Moms of multiples: A practical guide

Oct 10, 2013 at 3:00 p.m. ET

So you're pregnant with multiples. Congratulations! Now that you have multiple buns in the oven, use your pregnancy to line up the items and care you'll need to survive those harried first few months.

Preparing to bring baby bundles home

So you're pregnant with multiples. Congratulations!

Now that you have multiple buns in the oven, use your pregnancy to line up the items and care you'll need to survive those harried first few months.

Newborn twins

The shock of carrying multiple babies

Several years ago, Lacey and her husband discovered that they were unable to get pregnant without the use of fertility treatments. On their second round of in vitro fertilization, Lacey discovered that she was pregnant. She and her husband's excitement transitioned into a period of shock, however, when the initial sonogram showed three growing babies inside Lacey's uterus. "The next several months flew by at warp speed," Lacey said, "as I struggled with all the normal first trimester struggles while trying to prepare for the possibility that I'd be on bed rest during the second trimester."

Lacey's not alone in her shock. The rate of moms expecting twins, triplets and high-order multiples has skyrocketed in recent years. We talked to Victoria Zimmerman, CEO of Aspen Baby Planners and a certified newborn care specialist, to get her advice on what moms of multiples need to know before they head to the delivery room.

Preparing for bed rest

Many moms of multiples never have to go on bed rest, but some are prescribed bed rest to reduce the risk of preterm labor. Zimmerman often speaks with mothers during periods of bed rest, and as she says, "Time on bed rest doesn't have to be boring or unproductive and you are certainly not being lazy by following doctor's orders. Allow yourself to find joy in the time you spend carefully growing your babies inside of you, whatever that may look like."

In addition to allowing yourself the time to truly rest, Zimmerman recommends the following activities for bed rest or immediately prior to anticipated bed rest:

  • Meet the NICU nurses if you anticipate your babies may spend some time there. Meeting the qualified staff will help put your mind at ease.
  • Hire a housekeeper to help with chores while you rest.
  • Find a few ways to be productive while you rest, in order to keep your mind busy.
  • Line up date nights with friends, and invite them to bring over a movie or a dinner once a week.

Narrowing your supply list

When asked about supplies for the multiples, Zimmerman simply said, "a lot!" When pressed further, Zimmerman provided the following sound advice to help expectant mothers narrow their supply list:

  • Equip the home with places for babies throughout the house. She suggested bassinets for the living room, cribs for the nursery, and bouncy chairs for the kitchen.
  • Every mom of multiples will need a stash of bottles and nipples to make feeding time run more smoothly.
  • Each level of the house will need a changing station.
  • Save money by waiting to buy expensive items like twin- or triplet-strollers. Moms should wait until they know how they actually plan to use the expensive piece.

How to find support

Above all else, Zimmerman highlighted the importance of support for moms of multiples. "You may or may not choose to have family staying with you when your babies come home from the hospital," Zimmerman said, "but something you'll definitely want is grown-ups around for adult conversation and sanity. Even if they have no experience or interest in helping with the babies, ask them to come over to keep you company." She added that there are many resources available for moms of multiples in the community, and recommended the following support:

  • An online support community for moms of triplets and higher-order multiples. This support group can offer assistance during the pregnancy and after delivery.
  • Moms of Multiples: Zimmerman recommended that women search their local community for Moms of Multiples groups. Many communities have assistance available through these local supports.
  • Moms of multiples can join this group to receive special information on developmental issues and support for multiple births.
  • Night nannies: Finally, Zimmerman mentioned the importance of getting rest. Night nannies assist with sleep training and help parents get a good night's sleep so they can face the challenges of the following day with energy.

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