Guest Author - Julixa Newman
When you first discovered that you were pregnant, chances are that there were a variety of emotions coming up; from joy, curiosity and excitement all the way to panic, frustration, and depression. If you didn’t know it was twins at the time, chances are also that you went a little crazy when you found out everything you were excited and worried about is going to double! No one initially braces for multiples-it’s kind of an afterthought of the newfound joy of being a parent.
Well, there’s no need to panic. I am a twin mom, and those twins brought my count to four children. I can tell you without hesitation that if you were already planning to be a parent, there is not a whole lot more you need to think about. There are a few subjects I wish someone had told me to think about, however, and I am going to pass them on to you below…
Choosing a doctor should take a little research, so doing this before the babies arrive (when sleep will be an issue). While singleton pregnancies can be handled by a regular family obstetrician/gynecologist, twins, triplets and higher order multiples are all considered “high risk pregnancies” strictly due to the number of complications that can arise. For this reason, you need a doctor specializing in high risk pregnancies. Get recommendations from family or friends, make a small list, and try to consult with a few as soon as possible. You’ll want a physician you feel comfortable with, and one you feel has the qualifications to expertly handle your pregnancy.
Logistically speaking, having a nursery game plan can save parents an abundance of time and stress after the babies come along. Things to consider might start with the cribs; do you need two? Even if money is not a factor, there are pros and cons. Our twins shared a crib for a year, and I always thought it created a stronger bond, more security at bedtime, and obviously there was more space available in the room. However, some babies start moving around a lot earlier, and may require more space for safety. If the cribs convert to toddler beds, it may be wise to save for a few months and evaluate their personalities to see if a second one is needed. At least you’ll know they won’t outgrow them anytime soon.
Whether or not to breastfeed has become a controversial topic. There are several reasons that many mothers cannot (or should not) nurse their babies. Whether you are or not, there are a lot of questions to consider. For mothers of twins, it becomes even more relevant because producing enough milk for twins can be even more energy-sapping and time consuming. Will you feed then at the same time (tandem feeding)? You might need a nursing pillow if so. Will you pump the milk in advance so others can help?
Some babies are very particular about their formula and their bottles, and the taste of the milk, the bottle flow, or the wrong nipple shape can cause many frustrating nights of trying to convince your babies to eat. Resist the urge to buy in bulk until the babies seem to be comfortable with the feeding tools as well as the formula. This way it won’t be wasteful if any of these items needs to be switched.
If you are not nursing, other questions to consider may be in formula choices (and costs). You may even want to add the formula into the budget with the diapers and clothing when considering the choices that need to be made. With regard to the feedings, creating a schedule for you and your partner to wake up at regular intervals during the night might help uncomplicate things. If you are each waking up at the same time each night instead of randomly through the night, your bodies may handle the stress better.