The birth of a baby means your normal routines are in turmoil, this is doubly true when you have had a twin or multiple birth. There is no easy way to overcome this as all babies are different but there are some things you can do to alleviate the difficulties of having to cope with more than one baby.
What most people experience as routine tasks (feeding, bathing, dressing, bringing to bed) is quite difficult when the twin babies are still small. Teaching routines can alleviate these tasks, because the parents and the babies know what to expect.
It would be ideal if you can start breastfeeding as soon as possible after birth. With a Caesarean the babies are often quickly alert, may be hungry soon after delivery. However, twins are often born early, so they must first be in an incubator. If this happens, and you can not breastfeed your children, you can also pump milk.
Breast milk in preterm infants is very different from that in babies born on time, and preemie babies may want to drink a lot more. The nurse will be helpful in feeding or pumping. In the beginning you can probably feed the babies at the same time. Later they can develop their own drinking pattern and you probably have to feed them separately.
There are various poses for the simultaneous feeding of the babies. One way is to keep the twins on your lap while the legs of one baby are laid over the legs of the other. You can also have the legs of the babies protrude along your side, in which case you need cushions. Make sure the baby's tummy presses against your own belly. It is also very important that the children keep their heads straight. If the babies have to look up during feeding, they may not get enough milk.
Use a lot of cushions. There are special pillows for sale for feeding twins, you can also make them yourself. Give each twin a different breast each feed. Learn different positions so you know which works best for you and your babies. You can also breastfeed while lying down. This is difficult to learn, but as soon as you can, it gives you extra peace of mind.
Almost all twin parents have tried to feed the twins with their own spoon and plate. Often this neat system is already out of the world after three bites. You can more easily feed the twins just from one plate and with one spoon.
Getting your twins asleep often requires a lot of extra effort compared to a single baby. Some tips:
1. Put your babies in bed at the same time. This is to create a good sleeping pattern, and hopefully also have some time for yourself. If you put the babies in bed at different times, one of the two is probably always awake, so you can soon become exhausted.
2. Learn a go-to-bed routine. A warm bath, a story, a few minutes of cuddling, massaging the backs and a few soft words prepare your children for sleep. If you do this often enough in the same way, the babies will come to know that it's time to go to sleep.
3. Put the twins in bed if they are drowsy, not if they are already sleeping. Help them to fall asleep in bed, so they learn a routine faster.
4. First put the calmest baby in bed. If one baby is busy and the other is calm, you are probably inclined to get the pressure-maker to bed first. It is better to put the calm baby in bed before you calm down the busy baby.
5. The calmer the evening goes, the better the babies sleep at night. Do not talk more than necessary to the baby when it wakes up at night. Leave a dim light on and make sure they have a soft hug or cuddle cloth.
6. Try separate rooms. As the twins get older, they probably prefer to talk to each other than they want to sleep. A separate bedroom solves this.
Bathing both babies at the same time is difficult, you still need two hands because the baby constantly slides down. A baby swing, bouncy-seat or (walking) chair offers a solution.
Collect everything you need during and after the bath before you actually begin. Then fill the bath while you have put the twins safely in a swing or bouncer. While you are washing a baby, the other can watch so you can keep an eye on it. A shower with a hose is most convenient, even if you wash the baby in the sink. Wash and dry the first baby, put on clothes and put them in a chair. Then let this baby watch you do the second baby in the bath.
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