Caring for one newborn baby is quite challenging, but how do you manage if you’re mum and dad to multiples? With expert input from Sandra Bosman, founder of the multiples charity More Than One, here are some top tips for parents of two or more!
Helpful tips for mums and dads!
Routine as soon as possible is the key to encourage your babies’ body rhythms into similar patterns. Aim to put both or all babies down to sleep and for naps at the same time, and follow the usual rules for a bedtime routine if you can – ideally, you’ll have some help if you’re trying to settle more than one baby for the night. ‘At the very least, a good bedtime routine will allow you to get a few useful chores done in the evening and more importantly, it will give you a little time in the evening with your partner. You’ll both need it.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help!!! Friends and family are a saviour at times!
Keep a note of when your babies have been fed and changed as it helps you get into a good routine.
Try to start the day positively by getting dressed and ready as soon as possible in the morning but remember that it will possibly take you twice as long or more depending on how many babies!
It is easier to breastfeed twin babies at the same time but you’re likely need even more advice. More information available at www.twinsuk.co.uk
Breastfeeding may be difficult or not for you so don’t worry – your babies will do perfectly well on formula, or a mix of both if that seems to work better for you. Often night feeds with formula works well as you know how much they have taken and dad can get involved too which is important!
It’s soothing for twins and more to be in the same cot when they are tiny as it helps to emulate conditions in the womb they shared, and it means they’re more likely to wake simultaneously for nighttime feeds.
Make sure you have a bouncy chair for each of your babies. That way, if you have your hands full with one of them, there’ll always be somewhere safe and comfy for the other to wait. When they’re a bit older, you can bottlefeed both at the same time by sitting in between the two chairs.
Bathtime can be a challenge with multiples, especially before they’re old enough to sit up with the help of a bath support. Stick to topping and tailing for as long as possible and try to only do bathtime when you know you’ve got help. Otherwise, bath your babies one at a time, keeping the other close by in a bouncy chair or other safe place.
Make the rest of life as easy as possible for yourself: housework and shopping can be fitted around your baby well.
Try to get out of the house with your babies at least once a day. It will help break up the time and get you all outside as well as being a good way to encourage them towards similar nap times.
Try to spend a little one-on-one time with each of your babies when you can. ‘Allowing one to be looked after a grandparent sometimes will give you – and them – the opportunity to bond with one baby at a time.’
Having twins or more means your costs are going to be higher. Unfortunately there are no extra benefits available to help parents of multiples cope with their increased costs. Do make sure you’re getting everything you’re entitled to such as child benefit, which everyone can claim, and – depending on your income, child tax credits and the maternity grant.
Finally, bear in mind that although twins or more can be incredibly hard work at first, it will get easier. As they grow up, you’ll reap the rewards because they will always have each other for company, and that’s going to make life easier for you. ‘Have a positive mental attitude,’ says Sandra. ‘Laugh about things, otherwise you might end up crying. And remember: your babies are a blessing.