Hearing that you are expecting twins can come with a whole heap of emotions. Joy, worry, excitement as well as feeling totally overwhelmed…
So what are the practical tips for twins that really work? What do you need to know before you begin this amazing but challenging journey?
Breastfeeding offers major health advantages for all infants, whether born singleton or from multiple pregnancy. It also provides benefits to the mothers.
When you are breastfeeding your twins it may take a little time to find a position that you like and feel comfortable with. You can try a combination of positions, however initially you may find it easier to concentrate on one baby at a time, or your midwife/partner may help you when positioning the two babies at the same time.
The HSE website breastfeeding.ie advises that when you are confident latching on one baby then you can try the two babies together – this will save you time and your babies will love being close with you and each other at the breast.
It always helps in the early days to feed in a big bed or big sofa, you in the middle with plenty of pillows all around to support your back and to lift up your babies if needed.
Your milk is made on demand, the more you feed the more you make. You will have plenty of milk for both babies once you feed on demand, for as long as each baby needs to.
If there is anyone in the house with you, ask them to feed a baby. This is where bottle feeding comes in very handy.
If you’re on your own, after a few weeks, you can prop up the bottles and feed the babies together.
The IMBA maintains that bouncers are great for this, put the baby into it and put a towel or something similar under them to prop up the bottle. Also, the buggy is very useful for this. You can also sit on the ground with your back against a wall or couch for support and hold the bottles in the babies’ mouths, then wind one on your shoulder while continuing to feed the other(s) and vice versa.
The main thing with bottle feeding is to get as much help as you can.
The IMBA also recommends that if you plan to bottlefeed it might be time to invest in a dishwasher. The association advises expectant parents of twins to consider the practicalities of washing and sterilising 12 or more bottles a day – newborns often require six to eight bottles each a day at the start.
Keep a chart
The IMBA advises that parents of twins should keep a chart of each baby’s feeding, sleeping and nappy changes and to note down any comments or concerns you may have. It will help you to remember who had what did what when – this makes it easier for when someone is helping you to care for the babies while you rest.
If you have time, spend an afternoon cooking up one or two week’s supply of meals that you store in the freezer. It’s really important for mums to eat properly once the babies arrive. Also order your grocery shopping online and stock up on all the essentials.
Mum of twins Catherine Rafferty shares her hard earned knowledge.
“My twin boys were my second and third children. Physically, it was the hardest thing to carry them to 38 weeks and two days and beg for an induction! It’s just truly amazing what a woman’s body can do in order to grow and carry 20 toes and fingers, four legs and arms, four eyes and ears and two beautiful heads….
Well, you aren’t thinking that exactly when they are shouting, “I can see the head…one more push!”
You could write a book on baby care tips for multiples, as it’s more than double the work of a singleton baby. It is difficult to understand that unless you have been there.
Preparation is key. This will apply to everything you do with your multiples, but especially around bath time. Set everything out beforehand – towels, nappies, vests, powder and clothes.
My second tip is to stick to a routine as much as you can. I used one that an army sergeant would be proud of! They napped at the same time, had their nappies changed at the same time, ate at the same time etc.
For the here and now, it is not about individual personalities and choices (that day will come) it is about getting through the next 24…no 12 hours and keeping both children fed and watered!
Okay, if there was to be one more tip it would be to always use these words… repeat after me…”yes please”. If someone offers to get you bread and milk from the shop…say, ”yes please.” Someone else offers to watch your babies while you have a shower that takes longer than Usain Bolt to sprint a 100m you say…”Yes please.”
There are no medals arriving in the post for going it alone and managing it yourself.
Try get into the swing of feeding tandem and you will soon learn that babies that feed together sleep together!
But remember at the end of the day, not everyone gets chosen to be a multiple mother and it is difficult at times but as the saying goes, “The harder the struggle the greater the reward.”
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Twin gear essentials
Tips on breastfeeding twins
Help! I’m expecting twins