Multiples: Managing more than one baby

Finding out that you are expecting multiples can be both joyful and overwhelming. From double duty on diapers to bottles to night feedings, getting ready for twins (or more) requires some extra preparations and planning. And although it’s twice the work, it’s also twice the fun when it comes to the rewards of two beautiful babies.

Here are five moms of multiples sharing what they’ve learned from their real-life experiences of raising twin babies.

Tips from the pros–other parents–on how to manage multiples.

Kids: Sawyer and Jaxon, 20 months

What are the challenges of having multiples?
With twins, no sooner do you figure out a solution to a challenge
and then something changes and a new challenge presents itself. I
figured out how to get both babies down our four-story walk-up and
out to our detached garage and then they outgrew the infant
carriers and I was back to square one. Prepare to think outside the
box. There are countless things that are harder with twins, but I
have yet to come across a situation that I couldn’t figure out with
a little ingenuity and creativity.

What are your best tips for moms expectingtwins? Being a mom of twins can be demanding and downright
overwhelming at times. Don’t be afraid to go out and do things with
the babies. Get used to running errands, going for walks and going
about your daily business with the babies in tow. Avoiding these
things will only make it more intimidating down the road. Getting
out with the babies early on will build your confidence and make
you braver.

What’s been most surprising? It’s true that
you are never given more than you can handle and having twins was
no exception for my husband and me. Although it can be tricky,
somehow you always find a way and you never cease to amaze yourself
in the process. With every challenge is the rewarding feeling that
comes with finding a solution. It is a journey of a lifetime and a
roller coaster ride, but you’ll never want to get off.

Krystin McGahan, Geneva


Kids: Olivia and Amelia, 8 months

What are the challenges of having multiples?
Time management has been the biggest challenge for me. The days go
by so quickly and every day you get less and less done than you
wanted to accomplish.

I am also very independent and had to learn that you need andshould ask for help. Those long nights will catch up to you andit’s OK to ask for help, even just help putting one of the twinsinto a swing at the park.

What are your best tips for moms expectingtwins? When you are expecting multiples, breathe and brace
yourself because it’s an amazing and sacred experience, but it’s
also a lot of work. It’s important to try and have them on the same
schedule so they eat, sleep and get changed at the same time if you
can.

What’s been most surprising? I’ve been
surprised by their amazing connection to each other already. When
they are separated from each other, they know it immediately and
want to be back in each other’s eyesight. I’ve had a hard time
making sure that each child gets the same amount of attention,
affection and time. And one of my girls is more attention-seeking
than the other, so it’s been important to try to pay equal
attention to both.

Brittney Campbell, Evanston


Kids: Audrey and Grace, 5, Jack, 4, Ellie and
Andy, 20 months

What are the challenges of having multiples?
Challenges seem to start even before the twins are born, whether
it’s bed rest, having them prematurely or having one or both not
come home with you from the hospital. We’ve been extremely lucky to
have two sets of healthy twins. One of my biggest challenges was
milestones and not comparing them to one another or other kids
their age.

What are your best tips for moms expectingtwins? Divide and conquer! I have a very hands-on husband,
so we’ve really worked together to tackle all the joys and scares
that come with having multiples. My biggest tip is that naptime is
going to be insane. With my first set of twins, I napped them in
the same room and it was near impossible to get them to nap at the
same time. So with the second set of twins, we quickly split them
up for naptime and it was a savior. Also, when you have twins you
need to just remember to always have a great deal of patience to
get through the day!

What’s been most surprising? I’d have to say
the most surprising thing was having twins and then having a second
set of twins. Also, I would say how different and unique they are
from each other, yet they are so alike. There is a never a boring
moment. Your days might be crazy and chaotic, but they will be full
of fun memories that can never be replaced.

Elizabeth Shaker Araujo, Willowbrook


Kids: Riley and Caitlin, 12 weeks

What are the challenges of having multiples?
Everything takes forever to accomplish and I am always in a hurry
to get something done between their feedings.

I used to always be early and now I’m late all the time becausesomething always slows me down when I am trying to leave the house.It’s definitely a challenge to run errands or go to lunch with afriend with two babies in tow because it often seems like the worldis built for moms with one baby.

What are your best tips for moms expectingtwins? It’s been helpful for me to create systems for
things and avoid time-wasters, such as having a stocked changing
station on each floor and measuring the water and formula ahead of
time for night feedings. It’s been important to get sleep some
nights too, whether it’s alternating nights with my partner or
hiring night help.

What’s been most surprising? Everything can be
a challenge, but you have to get used to having a baby that’s not
always happy because you can’t make everyone happy at one time. But
it’s crazy how much you love them from the second they are born.
It’s the best nine month investment ever.

Nora Powers, Oak Park


Kids: Armand and Tristan, 3, Cassian, 11
months

What are the challenges of having multiples? In
the hustle and bustle of managing two little ones, it’s easy to put
your own relationship with your spouse on the back burner. I found
that making a point to regularly schedule a date night was a
meaningful way to feel connected and recharged.

What are your best tips for moms expectingtwins? Always plan ahead! Try to get things done way
before the expected due date because pregnancies with multiples are
often shorter in length and sometimes require bed rest. I think
it’s great to join a mom of multiples group because they are a
wealth of practical information and provide a unique opportunity to
meet other multiple moms.

What’s been most surprising? The pregnancy
itself. Specifically, the high risk of delivering prematurely and
the potential complications for the children. I felt pretty
unprepared for what I experienced with preterm contractions and
three months of bed rest. But obviously it was well worth it in the
end!

Sieglinde Lim-Seiwert, Chicago


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