By Chrissy Bernal
This month I’m walking in the March for Babies March of Dimes walk. It goes perfectly with April being Multiple Births Awareness month.
Multiples tend to arrive ahead of schedule and March of Dimes focuses on reducing the number of premature births so that babies can remain in the womb for as long as possible. Although some twin pregnancies go to 40 weeks (full-term for a single baby) or even longer, 37 weeks is considered to be full-term in a twin pregnancy. Around 30% of twin pregnancies go into premature labor, and around half of all women expecting twins give birth before 37 weeks.
As a mother of twins, I have a personal interest in the awareness April brings. My girls were born at 34 weeks and one of them stayed in the NICU for 108 days.
Blogger Chrissy Bernal's twins
One of the questions I’m most often asked is, “How did you manage two babies at once?”
I actually considered myself lucky, because my twins were my first pregnancy I hadn’t experienced life with only one newborn. So, I didn’t know any different than dual feedings, dual diaper changes and the need to purchase two of everything...
There are things that definitely made it easier for me, though and there are things you can do if you’re a mom of multiples or an expecting mother of multiples.
A few tips for when you’re expecting:
Seek good prenatal care. I wouldn’t have been able to prepare for my daughter’s special needs had it not been for screenings done during pre-natal care.
Attend a birthing class if this is your first delivery. Your local Mothers of Multiples chapter may even be able to direct you to classes for moms who are expecting multiples. If you have other children, arrange to attend a sibling class together.
Meet with your prospective pediatrician to discuss potential problems and concerns.
If possible, arrange to have some regular help after the babies come home. At the very least, if you can have someone help with meals and basic cleaning around the house, that’ll take a large load off of you. This is especially important if you’re going to have a C-section as you’ll be limited in the beginning.
Be prepared: get your hospital bag ready, your diaper bag packed, the nursery stocked, etc. The more you can get done now, the less stressed you’ll be and it’ll free up time for you to rest and be with your babies. My mom actually came to my house before the delivery and made several meals that were able to be frozen. They were a lifesaver!
A few tips for once your babies are home:
Again, ask for help. It’s okay to not do it alone. Besides, most people love babies, so they’ll be more than happy to help with a feeding or two.
Sleep when your babies do; you'll need your energy.
Don’t forget to eat. This is especially important if you’re breast feeding. You must keep your nutrients up so you can continue to produce milk.
Set a routine as quickly as possible.
Be okay with a “dirty” house. Visitors don’t expect that you’re able to maintain a pristine house and care for newborn multiples. If they do, well, they should be on top of the volunteer list to help you clean. ;)
Keep detailed records of feedings, diapers (wet and dirty), medications and anything else that might be noteworthy. It can be hard to remember each event for each baby, so it’s important to write it down.
A few helpful gadgets:
Also, many companies will offer freebies or larger coupons for mothers of multiples. So, contact your favorite diaper company, formula company…and see if they’ll offer any help.
Do you have multiples? What advice would you offer expecting and new Multiple Mommies?