Preparing for the arrival of your twins, triplets or more!
The prospect of birth can be such a daunting one that many parents find it hard to think beyond that miraculous and improbable event.
Try to bear in mind that once your babies are here, you will be very busy. The time before they arrive is a great opportunity to research some of the practical issues ahead of you, reading up on everything from what happens in a multiple birth to twin/triplet sleep routines.
It’s a great idea to go along to your local multiples club while you are still pregnant.
There is nothing like meeting other parents who already have young twins, triplets or more for finding out what you really need to know – such as which equipment you will need extra sets of. You may even be able to pick up some useful items second-hand.
Twins clubs are also a great place to take any older siblings for a visit to get them used to the idea of two or more arriving. Clubs usually go out of their way to make expectant parents welcome, and once your babies are here, they will offer a haven of friendly and understanding company. Find your nearest multiples club.
Please also consider joining Tamba. Membership costs from £27 (less for those on a low income) and benefits include a members-only online messageboard where you can share experiences and pick up tips from other parents; a quarterly magazine; discounts with more than 100 companies; and access to useful resources (including factsheets, family days, and health and education professionals).
Below family therapist Audrey Sandbank discusses how to prepare older siblings for the arrival or twins, triplets or more. Tamba runs courses for parents that are expecting multiples that already have an older sibling/siblings.
Looking ahead: feeding and sleeping
Pregnancy is a good time to think about how you might feed your babies. If you want to breastfeed – and lots of multiples mums do – then it can help to attend antenatal classes specifically for multiple pregnancies, as they usually have a session on breastfeeding. Contact us at Tamba to find out more about our own antenatal classes for those expecting twins or more.
If you are not sure about the relative merits of bottlefeeding, breastfeeding or a mixed approach, it can help to talk to other parents who have been there. Again, your local twins club is a great place to start. If you join Tamba you will also have access to our members-only messageboard. For a detailed account of how to breastfeed twins, triplets or more you can download Tamba’s booklet, Breastfeeding more than one. If you would prefer to talk to somebody about breastfeeding multiples, Tamba run a breastfeeding peer support service that consists of 12 trained volunteers that have all breastfed twins and can offer mother-to-mother information and support to families who wish to breastfeed their twins, triplets or higher multiples.
It’s recommended that you keep your babies in your room for the first six months if you have enough space. Many babies share a cot for the first month, sometimes longer, and research suggests that they tend to have similar sleeping patterns and don’t wake up more often than babies who sleep apart. For more on cot-sharing, download Tamba’s guide Twins, Triplets and More: The First Year or our Sleep factsheet.
Multiples often arrive early – sometimes very early – so it’s a good idea to have your hospital bag packed by week 26.
Towards the end of your pregnancy, cook double portions when you prepare a meal and freeze the extra. Once your babies are here, having some ready-cooked meals on hand will be a boon.
Think ahead about getting some help. Paternity leave usually lasts two weeks, plus your partner may be able to take a week or two extra of holiday or unpaid. Beyond that, don’t be afraid to organise any willing family or friends into a rota so that you know you will have an extra pair of hands arriving at regular intervals.
There may also be other sources of free help locally such as Homestart, student maternity nurses or childcare students. Homestart can be invaluable for parents of multiples, but it takes a while to process the paperwork. If you want to have that option then get it underway before the babies arrive.
For more on getting ready, what to put in your hospital bag and preparing older siblings for the arrival of twins, triplets or more, please download our Healthy Multiple Pregnancy Guide.
Follow the links to find out more about finding out you are expecting multiples, antenatal care, looking after yourself, common symptoms in multiple pregnancies, complications, work and finance, and birth plans.
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