Expecting multiples? You know you’re going to be tired, sore and probably unsure whether you’re doing anything right. But what else is on the table?
We went to Babyology reader, business operator and busy mum to twin girls, Blythe Trout, for the answers. While her daughters, Pippa and Frankie, are now 13 months old and are already headed towards toddlerhood, the tandem feeding frenzies, tag team sleep times and synchronised spew fests of the first few weeks are still fresh in her mind.
And she was happy to guide us through the maze of multiples. So what can you expect during the first few weeks at home with your new little ones? Here’s 10 truths to take to the labour ward with you.
You may have trouble telling them apart, especially if they are identical
Many mums, Blythe included, admit that at the beginning it can be tricky to know who is who. Take a page out of Canadian mum, Bethani Webb’s book who painted her identical quadruplets’ toe nails with a different colour.
You may have even more trouble knowing if it’s night or day
Sleep deprivation takes on a whole new meaning.
Or, by the end of the week, what your name is
If you can put a sentence together, then you’re doing great!
Your body will feel like it’s been hit by a truck
You’ve just carried not one, but two infants. And they’ve exited your body (either vaginally or through c-section). Either way, you cannot really expect this kind of thing to go unnoticed.
The twins will probably be more content when together
Of course this isn’t always the case but Blythe admits that her girls have always slept better when together. Even now (Pippa and Frankie are 13 months), they still prefer to sleep together.
“They seem to always somehow creep towards each other. They always sleep with at least one part of their body touching the other.”
You will never appreciate your partner more
Yes, some moments you might want to hit him over the head with your breast pump but just remember he is there to help.
“We grew into this power team on a mission to get this twin parenting right,” Blythe tells us about herself and hubby, Matthew.”We laughed together when we made a mistake and high fived each other when we survived a difficult day with them.”
You will feel like a feeding machine
Tandem breastfeeding was the way to go for Blythe and letting the twins sleep on her breasts became part of the routine during the first few months.
“The only time they would both fall asleep at the same time was on the boob. I would literally sit there with my legs falling asleep and cramping, trying to think to myself about how they would be less grumpy from the longer nap if I just endured the pain a little longer.”
Eventually you will probably just give up on wearing a shirt most days
“I basically spent half my day with no shirt on, breastfeeding.” Shirts are highly overrated.
And giving up on the hours from 4pm to 7pm is probably a good idea too
This is now known as “twin time”. Or “if-the-babies-don’t-have-constant-access-to-milk-and-mum-they-will-scream-the-house-down time”.
You will develop arm muscles like never before
Stuff the gym. Try carrying two babies at the same time all day, every day.
You will go from thinking you’re nailing it to wanting to give up on life in a matter of days
“You may feel like you’re finally getting the hang of it all, and then, BAM! EVERYTHING changes.”
And, finally, you will discover just how important being positive can be
Through the sleep deprivation and insane moments, Blythe and Matthew always found something to smile about.
“We knew this was going to be stressful,” Blythe explains. “We made a decision early on to keep smiling even during the most difficult times.”
“Some people mistook our positive attitudes for naivety but at the end of the day, there is no right way of parenting and everyone is different. Do what works best for you and, for us, that was keeping our chins up about it all.”
Baby spew and all.
Check out our multiple birth archive for more inspiring stories, cute finds and adorable photo shoot ideas.