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Your Pregnancy After 35 : More Than One Baby (part 6) - Other Considerations

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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.

Childbirth-Education Classes

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 fed formula.

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.

Postpartum Doulas

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 experience.

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