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Having one baby is a miracle in and of itself –let alone two or three or four. Here’s what to expect when you have the unexpected: multiple pregnancies.
They might be born early
Multiples are often born earlier and smaller than average. It’s also common for mothers of multiples to have Cesarean deliveries. This isn’t everyone’s experience, and we don’t want to scare you, but it’s important to know the possibilities.
So what can you do to prepare? You might need to pay more attention to your body than you normally would and schedule frequent doctor’s visits. This is especially true at 30-32 weeks when the growth rate begins to slow.
Feeding is an adventure
It’s recommended to feed every baby on the same schedule. If one baby wakes up to eat, for example, it’s best to wake up everyone else and feed them, too. Feeding pillows work well for both breastfeeding and bottle-feeding. These large, U-shaped pillows can help you firmly secure each baby on either side of you. Regular pillows work too but are a little harder to set up. Don’t worry, eventually, you’ll get the hang of it; and your forearms will become super strong!
Note: If you do choose to breastfeed, remember that it takes extra practice. Consider consulting a lactation expert who can help you maximize milk supply.
After feeding, place your babies in an upright position to help promote digestion. Consider talking or singing to your babies. This is a great time for bonding.
Sleeping together is better
Many multiples are comforted by their siblings’ presence, so consider putting them in the same crib.
Most become accustomed to each other’s sleeping noises and habits and are happy to stay together. Co-bedding is perfectly safe. You can review different sleeping methods here and figure out which one fits your family best. Eventually, your babies will graduate to separate cribs, but relish these sweet moments while you can.
It takes a village
During the first few weeks, it’s extremely important to have an extra set of hands. Whether you seek guidance from a family member or expert, don’t be afraid to ask for help. So start planning out your shared responsibilities earlier rather than later!
To learn more about caring for multiple newborns:
Olivia Maitret is a psychologist with a minor in Education and a Masters in Brief Systemic Therapy. She is a mindfulness instructor, trained on the treatment of Learning Disabilities. Olivia spent 4 years as a Preschool teacher, 3 years as a school counselor, and trains children in meditation. She is a family psychotherapist and feels excited to support parents and teachers from around the world in their essential participation in child development.