MUL­TI­PLES

It can be daunt­ing to hear you got given a dou­ble dose of baby dust! Fol­low this ad­vice and you’ll love be­ing a mom of twins EV­ERY­THING YOU NEED TO KNOW

Your Baby & Toddler - - TALKING POINT - BY LORI COHEN

When Jane Hogg* f irst heard that her much-awaited preg­nancy was go­ing to give her a lit­tle more than she bar­gained for in the form of twins, she was shocked. “The thought of be­ing a first-time mom to one baby was ter­ri­fy­ing enough. I had no idea how to cope with two!” she says.

While the num­bers of twins and mul­ti­ples that are be­ing born is higher than ever thanks to later-in-life moth­er­hood and fer­til­ity in­ter­ven­tions, when it hap­pens to you, you feel like the only per­son in the world. But trust us, you’re not – and you can do this! We gath­ered to­gether the ad­vice of ex­perts, and moms of mul­ti­ples who have been there, done that, to walk you through the (slightly chaotic) early months.

WHAT TO EX­PECT, WHEN YOU’RE EX­PECT­ING TWO

This will come as no sur­prise, but you’ll be­come a mama sooner than you think. March of Dimes, a Uk-based pre­emie charity, says close to 60 per­cent of all twins and more than 90 per­cent of triplets are born pre­ma­turely (be­fore 37 weeks). The av­er­age twin preg­nancy lasts 35 weeks, and triplet preg­nan­cies av­er­age 33 weeks. While 40 per­cent of twins born in the UK are born vagi­nally, the num­ber is much lower in South Africa.

If you have al­ready given birth to a child, you can ex­pect your re­cov­ery to be longer as you will most prob­a­bly have had a cae­sarean sec­tion, says mid­wife Philippa Hime. Your ba­bies may also need to stay in NICU. “Any time a baby spends in NICU is stress­ful for the par­ents,” says Philippa. “The nurs­ing staff will be your life­line dur­ing this time. In­stead of hang­ing around the hos­pi­tal with a baby that is sleep­ing, moms can make best use of their time only be­ing there when it is time to feed, and can be at home with the other baby. The baby that is in the NICU will be in much more of a rou­tine than the one at home, so it’s eas­ier to work your time around the baby in the NICU.”

Philippa says it is not nec­es­sary to re­turn to the hos­pi­tal for night­time feeds. Rather, have your spe­cific times that you go through to the hos­pi­tal and have your down­time away from it. “You don’t have to be a hero and be there all the time. It’s not go­ing to make a huge dif­fer­ence to the baby. It’s more im­por­tant that you are able to rest so that you can feed well,” says Philippa. She also says it can work well for the fa­ther to do the early morn­ing feed on his way to work. If your part­ner is go­ing to take time off from work, she sug­gests he waits un­til the baby is home from hos­pi­tal as this is when you

will re­ally need the ex­tra pair of hands.

What many moth­ers of twins strug­gle with is the lo­gis­tics of get­ting them out of the house. “Don’t try to go to fol­low-up ap­point­ments with doc­tors, or for weigh-ins and im­mu­ni­sa­tions, by your­self,” says Philippa. Or in­ves­ti­gate ser­vices where peo­ple can come to your house to do this, she sug­gests. “In the first six weeks mul­ti­ples need to be mon­i­tored quite closely for their weight, and while this may be an ex­tra cost, it can make a huge dif­fer­ence.”

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