Miracle Multiples: 36 Things You Need To Know
So you’re expecting multiples – congratulations! Falling pregnant is a life miracle that will change you forever, and while having one baby is wonderful and nerve-wracking enough, having more than one at the same time can stretch your capacity…and your budget.
According to the 2015 National Vital Statistics Report by the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP), twins accounted for fewer than four percent of all live births in the US in 2013, triplets and higher order births accounted for roughly one percent. So while it remains a rare occurrence, you are by no means going through it alone!
We have put together some tips for moms who are going through this thrilling yet – let’s admit it – slightly daunting time.
6 Steps to Managing a Multiple Pregnancy
Having a tray of buns in the oven is really exciting, but because it comes with an increased risk in complications, there are some really important health considerations you need to keep in mind:
- Get good advice. Being pregnant is an incredibly special time, and you don’t want to spend it anxious about questions that your doctor isn’t answering, or that you are too afraid to ask. Find a doctor that you are comfortable with and who’s opinion you respect. That said, if your doctor’s advice is to not eat sushi while you’re pregnant, like it or not, you may need to shelve that food fetish for the next nine months – yikes!
- Sharing your meals with two…or three…or four…can leave you slightly nutrient deficient. Ask your doctor about some great, safe supplements, like iron or folic acid, which will be beneficial to you.
- Manage your stress. As you may know, pregnancy can lead to an increase in blood pressure (known as hypertension), so be sure to streamline your work load – whether at home or at the office – so that crises are kept to a minimum. If you find yourself getting stressed over something, take deep, calming breaths and walk away from the situation until it can be managed.
- Eat well. As you gain weight during your pregnancy, you may be tempted to skimp on meals in order to cut down on calories and stay slim; or you may feel like pregnancy has awakened an inner cookie monster and you find yourself inhaling sweets, crisps and carbs by the bucket load – neither option is healthy for you or your babies. When planning meals, consider options that include foods that will nourish and enhance your health, such as veggie soups, robust stews, vitamin rich smoothies and tasty wraps, keeping balanced portions in mind. If the majority of your meals are healthy, you can tuck into that sweet treat free of guilt!
- Rest. We know you can do it all – but you don’t have to. Delegate tasks to willing family members and colleagues (even if they don’t get them perfectly right) and take time out for naps, listening to music, or lying on the couch with your favourite mag.
- Exercise. Now don’t go run the two oceans with a belly full of babies, but maintaining your fitness with mild exercise is great way of keeping your mental, emotional and physical well-being in shape. Always consult your doctor about any exercise you’d like to do. If he/she gives you the all-clear, go for a walk on the beach, a light swim in the pool or partake in gentle preggy-yoga.
6 Essential Odds and Ends
Anything that makes your life a smidge easier is noteworthy, right? Right. Herewith a list of winning essentials that will help smooth the transition into parenthood.
- The tandem pram. Being able to strap more than one newborn in so that you can take a walk will make popping to the shop or the park a breeze. Try to avoid the side-by-side twin prams, as these are often a bit of a challenge to get through single doors with. We like BabyStyle’s Oyster Max Pram – available at babystylesa.co.za.
- The baby monitor. Baby monitors allow you to relax while the babies are snoozing, and are an essential item to have. Modern baby monitors now come with a range of high-tech functionality, such as video, movement and sound sensors. AngelCare offers solutions to parents of multiples, as well as a range of monitors, some of which have been designed to sound an alarm if baby stops breathing for longer than 20 seconds. Visit angelcare-monitor.co.za.
- A hands-free breast pump. Hands-free. Enough said.
For range of options that suit every need, visit breastpumps.co.za or www.nuk.co.za.
- Breast-feeding pillows, one for each baby. These are essential and ensure that you and your babies are super comfortable during feeding time. Check out the Comfi-Curve Maternity Pillow available at kidsemporiumonline.co.za.
- Bath support. So you’ve got to manage bathing more than one baby at a time. Unless you have a team of bathers on hand, this is going to be tricky! Angelcare makes it easy with its new Bath Support seat. Hygienic and ergonomically designed to fit infants up to six months comfortably, you can place babies snugly in their seats and not have to worry about them slipping. Go to angelcare-monitor.co.za for more information.
- Nipple cream. If you are suckling more than one baby, your nipples are bound to take strain. Invest in some quality nipple cream. Dischem and Clicks have many affordable options. Alternatively, you can take your granny’s age-old wisdom and tuck some cabbage leaves into your nursing bra; it may just save your skin and you a few tears.
6 Tips to Happy Homecoming
So all your sprogs have launched and it’s time to bring them home – no need to panic. Here is some tried and trusted advice to weather this new season:
- Get help. Whether it’s in the form of family members, friends or paid assistance, it is totally worth soliciting advice and hands-on help from anyone who is able to offer it. Again, while running your own show seems very heroic, you want to be able to keep your eyes open for your babies’ special moments – not be snoring on the couch after a night breastfeeding a bunch of sweet, chirping, little mouths.
- Get advice. Looking after (never mind feeding!) more than one baby at a time takes a certain level of planning and skill, so look around for available resources like mommy ‘support’ groups, blogs, online forums or your health care professionals. Babies struggling to breast feed? Hire a lactation consultant – it’ll be money well spent! Visit babycalm.co.za to find a consultant near you.
- Connect. Take time to connect with your partner – see a movie, take a walk, share a box of chocolates on the couch. Reconnecting with your partner will do wonders for you love tank.
- Breathe. If you can manage to leave babies in the care of someone you trust to take a walk and get some fresh air, do it! Even if it’s just for ten minutes, changing the view of your surroundings can do wonders for you. If you can’t find someone to babysit, pop each kiddie in a tandem pram or stroller and hit the road. They’ll love it!
- Hang out. Even though being a parent means managing more than one schedule, it is important to allocate time to spend with good friends who provide stimulating company, make you laugh, keep you sane and who won’t judge you for wearing your fat pants – sans mascara – around them!
- Routine. The best way to survive the early stage is to get some kind of rhythm and routine going with feeding and sleeping. Demand feeding might not be the best idea with multiples, so start early with a routine, and your life will be a lot easier.
We hope this helped. All the best for your (multiple) adventures into parenthood!