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Multiple Births and Overcoming Stress

If you've just given birth to multiples (twins, triplets, quads or more!), you're blessed with that much more love and joy, but also that much more work. You need to figure out how you're going to reorganize and reprioritize so that you, your babies, your partner, and your family thrives in the coming months and years.

Don't expect yourself to stay on a normal schedule of three meals a day and sleeping at night. Before you do anything, ask yourself: does this absolutely have to be done? Can someone else do this for me? Sleep when your babies do and eat when you need to - maybe six times a day rather than three. Rearrange your house for convenience. Attach your babies' crib to your bed so that when they wake up in the middle of the night for a feeding, you don't need to even get up out of bed. Consider putting a small refrigerator in the nursery to hold extra formula or pumped breastmilk; set up a changing area wherever you'll need it; and turn your living room into a fenced-off, safe play area in which you can let your babies play and explore. Make the space you live in work for your life right now. You can worry abut getting back to normal when your babies are less dependent on you and you feel up to having people over.

Friends, family, and neighbors you will probably be willing to make a meal, bathe a baby, run an errand, take an older child to a movie, clean the kitchen, or do any other little errands or tasks to help you out. Creating a support network around you and your babies is an important step in being able to manage everything. Don't be afraid to ask for help. Community service centers can also be great resources.

Ask friends and family for understanding in the next few months as you won't necessarily have time to send birthday gifts, Christmas cards, and all the other niceties. Let them know you are thinking about them even though you can't attend their party or mark the occasion with a card or gift. You will again soon, but not now.

Take care of yourself! Your first instinct will probably be to take care of your babies, your partner, the house, meals, everyone and everything else, and finally yourself, if you have any time or energy left over. A better option is to take care of your babies and yourself and to do as little else as possible. You need to eat well and rest so that you will be strong enough to be a good mom.

A few weeks after birth, you can start exercising again. Just taking one solo 20-minute walk each day can be a great help to you clear your head, relax a bit, and rejuvinate. It's also a good excuse to get out of the house. Call up a friend and do a little socializing while you are walking. It may be hard to collect yourself, your babies, and all their gear to leave the house, but it's well worth it. You will be able to maintain your sanity and your energy much better with fresh air and adult companionship.

It's also a good idea to trade off parenting respsonsibilities with your partner. This will give each of you an opportunity to go off on your own for a walk, a drive, a nap, a facial, whatever. Taking care of multiple infants can be overwhelming. Work together to help each other from getting burnt out and overstressed. If you can, ask a friend, family member, or trusted neighbor to watch the babies for an hour or so once a week so you and your partner can get out alone, together. Go to a restaurant, or sit in a park and laugh at the craziness of your life right now. Acknowledge that you love each other, appreciate each other, and support each other through all the diapers, feedings, spit-up, and spills.



Featured Sites:

Cord Blood Registry
March of Dimes
Susan G. Komen

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