Life with multiples can be challenging, hectic, frantic and overwhelming. It can also be fun and enjoyable! There are several key ingredients to a happy and harmonious life with multiples. Here are the top tips for life with multiples, as identified by real parents of multiples.
- Support – you can never have enough support when you have multiple babies! A fantastic source of support for parents of multiples is other multiples families. Not only do they understand what you are going through, they may have advice or ideas on different ways you can get things done. Your local AMBA club is a fantastic source of support, advice and tips. Go to www.amba.org.au/clubfinder to connect with all of this and more including free nappies!
- Accept help – the early years of your multiples lives will be busy. People love to help mums with babies and young children, especially multiples. Many parents automatically decline offers of help. Now is the time to accept them! It is important to be clear on how people can help, as assistance in an area that isn’t helpful for you can make life more stressful, at a time you don’t need any more stress. One idea is to hang a list of chores that need doing on the back of the front door, and making sure people that come to see the babies complete a task before they leave!
- Organisation – Who drank when? And how much did they have? And have they had their medicine today? And how long have they each slept for? It is a good idea to introduce some kind of chart, to keep track of the comings and goings of daily life. Some people use a whiteboard, some use a book (which is handy, because you can then take it with you if you leave the house). The Twins Feeding Diary is an indispensable item for busy parents of infant twins.
- Do it now - How wonderful to be able to grab the nappy bag as you are heading out the door and know it is ready, without mucking around. Doing things in advance so they are all ready to go will make your life much easier. This applies to everything, including the way you handle your cleaning and sterilising of bottles, the way you do your laundry, how you prepare food for your children, how you organize yourself to leave the house and how you pack to travel.
- Routine – Whilst it is important to treat all multiples as individuals, it is also important to make sure your days are manageable and fun! One of the easiest ways to do this is to ensure that your multiples are on the same (or at the very least, similar) routines. Having a routine of some description will ensure that you know what is happening when. In the early days it will help you schedule in some extra sleep, know when you can catch up on some chores, or the best time for people to pop in to help or visit the babies.
- Down the track it will help you to know when is good for you to get out and go to the park, organise play dates and other activities.
- Sleep when your multiples are sleeping – Everything else can wait. The sleep deprivation associated with multiples in the early days can be debilitating. It makes sense, therefore, to get in as much extra sleep as you can manage. Even an extra hour here or there could make all the difference to how you feel during the days and nights. This is especially true for mums who have delivered by caesarian and mums that are breast feeding their babies. It may be that you organize a visitor to come over when the babies are due to finish their sleep – giving the visitor some time with the babies, and you a chance to get a little more sleep too.
- Stock up on supplies – and make it easy to do! It can be surprising how quickly you can get through supplies with multiples – nappies, wipes, nappy rash cream, bath wash and more. With internet shopping being so easy to set up these days, make sure you have an account ready to go and know how to use it! It may not necessarily be the most cost effective way to shop, but it may just save you a heap of stress and worry if you get caught out! Another thing to think about is stocking up when things are on sale if you can. Nappies on sale? You know you will use them! Wipes on bulk discount offer? You know you will use them! Just remember - the key to this being effective is ensuring you have enough space to store them at home until you are going to use them.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff – Yes, the house is messy. Yes, the washing pile is sky high. Yes, you haven’t washed your hair today. Yes, you didn’t get out of your pyjamas until 4pm yesterday. Are any of these situations ideal? No! Are any of these situations crucial? No!
- Yes, you fed all the children! Yes, you managed to get all the nappies changed! Yes, you had some time with each of your children, just to let them know they are special to you. Fantastic!
- There are probably going to be days (sometimes days on end!) that you just can’t get everything done. Trying to keep everything in perspective will help this.
- One last tip for life with multiples – keep your sense of humour…and remember, this too shall pass!