Over the years, Pam Pace has seen plenty of parents and expectant parents of twins, triplets and more. And while society, technology and even child-rearing strategies have changed, the questions from these anxious moms and dads have not. Pace, founder of Keeping Pace with Multiple Miracles – a Bridgewater, Mass.-based organization offering information, resources and support for parents of multiples – answers some of the most frequently asked questions from new parents of multiples
Q: How will I ever be able to take care of two, three or four babies at once?
A: This is one of the most asked questions our families have. Some MOMS (Mothers of Multiples) have family near by who offer to come over and help out; others do not. Some families have the resources to hire a nanny; others do not. Depending on when the multiples are born, (how premature the babies are) insurance may cover a home health aid for a month or two.
We have had good luck turning to the community for help and support. MOMS have asked local churches, youth groups, even schools for help with their babies. This can be done by simply calling your local churches, YMCAs, and schools and asking if they have any volunteer programs.
I personally had good luck “hiring” a mother’s helper for a couple of hours twice a week. She was 11, and loved the babies. She would play with the triplets while I folded clothes and did chores around the house.
Q: How will I ever go anywhere with all of these babies?!
A: You will, and you must! Getting out of the house for some fresh air, a walk in the mall, or park will do you and the babies good! Plan ahead, pack everything the night before. Don’t have high expectations. Go after a feeding, so you have a few hours before the next feeding. Plan on feeding the babies while you are out, or return home in plenty of time before the next feeding. A twin, triplet, or quadruplet stroller will allow you to get out solo. If you have the convenience of having help with you, split the babies up so that they don’t attract too much attention. There is nothing like going to the mall with a stroller the size of a small compact car, and having a crowd form around you! Be prepared to have strangers come up to you and ask every question imaginable. (“Are they identical?” “Did you use fertility drugs?” “How much weight did you gain?”)
Prepare yourself. Some people handle the invasive questions with humor, with quick comebacks: “Do they run in your family?” “Yes, they run all over our family!” or “They do now!”
Q: Should I wake the second or third baby at night when the first baby wakes for a feeding?
A: Yes, Yes, and Yes!!! Sure enough, you will just get back into bed for that much needed rest, and babies No. 2 or 3 will sound off. It is a Multiples Mantra that when it is time to feed, everyone is fed, changed, and returned to cribs. Schedule is a must for multiples. You will know when they are ready to get through the night without feedings. It usually happens between 3 and 4 months, or when the babies weigh 10-12 pounds.
Read more about twins & multiples:
Twice Blessed: The Joys and Challenges of Multiples
Compiled by Deirdre Wilson; parts excerpted from a Boston Parents’ Paper article by freelance writer John Mitchell.