Many parents find it hard for outsiders to comprehend the stress and anxiety that they experience when it comes to multiples. Mothers of twins find it hard to find time for rest, relaxation, or exercise. Here you’ll find some common care tips for you and your precious (sometimes overwhelming) twins.
Postpartum Self Care
Caring for a singleton can be hard, but caring for twins, possibly on top of one or more older children, may seem overwhelming. At times you may want to throw in the towel, but you can’t. . . You are those babies source of food, comfort, safety, and survival! With as much as you need to do for them, you won’t be able to fully provide everything they need if you do not care for yourself.
Rest is so important after birth. Whether it be from a natural birth or through cesarean, your body has just undergone a lot of stress bringing two lives into this world. Realizing that you CAN take a nap in the middle of the day when your twins are down for their nap is liberating! You don’t have to stress about the house being “perfect” for any unexpected visitors. Get some rest!
Nourishment, & Support
Recovering from the birth of twins takes time. Having support from friends, family, and postpartum doulas or other care providers are much needed during this period. The warmth and nutrition a home cooked meal provides gives a sense of comfort and healing. Any food prep, household chores and newborn care these people can help you with will make your life easier. Make a list of the things you know need to be done around the house and with the babies. Having this list handy for when visitors stop by can be a big stress relief. Plus, they have options to choose from!
Exercises & Physical Therapy
Diastasis recti is the separating of your abdominal muscles which can often occur during pregnancy and is very common with multiples. Diastasis recti can affect the strength of the pelvic floor after birth. Pelvic health post birth is extremely important. Kegels, strength training and pelvic floor therapy are things that you can start right away to help strengthen both your abdominals and pelvic floor. Contact your OB or midwife to gain insight on what is happening and what to do about it. Don’t let the problem go unaided, especially if you plan to get pregnant again!
Having a changing table on every level of the home, or on each end of a one level will prove to be very useful. You will not have to climb steps, with two babies in tow, multiple times a day just to change your babies.
If you are planning to breastfeed your twins:
Meet with a lactation consultant before your babies arrive to learn anything and everything you can about breastfeeding. This establishes a relationship with your lactation consultant so you are comfortable contacting them if you need extra guidance and support after your twins are born.
Buy or rent a hospital grade pump. This can be used if one or both babies must stay in the NICU and you need to establish a milk supply. You can also use it when you are banking milk in the freezer in order to go back to work, for the times when you aren’t with your twins, or for when you want someone else to feed them.
Stock up on nutritious snacks to eat while breastfeeding
If you are planning to formula feed your twins:
Make up formula bottles, or a pitcher, according to the instructions on the can or bottle with about 24 hours worth of milk and place in the refrigerator. This will save time when both babies need to be fed.
Make a daily or weekly list of tasks that need to be done around the house or with your twins. This can help you remember what still needs to be done, and it can be used as a reference for visitors who are wanting to help
Color code bottles and charts for each twin. This makes it easier to keep track of how much or how many times each twin has eaten, had a wet or dirty diaper, etc.
Realizing you are pregnant with twins can come as a huge shock. But, researching, becoming prepared, and saving after this news hits is something you may never feel is complete! However, one of the most important things you can do for yourself, your spouse, and those babies is acquire some extra help. “Caring for two or more is too much for just two parents in the early days. The reality is that regular help is needed, starting at night in the beginning.” (Noble, 2003)
Postpartum Doulas Day & Night
A postpartum doula can be especially helpful for families with twins. Postpartum doulas are professional caregivers, offering services to the family of the newborns. They nurture, educate, assess, and refer. They are not medical care providers. Some things they may do include: assist with breastfeeding, bottle feeding, newborn care, light household cleaning and family adjustment all while helping mothers recover physically and emotionally from childbirth.
Sleep is precious, and very limited after the birth of twins. Postpartum doulas at My KC Doula can be used for an overnight shift! A postpartum doula will come to your home right at or after bed time to make sleep much easier. If the babies are breastfed, the doula will bring the babies to mom for the feed and help if needed, then they will take the babies out of the room to burp, change diapers, and calm back to sleep. If babies are bottle fed at night, the doula will do the same tasks, but will not have to wake the sleeping parents to feed. Think of all the sleep you will be able to get with a postpartum doula!
We hope you can feel fully prepared for your new twins! The moment you realize that may not be as possible as you think, we are here for you!
Resources for Parents:
Multiples of Kansas City $36 annually. The club offers information, resources and a variety of social activities that include monthly evening meetings, nights out, family and holiday events, garage sales, play groups and more
Resources for "Caring for Twins" Blog:
Having Twins and More: A Parent's Guide to Multiple Pregnancy, Birth, and Early Childhood by Elizabeth Noble
Blog written by Annisa Foster, postpartum doula