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
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.”