These days, having multiples (twins, triplets, etc.) is more common. That’s mostly due to the increasing use of fertility drugs and treatments. Having multiples can be one of the most exciting times of a couple’s life. It can also be one of the most demanding. While multiples will bring special joys, caring for them is a big job. Sometimes just getting through the day can seem overwhelming.
Path to improved well being
Managing your growing family is possible when you follow these tips:
Prepare and plan:
- Don’t wait until the babies are born. Use your pregnancy to “predict” and “forecast” your challenges. Write down all the challenges you anticipate and possible solutions. When life gets crazy, you might forget some good ideas. It helps to refer back to your plan.
- Accept any help that is offered. It can make a big difference.
- Talk with your partner about sharing the duties of caring for the babies. Having both parents involved in child care is both good for you and your children.
- Start childbirth classes early. Multiples are born prematurely (before the due date). If you don’t start classes early, you may not finish before the multiples are born.
- Make all your other arrangements early too, so you’re ready.
- Read and research articles on raising multiples. Use reputable sources.
- Talk to other parents who have multiples. You may learn some great ideas.
- Breastfeeding is the best nutrition for multiples. Seek advice from those who have done it. La Leche League has group meetings and member-based online support for mothers who breastfeed. It might be less difficult than you think.
- Stick to a schedule.
- Sleep when they sleep.
Things to consider
Parenting multiples will be fun and exciting. But, there are some important things to consider, including:
- Help your multiples become individuals. This includes dressing them differently as they get older, letting them choose the activities they are interested in, giving them different gifts, and placing them in separate classrooms.
- Avoid picking names that rhyme or sound alike.
- Use their names just as you would 2 children of different ages. Avoid calling them “the twins,” “the triplets,” “the quads,” etc.
- Don’t compare the multiples. Each is unique in his or her own way. Being a multiple and being compared to the others can affect your child’s confidence.
- Give each multiple time alone with one or both parents. They need to know they are important as individuals and not just as multiples. Speak and read to each of your multiples to enrich their learning and vocabulary. This also can help with language delays that are common in multiples.
Expect some bumps along the way, including:
- Feeling tired, even exhausted. It might be several years before you feel like yourself again.
- Expect to have some negative feelings periodically. It is natural. Don’t feel guilty about having them. Most parents of multiples have moments when they feel they aren’t up to the job of caring for the children. These feelings won’t last and you will soon get the hang of life with multiples.
- Don’t forget about yourself or your partner. Talk to each other about your feelings and problems. Find a way to take a break regularly.
Remember to give other children in the family the attention they need. The amount of time that it takes to care for multiples can make other siblings feel forgotten. Set aside time regularly to be alone with other children.
Questions to ask your doctor
- Will the multiples entertain each other?
- Does having multiples increase the spread of illness?
- How can I instill individuality in identical multiples?
Copyright © American Academy of Family Physicians
This information provides a general overview and may not apply to everyone. Talk to your family doctor to find out if this information applies to you and to get more information on this subject.