10. Other Considerations
Working during Pregnancy
Often a physician advises a woman
expecting twins to stop working at least 8 weeks before her due date.
Ideally, you should stop working at 28 weeks with a twin pregnancy—24
weeks if your job requires standing or other physical exertion. Your
healthcare provider may recommend full or partial bed rest. These are
only general suggestions and will not apply in every case.
It’s a great idea to take
childbirth-education classes for any pregnancy. If you’re expecting
twins, triplets or more, schedule your classes to begin at least 3 months
before your due date. If you have time, a brief course in Cesarean
birth might also be worthwhile if you can find one in your area.
Breastfeeding More Than One Baby
One of the greatest challenges for
parents of multiples is deciding how to feed them. If you have more
than one baby, you should be able to breastfeed them. You may find it a
little more challenging, but many mothers have done it. You may have to
be creative in your approach, but with time, you’ll probably work it
out quite well.
Breastfeeding your babies, even if it’s
only for one or two feedings a day, gives them the protection from
infection that breast milk provides. Research has shown that even the
smallest dose of breast milk gives babies an advantage over babies only
If babies are early, and you can’t nurse
them, begin pumping! Pump from day one, and store your breast milk for
the time babies are able to receive it. In addition, pumping tells the body to produce breast milk—pump and the milk will come. It just takes some time.
There is no one way to feed a baby. You may find your baby does well with breast and
bottlefeeding. Bottlefeeding doesn’t always mean you feed your baby
formula. You can also bottlefeed expressed breast milk. Supplementing
with formula allows your partner and others to help you feed the
babies. You can breastfeed one while someone else bottlefeeds the
other. Or you can nurse each one for a time, then finish the feeding
with formula. In either case, someone else can help you feed the babies.
Extra Help after Babies Are Born
Even the most efficient woman discovers
that having more than one baby can be exhausting. Extra help can make a
tremendous difference in everyone’s life. Your time of greatest need is
immediately after your babies are born. Ask for help from family,
neighbors and friends for the first 4 to 6 weeks after you bring your
babies home. You might also consider hiring someone to come in to help,
such as a nurse, postpartum doula or other healthcare professional.
In addition to doulas who help during pregnancy, labor and delivery, there are also postpartum doulas.
These women help ease the transition into parenthood for any parent,
not just those of multiples. A postpartum doula will help a new mother
and her family learn to enjoy and to care for the new baby through
education and hands-on experience.
A postpartum doula provides emotional and
breastfeeding support and ensures a new mother is fed, well hydrated
and comfortable. She may go with mom and baby to pediatrician
appointments. A postpartum doula may also take care of grocery
shopping, preparing meals and other household tasks. She may even help
tend older children.
Time-Saving, Energy-Saving Tip
Before your babies’ births, consider
hiring someone to come in for the first few weeks or months to help you
out. Caring for more than one baby is exhausting, and you’ll need time
and help to discover efficient ways to care for your babies and
yourself. Having someone available at night can be especially
convenient. If you cannot afford help, ask a relative who is able to
come for an extended visit to help you get back on your feet.
Services provided by a postpartum doula
are most often used in the first 2 to 4 weeks after babies are born,
but support can last anywhere from one or two visits to visits for 3
months or longer. Some doulas work all day; others work 3- to 5-hour
shifts during the day or after-school shifts until dad gets home. Some doulas work evenings, and some work overnight.
If you think you may want a
postpartum doula to help you with the babies, make arrangements a few
months before your due date. Even though you don’t know exactly when
babies will arrive (unless you’re having a scheduled Cesarean
delivery), contract with a postpartum doula in advance to be sure of
her availability. Costs range between $15 and $30 an hour for this
service, depending on a postpartum doula’s additional training and