Every parenting guide will warn you that once you have a child, your life will never be the same again. In other words, parenting multiples can feel like they’ve just walked out of the hospital and arrived home on another planet.
Medical, financial, logistical, and emotional issues might arise from the delivery of several newborns. It’s also a good thing that more and more families have more than one child at a time. It’s common for parents who are expecting multiples to benefit from the advice of other families who have been there.
So, what happens if there are multiple children in the home?
Some of the lifestyle changes that multiple deliveries entail can be anticipated in advance. Unless you can afford to hire a house cleaning service, you may have to lower your expectations for how clean your home should be over the next few years. You’ll get less sleep because having numerous babies necessitates more frequent nighttime feedings and care.
Costs can also be prohibitive. Those with newborns will have higher costs for things like diapers, clothing, food and medicine, high chairs, toys, and car seats, among other things. Twin births cost more than a single birth in health care costs. A larger house, a bigger car, and maybe part-time housekeeping help are additional costs that must be factored in. It is possible that one of the partners may have to give up their job in order to stay at home and care for the kids.
In addition, children born in higher-order births (triplets or more) are more likely to be disabled, especially if they are born prematurely. The expenditures of caring for a child with special needs may have to be taken into consideration.
For families with multiples, some businesses offer discounts, although large-scale gifts of formula and diapers from major manufacturers are becoming less typical. In the meanwhile, hand-me-downs can be found through relatives and friends with newborns, social service agencies, charitable organizations, and support groups.
Some modifications may surprise you more than others. Having less time to spend with each of your children can cause regret or sadness. If you already have children, these feelings can become even more complicated. Your relationship with your partner may suffer as a result of the stress and exhaustion you experience while caring for your children.
Despite the difficulties, multiples can be extremely rewarding. You’ll fall in love with multiple babies at once and be amazed by the remarkable bond they form. And it’s impossible to deny that multiples pique people’s interests.
What Resources Are Available for Parents in Need?
Having additional aid is essential when taking care of many infants. There are families that hire aid, and there are families that rely on the help of friends and relatives, neighbors, and other parishioners.
Plan ahead of time for the sorts, amounts, and sources of assistance you and your family would prefer before the arrival of your newborns.
People who want to lend a hand can deliver food or bathe newborns, shop, clean, or watch your children while you rest or go out. Additionally, they are able to assist you with running errands. In addition, think about how you’ll feel if there are other caregivers in the house.
Even while there isn’t a single right approach to raising multiples, seeing what other parents have done may be helpful in your own endeavors. Find a local community of parents who have experienced the challenges of raising multiples.
Keep in consideration the well-being of your newborns when establishing a network of volunteers. An infection like the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), which can be very contagious and lead to major health problems in premature infants, is one such risk.
As a general rule, everyone who helps out around the house should be diligent about washing their hands. Those caregivers should also be aware of any medical conditions the infants may have.
Basics of Taking Care of a Child
Feeding will occupy a significant portion of each day. Breastfeeding and bottle-feeding multiples can both be successful, and each method has its adherents.
There are numerous advantages of breastfeeding, including a lower cost and better nourishment. Lactating mothers’ bodies follow the rules of supply and demand. Hence this method works. Breast milk production increases while a mother feeds her infant.
You can breastfeed two babies at once, but it will require some practice. A lactation consultant can demonstrate proper postures for feeding your infants in pairs or solo, depending on your preference. This is especially helpful for women who plan to exclusively breastfeed. Your partner or other caretakers can assist with feedings if you pump and save breast milk.
In the case of multiples, bottle-feeding can be a lifesaver for women who are exhausted from caring for multiples. As long as the baby is fed breast milk and formula, the advantages of nursing can be preserved. You may wish to keep track of your baby’s feeding schedule, whichever method you use.
- It can be difficult to bathe numerous children at the same time. A few parents prefer to wash their children one-on-one in order to ensure their children’s safety and give them some one-on-one time as well. In the case of triplets, however, this may not be feasible. The finest thing you can do is ask for help while taking a bath. Bathing more than one infant at a time will be possible as the babies grow older.
- In the first few months, dressing your baby doesn’t have to be a huge undertaking. Some parents color-code their children’s closets so they can quickly identify who wears what. To save money, it may be a good idea for multiples to share basic clothing, such as sleepers. Giving the newborns their own outfits and establishing their individual identities becomes increasingly crucial as they grow older.
- Slumber is essential to your well-being! Take a few snooze breaks with the help of your coworkers. Even if you manage to get your children to sleep at the same time, you may only be able to catch a few hours of sleep at a time.
It’s common for parents to alternate “night shift” feedings and naps. If one of the babies wakes up in the middle of the night, you might want to consider feeding and waking up the rest of the infants. You’ll be less likely to wake up in the middle of the night to check on your children’s schedules when you use this method.
Take a nap with your children if you can. Though it may be difficult to let go of all the other things on your to-do list, remember that your well-being is essential to your capacity to care for your children.
What are the possible drawbacks?
When you bring home many newborns, it may be difficult to tell them apart. The hospital wristbands are often left on or replaced by parents. In some cases, children’s big toenails are painted in a different shade of color, or their clothing is color-coded. You’ll be able to tell more and more about your children as they grow and develop their own unique characteristics.
Parents of multiples often worry about ensuring that each of their children grows up to be unique. Here are a few ideas for fostering the uniqueness of each child:
Rather than referring to them as “the twins” or “the triplets,” use their names.
don’t dress them identically as they get older, offer each of them their own toys and birthday presents, and encourage each of them to pursue their own interests and abilities as they get older
Avoid making comparisons, especially when a child reaches significant developmental milestones like walking, speaking their first words, or going potty in the potty seat. Consult a doctor if one of your children is behind in a particular area of development.
If you want to keep your older children happy and healthy, you must address any concerns they may have with their younger siblings. Anger and misbehavior can arise when older siblings are resentful of the extra attention that their younger siblings are receiving. Set aside some time to bond with older siblings one-on-one.
Don’t forget to take care of yourself as well. It’s very normal to feel frazzled and drained. Don’t forget to get some rest, spend some time on yourself, and do what you enjoy!
Postpartum depression and the “baby blues” are more common in mothers of multiples than in other moms. Baby blues might make you teary-eyed, easily upset, or overly anxious. These signs and symptoms should go away in a few days or weeks.
As a result, the symptoms of postpartum depression are more intense and stay longer. There are times when a mother may be depressed, apprehensive, or agitated. She may lose her appetite and have a hard time sleeping as a result of this. She may become disinterested in her child or have suicidal ideas for her own sake or the sake of the children. There is no time to waste; get immediate medical attention if you see any of these signs.
Keeping Your Relationship in the Foreground
Parenting a large family can put a burden on any relationship, no matter how strong. In order to care for your children, you may not have much time left for your partner.
Whenever possible, try to give each other time off and inquire about your partner’s needs during the day. Emotional expression can be really valuable. Counselors or clergy that specialize in working with couples who have several children might also be of assistance.
Do your best to save a few minutes here and there. Spending time alone together is more of a necessity than a luxury, so find what works best for you.
It’s not easy being a parent to multiples, but the rewards are at least twice as tremendous.