold of either side of your hip (baby’s head on your upper thigh with legs facing straight out – away from you). Have a cloth nappy rolled up and resting in-between the baby’s chest and bottle. This will allow you to quickly become hands-free if you need to attend to either of the babies.
If breastfeeding, but not twin feeding, feed one baby from one breast and then express the other breast. You can then feed the other baby with the expressed breast milk. I personally had trouble with attachment, so I would express and then bottle feed both babies. If you do not have access to an industrial strength electric pump, then I recommend that you purchase an electric pump and a manual pump. That way, you can express both breasts at the same time. Before I rented what I referred to as “the mega pump”, I would have the hand pump and mini electric pump and then switch breasts when they were on half way through to make sure everything stayed even.
Pre-prepare formula: Using a two litre jug, calculate number of scoops of formula for amount of water (measure with scales). Whisk it all together and you have enough to make 16+ bottles. Save time by pre-preparing the night before.
2. Sleeping arrangements
Some of the Multi Mums I know initially started out with both babies in the same cot; one at each end. I decided that I would place my twins in separate cots from the beginning. My reason for this was that I knew eventually, they would have to sleep in their own beds, so why not make it ‘the norm’ from the start? For us, this decision turned out to be the right one as I saw just how much they wriggled around in their sleep. Many of the Multi Mums who have their babies in the same cot are now dealing with the issue of one of their babies kicking or hitting the other one and waking them up.
3. Getting twins into and out of a car
I live in North Queensland, so I live in a high set Queenslander. Thankfully, I have space to park the car underneath the house, but it also means lugging babies up and down stairs. I am not confident enough to take two babies at once down a flight of stairs, so I take them one at a time. The trick with this one is that whilst you have one baby in one arm, this leaves the opposite shoulder free for your handbag, or nappy bag or groceries.
When putting babies into a pram from a car seat, have the pram set up on the driver’s side of the car, put this baby into the pram and then wheel the pram around to the other side. This may sound extremely obvious but I’ve seen some Multi Mums leave the pram set up on one side of the car – with a baby strapped in – and then walk around to get the other baby out of the other side of the car. *SHUDDER!!*
If only walking a short distance, for example dropping the children to daycare, and you don’t want to set the pram up – put one baby in a sling/carrier and carry the other one. If this sounds like it belongs in the ‘too hard basket’, you can always call ahead and have someone meet you. I have done this several times when visiting friends.
Whether it be for your baby shower or for the babies’ birthday or Christmas, layby what the children need and then ask family and friends for a donation towards the layby. This may sound somewhat presumptuous, but trust me; people love knowing that what they give you is appreciated and actually going to be useful. When my twins turned one, I had people ask me what they needed – clothes, I said. The trouble some of my friends had trying to decide whether to buy “matchy-matchy” or “same, same but different” was too much for some of them.
If you are going to buy your twins toys, try and get them something they can play with together. I recommend toys like a box of block, a tea set or car racing track. Something they can play with individually or share.
5. Cooking and Washing
These life hacks can be applied to anyone with multiple children not just multiples.
When cooking – cook in bulk and then freeze into portions. Now that the twins have moved on to solids, I try and get them to eat what we eat – or vice versa – make a lot of what they like to eat so we can have some as well.
BC (before children) – I would wash once a week. Now, I am washing almost everyday. With double the babies comes double the washing. A trick I have is to wash the babies’ clothes and our clothes separately. You may think that it is creating more work for yourself but your little one’s clothes need to be washed at a higher temperature to ensure that all the muck comes off them. Plus, if you are using cloth nappies – do you really want these washed with your nice, new, post baby jeans? Or if you live in my world, a more realistic example would be – do you want caked on vomit washed with your comfy pyjamas?
6. NEVER EVER EVER buy anything full price!
Always ask for a multi discount if you are buying more than two of something. If you join the Multiple Birth Association (annual membership is $40), you are then entitled to discounts with several companies – the most valuable being formula!
Parenting will be twice as hard but it sure is worth it!