The birth of twins or triplets can be a joyful event. But it's also overwhelming to care for multiple babies. Amy Romashko, MD, medical director of the Children's Hospital of Wisconsin Urgent Care and a mom of twins, offers this advice on navigating the first few months.
Admit to the tough times. Lack of sleep and endless feedings can make life with multiple newborns stressful. It's important to be honest about that. "The first few months can be really brutal, and it's easy to feel conflicted, because you don't want to complain, and you're supposed to be happy," Romashko says. "But honestly, there's not much happiness for a few months."
Adjust your expectations. Romashko warns parents of multiples against comparing themselves to parents of singletons. Avoid Instagram photos of calm, perfectly posed babies. Romashko's own twins fussed and cavorted through their 1-year photo shoot, which felt like a failure at the time, she admits. But those photos have become faves because they so perfectly reflect the reality of that moment.
Arrange your home for multiples. You'll change lots of diapers, so save yourself steps by creating several changing stations around your home, where diaper supplies are always on hand. Once her babies started to roll over, Romashko created a baby-proof space on the dining room floor, where she could safely place the babies any time she ran to the bathroom or answered the door.
Make feeding choices. When weighing breastfeeding or formula-feeding, decide what works best for you and your babies, Romashko says. (The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding until age 1 for multiple benefits.) She chose to breastfeed and acknowledges that it was challenging. "Over time it was actually easier for me because I didn't have to make formula and clean bottles," she says. She used a nursing bracelet with moveable beads to remember which baby had nursed last and on which side.
Seek safe sleep. Some multiples sleep best when placed in a bassinet or crib together, but Romashko found that her twins slept better in separate spaces. Whether babies sleep together or separately, the same safe sleep rules apply to help lower the odds of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS): Place babies to sleep on their backs on a firm surface free of objects such as pillows and blankets. Babies should sleep near parents, but in a separate bed.
Find other parents of multiples. "Moms of multiples support groups can be really great resources because you're talking to people who get it," Romashko says.
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